Hay is in the Barn!

Week of Training September 21 – 27

Morning Afternoon Notes
Sunday 12 Drills
Monday 10 6 8 x 20 sec, Drills, Core
Tuesday 13 8 x 200m, Core
Wednesday 15 Workout
Thursday 8 6 Core
Friday 13 8 x 20 sec, Drills
Saturday 13
Week Total 96

 1 WEEK TO GO!!!!

Echoing the words of the famous Bill Bowerman from Without Limits, “The hay’s in the barn.” All of what I can do training wise for Twin Cities is done. Now it is all about freshening up and getting that all important peak right.

Our first team photo of the year, including our new athetes John and Andrew! All this was at the "insistence" of Dictator Stilin.

Our first team photo of the year, including our new athletes John and Andrew!
All this was at the “insistence” of Dictator Stilin.

This week was the start of my taper. I only ran 96 miles this week, with one moderate workout. While 96 miles might seem like a lot, I have been running around 110 the last 8 weeks, so the drop is nearly 15% of my total volume. Also Pete and myself are not fans of really big tapers. I have found out from experience that when I drop my miles too quickly, I begin to get stale and sluggish, which is not the way to be feeling when headed into a race. So with this in mind, I am still going to be running around 80 miles the week of the race. Another piece of getting a taper right is not changing anything in your daily training. Mostly I mean that do not begin to either, run faster or slower on recovery days, only run less. Just by doing that, you will begin to feel fresher.

12 x 3 min, 2 min float

The lone workout for the week is the standard “Pete Rea 10 days out from the marathon” workout, 10-12 x 3 minutes, with 2 minutes float in between. The key to this workout is to stay relaxed and not over do it. With such little time before Twin Cities, there is more likely a chance to ruin the race than make it.

For the workout, Griff join Cole and me as we took a tour of Blowing Rock. We started in the Park, then headed out to the streets of Blowing Rock and wound up back in the Park. With the workout not being distance oriented, we were just running by feel. Also with the Park and surrounding areas being very hilly, our paces fluctuated. I liked that fact that we did not have specific splits to hit, as it made us run by feel. Overall, it was a good way to lead up to the Marathon.

 A Few Thoughts Heading in to the Race

1) Training was Awesome!

Our new Reebok racing kit arrived, just in time for the race! Cole and I are going to be looking fly our there!

Our new Reebok racing kit arrived, just in time for the race!
Cole and I are going to be looking fly our there!

The last 11 weeks of training has been one of the best training blocks that I have ever had. During this block, I averaged 102 miles a week, including a big down week of 76 miles. I was consistently hitting high weekly mileage, while still working out. The workouts were different than what I had done previously; mostly they were much longer than ever before. Each workout was consistently around or over 10 miles worth of work, with some real long ones, like our trip to preview the course. Even though most of the workouts were longer, I took to them like a fish to water. Workouts that place a higher emphasis on aerobic ability have always been my forte, starting with tempos at Crown Hill Park in high school. And with the marathon being a primarily an aerobic event, it was not a surprise to me that training has gone so well.

Also during this cycle, I think that I learned the most about myself as an athlete. The training took much more of a toll on my body and I was more tired than I have ever been while training. That made me much more aware of the effort I was putting in day to day, so to not over do it and crash in a workout.

Overall, doing this training has made me very excited for both Twin Cities and future marathons (which is very dependent on how the race goes). Every time I have stepped up in distance, I have run better than before. Now I can only hope that this trend holds true. It is still amazing to me that a little over two years ago, when I arrived at ZAP, I did not really think I would be running the marathon yet. But here I am, ready to toe the line in Minneapolis in less than a week.

 2) Taking Steps Towards 2016

The Olympic Creed

The Olympic Creed

Every runner’s dream is to toe the line wearing the USA jersey. While I have already had that experience, there is something much more exciting and special when done at the Olympics. The Olympics are thought to transcend everything, politics, borders, ethnicities, and even wars. During the ancient Olympics, the Greeks would stop the fighting to compete in sport! While may no longer be true, being an Olympian places you on the sporting world stage like no other single event can do. Just by making the team and being there, you are following in the footsteps of some of the greatest athletes of our time. Most of our running heroes were Olympians, Steve Prefontaine, Frank Shorter, Billy Mills, and Bob Kennedy. Since I have graduated college and came to the realization that I could run professionally, making an Olympic Team seems even more attainable.

With the 2016 Olympic Marathon Trails looming in the distance, this fall was a good time to test the waters in the marathon. Running one in the fall of 2015 would be too close to the Trials to make any adjustments to training or racing, and also is assuming I would recover properly. Running one in the spring of 2015 takes away from other goals and teams to make in both cross country and track. But there is a team to be made in the marathon for the 2015 World Championships, with one of threes spots coming from Twin Cities.

Another big reason to run a marathon this fall is that Pete and I will have time to adjust any training and/or racing strategy according to how Twin Cities goes, giving me the best shot to make the Olympic Team in 2016. The year and a half until the Trials is a long time for both the good and bad to pop up, but anything I do now will affect me far into the future.

 3) Extra Nerves!

Coming into the race, just like any other, I am nervous, especially considering it is my debut. Unlike any other race I have run, I have never run 26 miles at one time, or even in one day. The farthest I have run is the 23 mile long run we did during our course preview. Every other race I have done, I have run that distance before. The nerves come not from the idea that I will be unable to finish the race, but that I will hit the proverbial wall.

Before we won Nationals in 2011, one of our coaches at Western gave us this card. The date may change, but always ThinkBIG!

Before we won Nationals in 2011, one of our coaches at Western gave us this card. The date may change, but always ThinkBIG!

One thing that Pete has said many times during this cycle is, “You do not have to fear the marathon, but do respect it.” Running fearful of the distance will most likely lead to disaster, as you will begin to question yourself. But by respecting the marathon, it becomes just like any other race. The best example of this is during the London Marathon when Tirunesh Dibaba, who was making her marathon debut, dropped her water bottle late in the race. Rather than just leaving it and getting water from a water station, she stopped and picked up the bottle. This cost her some ground on the two leaders and from then on she was running in no woman’s land. The authors at LetsRun played the “what if” card by saying she might have lost the race because of it. Their logic is that a veteran marathoner would have just left the bottle and continued running with the leaders, while the rookie, Dibaba being fearful of the marathon, stopped and picked it up.

Even thought I am a rookie, and the latter stages will be tough and trying, I know that the “Trial of Miles” Cole and I have been through the last 10 weeks will have prepared me as best as possible and there is not much that I can do to get in better shape. Now most of how I do is dependent on me. I take solace knowing that how much I am willing to put into the race will be a big determining factor in the outcome. I will finish off with what Coach Vandenbusche used to say right before Nationals, “I want the Big Red Machine is oiled, greased, and ready to roll!”


 Important Info!

The Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon starts at 8am CT on October 5. For anyone who would like to follow Cole and my race there are multiple ways:

  1. First you can visit here to sign up for text updates. It is pretty simple. On the first page, enter your phone number, then on the second search for “Pennel” and add me. Next you will get a text asking you to respond with “RACE.” After that you are done! Also you only have three runners so choose wisely, and I can see who is following me, so I will know who is not! (And I may or may not hold it against you.) As with all of these types of text updates, “All message and data rates apply.”
  2. If texting is not your gig, you can follow the race online here. It will show my progress through out the race, along with predicted times for splits and my finish!
  3. If you want to actually see me, there will be a camera trained on the finish line. So you can watch a still screen for 2:12 hours until I cross, by all means go for it. It might be as exciting as paint dry!
  4. If watching paint dry is not your favorite activity (I wouldn’t know why?!), but you would still like to see my beautiful face, there will be a live feed from USATV.tv! Starting at 9am EST (8 CT and 7 MST) you can watch the race unfold.
  5. If watching on a computer screen is too impersonal for, and you are feeling really adventurous, come watch live!
  6. Finally, if for whatever reason that you were not able to follow the race live (Like there is a good excuse, as Coach Vandenbusche used to say, “Pardon my French. Excuses are like assholes, everyone has them, and they stink!”), updates and the results will be posted here (but there is not a nifty little map to see my progress).

Some of these links are just preliminary, so follow me on Twitter or add me on Facebook to get updates with more specific links as the race draws near!