Archives for category: marathon race training

Another great year of running done.  The most high profile event of the year for me was the PR (2:52) at the Chicago Marathon.  But the marathon readiness series races was probably the highlight of the year – really had a really great time out there, and I’m particularly proud of finally coming in under 1:21 in the Half marathon.

I’m blessed not to have been sidelined by injury or anything else disallowing me from running.  Total mileage was pretty much identical to 2011 – only 3 marathons less than two years ago.  Biggest, and nicest surprise, has to be getting my long runs in with the Sunday morning crew…don’t know how I did it solo before, seems crazy and a really long time ago.

Goals for 2013?  First and foremost, stay healthy and keep running.  Would be nice to come in under 2:50 in the marathon.  And it would be pretty cool to finally run 3,000 miles for the year.  Definitely a lot going on non-running wise this year, so I’ll just need to prioritize accordingly while not neglecting my favorite past time.

Total miles: 2,844 (2011 = 2,851)

Total # of runs: 421

Number of marathon: 2 (Chicago and Honolulu; 8 in total)

Calories burned: 311k

Avg distance: 6.75m

Running highlights:

  1. Marathon PR (2:52:22 – 10+ min BQ)
  2. Half Marathon PR (1:20:40)
  3. 20k PR (1:16:47)
  4. 15k PR (00:57:04)

With enough time (9 weeks) between Chicago and Honolulu, I decided shortly before running Chicago that I would also race Honolulu.  A few weeks after coming back from Chicago I offered to pace my Sunday morning running friend, Richard, to a sub-3:00 marathon attempt.  Richard and I had been placing very comparable results in the Honolulu Marathon Readiness Series races, so it seemed to make a lot of sense.

The Training

After a couple recovery weeks, I got my weekly mileage back up to 65 to 75 miles, kept running the Sunday morning long runs with the guys, and threw in a few tempo and track workouts.  Definitely a little load to manage, as Chicago was the “A” race of the year.  So I took it easy, enjoy all of my runs, and kept things very light and casual.

Richard and I agreed on a positive split strategy, having us cross the half as early as 1:27:30 to make room for an expected fade through Kahala and back up Diamond Head.  We were going to run the flat miles slightly faster than goal pace (6:49/mile), slow down on the uphill, and pick up a bit on the downhill.


Darin, Yuki’s boyfriend, drove us down to the start the morning of the race, and we met up with Richard 30 minutes prior to 5:00AM start time.  30,000+ runners at the start (40th anniversary of the Honolulu Marathon so the highest attendance ever!), so it was very congested, and we only had time to snake up to the start, find a bush and take care of business, then the fire works were going off and we were officially on our way.  I was carrying a water bottle and 4 Peanut Butter GU gels for the ride.

Mile 1 -3 (6:49, 6:44, 6:41)

We were concerned the first couple of miles would be slow, but we elbowed are way up to the very front moments prior to the gun going off, so we actually did not have too bad of a time getting into a stride.  We’re focused on hitting our splits, and given that the first 8 miles or so are quite flat, we decide to run a little faster.  By mile 3 we’re on Kapiolani Blvd heading back towards the mall.

Mile 4 – 6 (6:38, 6:37, 6:30)

Some fast miles here because we want to save some time prior to getting to Kapiolani Park and Diamond Head.  Winds are picking up and it’s not nice heading out through Waikiki I remember.  Also quite upsetting how few water stations there are on the course so far.  Either way, Richard is breathing well, we’re both laser-focused at the task at hand, and trucking along very smoothly.

Mile 7 – 9 (6:44, 7:06, 6:44)

Heading back through the park and up Diamond Head (hence the slower mile 8) then back down and up through Kilauea Avenue.  I do notice the wind again and it’s concerning for sure.  Humidity is not bad as expected, but I’m quite the sweater and I’m sweating quite heavily already.  So I concentrate on taking in a lot of water, take my first gel somewhere in here.  Pace is still good, and we’re on track for a good first half split.

Mile 10 – 12 (6:41, 7:44, 6:37)

A good mile 10, then in mile 11 I need to make a pit stop so I tell Richard to keep going and I’ll catch up with him.  Mile 12 is faster in order to make up some of the time I lost.  Still haven’t caught up with Richard, which is a good thing, and I hope that he’s still feeling strong/confident.  Definitely difficult to pick up the pace much faster than 6:30ish given the strong head winds blowing around 35 mph!!

Mile 13 – 15 (6:41, 6:50, 7:05)

Pace starts to drop in this stretch as we’re running right into the wind.  I remember really feeling gas-ed at this point in the race and being concerned that I would not be able to catch up with Richard and bring him home under 3 hours.  I look around and several other runners are struggling to get through the wind.  We do our best drafting one another, sharing in the responsibility, but we’re all fairly off pace (one going too fast and another going too slow) so I end up running a lot of this by myself (cursing my luck throughout).  I crossed the half way mark right at 1:30:00 and think to myself there is no way I can do another one of these if things continue on the way they are currently going.

Mile 16 – 18 (6:58, 6:43, 6:47)

Going through Hawaii Kai at this point, and getting off of the highway and on Hawaii Kai Drive is a blessing, no more wind!  I usually hate this loop but this time it feels amazing, comfortable, and significantly easier than the head wind!  I’m also feeling much better and feel like I’ve gotten a second wind (no pun intended).  Splits show some recovery in pace.  Still no sign of Richard and I think wow he must be jamming. I’m really excited for him and the thought of trying to catch up to him.

Mile 19 – 21 (6:47, 6:52, 6:53)

Probably the most comfortable and enjoyable stretch of the entire marathon.  Tail winds on us (no complaints) but also seeing all of the other runners cheering us on gives me a nice boost of much needed energy.  Still can’t see Richard, but I’m ok with that because I know he must be doing well.  I see several familiar faces, including my sister, and everyone is smiling and enjoying themselves out there.  Super awesome to be a part of it all.  One mile more and we’re off of the highway, heading back through Kahala for the final home stretch!  Legs are definitely feeling fatigued.  And my stomach is still wonky and all over the place (need to fix this – help!).  But I’m relaxed, enjoying the moment, and continuing to push.

Mile 22 – 24 (6:56, 6:42, 7:04)

I just trying to keep an average goal marathon pace at this point.  Always tough going back through Kahala on that last, long stretch.  My legs are pretty shot at this point, the sun is starting to creep out, and I’m starting to really not like this run anymore 🙂 Between mile 23 and 24, on the uphill climb I see Richard’s girlfriend and ask her how far ahead Richard is ahead of me. She has a puzzled look on her face and tells me she hasn’t seen Richard yet!  I’m so confused and don’t know what to do, so I sprint up the hill looking for Richard.  Don’t see him, so I drink some water, use the porter potty, and wait about 30 or so seconds for him.  Still not 100% confident that he’s behind me, I decide to keep going forward.

Mile 25 – 26.2 (8:24, 6:09)

I jam down Diamond Head, figure I might as well finish as hard as I can. I can’t do math at this point, so I’m still pushing to see if I can squeeze in just under 3 hours (hence the reason for 6:09 for mile 26!!).  At the last turn on the home stretch I realize there is no way, so I ease up significantly, relax and take it easy through the final 100m down the shoot.

Finish time – 3:01:40

  • 8th marathon complete
  • Boston Qualifying finish time
  • First (fairly unsuccessful) pacing job complete

Richard crossed the finish at 3:05:xx a couple minutes behind me.  What ended up happening was he jumped into a porter potty around mile 17 or 18 and I passed him without knowing it.  It was unfortunate but really unavoidable.  I felt terrible for leaving him out there, not to mention finish the race before him.  But thank goodness he had a good sense of humor about it.  We both enjoyed ourselves out there and had no regrets about any of it.

The Analysis

Another good marathon experience for me (my Garmin splits can be seen here.  Probably will be the last time I race Honolulu.  I’ll probably run it again, but never again for time or really pushing it.  It just isn’t a well-organized and support race for serious runners.  It’s unfortunate but it’s a reality with this one.

I ran with compression socks (never do) and I think they actually helped in the second half.  Not sure I’ll race with them again, but definitely interested.  The compression tights I wore actually really did help and I’ll probably pick that up for Boston.  The Peanut Butter GU gels, unfortunately (because I LOVE, LOVE the taste of them) I think are too thick and might be upsetting my stomach a bit.  I’m going back to the Hammer Gels for Boston training and will race Boston with them.  Definitely need to stabilize the stomach before Boston.  Think it’s the food intake, as well as timing of when I’m eating.  Need to practice on my runs, particularly the long runs.  Might need to take less water breaks during these runs and simulate actual race day conditions more, because my stomach seems to turn like clock work shortly after the 10k mark.  Even this time around I ate significantly less the morning of (half a bagel, apple juice, two cups of coffee) but still had to go.

I’m looking forward to getting ready for Boston shortly after the new year!  Until then, hoping to not put on too much weight, spend time with family and friends, and work on building a good base of miles.  Will check back in later!  Thanks always for your time and support!

First post since Chicago so a bit of catching up to do.  Week 0 coming back from Chicago was very relaxed – took four complete rest days (I needed it!) and only ran a total of 20 miles.  I decided then that I would try to race Honolulu, so I put a quick 9-week schedule together, which would allow two additional recovery weeks, 4 solid weeks of training, and a 2 week taper.

Week 7 (from Honolulu) I double my miles up to 40m, which included  a 15 mile run on Saturday morning with my running friends (took one rest day as well).  Clearly the strategy for me here is to responsibly, and safely, build back up my mileage.  I think I’m always leaning on the conservative side when it comes to marathon training – particularly given the relatively high volume of running I’ve done the past 24 months.  The right achilles continues to nag and niggle as well, so I’m quite mindful of not flaring that up again and making it any worse.

Anyway, week 6 is again up to 55 mpw, including a Tuesday tempo (LT) run of 11 miles total with 3 @ 6:30/per mile pace.  Ouch – I remember this one being difficult.  I was suppose to do five of those 6:30s, but only managed three.  Topped off the week with my first long run since Chicago, 18 miles, with a nice pick up for the last six miles @ 6:45ish pace (thanks, Richard).

Week 5 (last week 10/29/12 – 11/4/12) I inch up the mileage to 61 mpw (included a rest day on Monday), a 9 mile tempo run with 5 @ 6:25 (yes, got redemption), and 19 mile long run on Sunday.  Everything else in the week is much slower (between 7:30 to 8:15/per mile pace) and I’m getting them in how ever which way I can (i.e. during my lunch breaks at work, early in the morning…some of those miles are with Uma, etc.).

Week 4 (this week) I’ve clocked 43 miles so far and have a 20 mile long run with the guys scheduled for early Sunday morning.  I did my first track workout yesterday – 6 x 800m – and it was tough.  There definitely difficult, but I think I need to stay diligent and respect the fact that these workouts really make me faster.

Game plan for Honolulu?  Currently the thought is I will go for a sub-3 hour time.  Ever since I started running marathons I’ve wanted to say I ran Honolulu in under three hours.   But I have to say my expectations are low, and I feel little to no pressure to really go after it.  Chicago was my goal race for the year.  And with Boston in four months or so, Honolulu does not take the highest of priorities.  I really like how it’s keeping me in shape – as opposed to falling off of the wagon – which is more typical of my behavior after a big marathon.  I just want to make sure that I stay healthy and hungry going into Boston marathon training.

Game plan for Boston I’ve decided will be a sub-2:50:00 attempt.  I’ll follow a modified Pfitz 12/80+ training schedule, and I’ll get at it in mid-January 2013.  I have to say I am really looking forward to this training cycle.  Not sure exactly how I feel about the race itself; obviously I’m excited, but I think some of the excitement and energy subsided after I qualified for Boston.  Think I’m still trying to understand and appreciate preparing, and ultimately running, Boston.

2013 is going to be a very busy year, but hopefully a productive and successful year!  Happy running, and will continue to check back in periodically.

The “5am Paki” running group!  rain or shine, we’ve been starting our sunday morning long runs together at 5:00AM down at Kapiolani Park.   Great group which has grown since Bill and I started doing these together in the summer.  Thank you guys for the great company and support!  Good luck to Brandy at the Portland Marathon this coming Sunday!!

(from left to right): Frederick, Bill, Brian, Brandy, Kim, Richard, Lectie, me

done with the last hard workout in my chicago marathon training cycle: 9m – with 3 x 1,600m (1 mile) at punahou track.  ran each of the 3 intervals at: 5:08, 5:20, and 5:16 (average of 5:16/mile pace).  legs felt tired on that last one, but the new adios shoes i just started wearing yesterday (9/26) felt really good and gave me an extra little push which was warmly appreciated.  last week i did 6 of these intervals at around a 5:35/mile pace.  i clearly went out too fast/hard on the first interval, guess i was a little too pumped and anxious.  lungs were burning by the end of that first set, but it felt good to hurt a little.  while running hard i spent some time visualizing how i will feel during the marathon and felt in that sense this workout was super important.  i forget how important your mind is (and how it can be trained as well) in marathon racing.

now the name of the game is rest, rest, and a little more rest.  mileage is dropping dramatically and i need to stay confident about my training and the fitness i’ve achieved.


just stumbled across this post and found it extremely helpful for all of us out there looking to create a marathon pace band with our goal marathon time.  check it out…i’m going with the marathon guide version, because i like the bold treatment (every other mile) and i like that it lists the half marathon time (surprising that many do not).

i do have to note the “my marathon pace” band is amazing, and i used it for 2011 CIM it worked perfectly (and extremely accurately).  if they had one for chicago, even though the course is very flat i would’ve purchased it.




1) excited! can wait to race this thing already and bringing back nice memories of this time during CIM…

2) anxious – here we go again. but definitely less so this time…think the experience helps, also being busy all the time with work, uma, etc.

3) the sunday long run crew has definitely help cut up the training schedule to make it more manageable. very grateful to my running buddies and wish them only good things in their respective upcoming races as well (kim burnett racing maui HM today – go kim!!)

4) looking forward to declining mileage. but also cautious of increase potential in gaining some extra #s because of it.
need to be mindful of what i put in my body.

5) weather on race day? ahh don’t get me started (yet).

more to come; 22m then i’m officially tapering (madly)!

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