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Oops, I Did It Again

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Oops, I Did It Again

Post  Jerry on Mon Apr 28, 2014 8:45 am

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Re: Oops, I Did It Again

Post  Jerry on Mon Apr 28, 2014 9:16 am

Prologue

Once upon a time, Tim and I were trashing talking. Tim said something like Jerry got lucky to break 3 hours and that's why Jerry never did it again.

Ever since then, Jerry wanted to title his next sub 3 report as: Oops, I did it again!

Training

Training has been lame, if you ever read my blog. But I do want to touch three highlights:


  1. Dallas marathon cancellation: I was able to pick myself up from the disappointment within an hour of knowing the news and decided to shift to Boston training right away instead of finding another race to redeem myself. In the end, I trained 20 weeks for Boston.
  2. Feel based training: I had a basic structure and idea what I wanted to do weekly basis. The intensity and mileage etc were all feel based that I decided before every workout after warmup. Feel based training is nothing new. Arthur Lydiard was famous of using it to his world classic runners that I wanted to learn for awhile now. I had a quite unique schedule that this approach is very important to me.
  3. Patience: I am known for being lazy at training.  lol! While I recognized the importance of training, aka working hard, I grew very patient in gradually increasing my volume and intensity. While I recognized I am getting old and my PR days are over soon, I grew very patient in be disciplined and listening to my body more carefully and more importantly more truethfully. That is, that I can beat someone on the races does not mean I can beat him/her in trainings.


With a 1:22:31 half late March, over 2 minutes improvement over last November. I was fully confident with my understanding of training and approach.


Pre-Race

Dave Bussard posted to my recent half report the following:

"It took me 30 years to figure out being disciplined in the early miles is the key to a good race and a strong finish. Looks like you have it figured out too. Nice run and AG win."

I felt very flattered a runner at his caliber compliment my race like this. At the same time, I felt more convinced about my Boston goal, just break sub 3 vs original 2:58 to PR. Emotionally I really wanted a PR, but looking at all my background, especially lack of hill trainings, I felt going out for sub 3 with an outside chance to PR was a good mature goal.

Goal setting and mental preparation were a big part of my pre-race. I felt a great sense of maturity to downgrade my goal and still feel good.  lol! 

Logistically, I benefited a great deal staying at my brother's. Race day, his wife drove me to the start. I was just relaxing listening music. It was so smooth that I almost didn't have time to listen my favorite two motivational songs this cycle. I listened them twice, reflected a little of the trainings, which I always hated, and more importantly why I trained.


  1. Demons by Imagine Dragons -  in my imagination, this song is about human struggle, to overcome his/her sins to establish his/her Kingdom, or peace.





     2. Love Me Again by John Newman - this was an important song for my running. I lost quite fitness the last 2 years, really busy with family events. But I have to own it and now that I trained hard to come back, I really wanted to see some love. Boston was probably the best place to show me that, especially considering what occurred last year. For years, I didn't dare to come back to Boston because of its hilly course. Now I finally came, I really wanted to see some love. Then of cause I knew I was going to fight hard for it.




To me, race is a mental game. It's never about one's physical capability. Going to the race, I felt I had the right mindset: patience,confidence and desire.

I was very calm, every step, every small details of the way, going to the corral. Even when I realized I was not in the corral after anthem, I didn't panic at all.

Race

Speaking of I was calm going to the race, I was really calm. I got dropped at south street, took a potty stop, then got into line for the shuttle to AV. Then I just breathed through the AV directly to the start line, skipped the potty lines and just kept going. I did need to pee, but I wanted to get to the corral first. Suddenly, I saw on the left boys outside a sort of security line just letting go on the bushes. "This is legendary." I told myself and had to join besides I did need it. I finished and backed into the road. The cops on the lines yelled to us: show the numbers.

That was hilarious. I was like: hey, you saw me crossing. But I was happily obliged to pull my layers of clothes to show him my bib.

The calmness disappeared soon after the race started. It didn't concern me at all with 7:06 first mile. It was too crowded. Then I realized this would not get better any time soon. I was sweaty all over head before mile 2. I knew the sun contributed to it, so did the human body heat around. But most importantly, I was not calm, the only thing under my control. So I started focusing on relaxing my body. As I felt a little cool after mile 2, I shifted my focus on my race execution.

Soon I realized no way I could get into the zone the way I planned, cruise at 6:45-6:50 pace relaxed. It was simply too crowded and I didn't know when it would thin up. In the meantime, I also noticed the high caliber of Boston, the crowd as a whole actually was cruising at a stable effort. So it was not a difficult decision to me to just "be water", just flow with stream in the river.

I couldn't control my pace. I couldn't run by feel with my lack of hill running experience. What I could do was to let those high caliber runners dictate my pace, I tried to minimize the energy I consumed.



The second uncool moment came before mile 8, my right hip started tighting up, like I was beaten up by those down hills. The overall effort was way too more than a flat course race. I knew however it was too early to panic or give up hope. It could be walked off. I was worried about the effort level though.

As I tried to digest all those info, I came to my race strategy. I might have read this somewhere, but I didn't remember to give the correct due credit. Basically I told myself I am going to divide the race into 3 parts and race them with three parts of my body:


  1. Mind before 16: relax, but focus due to the crowd.
  2. Heart between 16 and 20: fight the hills no matter what, the only way to give myself a chance to break 3 hours.
  3. Gut from mile 20 to finish: with my body feel at mile 8, the day would not be pretty regardless at the end.


With that in mind, I started getting focused and I can tell you, I have never raced a marathon so focused from so early on.

I also decided it was a little warm that I would take gels early and consumed all 5 before mile 20.

The Wellesley definitely provided a much needed energy boost. I shifted to the left and was passing runners the first time with 6:3x pace.

I think I hit my original pace plan at mile 10 and crossed half at 1:29:18, actually feeling better than earlier. That gave me confidence going to Newton hill.

I didn't feel that much of the deal climbing the hill at the beginning. I was holding 6:50 pace and passing. It did consume my energy physically and mentally that I couldn't calculate clearly where I was time wise. So I reverse-calculated from the finish, I gave 2 minutes for the extra .2 and 41 minutes for 20-26, I figured I needed 2:17 at mile 20. So if I got to mile 18 around 2:03, I would be super.

I did. At the first time on the course, I got excited about hitting my goal. I got to mile 20 on time and just couldn't believe myself: this is easy. I never imagined hill running was so easy.

Except,

The hill was not over as I thought.

My heart sunk.

As I soldiered on, I watched my pace dropping, 6:50, 6:55, 7:00 ... 7:09 I finished the mile. Make no wrong impression, I was passing.

First time on the course I told myself: I am not going to make it today.

My legs were really really tired. At the same time, I had done this long enough to understand very clear that I needed to shut down my negative feeling NOW or the past minute.

So I quickily switch my mind to action. I couldn't and didn't have energy to calculate clear. My intuition was I needed 6:40. Mile 22, 6:47. I continued to cheat myself: well, I needed a recovery mile. Maybe I can do 6:40 from now on.

6:49 for mile 23. I was pretty sure I was not going to make sub 3. But it had only 3.2 miles left, I also knew it would not be hurting any less if I slowed down unless I crashed, which would be humiliating.

I constantly talked to myself: come on, you are the one with high LT. You can do this. Just shut down the pain and forget about the time. If you could do 110% without hitting the goal, you could be still proud of yourself.

6:48 for mile 24.

My Garmin was on auto lap, so I always saw the lap pace ahead of the mile marker. And I always had the habit, especially this late stage to check the actual time.

Well, it was the lightening moment, even though I didn't hit 6:40 in the last 3 miles as I wanted to, even though I couldn't calculate very clear again, looking at the time, it was crystal if I could pull sub 6:40 for 2 more miles, I would be on target.

Haha.

But how could I pull 6:40 if I just couldn't pull a single mile out the last 3.

"I have no clue."

-- Tom Cruise in A Few Good Men.

"But if anyone can do it, it's me." I told myself.

I didn't think of Pre, but deep in my heart, I knew I was borrowing strength from him.

Pre said during an interview before 1972 Olympic 5000 meter final in Without Limites:

"I'm going to work so that it's a pure guts race at the end, and if it is, I am the only one who can win it."

I gathered all the strength I had and started to push. I checked the pace constantly, and it didn't move much. So I gave up looking the pace any more and only checked the time at each bench mark, 40k, Citigo sign, 25 mile marker(not sure which one first), 1k to go under Mass Ave, the one point I remembered hurting very much even I ran for fun 5 years ago. I knew I needed to hit the "downhill" here as hard I could handle to gain some seconds. 

6:34 for mile 25.

6:33 for mile 26.

As I saw the Boylston turn, I knew I had it. As I turned, I checked the time one last time and decided to give all I had left in this stretch.


For one, I had worked this hard that I couldn't afford any surprise, especially having missed sub 3 by 10 seconds in Dallas several years ago. For two, runners were cheering, punching arms and fists, I couldn't help but thinking what I would do at this stretch many times and ran different scenarios though my minds before. At the moment, I felt I needed to run as hard as I could. That would be my way to hornor those who cheered for us, supported us and sacrificed ultimately for us a year ago and thereafter as in the case of the Boston firefighters.

If Boston was one year stronger, I needed to make the last stretch the strongest run of all. I did 6:00 pace after mile 26.

2:59:28.

Epilogue

I am going to give some random thoughts about this race:


  1. The hills didn't seem to be as scary as I always thought. They definitely placed a heavy toll on my flat land legs, but were manageable.
  2. I was surprised how flexible and cool were in my decisions during the race. Part of it was because I was getting more patient. Part of it was because I had tried to race aggressively in my last several halves and marathons that I had a better understanding of my limits. I had transitioned myself to more and more of a feel based races. This time, I sort of did it on a hilly course the first time. This experience definitely gave me confidence to continue to pursue and refine this race strategy. I think I will do good in New York.  lol! 
  3. Looking at my race photos, I had a little smile crossing the finish line. The rest, I was stone faced. It was mentally hard to focus that long. That was another testimony I did good. The body has limit;the mind does not.
  4. I felt very good about my training now. As I continue to build up, patience is key. At the same time, I need to be more disciplined than ever to work on my body composition. I need to work on getting the easy money in first.
  5. Last but not least, I finally get why runners, especially the fast ones, love to suffer through all those logistic hassle to Boston again and again. I think I will be back, especially I have the free rooms. lol! 


Thanks for reading. So long until my next race ... Running


Last edited by Jerry on Tue Apr 29, 2014 6:32 am; edited 14 times in total
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Re: Oops, I Did It Again

Post  T Miller on Mon Apr 28, 2014 11:20 am

@Jerry wrote:
Prologue

Once upon a time, Tim and I were trashing talking. Tim said something like Jerry got lucky to break 3 hours and that's why Jerry never did it again.

Ever since then, Jerry wanted to title his next sub 3 report as: Oops, I did it again!


You've probably thought about that phrase every day since and used it to provide the necessary motivation to get your lazy ass off that couch.

You're welcome Smile

It is a net downhill.... (oh never mind).

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Re: Oops, I Did It Again

Post  Mark B on Mon Apr 28, 2014 11:48 am

Great. Now I have the image in my head of Jerry humming a Britney Spears song every time he runs.

Thanks. A. Lot.
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Re: Oops, I Did It Again

Post  Michele "1L" Keane on Mon Apr 28, 2014 12:05 pm

Ok, Jerry we need the end now.  Congrats again, and by the way - 2:56:58.   You had better break it.
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Re: Oops, I Did It Again

Post  Jerry on Mon Apr 28, 2014 4:53 pm

@T Miller wrote:
@Jerry wrote:
Prologue

Once upon a time, Tim and I were trashing talking. Tim said something like Jerry got lucky to break 3 hours and that's why Jerry never did it again.

Ever since then, Jerry wanted to title his next sub 3 report as: Oops, I did it again!


You've probably thought about that phrase every day since and used it to provide the necessary motivation to get your lazy ass off that couch.  

You're welcome Smile

It is a net downhill....  (oh never mind).


Heehee, now you can say, everytime I break 3 hours, you are involved. I certainly don't deny it.  Running
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Re: Oops, I Did It Again

Post  Jerry on Mon Apr 28, 2014 4:58 pm

Oh crap, I finished it, but failed to save.

Now the moment has past, you guys are on your own...
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Re: Oops, I Did It Again

Post  Julie on Mon Apr 28, 2014 8:36 pm

You did so great, Jerry, although I admit I was pretty surprised to find out you were actually quoting Brittany Spears. Wow. (OK I'm not a fan).
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Re: Oops, I Did It Again

Post  Jerry on Mon Apr 28, 2014 10:44 pm

@Julie wrote:You did so great, Jerry, although I admit I was pretty surprised to find out you were actually quoting Brittany Spears. Wow. (OK I'm not a fan).

Well, if any man dares to admit how he really feels, I am the one.  affraid 

Julie, you have to understand I hold this thoughts for a long long time and have to let go of it.

Thanks for the encouragement as always!
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Re: Oops, I Did It Again

Post  jon c on Tue Apr 29, 2014 8:16 am

Thanks, Jerry for the great report and this gave me a glimpse of who you are that normally doesn't come out on this board.  One thing I can say is that you have gifts as a runner that many of us don't have (or don't anymore).  Running a sub 3 is nothing to sneeze at.  Take good care of those gifts you have.  Don't take them lightly.  I can tell you from experience that they don't last forever.

Congrats on a well run and well executed race.
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Re: Oops, I Did It Again

Post  Mark B on Tue Apr 29, 2014 11:56 am

Oops! It appears I commented too soon, before Jerry posted his completed report.

Now that I've read it, and watched the videos, I almost want to take back my smart-alecky initial comment. Almost.

But beyond that, I want to congratulate you on using the mind, heart and gut to achieve your sub-3 goal. I learned a great deal from your report about race strategy, and I am impressed at how well you worked through the challenges as they arose and never let your worries overtake you. Thank you for sharing, Jerry. It was an inspiration.
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Re: Oops, I Did It Again

Post  Michele "1L" Keane on Tue Apr 29, 2014 5:46 pm

Thanks for finishing Jerry.  Excellent race and I completely agree with your last 5 bullet points, and I believe I shared the same sentiments this year as well.  See you in NY!
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Re: Oops, I Did It Again

Post  Alex Kubacki on Tue Apr 29, 2014 7:12 pm

Great report Jerry. Looks like you nailed the day in every aspect.  You beat the conditions and course. That's what it's all about.  Congrats on a great day.  
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Re: Oops, I Did It Again

Post  Chris M on Wed Apr 30, 2014 2:55 pm

Awesome job, Jerry.  I texted you as soon as I saw the finish time because I was watching your 5K splits so closely that day and man, you were MONEY particularly with picking it up there in the final 2 miles.  AWESOME JOB.  What a performance. I did have to laugh at your mental calculations of the pace/time you needed working backwards from the finish.  2 minutes for the final 0.2??  10:00 pace?  That's how I finish marathons - not you!!!   Um, how about a pace band?   Save that brain of yours for focusing on flowing like Enter the Dragon water and not doing math off a 4 hour marathon pace.   Great job sticking with the training you needed to do (Jerry's weakness) to be in position to run and execute such a great race plan (Jerry's big time strength!).   I'm inspired and still want to join you in that Sub3 Club!
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Re: Oops, I Did It Again

Post  Jerry on Wed Apr 30, 2014 7:01 pm

@Chris M wrote:Awesome job, Jerry.  I texted you as soon as I saw the finish time because I was watching your 5K splits so closely that day and man, you were MONEY particularly with picking it up there in the final 2 miles.  AWESOME JOB.  What a performance. I did have to laugh at your mental calculations of the pace/time you needed working backwards from the finish.  2 minutes for the final 0.2??  10:00 pace?  That's how I finish marathons - not you!!!   Um, how about a pace band?   Save that brain of yours for focusing on flowing like Enter the Dragon water and not doing math off a 4 hour marathon pace.   Great job sticking with the training you needed to do (Jerry's weakness) to be in position to run and execute such a great race plan (Jerry's big time strength!).   I'm inspired and still want to join you in that Sub3 Club!

Now the way you explain the 2 minutes, it is embarrassing.  lol!
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Re: Oops, I Did It Again

Post  Schuey on Thu May 01, 2014 12:19 pm

Great race Jerry, told you were ready! Now next time can't you give just a little more and hit your 2:56 goal. Common you slacker!!! Smile Smile
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Re: Oops, I Did It Again

Post  fostever on Thu May 01, 2014 12:26 pm

Hey, way to go, just finished reading your awe inspiring race report. You really nailed those last critical miles to hit that sub 3:00. It was cool running into you at the expo. I regret losing you at the Adidas shop. I wandered around and didn't have your cell so just decided I'd see you later at the food court which i missed by a few minutes due to a delayed shuttle from the airport, oh well. HUGE Congrats!!
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Re: Oops, I Did It Again

Post  Jerry on Fri May 02, 2014 10:00 am

@jon c wrote:Thanks, Jerry for the great report and this gave me a glimpse of who you are that normally doesn't come out on this board.  One thing I can say is that you have gifts as a runner that many of us don't have (or don't anymore).  Running a sub 3 is nothing to sneeze at.  Take good care of those gifts you have.  Don't take them lightly.  I can tell you from experience that they don't last forever.

Congrats on a well run and well executed race.

Thanks Jon. Will follow your advice to take care of my body for PR, which I haven't achieved for awhile now.

@Mark B wrote:Oops! It appears I commented too soon, before Jerry posted his completed report.

Now that I've read it, and watched the videos, I almost want to take back my smart-alecky initial comment. Almost.

But beyond that, I want to congratulate you on using the mind, heart and gut to achieve your sub-3 goal. I learned a great deal from your report about race strategy, and I am impressed at how well you worked through the challenges as they arose and never let your worries overtake you. Thank you for sharing, Jerry. It was an inspiration.

Hey, nothing wrong to adore BS, heehee. Seriously I think the video is just horrible. I like the attitude though.  affraid 

Michele \"1L" Keane wrote:Thanks for finishing Jerry.  Excellent race and I completely agree with your last 5 bullet points, and I believe I shared the same sentiments this year as well.  See you in NY!

See you in NY, Michele.

@Alex Kubacki wrote:Great report Jerry. Looks like you nailed the day in every aspect.  You beat the conditions and course. That's what it's all about.  Congrats on a great day.  

Thanks Alex!

@Schuey wrote:Great race Jerry, told you were ready! Now next time can't you give just a little more and hit your 2:56 goal. Common you slacker!!! Smile Smile

With this Boston, I may see you often than before. Watch out, Schuey!

@fostever wrote:Hey, way to go, just finished reading your awe inspiring race report. You really nailed those last critical miles to hit that sub 3:00. It was cool running into you at the expo. I regret losing you at the Adidas shop. I wandered around and didn't have your cell so just decided I'd see you later at the food court which i missed by a few minutes due to a delayed shuttle from the airport, oh well. HUGE Congrats!!

Thanks, Stever. Sorry for losing you at the Expo.
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Re: Oops, I Did It Again

Post  Dave-O on Fri May 02, 2014 12:45 pm

Jerry kicked Dave-O's ass!

Congrats on a great race.  Man, you really closed in those last miles!  You are a very good marathon runner, Jerry.
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Re: Oops, I Did It Again

Post  Jerry on Fri May 02, 2014 4:31 pm

@Dave-O wrote:Jerry kicked Dave-O's ass!

Congrats on a great race.  Man, you really closed in those last miles!  You are a very good marathon runner, Jerry.

Thanks Dave!

That's very flattering. I think I am only a good half marathoner. Since I didn't stop for potty this time, I will take that compliment.  lol!
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Re: Oops, I Did It Again

Post  KBFitz on Sun May 04, 2014 4:34 pm

Hey, you finished the report! Excellent race. Excellent report. What's not to love? You displayed remarkable patience on a course that demands it. All smiles here. Brilliant!
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Re: Oops, I Did It Again

Post  dot520 on Sun May 04, 2014 6:26 pm

I LOVED your report!!  That is quite the training/racing program you had there and executed it beautifully.  Congratulations on your second sub-3!  Your membership to that club is definitely NOT a fluke!
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Re: Oops, I Did It Again

Post  dot520 on Sat May 10, 2014 10:31 am

Can't find the thread where you were discussing weight, so I'll ask here.  What was your weight the year you PR'd in Houston.  The year I came out there to run the half?
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Re: Oops, I Did It Again

Post  Jerry on Mon May 12, 2014 12:23 pm

@dot520 wrote:Can't find the thread where you were discussing weight, so I'll ask here.  What was your weight the year you PR'd in Houston.  The year I came out there to run the half?

Probably 129-130 race morning. This year, I was 128 Thursday morning before I headed to Boston and started carb loading. I am not sure about my weight race morning.

The best I have done is 128.

Here is the thread:

http://www.365runners.com/t2732-no-regular-food-for-dinner-diet


Last edited by Jerry on Mon May 12, 2014 12:26 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Re: Oops, I Did It Again

Post  Jerry on Mon May 12, 2014 12:25 pm

@KBFitz wrote:Hey, you finished the report! Excellent race. Excellent report. What's not to love? You displayed remarkable patience on a course that demands it. All smiles here. Brilliant!

Kevin is enjoying his life in Europe and Africa. I was checking MCM the other day and wonder with the same expense, why do I run MCM instead next year.  lol! 

@dot520 wrote:I LOVED your report!!  That is quite the training/racing program you had there and executed it beautifully.  Congratulations on your second sub-3!  Your membership to that club is definitely NOT a fluke!

Thanks Dot!
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Jerry
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