Monday, May 17, 2010

SOLO Weekend

Before Wildflower Coach sent me an e-mail saying something along the lines of "enjoy the taper and recovery before we start winding it up for Placid." This week marked the first week of "Ironman" training after a couple months of gearing everything towards the half distance. So this weekend was my first BIG weekend in a long time. Due to work, travel, illness and lameness, it also marked what was to be my first truly SOLO training weekend in a long time. A long run, long swim & long ride all looked like they were going to be done with only my thoughts for company.

Fortunately however, this was not the case. I was talking with a training partner of mine Bill, who was pacing a friend in the Palos Verdes Marathon on Saturday. I grew up in PV and my uncle, who also goes by the moniker Bill, was an avid runner. In fact I think his marathon count lies at 50. The PV marathon is the 2nd longest running marathon in the country. Only Boston has been around longer. My Uncle Bill has run PV like 20 times and as a kid, I was present for many of those. The course has changed a bit over the years, but its still the PV Marathon and this year marked the 44th running (pardon the pun). So, given the 3hr run I had on tap, and my family history with this race my query to Coach received an affirmative with strict directions to abide by the pacing rules. I agreed. So on Friday, I entered my first PV Marathon to be run the next morning, and workout 1, was now going to be done with mucho company and aid stations. I was even going to get a shirt for it. Much better than the solo effort I had envisioned.

PV is not flat. In fact, around here, its known as "the Hill". For that reason, the slower times that come therewith, and the lack of prize money, it is a small race. They don't even do chip timing. But it is AWESOME. So Saturday morning I toed the pleasantly uncrowded start line for a 26.2mi training run. I reminisced before the race how a couple years back I would have NEVER EVER thought of running a marathon, let alone doing it spur of the moment after a week of hard training.

The "race" was great, I had some good company for the first half or so, then Bill (friend not Uncle) joined me for the second half. We even had a cyclist pacer in the form of another friend and Club Ed runner Debbie join us for a good stretch. I took it easy for about the first 17mi, then about mile 20 kicked it up a notch for the "tempo" effort that was included in the plan. In the end I ran 2:52 and had a great time. Running in a local race with no "race" pressure makes it feel so much different. Good times.

That afternoon I headed to the pool for my long swim. Again, in my head this was going to be me and my thoughts for 2hrs. However, in another dose of good fortune, about 40mins in, a masters workout I was unaware of, came on. So I jumped in that workout which helped speed the time. Solo workout #2 successfully avoided.

Sunday was a long ride. Again, solo. I had some company for part of the first climb but he fell off and I started getting cold while waiting at the top. Knowing I was only going to get colder on the descent I started downward hoping he would catch me. Sorry Stan. He didn't and the next 4.5hrs were spent alone. 2 outta 3 aint bad. After nearly 7hrs, 115mi and 8,500ft of climbing, I was hungry and tired but stoked to have gotten in a solid weekend of training and for the most part, avoided the lonesomeness I thought I would encounter. Next weekend will most certainly not be lonesome as I will be SD bound to revisit some old routes with good friends.


  1. 2:52. You do realize most of your readers will hate you for this, right?! :) Nice work!!

  2. Simply amazing. My husband has been trying to break 3 hours in the marathon. I probably won't suggest that he read this. ;) GREAT job! And the solo training is good sometimes I think. Nobody but yourself to help get through the tough spots, just like in a race.

  3. Wow! Fast marathon, great training and way to sneak a few buddies into the equation too! Nice job!


  4. Wow. Fast marathon. And as a training run? Nice job.

  5. That is crazy fast for a training run. Nice work. (And Charisa is right. I hate you a little bit.)

  6. Great job last weekend mate. Yay!!!

  7. Wow..what a weekend..hey.. I finally found your blog! Love it!