Posts Tagged ‘Pittsburgh Marathon Training’

Wohoo!  It’s race week again at Run for Dom.  Today (Sunday) marks the one-week mark in preparing for marathon number two in as many weeks.  Over the past few days I have really started to feel the soreness moving out of my hips and quadriceps compliments of those damn Newton Hills at Boston and I’m starting to feel pretty good frankly.

Sunday Recover/Taper Run

This morning called for a 6-mile run which was splitting the difference between the traditional 4 miler I schedule one week after a marathon and the usual 8 miler I run one week before a marathon.  So, 6 miles sounded just about right.  I have to admit that there really isn’t a “playbook” for what I am doing right now.  Even the most detail oriented training plans do not spell out how to prepare for two marathons in 13 days – so I’m “winging it” a little quite frankly.  With the exception of the lingering soreness in my outer hips – compliments of the towns of Hopkinton, Ashland, Framingham and Natick – we’re starting to feel pretty “decent”.  I wrapped up the 6 miles Sunday in 43:02 at 7:10 pace.  Not too shabby only 6 days post-Boston Marathon.

I know the fitness level is there to cover the 26 mile, 385 yard course at Pittsburgh.  There are no real “injuries” to manage on race day as I am about as healthy as you can be after completing the gauntlet that is the Boston Marathon course.  The only real question I have right now is how early in the race will muscle fatigue set-in and at what point will the usual “in-race muscle rebellion” begin.

I have been looking back at my Boston race in a more analytical way over the past two days – removing the emotions of it and really dissecting what happened over those 3 hours and 22 minutes.  As I mentioned in my race report, it was a day that very early on I realized I simply didn’t “have it”.  There were two other things about Boston that really threw me off of my game:

1.  The late start time, (I usually start my runs at 5:30 a.m. CST) – did a 10:00 a.m. start throw off my nutrition plan?  Should I have eaten more after a 6:30 p.m. dinner the night before and the starter’s gun at 10:00 a.m. than my usual pre-race banana and bagel?  In hindsight – yes.  I burned close to 3,000 calories during the race at Boston and I really feel like my tank was empty over the final 10K.

2.  The early downhill sections – I definitely did not prepare for how steep those hills were.  Not knowing the course made me believe that my hill training was sufficient.  I know now that less speed work and more hill repeats are required for the next time I prepare for Boston.

So as I look ahead to the Pittsburgh Marathon and a course that I know well from last year’s race – I am looking forward to minimizing all outside influences this week and sticking to the things that I know. 

With a 7:30 a.m. EST start-time our nutrition plan should work out just as it did a year ago on our way to our Personal Best 3:17:43.  I also have a road map of sorts by looking at my mile splits and pace over the first half of the course to know I will be ready for the climb up Forbes at mile 13 to the top of the course. 

It will really be a matter of trying to gauge my muscle strength early in the race to determine just how empty our tank is from racing at Boston and if we can “run our race” or if I need to dial back the throttles quite a bit and simply shoot for a 3:30 – 3:45 kind of pace and simply enjoy the day and finish what we started by honoring Dom and his courageous battle against cancer the right way.

I will be posting a full course preview on Tuesday as I dive back into all of my race materials from a year ago and re-examine all of my mile splits from the 2009 race.  We should have our full “battle plan” finalized at that time and I should have a pretty good gauge as to how I am going to feel after my run that morning.

The weather forecast should also become a bit more clear by mid-week, right now the extended forecast is calling for temperatures around 60 at the start of the race and rain.  Not exactly what I would pick if I had the choice for race day, so we’ll hope that forecast changes between now and the starter’s gun.

Whatever the challenges on Sunday May 2nd we’ll be there to meet them head on.  I’m a marathoner afterall, and that’s what we do.


Since I started “semi-serious” running in 2005 – running is something that I always did alone.  Back when I owned one pair of running shoes (I have 10 right now honestly), ran in cotton T-shirts (because I didn’t know any better) and didn’t own a GPS to track my training (I set the kitchen timer when I left on my runs to track my time) – I was always alone.

Winter solo run

The only time that I logged any miles with anyone else was when I started racing.  Running was my time, my escape.  It allowed me to think about things with no distraction.  Sometimes I might think about what I can do to be a better husband to Dawn.  Should I make homemade Lasagna this weekend or bake Kayla her favorite homemade peanut butter dog biscuits?  Is it time to spread fertilizer yet?  When is the last time I washed the Harley?  What was the name of the lead guitarist for Journey?  Am I going to have a waffle at the diner after my run or two eggs, home fries and toast?  Definitely a waffle.

Sometimes I even solved problems without being distracted by ringing phones or e-mails.  I could think about work uninterrupted or about how I would replace that light fixture 20 feet above our foyer. 

Sometimes I would just run.  Not a care in the world, just me, the trail, a hill, the wind, light rain, a sunrise – and just be.

Strangely enough it was on one of these solo runs that “running” changed for me – and changed forever.  I’ve told the story in the past about when my wife and I first heard about Dom’s cancer diagnosis – and just how serious it was – I felt absolutely helpless.  I was going through the motions and the emotions of wondering how, why and when. 

Kicking Cancer's Ass 26.2 Miles at a Time!

I couldn’t make sense of a 38 year old man in the prime of his life with a loving wife, 3 year old daughter and a 3-month old son at home could be dealt such a serious and unfair blow.  It didn’t make any sense.  It made me feel small, weak and powerless. 

Damn it, there had to be something I could do to make a difference – and on a 10-mile Sunday run along a trail I had run literally hundreds of times in Austin – the idea for Run for Dom struck me like lightening.  Could I train to run not only the Boston Marathon this year as I had planned but also return to the Pittsburgh Marathon in Dom’s hometown 13 days later and race again in his honor?  Two Marathons in 13 days to help my friend and his family fight this terrible disease.


From that point forward I would never be running alone again.

After telling my wife what I intended to do – which always makes something “real” in my life – I began the journey to Boston and Pittsburgh.  Dom at the same time was starting his journey to treatment, surgery and recovery.  What started out as a small circle of close friends and family members who knew about what I was planning to do has grown over the last several months into an incredible support network.

There have been over 6,000 visitors to this space since the blog was launched in November.  Well over 600 Run for Dom friends follow, support and motivate each other’s training on Daily Mile every day.  Another 605 followers on Twitter are keeping up with my journey toward Boston and Pittsburgh.

I have met amazing people from literally all over the world who are doing amazing things – and they tell me that I have inspired them or motivated them in some way – Me.  Unbelievable.

Well this week I made a new group of friends from the Pittsburgh area who know Dom and the D’Eramo family and want to help.  Collectively they are “Moms for Dom” – and they will be running the Relay Marathon at Pittsburgh on May 2, 2010.

Becky Adams, Stephanie Giusti, Heather Hunter, Chrissy Liberati and Kelly Waldron are the wonderful women of “Moms for Dom”.  All of these ladies according to my friend Becky were athletes in their “former lives” – I got a great chuckle out of hearing that one.  Once an athlete, always an athlete in my book.  Their taking on the streets of Pittsburgh on Sunday May 2nd is proof enough for me.

Each of the “Moms for Dom” runners are training hard for the upcoming race balancing careers, husbands, children and and what has been an amazingly chilly, snowy, wet Pittsburgh winter that is finally giving in to Spring.  

Having run the Pittsburgh Marathon last year I can tell you that this is not a “lay-up” marathon course.  There are hills to be run, rivers and bridges to cross and winds to navigate.   It’s a hard course, but then again – it’s supposed to be hard.  It is the hard that makes it great.

Pittsburgh Marathon Course - Bridge #1

The relay portion of the marathon course is broken down into 5-legs, each of our Moms for Dom will be responsible for their own leg.

Leg 1 – Distance 7 miles – Exchange at Mile 7

Leg 2 – Distance 4.4 miles – Exchange at Mile 11.4

Leg 3 – Distance 4.6 miles – Exchange at Mile 16

Leg 4 – Distance 5.9 miles – Exchange at Mile 21.9

Leg 5 – Distance 4.3 miles – Finish Line

Pittsburgh Marathon Course Map

The women of “Moms for Dom” will be raising money to support Dom and his family just as we are here at Run for Dom.  Support of their effort is being accepted through our secure site here at:

You can also click on the Donate via our secure site link under the How You Can Help area of this blog in the right tool bar.

I am proud to call Becky, Stephanie, Heather, Chrissy and Kelly “Amazing Friends” joining Bailie, Danica (Chic Runner), Lara, Ashley (MS Run the US) and all of the “Go Girls!” who have done amazing things to help this cause over the last several months.  You can read about all of the RFD Amazing Friends underneath the mile sponsors listed in the right tool bar of the blog.

It is great to know that I will have 5 more friends with me on the course at Pittsburgh on May 2nd both literally and figuratively.  What you ladies are doing to help is so inspiring – it is an honor to be running with you in May.  Thank you!