October 31, 2011

We went running a few times in October...

When I ask Andrea how she is feeling, the
answer is typically "sleepy!"
Sometimes you just have to put on several layers of clothes, a fleece robe, grab a down blanket, and fall asleep on the couch at 2pm!

Some might say this isn't living... I think this is living life to the absolute fullest!

October was a pretty great month of training. This was really the big month for us... the "make or break" cycle of marathon training. After running 5K PRs on October 1st, then a great half-marathon race in Long Beach, we went right back into full volume training. For me the last 3 weeks have been 145, 140, and 140 miles. For Andrea, they have been 68 (with a day of cross training), 85, and 83 miles. We've put in 2-3 harder workouts per week, with 20-24 mile long runs every weekend.

Mileage is great (miles make champions!), but the real emphasis since Long Beach has been on specific marathon-paced workouts. Short tempos, long tempos, BIG tempos (like last week's half-marathon "dress rehersal" tempo run). These are the bread & butter workouts, and we've hit them all right on pace.

Full logs for October: Andrea  -  Jake

Now we'll start a gradual taper since we are exactly 3 weeks out from Philly. There are still a few harder efforts on the schedule (the worst thing you can do, in my opinion, is cut back volume AND intensity too soon), including a 4-3-2-1 x Mile stepdown the signature "2 x 5 miler" workout, which is really the final piece of the puzzle, 10 days out.

Confidence is high, as it should be. We've put in a lot of work and are fit, strong, and fast!

Post-Long Beach workouts, and the plan for the final 3 weeks
A) Post-Long run on Saturday, B) Post-BIG Tempo run last Thursday, C) A rite of passage for all marathoners
Andrea is not only an amazing runner, but an amazing BAKER as well. She get like 10 million girlfriend points for making my favorite food: A giant, warm, delicious, super-chocolatey Tollhouse cookie bar!

October 28, 2011

The BIG Tempo Run

There are workouts, and there are the BIG workouts. Everything has a purpose, whether its a quick set of 200s on the track, mile repeats at Liberty Park, long runs on the Jeremy Ranch road, etc.

We've done a mix of all kinds of things this fall... a bunch of building blocks, sort of like puzzle pieces, that hopefully come together perfectly and set us up to run 26.2 miles as fast as possible.

After the Long Beach 1/2 Marathon, our focus shifted to very specific marathon-paced tempo runs. Our "signature" workout is a 13.1 mile tempo run at marathon pace. I figure that if you can run that workout on tired legs (you do it during your highest mileage weeks), and at altitude, then you can run twice the distance at that pace when tapered, rested, and at sea-level.

Last night we did the BIG tempo. I ran 1:09:16, Andrea ran 1:22:48. Both right on the pace we need to hit in just over 3 weeks.

Here's a video I shot... once you get through the first minute of my rambling, there's some good footage of Andrea running strong and smooth...

October 26, 2011

The Daily Grind

Andrea after a long run in Park City
We are about 3 weeks out from the 2011 Philadelphia Marathon, and training has essentially taken over our lives. As Andrea tells me all the time, "Marathon training is HARD." There is a big difference between training to complete a marathon in a respectable time, and training to RACE a marathon in a blazing fast time. There is nothing easy about trying to qualify for the Olympic Marathon Trials in and of itself... and to do it while working a full time job is pretty much like have two full time jobs! :-)

We are trying to do something that really pushes the limits of what we are capable of. At times it is difficult, but the journey towards this goal - the day in, day out things we have experienced, learned about ourselves, and learned about each other have already made this whole endeavor worthwhile. And despite the workload, we have been able to maintain "balance" in our lives and have fun giving this thing a shot!

Over the next few weeks we plan to post a lot of our thoughts about the marathon, the training process, the daily happenings, etc. We pretty much talk about this stuff every day, on every run, so we want to capture it on the blog. Hopefully others can gain some insight from our reflections, and we will surely enjoy having something to look back on.

This idea is totally a spin off of Lauren Fleshman's... she is currently wrapping up her training for her debut marathon (NYC) and has been posting frequently about the marathon training process. We definitely identify with a lot of the same sentiments that she has written about over the past few weeks.

So to start, what does a "typical" week look like for us? At full volume, I am running 130-145 miles per week, and Andrea has gotten up to 80-90 miles per week, so not much other than training! :-)

Monday through Friday
Weekdays tend to blend together, especially the mornings: wakeup sometime between 5:30-6:00am, and get out the door within 10-15 minutes for the morning run. Laying out clothes and having everything ready to go the night before is crucial for time management. Morning runs are almost always a very easy pace. The distance varies, depending on what our mileage goals for the day are... something between 6-12 miles is standard (occasionally I'll do a midweek 15-17 miler). Once a week we try to meet up with some friends for an early morning group run.

Then we head off to work for 8-9 hours. I work as a research coordinator and Andrea is an engineer.

After work, its time for the second session of the day. On a harder workout day (especially this time of year when there is less daylight and its cooler outside) we'll do our workouts in the afternoon. During the summer, we'd often do them in the mornings to avoid doing our fastest running during the hottest part of the day. A typical week usually has 2 harder workout sessions (often Mon/Thur or Tues/Thur). One day is usually a tempo run of 6-10 miles, the other is shorter reps on the track (like 1000m repeats, mile repeats, 800s, etc). I also like to throw in a set of 200-300m reps once a week to keep the legs feeling sharp.

If its not a harder workout day, we'll just meet up and do an easier run in the afternoon, on softer surfaces whenever possible.

Once run #2 is finished, we head home and take care of the little things - pushups, core exercises, ice (or heat, depending on what hurts), stick massage, foam roller, etc. We try to do these things while preparing dinner to save time. Then shower and eat dinner, or vice versa. By this point its usually around 7pm, and getting close to bedtime! We get our stuff ready for the next day, relax for a while, eat our ice cream, and then usually go to sleep sometime between 8:30-9:00pm (although some nights its as early as 8:00-8:15pm).

Repeat x 5. And that is your Monday through Friday.

This is usually our long run day. We try to sleep in as late as possible, but considering how early we go to bed, getting up at 7am still gets us 10-11 hours of sleep! For the long run we'll either drive up to Park City (for the higher altitude) or head somewhere like the Jordan River trail. Once we get in our 20-24 miles, our job is to be LAZY the rest of the day and let the bodies recover. I'll always head out for a 3-4 mile afternoon shakeout on long run days, and Andrea will often accompany me on the bike.

Sundays are for easy runs and crazy haircuts
Sundays are the ultimate lazy day, mostly because we are exhausted. Again, we try to sleep in, but it rarely happens! The morning run on Sunday is almost always a slow 10 miler on soft surfaces. In the afternoons, I head back out for an additional 4-6 miles, with Andrea biking alongside. We try to do a lot of cooking on weekends, especially on Sundays, since we have lots of extra free time. Often we'll cook huge batches of food so we can just eat leftovers during the week, which definitely makes it a lot easier to eat healthy when you get home from a hard track workout at 7pm during the middle of the week. Luckily, we have no problem eating the same foods for days on end - we are currently on spaghetti week, last week was barbeque chicken week, and meatloaf week is coming up next!

At first glance this might sound pretty monotonous and boring, but I like to say that "you cannot renounce that which you have never possessed." There is something very exciting about pushing yourself, every single day, towards a goal that is both seemingly impossible AND completely tangible... a goal that is challenging not only physically, but mentally as well. Hopefully our posts over the next few weeks will reveal how fun, rewarding, and exciting training for a marathon really can be... and yes I said FUN!

October 19, 2011

Saucony Racing Flats Comparison

Choosing the right shoes for racing seems like it should be an easy decision, but sometimes it can actually get a little complicated (when you have several good options!). This is a quick breakdown of a few models of Saucony road flats and our opinions on them. All of the weights have been measured on my kitchen scale [I wear a men's size 11, Andrea wears a women's size 10 (10.5 for the FastTwitch)... so the weights may be a little lighter for you if you have smaller feet than us].

Saucony Type A3
[ 7.1 oz mens, 6.2 oz womens, 20mm heel, 8mm toe ]

Jake: This has been the flat I've worn for most races this year. I was trying to decide on what shoe to wear for the Utah Valley Marathon, and ended up picking the A3 (and this was an unbiased choice as we were not yet sponsored by Saucony at that time). I wore them for a 10K race and a few workouts and was very pleased with how light they were. They held up really well in the marathon, and I've continued to wear them for all of my road races this summer (everything from a road mile to a half marathon). My opinion is that the A3 is probably the best all-purpose racing flat out there. Its light enough to be a great 5K/10K shoe, and if you are an efficient and lightweight runner, it will do the job for 26.2 miles as well. The upper has a nice glove/sock like feel to it.

Andrea: I love this shoe for shorter distances. I feel very comfortable running in the A3s in races up to 15K. The shoes feel so light on my feet and grip very well to surfaces. They are also flexible. I tried them out for a downhill half marathon over the summer, and there was not quite enough cushion for me to handle the distance. Jake's feet are obviously more resilient than mine (his 130+ mile weeks versus my 75+ mile weeks during hard training cycles) which is probably why they still work well for him in the half marathon.

For us, the sizing for the Saucony A3s was the same as for most other brands of shoes.

Saucony Type A4
[ 6.8 oz mens, 14mm heel, 10mm toe ]

Jake: I got a pair of A4s earlier this summer, but kept them in the box for a while because I was having success with the A3. However, a few weeks ago I decided to give them a shot. Their first run out of the box was a 10K time trial on the track in which I ran a PR. I wore them again for a workout a few days later, and then for a 5K track race. The feel of the A4 is actually a bit different than the A3. I almost think it could be an entirely different model, as opposed to just being the newer iteration of the A3. It has a noticeably lower heel, and greatly reduced heel-to-toe drop. I feel like the A4s really make me get up on my toes, which is good! The bottom of the shoe also feels a bit "grippier" (if that is a word). I really like that as well - especially for shorter races. I wore these for the Long Beach 1/2 Marathon last weekend, and other than a little soreness on the "pads" of my forefoot (which is completely expected when running all-out on concrete for over an hour) they did the job. That being said, I don't think I'll use them for the Philadelphia Marathon. The A4 will be my go-to 5K to Half-Marathon shoe from now on.

Saucony FastTwitch
[ 8.8 oz mens, 7.9 oz womens, 17mm heel, 13mm toe ]

Andrea: I just completed my first race (Long Beach Half Marathon) in the Saucony Fast Twitch 5. I was very pleased with how they felt throughout the race, despite only running a total of 4 miles in them before the race. I had enough support and cushion, but not too much as to add a lot of weight. I am planning to wear this pair in the rapidly approaching Philadelphia Marathon. A word of caution - I had to order 1/2 size up. I typically wear a size 10 (in Asics, Adidas, and most other Saucony shoes except Kinvaras which are also 10.5). The 10.5 fit me in this shoe. I have seen some reviews that the toe box is narrow for the model 5 (which worried me because I have long toes). However, the larger size fixed this and I had no problems. The shoe also has that greatly reduced heel-to-toe drop similar to the A4s that really encourage midfoot striking.

Jake: I've worn these for 2 workouts so far - a track session where I did 2 x 5000m + 8x200m, and then a 10 mile tempo run on the roads. I'm thinking this is probably going to be my marathon shoe for Philadelphia. I hate giving up almost 2 ounces (compared to the A3) per shoe, but to be honest I would barely notice the difference if I hadn't weighed the shoes beforehand. The Fastwitch feels "smooth" at faster paces, and the extra cushioning / support doesn't leave my feet feeling beat up after a longer, harder effort. In fact, after the 10 mile tempo, my feet and legs felt great! If I do run as fast as I hope to in Philly, I'm going to have to turn around and run the Olympic Trials 7 weeks later, so wearing the Fastwitch seems like the best option at this point, as the damage I inflict on my lower body will be greatly reduced. My only criticism of this flat is the small amount of medial posting (not sure why that needs to be there)... although it could potentially be helpful in the later stages of the marathon if your form starts breaking down.

October 17, 2011

Quick Fix for a Hamstring Strain

This post was written by Andrea:

During the last 5 weeks, I have had three episodes where my hamstring has "acted up". The first time was on September 13th during a 7 mile tempo at marathon pace. I felt a twinge on every foot strike for about 3 miles, and it seemed to help if I kicked my leg back to my butt. The twinge went away at mile 5 and I was able to finish the run with no problem. Only a little residual soreness the next day (nothing to be too concerned about, these things happen during marathon training). Two weeks later we had the OktoberFAST 5K and one mile in I could feel that twinge on foot strike again. It only lasted for a couple laps and then I was fine; followed by another day of residual soreness. The Long Beach Half Marathon was the last time it happened, but resulted in much more damage. I only felt the hamstring from miles 3-5, and it went away after that. However, I have felt the effects from that race for a week now and have concluded that I have a mild strain.

I went to a physical therapist to make sure that I'm doing everything I can to get this better before the marathon in 5 weeks. He emphasized several points. Between those and other ideas I have found via the internet, I came up with a list that seems to be working so far:

1. DO NOT STRETCH. It will irritate the muscle and delay the healing process.
2. Ice immediately after running to prevent swelling.
3. Heat the hamstring before a run to loosen it up.
4. WEAR COMPRESSION SHORTS OR SLEEVES. This prevents muscle vibration and jarring of the hamstring.
5. Do not overstride and try to land midfoot. The lower leg should be at a 90 degree angle when the foot hits the ground. This prevents extra stress on the hamstring to pull the leg back.
6. Strengthen the hips and core - specific exercises like side planks, resistance band hip abduction, etc.
7. MASSAGE. It definitely isn't pleasant, but helps a lot.
8. Do the Swiss ball hamstring curl to work muscle in full range of motion, but make sure there is no pain (Youtube Video).
9. Ibuprofen if necessary. 
10. Cross training. The bike, pool running, and elliptical put much less stress and can help get the aerobic exercise without any pounding.
11. NO HARD, FAST INTERVALS. Marathon pace running could be okay, but anything faster should be done with caution, if not completely avoided.

I have done all the items on this list for the past week. I can still feel a slight burning/aching sensation every once in a while, but the strain has definitely gotten better. I was even able to run 22 miles on Saturday without a problem (besides being tired, of course). I hope this advice can help others if they start to feel a hamstring injury developing.

[Update 8/8/2012]: I have come across several articles that have VERY valuable information that I would highly suggest looking through - 

Preventative Effect of Eccentric Training on Acute Hamstring Injuries. This hamstring exercise training protocol proved to be a huge success - 

"For the entire group of players, the hamstring injury rate for the training group was 3.8, compared to 13.1 for the control group (normalized values based on the number of players and length of each team’s season). That is a 71% decrease in the rate of injury using a simple program of Nordic hamstring training. For new injuries, eccentric training reduced the injury rate by more than 60%. For recurrent injuries, the rate was lowered by about 85%!" From here.

Preventative Exercise Progression for Hamstring Strain. This is a great program to follow for strengthening the hamstrings. I would incorporate the Nordic Hamstring exercises as well!

Does anyone have other suggestions for recovering from a hamstring injury? 

Luckily Andrea has skinny legs, and was able to use a "calf" compression sleeve on her thigh, worn under compression shorts, to keep her muscles warm and stabilized on our long run over the weekend. Thanks to the guys at Salt Lake Running Company for thinking of this trick.

Calf sleeve on the thigh for compression

And some unrelated pictures... ready to attack breakfast post-Long Run... the only problem w/ long runs is sometimes they actually take away your appetite for a few hours... we couldn't even finish half of our breakfast and ended up bringing most of it home!

And that pretty much sums up how a 22 miler at 6500 feet feels

October 13, 2011

Profile in Run Utah Magazine

The latest issue of RUN UTAH magazine is out, and pages 19-22 have an interview with me. I talk about my background in running, training philosophy, goals, etc. I think it came out pretty good. Ken and Janae Richardson (creators of UtahRunning.com) do an excellent job with the website, magazine, and are excellent ambassadors of the sport. I have a lot of admiration for their enthusiasm and how much they give back to the running community. They interviewed Andrea earlier this year.

You can download the latest issue by clicking here. I've also pasted the text of the interview below...

Here is the full text of the interview:

Age: 27

Current residence:
Salt Lake City, UT

Running background:
I ran cross-country during my sophomore year of high school, with the goal of improving
conditioning for basketball season. It didn’t take long to find out I had some talent for the sport.
A year later I stopped playing basketball and was running both cross-country and track. During
my senior year I qualified for the 2002 New York State Track Championships in two events,
running 4:17 for 1600m and 9:16 for 3200m.

I didn’t live up to the expectations I had for myself in college (Colgate University), due to
a seemingly never ending injury cycle. I had some respectable finishes in cross-country,
and a few decent performances on the track (15:30 5K, 31:39 10K), but they were few and
far between. By my junior year, I decided to focus on my academics and no longer run
competitively. I felt like I had a love/hate relationship with running during college because I just
couldn’t completely break the injury cycle. It wasn’t all physical, either. As everyone knows,
running might be the most mentally challenging sport, and in retrospect, I didn’t quite have the
mindset and focus that I currently do.

From 2006-2008 I did some road racing while living in the Mid-Atlantic region. Patience was
not one of my best virtues during these years and I can’t say that my training was always very
smart. During this time period my best races were 1:12:28 for a half marathon, 52:22 for 15K,
26:02 for 8K, 15:39 for 5K, and I even jumped into open track meet a few times and could
still run a mile in the mid 4:20s. However, the good results (and my training) was somewhat

In 2008 I moved to Colorado and was exposed to a whole new world of recreation. Backcountry
skiing, climbing the 14,000 foot peaks, and long distance backpacking trips became my primary
athletic pursuits. I still ran daily, but for fun and general fitness. For two years I played in the
mountains, skied over 200 days, and most importantly had the good fortune of meeting Andrea
North (featured in the June/July issue of this magazine). We moved to Salt Lake City during the
summer of 2010 (more for the skiing than running, to be honest), but we were both itching to
start training more seriously and do some racing.

Last fall I signed up for the Antelope Island 50K, hoping that would keep me motivated through
the cold winter months. I had no concept of it at the time, but that simple action of clicking
the “register” button on my computer would kickstart a streak of 27 straight 100+ mile weeks,
which laid the foundation for me jump to a new level of running that I had previously dreamed
about, but never thought I would actually reach.

I started 2011 by winning a couple of trail runs (including the 50K), and as I started to prepare
for the Utah Valley Marathon, I realized that I had “jumped a level.” I had a string of good
workouts and races in May, went into my debut marathon with tremendous confidence, and
executed a great race. Running has been more fun than ever during this past year, and I can’t
wait to see where I can go from here.

Why the Top of Utah Half Marathon:
The timing was perfect as a cap to my summer racing season before I started my fall marathon
buildup. Paul Petersen recommended the race to me, and since he was also running, I knew
that I’d have all the competition I could handle and would be pushed to run my best. It was a
good test to see how I’d progressed since UVM. As an added bonus, my parents and sister
were in Utah on vacation, so it fun to be able to race in front of them.

2:21:47 Utah Valley Marathon
1:05:40 Top of Utah Half Marathon
15:04 Draper Days 5K

Training regimen/schedule (weekly mileage, types of workouts, when you fit it in):
My two training mottos are “Miles make champions” and “The secret is... there is no secret.” No
matter how talented you are, the aerobic engine is where it all starts. I have been averaging 115
miles per week for the past 10 months, with over a third of them in the 130-140 mile range. I run
7 days a week, with double sessions 5-6 days a week. I cannot stress enough that the single
most important change I have made in my training is to SLOW DOWN. I run the majority of my
weekly mileage at a very relaxed, easy effort. You wouldn’t believe how much of my running is
7:30 pace. I am able to get in the high volume without beating myself into the ground. Running
too fast on easy days was the mistake I made for 8 straight years after high school. Having the
confidence to run slower in training has helped me get a lot faster.

During a typical week, I’ll usually do 2 workouts and a 20+ mile long run. I touch all the systems
in my workouts; sessions are everything from 400m reps on the track to 13 mile tempo runs. My
long runs are usually progressive, where I’ll pick the effort for the last 4-5 miles, or simply run
the last mile of the long run at 5K effort. I try to never “leave my workouts on the track,” as its
better to leave something left in the tank and save it for the next harder session. It takes a lot
patience and self-confidence to not try and prove yourself in workouts. In the past I ran too hard
in workouts and couldn’t consistently get to the starting line healthy.

During a race week, I’ll usually just do one shorter, faster workout early in the week, some 150m
or 200m reps on Thursday to keep the legs feeling sharp, then race on Saturday and do an
easy long run on Sunday.

There’s nothing fancy about my training; the key is consistency. I’m self-coached; over the years
I’ve been a sponge and listened to all sorts of ideas on training, filtered out the junk, and now I
feel like I have a solid grasp on what works for me.

I do a lot of “run commuting.” I stash extra food and clothes in my office at the Huntsman
Cancer Institute (where I work as a Clinical Research Coordinator), and then I’ll run to work in
the mornings and back home in the evenings on my recovery days. It guarantees me at least
15 miles of running roundtrip, and saves me valuable time since I’m never stuck in traffic (not to
mention gas money!).

I’ve taken recovery a lot more seriously this year than in the past. Ice, self-massage, foam
rolling, and plenty of sleep (I rarely stay awake past 9pm) have been instrumental in allowing
me to handle the high training colume. Wearing compression socks while sitting at my desk
during the day also keeps my legs feeling a lot better for my afternoon run.

Over the winter months, I focused on getting the miles in and didn’t worry much about harder
workouts. I spent every weekend backcountry skiing (after running in the mornings, of course),
which I believe is the best cross training for running. You get all of the cardiovascular benefits
of working hard on uphills, but with none of the pounding on the joints. The endless, untouched,
knee deep powder descents are a major advantage of living in the Wasatch! Andrea and I
averaged about 8,000-10,000 vertical feet of climbing every weekend on our AT skis, so we
were constantly getting a huge aerobic stimulus.

My daily training log is posted at http://jkrong.fastrunningblog.com. I also post
race recaps and reports of other outdoor adventures at my personal blog, http://

Favorite place to run:
The Jeremy Ranch Road near Park City is my favorite spot for long runs. Nothing builds
strength like a dirt road with rolling hills at 6000 feet elevation. In Salt Lake City, Wasatch Blvd
is an underrated place to run. On winter mornings, its high enough that you can stay above the
worst of the inversion. I also enjoy running up and down Emigration Canyon. Outside of Utah,
my favorite area is the Sierra Nevada mountains, especially the trails in Mammoth Lakes, CA.

Favorite pre-race meal and post-race drink:
I always eat ice cream the night before a race (and every other night). I’m lucky that my body
handles dairy products very well! For breakfast, I usually just eat a good old fashioned vanilla
Powerbar. After racing, I’m always happy when chocolate milk is available.

I try to eat healthy on a day to day basis, with plenty of fruits, vegetables and lean protein.
I don’t obsess over diet, but know its important to keep the body fueled well. My primary
downfalls are Diet Mountain Dew and candy, although I have cut back significantly this year in
both categories.

Favorite race distance:
I’ve only run one marathon, but I can’t wait to do it again, because I feel it is the distance I am
suited best for. I like the mental challenge of having to stay engaged for over 2 hours. The 15K
to Half Marathon distances are also fun and you can recover a lot quicker.

Why run (motivation, inspiration):
I know it sounds cliche, but I absolutely love the sport, both as a participant and a fan. Even
when I took a few years off from competition, I still ran on a daily basis simply because I enjoyed
it. Now that I am racing again, I push myself in training because I want to know what I am
capable of and what my limits are. I love the feeling (after the fact, of course!) of going to the
well in a race and giving it everything I have. I want to see how I stack up against the best guys
in Utah and hopefully, runners on the national level.

I also run because I believe its the best way to stay fit and healthy. In the grand scheme of life,
those things are ultimately a lot more significant than any race results. Your health is probably
the most important thing you have and shouldn’t be taken for granted. Its makes me sad that so
many people are not conscious of their overall well-being, or simply don’t care enough to make
exercise a part of their life.

Favorite quote or best advice you’ve been given as a runner:
I’ve read Once a Runner about a dozen times because its loaded with inspirational quotes.
Everything you need to know about running is in the four pages of Chapter 17.

My Dad always sends me a message before races and tells me to “Have Fun.” That is advice
we could all use, whether its running or anything else life throws at us.

Advice you would give to other aspiring runners:
Believe in yourself. Take pride in your running. Don’t be afraid to run a lot of miles. Do all
the little things that enhance recovery. Go to bed early! Create a support system. Log your
training and take advantage of social networking (I highly recommend Sasha Pachev’s “Fast
Running Blog”). Find an non-running athletic outlet that you are passionate about (for me, it was
backcountry skiing)... this will help you maintain balance in your life, which is easier said than
done. And most importantly, step back every once in a while and realize what a gift it is to be
able to run... sometimes you have to turn off the Garmin and just do it for fun.

My goal for the remainder of 2011 is to qualify for the 2012 Olympic Trials Marathon. It might
be a longshot, and only really became a tangible goal within the past few months. I’m fortunate
to have excellent health and a high level of fitness right now, so I’m going to “strike while the
iron is hot” and give it my best shot. I’m running the Long Beach Half Marathon (October 9) and
Philadelphia Marathon (November 20) with hopes of hitting the “A” standard.

After this year, I want to continue to improve my PRs at all distances, have fun competing, travel
to new places through running, and find ways to inspire others. Saucony has been incredibly
supportive in providing resources to help me achieve these goals, so I want to represent them to
the best of my ability.

I’m very lucky to be in an amazing relationship with another fantastic runner (Andrea). We train
together and encourage each other on a daily basis. I can say with 100% certainty that I would
not be where I am right now without her influence. I dream all the time about both Andrea and I
being being on the line for the 2016 Olympic Trials. Whether it happens or not, the fact that we
are on this journey together is what really matters. I am going to soak it all in and enjoy every
step of wherever these dreams take us.

Long Beach Action Shots

Action shots from the Long Beach Half Marathon, and a video (at the bottom of the post). The race recap is here.

Video of the finish... Andrea's kick was amazing to watch!...

Click the play button on the lower left to watch

October 11, 2011

Long Beach Half Marathon

This past weekend we traveled to California for the Long Beach Half Marathon. The trip was a great success, as we both ran excellent races, and our times suggest that we are very much on the right track towards running Olympic Trials qualifying times at the Philadelphia Marathon in November.

The course in Long Beach was pretty much flat (just a few overpasses) and fast. Most of the 1/2 marathon courses in Utah have a net downhill drop (to counter the altitude), but they are still "aided" races. This was a great opportunity to run big PRs on a fair, honest, loop course.

I got out very fast with a big pack of runners (going through 10K in 30:26, which was a 68 second PR by itself). I crashed a bit in the second half of the race, but still managed to pass 5 guys over the last 6 miles, and finished 3rd overall in 1:05:45. My full report with splits can be viewed here: Jake - Long Beach Recap

Andrea ran another incredible race, shaving 49 seconds off her best time - and took 2nd place overall in 1:17:03! She also got off to a quick start and her 10K split was a PR (35:46) and she held off all but one girl, a 16:00/33:18 runner who passed her during the 13th mile. You can read her full race report here: Andrea - Long Beach Recap

Altogether, this was another great step forward for us. This suggests that we are on target for sub 2:19 and sub 2:46. We have a great training plan in place for the next 6 weeks, and we're ready to attack this last cycle of marathon training.

Traveling to Southern California for sea levels races is something we'll definitely be doing in the future as well. Hopefully we'll return to the Long Beach 1/2 Marathon as this was a well organized, excellent event from our perspective.

Here are a bunch of photos from the race and the weekend, we'll post some more action shots once we find them (ie. Brightroom posts them):

October 5, 2011

Taking a break from doing the dew

Its no secret that I am an avid (borderline obsessive) fan of Diet Mountain Dew. I've been drinking the nectar of the gods for years, and earlier this year I was even named Fan of the Week.

Almost 3 weeks ago I quit.

I'm trying to "eat cleaner" in my last push towards the Philadelphia Marathon and Olympic Trials qualifying attempt. Every second is going to count... at this point almost everything I do matters. Certain staples cannot be cut out of the diet (like ice cream... no way, Jose!... can't live without that), but things like candy and diet soda can go. Yes, even Diet Dew isn't a necessity anymore.

I don't think diet dew is bad for you. In fact, I don't think any drink in the world can fill you up with EXTREMITUDE like it. It has fueled me on countless epic days in the mountains, climbing and skiing the 14,000 foot peaks all over Colorado, and has been my go-to beverage while shredding the Wasatch and Sierra Nevadas over the past year.

Someday I will drink dew again, hopefully in celebration of a blazing fast marathon. And when I do feel that delicious, soul-quenching, lemon-line carbonated concoction against my lips, it will be in moderation compared to my previous consumption levels of this amazing beverage.

A quick browse through my Picasa galleries reveals that diet dew and I have had quite a relationship! Here are some of my favorite shots. I had to make some into collages or else this post would have gone on forever...

Earlier this year I purchased 100 liters of Diew Dew over a 4 day span (great sale at Kroger!). Once this supply ran out, it dawned on me that it might be time to cut back. Plus, my scrawny arms really were starting to struggle to carry all this dew inside from the car!

After 10 days on the John Muir Trail last summer, I was happy to crack into a 2L

One of my favorite artistic dew shots! The NECTAR OF THE GODS!!!

Clockwise from upper left: After climbing Capitol Peak; stocking up at City Market in Vail; after skiing Humboldt Peak; Double dew-ing at Thanksgiving

I'm not the only one who loves dew! Jenna jumping for dew; My dad and Andrea enjoying a dew at Snowbird this summer; Andrea drinking a dew on top of Lone Peak in February

The dew tree; Summit of Mt Evans; Dew supply for a cross country drive from Washington DC to Vail CO; a Dew CAKE that my sister Jenna and Andrea made

At the halfway point of the John Muir Trail, Andrea and I put a few bottles of Diet Dew in our resupply cache

SKI-DEWing in the Wasatch

Sunset dew after skiing Mt Shavano

My jeep used to look like this all the time!