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Back, in the Ring

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Back, in the Ring

Post  Matt W on Sat Apr 20, 2013 3:11 pm

Hello everyone!

I know I've kind of fallen off the face of the earth the past few years and not posting as much. Life got in the way of running, and I think I needed a break mentally from the grind of running. However, I started to let inconveniences become excuses and fell from the fitness level I had going in the first half of 2011.

Part of the reason I let running slide in 2012 was that I got married in June. It was a whirlwind of a someone-I've-know-for-years-becomes-more-than-a-friend and I was more eager to see where that relationship was going than to really put in hard training. I did get in some okay training for Boston, but it was blazing hot, so taking it easy and running with Schuey was a lot more fun than getting beat up by hills and high temps on Patriots Day. Since my wife and I only had a 3 month engagement, I was helping with wedding planning more than logging miles. To top things off, just as I was starting to get back into a training groove, I sliced open my knee in a freak accident and had to get about 7 staples put in. I was actually supposed to have the staples in for the wedding, but one of my groomsman is an orthopedic surgeon and took them out for me the day before. He also worked on Adrian Peterson's knee, so I hope my comeback is as successful as his was.

Anyway, I've been slowly trying to work my way back into shape, which has been somewhat of an up and down process. Right around New Year's I was getting back to feeling good, but coaching basketball killed that momentum (we did go undefeated though). I've been trying to think about what I could do to get back into solid training. I've been playing around with when/if I want to re-qualify for Boston, as it's always been one of my favorite races, going back to when I was in high school and couldn't wait for the race recap in Runner's World. It's where I met my online running family for the first time, it's where I ran my PR, and I love the electricity and excitement that goes with the race.

After last Monday's tragic events, my desire to go back started growing and growing. I finally decided I needed to go for it and find a race to shoot for a BQ. Being that it's April and I haven't signed up for one, my options were limited. Fall marathons that were feasible for me to make it to and had a fast course were after September 21, so I was going to have to give it a shot despite being out of shape. After considering a few of my options, I signed up for the Mountains 2 Beach Marathon in Ojai, CA, on May 26. That gives me just over a month to get in BQ shape. Believe it or not, there aren't a lot of 6 week Couch to BQ programs online, so I'm basing my training off of a Pfitz multi-marathon program. Hopefully, it's enough to ramp up my performance to give sub-3 a shot. If not, I hope a 3:05 gets me in.

I'm not sure if this is the dumbest thing I've done in running or not. I guess I'll find out somewhere after mile 20. I do have a track record of pulling race performances out of poor/interrupted training, so I hope I can do it at least one more time. I'm more than a little embarrassed about the shape I'm in right now, but I know that if I'm going to do this, I need to plug myself back in with all of you. I need the support/accountability that you provide.

Thanks for listening to my ramblings, and I hope I can type things that are worth your time in reading it.
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Re: Back, in the Ring

Post  Natalie63 on Sat Apr 20, 2013 4:40 pm

Hi Matt!

It's comforting to know that we slackers are in good company, even if you slack about 5-6 minutes/mile faster than I do! I think I'm going to take some inspiration from this board and dust off an old HH training plan. I wonder if I'll have to pay for it now?
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Re: Back, in the Ring

Post  Michele "1L" Keane on Sat Apr 20, 2013 4:43 pm

Hi Matt - great to see you back, and congrats on getting married a more important event than a marathon as it will be for life hopefully. Keep us up to date on your training, but I suspect qualifying will not be that difficult for someone with youth and talent like yourself.
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Re: Back, in the Ring

Post  Mark B on Sat Apr 20, 2013 7:55 pm

Nice to see you back, Matt. I think your priorities were perfect as you made the transition into your new, married, life. Congratulations!

Good luck, also, in your "Couch to BQ" quest. If anybody can pull it off, it's you.
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Re: Back, in the Ring

Post  Julie on Sat Apr 20, 2013 8:09 pm

Congratulations on your marriage! I hope your next few weeks of training goes well and you can run the marathon without injury.
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Re: Back, in the Ring

Post  Chris M on Sat Apr 20, 2013 8:43 pm

You'll probably go out there and win the thing in May! I think its great that your priorities and focus have been on other things recently. Happens to all of us at times and what a great reason for you to be off of normal running training. So many exciting and great changes in your life! Ok well not the knee slicing....ouch. Don't do that again. Be smart in the training and run the race you need to on race day and don't go crazy risking a blowup. Glad to have you back in the "ring" and look forward to catching up soon or at latest in Beantown a year from now.
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Re: Back, in the Ring

Post  JohnP on Sat Apr 20, 2013 10:37 pm

Good to see you back, Matt. I do believe you can pull this out with your talent, good luck in the short time frame for training. The races you did well in with limited training can be a strong basis for believe you'll do well.
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Re: Back, in the Ring

Post  Paula Sue on Sat Apr 20, 2013 11:45 pm

Well golly...there were a bunch of us doing other stuff! Congratulations on the marriage, Matt. Re: Couch to Boston, if anyone can do it, you can. Monday brought us all to attention and desiring to get back to Beantown in 2014. Good to see you back here.
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Re: Back, in the Ring

Post  Schuey on Sun Apr 21, 2013 11:51 am

Sweet!!!! Glad to have you back in the lions den!! Going to be great to get the band back together in Beantown, now the only question is will you be able to keep up with me next year??? HaHa

Tell Katie we say hi and "GO BLUE"!!!
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5 years ago....

Post  Matt W on Sun Apr 21, 2013 6:52 pm

Five years ago, I ran my first Boston, and it's hard to top that experience. It was such a fun training cycle, as I bonded with Schuey, Martin VW, and Mardi. With Mardi, VW, and I having a lot of excitement about our 1st Boston, and Schuey just always bringing excitement wherever he goes, it made the boards a lot of fun. That was also the Golden Age of the V-Team boards, so there were a lot of other people who added to the enjoyment of running and posting about running (and posting about all kinds of things). That Boston was also the first time I had met anyone from our online running family, so that added to the excitement. The real life versions of everyone lived up to the hype and I couldn't have imagined a better first Boston experience (well, except for that hamstring cramp at mile 26).

Anyway, on that anniversary, I thought I'd go into the time capsule and pull out some old memories:



Max, Diego, Ed, Schuey, Kevin, VW, Mardi, Me, Scott C



Mardi, Me, and Schuey checking out Hopkinton on Sunday



VW in the Chair in AV



Mardi, Schuey and I post-race at the Westin Bar



The M4 Photoshop
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Re: Back, in the Ring

Post  Matt W on Sun Apr 21, 2013 7:09 pm

@Natalie63 wrote:Hi Matt!

It's comforting to know that we slackers are in good company, even if you slack about 5-6 minutes/mile faster than I do! I think I'm going to take some inspiration from this board and dust off an old HH training plan. I wonder if I'll have to pay for it now?

Hi Natalie,
Slacker is hardly an adjective I associate with you. You might go on a running hiatus, but you have so much going on in your life that getting in long runs must be a challenge. Me, I'm just a slacker even when I am busy. Good luck with the HH plan. I'll have to check back with your blog to see if you decided on a race.


@Michele "1L" Keane wrote:Hi Matt - great to see you back, and congrats on getting married a more important event than a marathon as it will be for life hopefully. Keep us up to date on your training, but I suspect qualifying will not be that difficult for someone with youth and talent like yourself.

Thanks for your vote of confidence, Michele. I'm pretty sure I can get myself into a position to BQ, but the phrase, "The marathon can (will?) humble you" keeps coming back to me, so I don't want to count my BQ chickens before they hatch.

@Mark B wrote:Nice to see you back, Matt. I think your priorities were perfect as you made the transition into your new, married, life. Congratulations!

Good luck, also, in your "Couch to BQ" quest. If anybody can pull it off, it's you.

Thanks, Mark. So far married life has been great, although there's a lot of getting used to it on both our parts. My wife is very supportive, so it's good to have that extra push out the door and also to have feel guilty for spending time out on the roads.

@Julie wrote:Congratulations on your marriage! I hope your next few weeks of training goes well and you can run the marathon without injury.

Thanks, Julie! That's the balance I'm keeping an eye on. I want to ramp up my miles, but I don't want to be hobbled during the race either. I think I can do both, but I'm trying to keep in mind that it's better to be healthy than fit and injured.

@Chris M wrote:You'll probably go out there and win the thing in May! I think its great that your priorities and focus have been on other things recently. Happens to all of us at times and what a great reason for you to be off of normal running training. So many exciting and great changes in your life! Ok well not the knee slicing....ouch. Don't do that again. Be smart in the training and run the race you need to on race day and don't go crazy risking a blowup. Glad to have you back in the "ring" and look forward to catching up soon or at latest in Beantown a year from now.

I have no delusions about winning this race, but I appreciate your confidence in me, Chris. I just want to make it to the finish, hopefully with a 2 on the clock, but at the very least in a BQ time. I like to think racing smart is one of my strengths, but we shall see how that goes on May 26. Hopefully, I'll see you sometime in the next year and that we're both celebrating a well-run Boston 12 months from today.


@JohnP wrote:Good to see you back, Matt. I do believe you can pull this out with your talent, good luck in the short time frame for training. The races you did well in with limited training can be a strong basis for believe you'll do well.

Thanks John. I need all the support I can get. The good thing about not being in shape right now is that I can improve a lot in a month. Hopefully it's enough.

@Paula Sue wrote:Well golly...there were a bunch of us doing other stuff! Congratulations on the marriage, Matt. Re: Couch to Boston, if anyone can do it, you can. Monday brought us all to attention and desiring to get back to Beantown in 2014. Good to see you back here.

Yes, Monday's events brought back the desire to make it to the starting line of a marathon again to get to Boston. Thanks for your encouragement, Paula Sue.

@Schuey wrote:Sweet!!!! Glad to have you back in the lions den!! Going to be great to get the band back together in Beantown, now the only question is will you be able to keep up with me next year??? HaHa

Tell Katie we say hi and "GO BLUE"!!!

I'll do my best to keep up with you. Hopefully you don't run yourself into the ground with all those ultras you have planned. Wink I did have a lot of fun running with you the last time we were in Boston, other than being melted into the pavement. If I can get these old bones to Boston, then we'll see how much life is left in the legs.

Your last comment has me thinking I need to get another running singlet/shorts with some red on it. My fastest marathons have been when I was wearing some red. Very Happy
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Re: Back, in the Ring

Post  Natalie63 on Sun Apr 21, 2013 8:39 pm

Can't believe it's been 5 years since you all ran that Boston! That went really fast, but then, I've got a kid graduating from college this year, and I remember talking about how we were looking at colleges.
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Re: Back, in the Ring

Post  John Kilpatrick on Tue Apr 23, 2013 10:38 am

Wow, congrats on your marriage Matt and welcome back! Great pictures btw...

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Re: Back, in the Ring

Post  Dave P on Tue Apr 23, 2013 11:37 am

I guess I'm not alone in trying to get back in touch with everyone & trying to get that BQ for 2014. I wish you the best Matt & congrats on getting married.

Great pics too!
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Re: Back, in the Ring

Post  Matt W on Wed Apr 24, 2013 10:18 am


I guess since this is a training blog, I should actually mention my training sooner or later. I've started out somewhat modestly, as I don't want to get overzealous and end up injured. One of my challenges is deciphering what kind of hurts are the normal aches from building up mileage, which ones are because I'm older than I used to be, and which aches might be more serious.

Last week I ran 35 miles, so not a great week, but like I said, I don't want to over-do it. On my Sunday run, I decided to spice up an easy run by doing 3 miles easy, 1 mile hard, 2 miles easy, 1 mile hard. The first hard mile was mostly flat or slightly down, and I surprised myself with a 5:42. Coming back the last mile was all uphill, so I just wanted to break 6:20, but wasn't able to do it. Living on top of a hill keeps coming back to bite me, especially when I'm not in great shape. I do want to get in some longer runs to get my endurance built up, so that will be a focus moving forward as long as my body can handle it.

Last night I had a decent 12 miler, so maybe things are coming together. There are still a lot of moments when I wonder if I can really throw together a decent marathon in a month, so I hope I'm not crazy for trying. I have to prepare myself for a tough last few miles and really get a smart pacing plan together.
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Re: Back, in the Ring

Post  jon c on Wed Apr 24, 2013 10:24 am

Hey Matt, good luck with your training. Hope to see you in Boston next year.
And I am in agreement, red is a pretty decent color. GBR!
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Re: Back, in the Ring

Post  Schuey on Wed Apr 24, 2013 1:27 pm

Man I can't believe it has been 5 years!!! When you sent the text to me the other day I just shook my head because it does feel like yesterday. So that means are crazy fun trip to Bayshore is coming up nothing better than running 30 something miles on 2 hours sleep. Along with almost finishing last in the 1/2 marathon results and having you make fun of me for it!! Thanks buddy!

I think what you are doing with easy into things is a great idea. I did the same thing over the last couple of months with pretty much avg. 30 miles a week going into Boston. I think that this help me build myself up and now really feeling ready for a lot more mileage. It will all come together Matt just stick with it buddy.

Speaking of plans I guess I should post my plans this coming weekend also since I also have running blog! I will try not killing myself with all the ultras!

Hey here's the deal you wear Red at Boston and I will wear Blue. Now that you mentioning running best times. When I ran my 2:55 and 2:49 in Boston both races I was wearing Blue!!
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Re: Back, in the Ring

Post  Matt W on Sat Apr 27, 2013 3:20 pm

@Natalie63 wrote:Can't believe it's been 5 years since you all ran that Boston! That went really fast, but then, I've got a kid graduating from college this year, and I remember talking about how we were looking at colleges.

I remember driving the course and talking about how impressed we were with the workouts you were doing. Time sure flies.

@John Kilpatrick wrote:Wow, congrats on your marriage Matt and welcome back! Great pictures btw...

Thanks John. Hopefully I'll be more consistent around here and contribute more than a little nostalgia.

@Dave P wrote:I guess I'm not alone in trying to get back in touch with everyone & trying to get that BQ for 2014. I wish you the best Matt & congrats on getting married.

Great pics too!

Best of luck to you as well in pursuing that 2014 BQ. Thanks for the well-wishes.

@jon c wrote:Hey Matt, good luck with your training. Hope to see you in Boston next year.
And I am in agreement, red is a pretty decent color. GBR!

I hope to see you too. I'm glad I have a little support for red around here. Actually, IIRC, John Kilpatrick and you are fans of my two favorite red-clad teams (well, John is fan of one and you of the other; I'm not sure if either of you like both).

@Schuey wrote:Man I can't believe it has been 5 years!!! When you sent the text to me the other day I just shook my head because it does feel like yesterday. So that means are crazy fun trip to Bayshore is coming up nothing better than running 30 something miles on 2 hours sleep. Along with almost finishing last in the 1/2 marathon results and having you make fun of me for it!! Thanks buddy!

I think what you are doing with easy into things is a great idea. I did the same thing over the last couple of months with pretty much avg. 30 miles a week going into Boston. I think that this help me build myself up and now really feeling ready for a lot more mileage. It will all come together Matt just stick with it buddy.

Speaking of plans I guess I should post my plans this coming weekend also since I also have running blog! I will try not killing myself with all the ultras!

Hey here's the deal you wear Red at Boston and I will wear Blue. Now that you mentioning running best times. When I ran my 2:55 and 2:49 in Boston both races I was wearing Blue!!

It has been a great 5 years. I know I've seen you and Lisa the most of anyone around here ... let me think... Boston - Bayshore - Chicago 2008, RnR Chicago and Chicago 2010, Boston 2011 and 2012. What am I missing? There was one time I was in Chicago and you were golfing with your dad. There are a lot of great memories in those trips. It seems to me that you need to come out West more often. There are lots of trail races/ultras out here. Don't kids under 2 fly free? Head on out to Vegas. Smile

I'll actually be wearing blue in my next couple of races. I have no issues with the color; it's what I wore in college. I hope things are going well with you and your family.
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Re: Back, in the Ring

Post  Matt W on Sat Apr 27, 2013 3:31 pm


Training continues to chug along. I can't say I have had any runs to brag about, but I haven't felt like a run whipped me (yet). This week I should end up in the mid 40s as far a miles go. Part of that is due to me mis reading my calendar and doing a longer mid week run than I was supposed to. I guess it means I'll really be ready for next Tuesday's run. Smile

My love-hate relationship with my HRM continues. I do like having extra data, but I swear I have the highest HR on runs that feel easy. My HR skyrockets at first and then plateaus. Part of that may be the connection, as sometimes I get really high readings in the first mile (200+ BPM, which is obviously wrong). Still, even when I was in shape my HR was high. I'm a bit stubborn, so I'll keep training with the methods that have worked for me and just use the HR numbers to compare with where I was before in the training cycle.

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Re: Back, in the Ring

Post  Natalie63 on Sun Apr 28, 2013 10:04 am

Hi Matt, I like your hard/easy ladder routine. I think I may set that as one of my goals.
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Re: Back, in the Ring

Post  Matt W on Tue May 07, 2013 7:47 pm

@Natalie63 wrote:Hi Matt, I like your hard/easy ladder routine. I think I may set that as one of my goals.

I stole the idea from Dave-O and I think he got it from Greg, so feel free to take the idea and run with it.
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Re: Back, in the Ring

Post  Matt W on Tue May 07, 2013 8:16 pm


Last week I had a decent week, although still not the volume that I would like to be getting in. Maybe that's for the best, as I have been getting a few aches and pains in my feet or legs as I add mileage. I need to get used to pounding the pavement again on a consistent basis before I really ramp up the miles. Still I'm a little worried about if I have enough time to really do 26.2 well enough in 3 weeks.


I was in California for my brother-in-law's college graduation this weekend and made it a full weekend by fitting in a half marathon while we were there. I originally planned on seeing how marathon pace would feel, hoping to go for 10M @ 6:50 - 7:00, and then seeing what I could do for the last 5K. While this was very modest compared to my past results, I had no real clue where my fitness was at. I have had a hard time finishing my workouts well, due in part to being less than race fit and also because I live at the top of a hill so the last 1 to 2.5 miles of most runs are going against gravity. I hadn't pinned on a bib since Boston 2012, so I was feeling rusty as far as racing goes (although I kept telling myself this was more of a workout than a race).

If I was going to grade myself on sticking to the plan, I'd have to give myself an F, but at least I know I need to be mindful of holding back when I go back to CA for the marathon. However, if I were to grade myself on how I ran, I would put it in the B+ to A- range, at least for my current fitness. It's one of my slowest 1/2 times ever, but I knew that going in I wasn't going to make it one of my top 10 races. I still ran a negative split and finished 15th out of 10,000 and 3rd in my AG with a 1:21:25.

I had planned on running the first mile of the course (mostly uphill) in around 6:50 and lock into that pace. However, my competitive nature brought me closer to the front than I planned, as I started passing people after an easy start. The first mile went by in 6:31. Oops. The course then had a long down hill and I just kept rolling with that effort and ran 6:14. Double oops. I was with a group of guys who said they wanted to run 1:25, which was in the neighborhood of what I was planning from this workout. So did I stay with them? Of course not. The next few miles clicked off in 6:21, 6:22, 6:09, 6:17, and 6:11 and I kept passing people. At about 7 miles we were on a bike path and caught up with the back of the pack marathoners who started 45 minutes ahead of the half. It made weaving past them a bit more difficult (especially when the 5:15 pace group took up the entire path), but I made a conscious effort to not lose focus. I ran another 6:17 mile weaving through the traffic and winding around some sharp turns before returning to wider streets where it was easier to run. My Garmin beeped at 5:56 for the next mile, which surprised me since I can probably count the number of sub-6 miles I've run this year on one hand (like I said, I haven't been training all that hard). My next mile was 6:01, but I would have broken six if I hadn't stopped to pick up a marathoner's sunglasses that she dropped. After that I started clicking off the miles faster than I thought I could, even if I had stuck to MP for the first part of the race.... 5:49, 5:51, and 5:48. I was pretty happy with the effort, as I was tired, but not wiped out from the race.

At least I thought I wasn't wiped out from the race. I came down with a fever Monday morning, so I haven't done much since the race. Hopefully it won't throw me off too badly in my training so I can get ready to run the marathon in 3 weeks. I would like to get a few long runs in and still allow myself at least a week and a half to two week taper.
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Re: Back, in the Ring

Post  Matt W on Mon May 13, 2013 10:45 pm



Well, if I survive this upcoming marathon (and with some of my recent runs, that's no sure thing) I have a fall race lined up. I got in the St. George Marathon, so I have Oct. 5 circled on my calendar. I know it won't be easy training in the summer, so I'm going to have to be diligent when it comes to taking care of myself and putting a plan together for the race. With the heat/summer travel it will probably be a combo of mini base building cycles and a focused 10 week drive leading to the marathon. I'll have to see once I actually give it some thought...
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Re: Back, in the Ring

Post  Kenny B. on Tue May 14, 2013 3:27 pm

Matt,

Good to see you BIA (back in action). Not easy to make the transition back from life (the external world) to running which I like to think is my internal world. But, you did it and you are here making progress. I hope to join you in the spirit of blogging soon.
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Re: Back, in the Ring

Post  Schuey on Tue May 14, 2013 4:15 pm

Hey stud hang in there it will all come together! Trust me I have been going through the same thing. I think the hardest part is knowing were we have been in the past and wanting to be there. Plus you have to admit like myself there have been some changes in your life over the last year and that plays a big role.

It really takes time to find that balance and manage the time and again on top of that getting back into peak racing shape stinks! Believe me brother it will come and before you know it you will be back to were you want and need to be. Just keep believe and keep on putting in the miles know matter how many they are and most important Matt ENJOY THE RUN!! The more you enjoy it the easier it is to do it!!

And by the way your darn easy half time is just a little slower then my overall half PR, I really dislike you at times!!!! Smile Surprised Very Happy
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Schuey
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Re: Back, in the Ring

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