November 29, 2011

Some final thoughts on Philadelphia

Everyone has been through this - you work towards something for a long time... you put your heart and soul into it... and when its over, there is a bit of a void left behind. After we hiked the John Muir Trail in 2010 (something we had been building up for the better part of the year), Andrea and I both had that "what do we do now?" feeling. You tend to want to start looking forward to the next big thing instead of looking back at what you've already done. Its hard to look back when things go GREAT... its nearly impossible to want to look back when they don't go as planned.

We keep talking about all these blog posts we are going to write about what we learned in Philadelphia - what went right, what went wrong, etc. - but it just doesn't seem to be happening. The lessons we learned will manifest themselves in the way we prepare next time around. And to be honest, we won't prepare much differently. We did most things right.

Even though what I really want to do is move forward, put Philadelphia behind me, and get on board the train towards 2012, I'm forcing myself to at least jot down some of my thoughts. I'll want to look at these things down the road. So here are some of my random bullet points...

  • Philadelphia's course is not extremely difficult, but its not a track race either. The hills from 7-10 were challenging as expected. The gentle inclines from 17-20 were a little more difficult than we anticipated. I think Philly is a PR course if there is no wind. I won't go here to try and qualify next time around, though. There are a lot of marathons that are flatter and faster.
  • I'm 99.9% certain that my blowup was caused by electrolyte problems. My whole body just shut down... and then bounced back afterwards very quickly. You can bet that I'm going to be experimenting with all different sorts of electrolyte products and make sure that never happens again.
  • Our training was rock solid. We did everything we could and didn't cut any corners. Andrea probably could have used another 4-6 week cycle of 85-90 mile weeks. But she did everything she could considering she only decided to give this a whirl two months before the race. It was a valiant effort on her part, and I firmly believe that she has what it takes to run ~2:40 for the marathon. Hopefully USATF doesn't lower the women's OTQ standard too much! :-)
  • I still don't think it was unrealistic for me to go into this thinking I could run 2:18. The workouts that I did weren't fake. The fitness was there, I was ready. The problem is that despite doing everything right, the marathon can still be a crapshoot.
  • One thing is for certain, the Saucony Fastwitch is a GREAT marathon flat. Neither one of us had any problems with blisters, foot pain, etc.
  • Emotionally, the last 10 days have been a bit of a roller coaster. Its been hard to accept that my season is over and I won't be racing at the trials. But on the other hand, we are both at an exponentially higher level than we were a year ago, and if we build on what we've already done, Andrea and I can light things up in 2012 to the point where this past year looks ho-hum ;-)
  • I really love running - hard training, easy training, racing, talking about it - I love it all. Even a disappointing finish to the year hasn't changed that - if anything, it has reinforced the feeling.
Andrea skinning - Early December 2010
I haven't been up to White Pine, but I can guarantee
that it doesn't look like this right now!
We've already been working on the 2012 "plan" and race calendar (and potential vacation destinations!... if I don't spend some time in the Tetons, Wind Rivers, and either San Juans or Sierra Nevadas, then something has gone horribly wrong!). First things first: 6-8 weeks of easy running. Drop the intensity, let the body re-charge. No need for a prolonged period of time off as long as we are smart about making sure to run slowly most of the time. 

Hopefully we'll get some real snow and get on skis soon... I can't believe its already December and not only have we not been skiing yet, but there doesn't appear to be much hope in the forecast. We're actually making plans to go dry-land hiking this weekend!

A few races are already on our radar, and they are the ones we'll schedule everything else around - Carlsbad, Bolder Boulder, and the USA Half Marathon Championships will be the "target" races for the first half of 2012. No spring marathon - and you can hold me to that! :-)

November 27, 2011


We took a little break from blogging after Philly, but now we're back. In the upcoming week we are planning to post some analysis from the race - what we did right, wrong, and what we learned that will be useful going forward. Its easier to think a little more clearly once you get a little distance from the race and have some time to reflect. As you can imagine, we have talked a lot about these things over the past week.

After leaving Philadelphia we went to New York City for a couple days. The weather there was crummy, but we did go to Radio City music hall to see the Christmas show, and that was a lot of fun. From there we went up to my Aunt's house in Connecticut for the rest of the week. Her house was essentially a 4 day all you can eat buffet, so its safe to say we are NOT in a calorie deficit!

Physically we are both feeling pretty good and have run every day since the marathon.

Its nice to be back in Utah after a week on the east coast. Eventually it will be time to get serious about ski season... but the temperature is still unseasonably warm, so we'll enjoy the nice weather while we can!

Some random photos from the past week...

Philly newspaper from last Monday. Sadly, 2 people died during the race.
This was the cover photo from the newspaper. I'm in there on the right side, just behind the leaders.
Turkey Day

Bingo and fireworks are some of my family's traditions on Thanksgiving!
My grandmother, cousins (on my Dad's side) and sister. I am the oldest... but not the tallest!

The immediate family

Philadelphia Marathon - More Photos

We were lucky to have lots of friends and family out supporting us at the Philadelphia Marathon last weekend. Among those that came to watch was Patrick McDermott, a friend of mine from Colgate. Pat is a professional photographer and a darn good one! A quick google search for his name showcases some of his talent. The photo above of Andrea and the shots that follow belong to him. You can check him out at his blog or at Patrick McDermott Photography. I really admire Pat because he has been chasing (and realizing) his dream of being a professional photographer since I met him about 10 years ago.

Some great action shots...

The pack chasing sub 2:19
Final half-mile... hurting bad at this point

Andrea bringing it home
The rest of these are from the race website...

November 20, 2011

Race Reports from Philadelphia Marathon

Well, today didn't exactly go as planned. In some ways Andrea and I had the same race, although my final miles were a lot uglier!

Andrea ran a very impressive marathon debut of 2:49:01 on a challenging, honest course. She was on Olympic Trials qualifying pace through 22 miles. Then she fell off a bit in the final miles, but still finished strong. I am extremely proud of her. She didn't even want to run a marathon until 2 months ago, and she went out and ran a 2:49 and didn't have her best day. That is incredible.

I ended up running 2:25:57. Ouch, ouch, ouch. I was on sub-2:19 pace through 21 miles, and then fell apart on an epic scale. It was brutal. I ran an 8-minute mile at the end. The marathon can humble you. Once I realized I wasn't running 2:18-something, I threw in the towel mentally. I didn't care about running a PR today... it was sub 2:19 or bust. It ended up being a bust! :-)  But a learning experience, and a stepping stone towards 2016!

We were prepared to run 2:19/2:46, I truly believe that. It just wasn't our day. Its been a long season, and the best year of running of our lives. We'll bounce back and run faster than ever in 2012.

Rather than re-post our entire race reports that we have posted on Fast Running Blog, we'll just provide the links. You can read them and hear all our thoughts about how it went down if you are interested...

Here's my day after analysis: What I think went wrong

Some pictures below... tomorrow we are headed to New York City for a few days, then up to Connecticut for Thanksgiving.

Germ mask in the airport on the way to Philly
Shakeout run the day before the race
Unfortunately we didn't buy all this chocolate
Our bibs
Our hotel room had a kitchen but no utensils, other than measuring spoons!
Target splits written on our arms

Post race
That is how the marathon feels sometimes
Feeling a little better after the race
Dairy Queen!! (after cheesesteaks of course)

Our friend Sarah made us this sign. We won't be at the 2012 trials, but we're keeping the poster and changing the year to 2016... the dream is still alive and the fire burns strong!

Live updates from Philly

I'm posting this a few days early because we've had a bunch of people ask us if there will be live tracking for the race this weekend. All the info it here. I will bump this back to the top of the blog before we leave on Friday.

This is link for FULL RESULTS. That page also has links to where you can sign up for live updates (email/text) and map-tracking. The Philadelphia Marathon Facebook page will also have updates.

Our bib numbers: Jake Krong #27 - Andrea North #67

Supposedly, there will be timing mats at 10K, Half, and 30K. Hopefully they are in the correct locations (at Long Beach, the "10K" mat was actually at 6 miles).

The race starts at 7:00am eastern time.

Our target splits...
Jake10K - 32:56, Half - 1:09:30, 30K - 1:38:49, Finish - 2:18:59
Andrea10K - 39:20, Half - 1:23:00, 30K - 1:58:01, Finish - 2:45:59

If the live tracking works, it should automatically update my twitter feed, which is below the course map...

November 18, 2011

Pre-Marathon Odds and Ends

By this time last year I think we had already been out skiing about 5 times, and the majority of the posts on this blog were of a slightly different nature. Lately its been all running as we've built up towards Philadelphia, but the underlying theme has remained the same - live with passion, and attack life with everything you've got!

I've put together a quick rundown of the fall blog posts in case you are really in need of some reading!... plus some random photos that we on my camera...

In September Andrea decided to chase the trials standard along with me. That really got the ball rolling on the running blogging as well. We hosted our first track race (OktoberFAST), then did it again 6 weeks later (Turkey Trot Tune-Up). We raced in Long Beach, CA. Andrea started blogging a lot more about all sorts of things - breakfast, staple foods, how to fix a hamstring injury, and recovery methods. We tried to do a decent job of explaining our training philosophy over the course of several posts - The Daily Grind, BIG workouts, and the importance of shorter, faster running. Sometimes we were TIRED. We shared our thoughts on racing flats, training shoes, and carboloading (nothing new on race day!), among other things. In two of my favorite posts, Andrea talked about her confidence "mood swings" and what she will be using to motivate her in the final miles of the marathon. Finally, I wrote a post on "The Journey" to where we are right now, and how its important to look back and appreciate all of it - not just the end result.

Now, some random odds and ends...

Everyone running a marathon starts checking the 10-day forecast obsessively, right? But everyone also knows that it inevitably will change a lot. Take a look at this slideshow that shows the change from a high chance of BAD weather to a high chance of GREAT weather...

Now some random photos from marathon week...

I've been wearing my warmups all week
(even when we went to the movies)
Andrea has gotten that hamstring under control!
She also is in the 6 month period of the year where
she will ALWAYS be wearing a down jacket.
We put up new drapes. This was a major project as I am a much better athlete and blogger than handyman!
Fuel for 26.2? Its worked so far... why reinvent the wheel?
Andrea wants me to switch to "medium" length hair,
but I shaved it all off for aerodynamics
A lot more baking goes on during the taper when we have nothing else to do.
These are my secret recipe Chocolate Chip Coconut Oatmeal cookies.
Real food is going to taste good after taking down this gross stuff... but it works!
(I actually will admit that I don't mind the plain taste of Vanilla powerbars)
I've been doing lots of extra perfect pushups with my excess energy.
I am also afraid of myself when I look at this picture.
Packing up for the trip to Philly.
This is what we'll be wearing in the airports and on the plane.
Can't risk getting any germs now!
Alright, that is all we have for now. You can track us and find results by clicking here. We're off to the east coast... wish us luck!