Boston Marathon, April 18, 2011 – a day to remember in marathon running history. The winner, Geoffrey Mutai, ran 57 seconds under the then-current world record, stopping the clock at 2:03.02.  Mutai had a few factors working in his favour that day. Firstly, there was a strong tailwind of 15-20 miles/hr for much of the race. Secondly, the Boston Marathon course has a subtle elevation drop, this is both a curse and blessing; athletes can run fast, but any resulting records won’t be officially recognised.

The final factor working for Mutai that Monday in April was the early pace set by the American half-marathon record holder, Ryan Hall.  Hall went straight to the front that special day. As recalled by Hall:

“I went right to the lead in the first 100 meters and was surprised to look down at my watch after a half mile of running and see that I was on schedule for a 4:26 opening mile.  My turnover felt easy and my stride felt smooth, but more than anything I felt at complete mental ease in the front of the race.”

This is the story of Ryan’s 12 week lead-up to this epic 2:04.58 marathon. One would think to pull off such a time, a perfect few months of training in the lead-up would be required. Quite to the contrary, it is amazing how up-and-down this period was.  From a lingering ITB injury, to stomach upsets and sickness. However, Hall battled on, resilience and belief aplenty.

Read on to discover all there is to know about this pivotal period in the career of a great American marathoner, Ryan Hall

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  • Every session, every run, for 12 weeks leading into the 2011 Boston Marathon.
  • A detailed 21 A4 page, 7000 plus word training diary.
  • Splits for sessions. Including splits for interval/track sessions as well as splits for tempo runs.
  • Comments from Ryan Hall every day about the training, how he was feeling, the pace of easy recovery runs and much more.
  • Follow along as Hall battles sickness, fatigue, injury, motivation and self-doubt.
  • Never before seen content, training insights & photos from Ryan Hall.

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Monday January 24, 2011.  12 Weeks till the Boston Marathon

AM:  Ran 45 minutes easy in Edmonds.  Hilly run.  Didn’t feel super great like I had been feeling the last couple of days.  Maybe because I had to eat and run pretty close together.  Was still digesting.  Also, could have been the hills.  Also, could be that I went faster than I thought yesterday.

PM:  Ran 30 minutes easy plus drills and strides.  Legs felt great!  Had some pop when doing my sprints!

Tuesday, January 25

AM:    Ran 20 minute warm up then drills and strides, then a 3 mile tempo in 4:46 pace on a slightly urban traffic-filled, slightly breezy road with a 180 turnaround.  Legs felt great but just didn’t run super quick.  Then came on the track and ran 8 by 400 m cut-downs in 65, 69, 66, 66, 64, 64, 63, 63.  It was hard near the end.  Was trying to break 63 but I couldn’t.  There was a pretty good breeze blowing.  I think I could feel a little less pop with only the 1 day rest.  3 rest days now before the race.  Still this is probably my best ever pre-race workout.  Chillin’ time now.

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Trying to stay focused on not comparing my performances to past, but it is hard, but I will make Christ my delight.  In nothing else do I find my deepest satisfaction.

PM:  Ran 30 minutes easy.  Legs felt ok.  Energy was kind of weird.  Ran close to lunch.  I don’t think I like having the caffeine post run.

Wednesday, January 26

AM:  Ran 45 minutes easy.  Legs didn’t feel the best.  Just a little tired from the workout yesterday.

PM:  Ran 30 minutes easy.  Legs felt a lot better this afternoon.  Still feel like I am breathing pretty hard.  Going through some mental oppression or something.  Just have had a real heavy spirit today.  Not sure what the deal is.  Feel discouraged for some reason.  Maybe it is because of my workout yesterday.  I am so tired of putting my hope in my performances.  I can’t try hard enough to get into top form.  If I am going to get there it is going to have to be God.

Thursday, January 27

AM:  Ran 45 minutes easy.  Legs felt like trash.  Ran drills and strides and felt a little better after the strides.  Just feel like I am breathing super hard.  Not sure what is going on.

Friday, January 28

AM:  Ran 30 minutes plus drills and strides.  Felt great.  Way better than yesterday.  Not sure if it was the extra calories I took in yesterday or getting the extra day rest. Put on the headphones and just set my focus on praising God.  I guess when my spirit is set on Him I run my best.  Glad to be feeling good again.  Made today much lighter and more enjoyable.

Saturday, January 29

AM:  Ran the Houston Half marathon OT preview course.  Just what God ordered today.  Ran 62:20 and felt good.  4:46 pace felt really comfortable.  I think I could run a good marathon right now.  Need to emphasize speed in the coming months because my strength is good just need to get more comfortable at a faster pace.  Was leading till 200 meters to go.  Last mile was really hard.  Happy to feel like my old self again.  Felt like I had a nice pop off the ground.  Just getting going.  Still a lot of work to be done but I am really excited with where I am at.  Even if I didn’t improve at all in the NYC half I would still be happy with where I am at.  I can feel the presence of God in what I am doing and in this I rejoice.

Sunday, January 30

AM:  Rest Day

Slept a ton!  Stomach was a little jacked up all day.  I think I may have gotten some bad curry yesterday as I felt a little off in the afternoon.  Anyways, sleeping an insane amount these days.  My body must need it.

“I constantly remind myself that resting takes confidence. Anyone can train like a mad man but to embrace rest and to allow all the hard training to come out takes mental strength.”
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Monday, January 31 –  11 Weeks till the Boston Marathon

AM:  Ran 45 minutes easy.  Legs felt good.  Stomach was a mess.  I was just happy to make it through this run as I had really bad diarrhoea last night and my stomach feels in knots.  It is even worse than yesterday.  Kind of surprised at how good my legs felt.  Felt way better than expected.  Not very sore.

PM;  Ran 45 minutes easy.  Stomach is still a mess but feeling better than this am.  Legs didn’t feel quite as good this afternoon but still not bad.

Tuesday, February 1

Am:  Ran 52 minutes easy.  Legs felt good this morning.  Stomach is still upset.
Travel to Boston

PM:  Had the worst run ever!  Ran 38 minutes and barely made it.  My stomach is jacked.  Feel like it is turning and turning have no appetite, diarrhoea, nausea, and overall just stomach pain.  My energy also feels off.  Rough run.  Was basically walking.

Wednesday, February 2

AM:  Ran 25 by 400 at 65 w/55 seconds rest.  Legs felt trashy when I started and stomach is still far from right.  Energy is still off too.  Regardless, not a bad workout coming off the race and considering the sickness.  Running on a 200m indoor track was a different experience.  Had to change the workout from a 22 mile long run because of the snow.

PM:  Tried to run but couldn’t.  My stomach is a mess.   I have to figure this out.

Thursday, February 3

AM:  Ran 45 minutes easy.  Legs felt ok.  Stomach is still a bit of a mess but it felt a little better today.

PM:  Ran 45 minutes easy.  Stomach was a wreck.  Barely made it through this run.

Friday, February 4

AM:  Ran 45 minutes easy.  Stomach still a mess.  Bad diarrhoea.

PM:  Took the afternoon off.  Stomach and body is a mess.  Hopefully I’ll get through tomorrow’s workout.

Saturday, February 5

AM:  Ran 3 mile warm-up then one three mile repeat up from the fire station to the top of heartbreak hill.  I knew I was in trouble on the warm-up when I couldn’t even feel the caffeine.  Tried to eat a very light breakfast but it didn’t matter.  My stomach was a wreck!  Am so sick of being sick.  Really frustrating.  Can’t keep missing workouts.

Sunday, February 6

Rest day.  Need to try and get healthy.

“The question I try and ask myself when I consider whether or not to train more is what is my body craving and what is my body ready to absorb? Sometimes pushing harder is not the answer. It takes self control, confidence, and intuition to know when to train and when to rest, but when in question error on the side of being over rested.” 

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Monday, February 7  –  10 Weeks till the Boston Marathon

AM:  Stomach finally feels almost 100%.

Ran 45 minutes and felt great.  My legs, body, and stomach all felt good.  Felt totally restored!  Praise God!

PM:  Ran 45 minutes and felt good.

Tuesday, February 8

AM:  Ran 3 by 3 mile w/4 minutes rest then 3 by mile on the track with 2 minutes and 4 minutes rest.  Stomach still isn’t quite right.  Still bloated and carrying around a lot of extra water weight but legs had some bounce in them.  Actually felt surprisingly good.  My times weren’t all that stellar but it was windy down at Sedona and the course was hilly with traffic.  I think I averaged around 4:50 pace for the first one.  About 5 minute pace for the next one (which had a monster hill at the end) then an out and back one in maybe 5:10 pace w/the big hill.  Then on the miles ran 4:51, 5:53, and 5:01.   Legs were definitely feeling it by the end.  Tried to stay relax and not push too hard.  Not a bad workout considering how messed up I was all last week.

PM:  Ran 30 minutes easy.  Legs felt really tired.  Had a gym session as soon as we got back then had to run again

Wednesday, February 9

AM:  Ran 45 minutes easy.  Legs felt pretty good.
PM:  Ran 45 minutes easy.  Legs felt good.

Thursday, February 10

AM:  Ran 45 minutes easy.  Legs didn’t feel as good today.

PM:  Ran 45 minutes easy.   Legs still felt unresponsive.

Friday, February 11

“Suffering is an extraordinary teacher”

AM:  Ran 23 miles.  Ran the animal style long run.  Ran 4 mile warm-up then 3 miles in 15:40 or so, then 3 easy at sub 6 pace, then 2 hard at 10:40 or so (It was into a headwind on the way out), then 2 at 6 minute pace.  Then a mile at 5:07 then a mile in 6 minutes then a 1200 at 5:05 pace then a 1200 at 6:30 pace then an 800 in 2:27, then 800 at 6:30 pace, then a 40 in 71 then kept moving at 6 minute pace.  Ran the first 20 miles averaging 5:49.  Not bad considering that my stomach was a bit of a mess and there was a stiff head wind on the way out.  My legs didn’t feel great but solid.  Still getting my gut right, which may take a little more time.

Saturday, February 12

Off day

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Monday, February 14 –   9 Weeks till the Boston Marathon

AM:  Ran  400, 800,1200, 1600, 1200, 800, 400, then 2 miles of in and out 200s with 1 minute jog on the easy 200 and 31-32 on the hard 200s.  Felt alright today.  My right foot is a little sore but I think it will pass.  My stomach feels good.   Was hoping to run a little quicker.  I need to relax on the times and just let them come to me.  I also need to have no time expectations going into workouts and just run the right effort level and put my focus on God, not on my watch.  So I ran 66, 2:10, 3:26, 4:38, 3:28, 2:18, 63.  Not great times but solid for being at 4,500ft and in a bit of a wind.  Was still breathing really hard.  Thankful.

PM:  Ran 45 minutes easy.  Legs felt ok.  Stomach was messed up once again.

Tuesday, February 15

AM:  Ran 45 minutes easy.  Not a fun run.  Bottom of my right foot is really sore, stomach is jacked up and legs didn’t feel good.  Just tried to make it through this one.

PM:  Ran 45 minutes easy.  An even rougher run than this am.  Legs felt ok but stomach was even worse and my right foot was almost not up for running.  Barely made it through this one.  Foot just feels really sore.  I think the soreness began when I changed my shoes a couple of weeks ago leading up to the Houston Half.  I am going to try some different trainers.  Hopefully tomorrows runs go better.  I don’t know how long I can handle this.

Wednesday, February 16

AM:  Ran 45 minutes easy.  Legs felt way better.  Stomach and bloating felt way better.  Foot felt way better.  Night and day difference from yesterday.  Praise God!  I don’t know how much longer I could have taken runs like yesterday.

PM:  Ran 45 minutes easy.  Felt much better than yesterday afternoon.  Stomach was causing some acidic burps but some antacids remedied the problem quickly.  Legs felt ok, not great.  I think I will be ready for tomorrow.

Thursday, February 17

AM:  Ran 20 minute warm up then took the rest of the day off.  Felt a lot of pain in my right foot so I decided it was best to not go through with the tempo run.  Called John and got in to see him later that day.  Had an x ray done which showed no breaks.  Foot is really sore and swollen.  Not good!

Friday, February 18

AM:  Off, got an MRI which showed no breaks just lots of inflammation.  Looks like I have an inflamed tendon in my right foot underneath my big toe.  Going to have to take 3-4 days off.

PM:  Road the bike for 75 minutes then elipticalled for 15 minutes.

Saturday, February 19

AM:  Road the bike for 2 hours.  Went medium for first 80 minutes then a minute hard/easy for the next 40 minutes.

PM:  Road the bike for 2 hours medium.

Sunday, February 20

AM:  Took the day off.  Woke up in the middle of the night last night feeling really sick.  Vomited three times over a couple of hour time period.  Then have diarrhoea all day today.  Sleeping and resting.

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Monday, February 21 – 8 Weeks till the Boston Marathon

AM:  Ran 30 minutes easy plus strides.  Foot felt great.  Stomach felt good till part way through.  Then felt terrible afterward.  Came home and had diarrhoea and super low energy.  Slept for hours.  Body feels trashed.

PM:  Sara had to literally pull me out of bed to go for an afternoon run.  I really didn’t want to run and was set on not going out.  My body felt terrible but she pulled me up out of bed and the weird thing was that as she was pulling me up even though I was in a super bad mood I couldn’t help but smile as I felt like God was telling me this was a prophetic act.  I didn’t really understand what the prophetic act was till I was praying hours later.  God is going to pull me up out of my weakness and He will be my strength.  He will do it.  I have no strength, no power, either physically or mentally, but God will do it.  He will pull me out of bed.

Ended up running 30 minutes very slow.  Body felt out of it.  Very low energy after having diarrhoea all afternoon.  Stomach felt surprisingly ok.  Ran really slow.  Foot felt fine.  Felt like I needed to break off some depression in me, felt a shift in the spirit after that.

8 weeks to go.  Hope is low.  Body strength is a complete zero.  Haven’t trained properly and feel like an emotional and physical wreck but God is my strength and I can feel Him beginning to lift me from the miry clay, once again.

Tuesday, February 22

AM:  Ran 4 by 2 miles.  Stomach and foot felt good.  No problems there.  My energy felt terrible.  I am still sleeping a ton.  Bloating seems to be better.

I almost didn’t go forward with the workout when I was warming up.  I felt terrible.  Just really low energy.  Barely made it through the warm-up.  I knew God was going to have to pick me up out of bed if I was going to make it.

Kept the workout really under control.  Actually felt pretty good once I got going.  Ran about 5:20 pace on the first 2 mile then 4:48, 5:06 for the next two mile.  Then about 5:30 pace for the next tough 2 miles with a giant hill into the wind.  Then ran sub 10 minutes for my last 2 mile and felt really good.  4:50 for my last mile.

Wednesday, February 23

AM:  Ran 45 minutes easy.  Legs felt a little tired.

PM:  Ran 45 minutes easy.  Legs felt way better.

Thursday, February 24

AM:  Ran 45 minutes easy.  Legs felt a lot better than yesterday.

Travel to Albuquerque for indoor nationals

PM:  Ran 40 minutes plus drills and strides.  Legs didn’t feel that great on the easy run but felt pretty good on the strides.  We will see how this 15 mile tempo run goes tomorrow.

Friday, February 25

AM:  Ran 15 mile tempo run in Albuquerque.  Felt surprisingly good considering all things.  Averaged 5:07 pace which was really good considering there was a decent wind out there today.  Very pleased with the way my legs felt.  Praise God!  I feel like I need to stay rested and keep my legs relatively free of junk mileage.  This was a big workout to get my confidence back!  Though I have no strength I am seeing God provide every step of the way.

PM:  Ran 25 minutes easy.   Smart move to shake out after the long tempo.  Legs still feel pretty good, which is a good sign.

Saturday, February 26

AM:  Ran 45 minutes easy.  Legs were tired this morning.  Understandably so.  Going to go shorter this pm

PM:  Ran 15 minutes easy warm up with Sara as she prepared for US indoor nats and then did another 15 minute cool down with her about 90 minutes later.  Legs felt better this afternoon than this morning.

Sunday, February 27

Rest Day

Sara and Ryan Hall

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Monday, February 28 –  7 Weeks till the Boston Marathon

AM:  Ran Intervals (3 miles, 3 miles, 2 miles, 2 miles, 1 mile, 1 mile)  Felt good this morning.  It was the first time in a while that I warmed up and thought “I feel good today”.  Ran in Albuquerque along a very flat river path.   A bit of a wind today but overall not too bad.  Got in a good amount of volume this am (18 miles total).  Got out pretty well for the first 3 mile segments.  Around 19:45 for both 3 mile segments, then about the same for the first two mile segment and it felt hard but then was able to run 9:38 for the next two miles thanks to Sara on the bike pacing me.  Then ran 4:36 for my first mile then ran 4:46 for my last mile.  My legs were tired come the last mile.  Took however much recovery I felt like I needed.  Great workout!

PM:  Ran 32 minutes and felt great.  Was rolling by the end.  Even though I drove all the way back to Flagstaff.

Tuesday, March 1

AM:  Got really sick.  No running.

PM:  Ran an hour easy.  Felt ok considering how sick I was this morning.  Stomach isn’t perfect but good enough.

Wednesday, March 2

AM:  Got really sick again.  Through up once and then slept a ton again.

PM:  Tried to run but stomach is too jacked up.  Bouncing makes me feel like I am going to be sick.

Thursday, March 3

AM:  Ran 45 minutes.

PM:  Ran 45 minutes.  Legs felt pretty good.  Body is coming back around.  Ran drills and strides.  Big workout tomorrow.

Friday, March 4

AM:  Ran 3 mile warm up then 17 miles of in n’ out miles (9 hard miles).  Ran the first 4 hard miles around 5 minutes, which was good for Lake Mary Rd. then hit some good wind and hills and averaged 5:39 pace for that 17 mile segment.  Good run.  Stomach was still a little burpy and still a little out of it after the run.  23 miles total after a 3 mile cool down.  Happy with the day and to get in another solid run considering how sick I was for the last couple of days.

Saturday, March 5

AM:  Ran 45 minutes easy.  Legs were tired.  Ran slow.  Body is still getting over sickness.  Really tired today.

PM:  Ran 20 minutes easy.  Legs and body were dead.  Had to cut the run short.  Felt like trash.

Sunday, March 6

AM:  Ran 45 minutes easy.  Felt a lot better this am than yesterday after 11 hours sleep last night.

PM:  Ran 45 minutes easy plus drills and strides.  Legs felt ok.  Muddy run!

Feel a little down today.  Sick of feeling sick and really tired on my easy runs.  I miss the days of actually feeling good on easy days.  Running isn’t much fun right now.  I think I need to back down the volume and stuff.
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Monday, March 7 –  6 Weeks till the Boston Marathon

AM:  Ran intervals.  Ran 2 miles,1 mile,2 miles,1 mile,2 miles,1 mile,2 miles,1 mile.  It was a windy snowy day on Lake Mary.  Felt alright warming up then felt ok in the first 2 mile in roughly 10:30 uphill.  Then ran 4:48 on downhill mile.  Then ran around 10:10 for next two miles then 4:48 for next mile.  Then ran 10:10 for next two miles then 4:44 for next mile then 10:10 for next two miles then 5:02 for last mile, slightly uphill.  Legs felt better as I got going.  Stomach was finally good.  Feel like my gut is back to normal.  May take a little bit to get my body back to normal but we are heading the right direction.  Praise God for getting me through this one considering how bad I was feeling the last two days.

PM:  Ran 30 minutes easy.  Legs felt pretty decent considering.

Tuesday, March 8

AM:  Ran an hour easy.  Beautiful morning.  Wanted to stay out longer.  Legs felt surprisingly good.  Haven’t felt this good the day after a workout in a long time.

PM:  Ran 30 minutes easy.  Legs felt good.  Something shifted today.  My energy feels way better, similar to how I felt in Palo Alto this winter when I was feeling really good.  Have way more energy and not as sleepy.  Still took a nap though, but didn’t feel like I would perish if I didn’t get one.

Wednesday, March 9

AM:  Ran an hour easy.  Legs felt great again.

PM:  Easy half hour run.  Legs felt great.

Thursday, March 10

AM:  Ran an hour easy down in Phoenix.  Legs felt good.

PM:  Ran a half hour up here and felt great.  Ran some drills and strides.  Ready for tomorrow.

Friday, March 11

AM:  Ran a 15 mile tempo run on Lake Mary Road.  By far my best tempo run up here.  Legs felt really good today.  Averaged 5:04 pace.  It helped a lot to have Billy on the bike helping to break the wind and just having him out there in general.  Came through 10 miles at 5 minute pace then hit some pretty nasty hills.  Kept the effort under control.  Still was able to have some pop in my legs in the last mile running 4:53.  I really feel like I am coming around now.  Improving in leaps and bounds.  Came through 12 miles three minutes faster than my last 12 mile tempo run up here and ran faster than I did at Albuquerque at 5,000 ft on a pancake flat course.  Praise God!

PM:  Ran 5 miles easy.  Legs were definitely a little tired but good to shake it out.

Saturday, March 12

AM:  Ran 45 minutes easy.  Hard to tell how my legs felt.  We ran at Elden road, which basically goes straight up and then we flipped and came straight down.  Nothing really jumping out at me.

PM:  Ran 45 minutes easy.  Legs felt ok.  Definitely a little fatigue.  It was really sloppy where I ran so it is kind of hard to tell how I felt.

Sunday, March 13

AM:  Ran 90 minutes easy with Billy.  I am glad I had a running partner to keep me under control today because I felt good!  This will be a nice difference between the 90 minute run I did before Houston and pounded it.  It will be interesting to see how I come off this one.
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Monday, March 14 –  5 Weeks till the Boston Marathon

Rest Day.  I must admit, I don’t feel like taking the day off.  I feel full of energy and feel like working out.  Not sure if this is an urge I should obey or if I should make myself rest.  I think I will make myself rest after praying about it.  I need to harness all my strength for this weekend.  Man, it is hard to rest when you are feeling good.

Tuesday, March 15

AM:  Ran an hour and felt amazing.  Felt so good today.  Running hasn’t felt this good in a long time!  Yeah buddy!

PM:  Ran 30 minutes plus drills and strides and felt really good once again.

Wednesday, March 16

AM:  Ran 3 mile tempo run then 8 by 400 as a pre-race workout.  Felt good but my right hip and outside knee was locking up a bit.  Nothing to be too concerned about.  Ran 14:47 for 3 miles.  Went out and back on the first 1.5 miles of Lake Mary Road.  It was, as always, a little breezy out there today.  Splits were like 4:58, 5:02 and 4:43. The 400s were kind of all over the place depending on the terrain and wind.  Anywhere from 73 to 61.  All at pretty much the same effort level.

Thursday, March 17

AM:  Ouch!  Right IT band/knee/hip is all jacked up.  Did not feel good on the run today despite taking the scrapper and roller to it last night after the flight.

Friday, March 18

AM:  Knee felt much better today but still a little sore and locked up.   Actually if felt pretty good by the end of the run, then mainly it was my right calves up high almost in the hamstring pulling on the back of my knee that was bothering me.  Not too bad though.

Saturday, March 19

AM:  Ran 30 minutes easy plus drills and strides.  Legs felt good but right knee/IT band is still all locked up.  Felt a little better than yesterday but not much.  I don’t understand why all this stuff keeps popping up on me.  Both before Houston and before this race it has been really rough to monitor my emotions because of little injuries popping up.

Trying to set my mind on what I want to accomplish in running, which is to reflect Jesus.  It’s hard not to take out my worries and frustration on food but God’s grace is sufficient.  We will see what happens tomorrow.  If it weren’t for my IT band I would be a lot more confident of how well I could run but it is hard considering how I felt today.

Sunday, March 20  

AM:  Raced the NYC half marathon.  Not my day.  Felt totally flat from the beginning.  The first mile felt ok but then when we picked it up in the second mile I felt flat.  Not sure what is going on.  I felt so good at the beginning of the week and now I feel so flat.  Not sure if I rested too much or if I was emotionally tanked from feeling injured the last couple of days.  The good news is that my IT band is feeling better.  Didn’t wear a watch so didn’t get any of my splits but I probably wouldn’t want to know anyways.  Pretty discouraged and frustrated.
_____________________________________________

Monday, March 21 – 4 Weeks to Boston Marathon

Off day.  Travelled back to Palo Alto.

Tuesday, March 22

AM:  Ran 60 minutes progression run.

Didn’t go crazy on the pace, just moved along.  My IT band is still feeling kind of jacked up despite seeing John yesterday.  Maybe just residual.  I did some strides and it felt tight.  5 by 100 and then 2 by 200.

PM:  Ran 32 minutes.  Progressed and moved along.  Again, nothing crazy on the pace.  IT band still bothering me.  Had a massage and ice bath by 2.  It will be better soon.

 Wednesday, March 23

AM:  Ran 8 by 400 in about 65.  Then ran a 2 mile in 9:15 then ran two by mile in 4:39 and 4:28.  Legs felt surprisingly good considering how close to the race I was.  I am strong right now.  I can run nearly the same pace for the 1/4s as for my two mile.  This workout reminds me of how important it is going to be for me to return to speed.

PM:  Ran 30 minutes easy with Sara.  Legs felt good.  Stomach was still digesting lunch.

Thursday, March 24

AM:  Ran 65 minutes.  Legs felt great.  Started slower and was moving by the end despite the torrential downpours.

PM:  Ran 35 minutes easy.  Legs felt good.  A little bit low energy as I waited till 5:45 to run.  Still progressed along but then didn’t feel like progressing more over the last 10 minutes so I took it easy.

Friday, March 25

AM:  Ran 2 by k in 2:48 and 2:52 then  a mile tempo run from Churchill St. up to the foothills and then over to Lake Lauganita and down a mile on campus drive.   Then ran 2 by k in 2:42 and 2:40.  The tempo was averaging 4:50 but the splits were all over the map based on the hills.  Ran 4:54, 5:05, 4:50, and 4:31.  Was cold, rainy and a little windy.  Legs felt good as the workout progressed.

PM:  Ran 35 minutes and progressed as I went.  Felt really good by the end.

Saturday, March 26

AM:  Ran 60 minutes progression run.  Took it real chill the first 45 minutes then progressed along during the last 15.  Legs felt great.

PM:  Ran 37 minutes pretty brisk in Phoenix.  Didn’t feel great.  Felt a little low energy.  Maybe needed more food.

Sunday, March 27

AM:  Ran 60 minutes in Flag.  Felt great.  Moved along and ran the last mile pretty brisk (probably 5:30 pace)

PM:  Ran 30 minutes easy plus drills and strides.  Legs felt pretty good.  Moved along.


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Monday, March 28  – 3 Weeks till the Boston Marathon

AM:  Ran 15 mile tempo run.  Averaged 5:07 pace going out and back on Lake Mary.  It was definitely harder than last time I did 15 miles on Lake Mary.  Was 2 seconds per mile slower this time out but that was pretty solid.  It was probably slightly windier.  Legs didn’t feel quite as good but still really happy with the run.

PM:  Ran 30 minutes easy.  Legs felt good.  Actually moved along a bit.  Had more energy in my legs compared to when I did this run a couple of weeks ago.

Tuesday, March 29

Rest Day

Wednesday, March 30

AM:  Ran 60 minutes.  Rolled along and did some sprints on the way back.  Legs felt good.

PM:  Ran 30 minutes. Rolled along.

Thursday, March 31

AM: Ran 60 minutes rolling along.  Legs feel good.

PM:  Ran 30 minutes with sprints in the run.  Legs felt good.

Friday, April 1

AM:  Ran 23 miles.  Ran “Animal Style”.  Ran 3 hard/easy, 2 hard/easy, etc, till I got down to 200s for my last repeat at mile 19.  Legs felt good today.  Ran 15:18 for first three miles on a rough dirt road (I was at A-1) then 11:21 for the next two miles that was straight up hill, then 4:45 for the next mile, the same pace for the 1200, 2:30 for the 800 on flatter terrain, then I am not sure what my 200 or 400 was.  Great workout.  Felt good today!

I am kind of in an interesting place at the moment, mentally.  I don’t know if I am ready for Boston.  My faith hasn’t been very strong lately.  My circumstances control my life, my emotions, and my hope for the future.  However, now I am at point in my life when it is time for my faith to lead the way.  It is time for God to be my life and not my running.  It is time to let my faith dictate my circumstances.

Saturday, April 2

AM:  Ran 60 minutes easy.  Legs felt great.

PM:  Ran 30 minutes easy.  Legs felt great.

Sunday, April 3

AM:  Ran 60 minutes easy.  Was rolling.

PM:  Ran 30 minutes easy in Phoenix after seeing John.  Legs felt good.

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Monday, April 4 – 2 Weeks till the Boston Marathon

AM:  Ran 2 hours moving along in Big Bear.  Legs felt good but my right IT band was giving me problems.  Was just spinning the wheels.  Kept it very under control.  A little concerned about my right IT band.  Other than that, legs felt good.  Last day at altitude.

2008 Olympic US team trials

Tuesday, April 5

AM:  Off day.  Drove to Palo Alto.

Wednesday, April 6

AM:  Ran 10 by 1k w/a minute rest.  Felt good today.  Breathing felt heavy but the turnover felt better than how it has felt in a long time.  Was running 2:56s on the way toward Embarcadero running on El Camino path with a good headwind and then between 2:40-2:47 on the way back.  Sea level feels so good.  Feels great to turn it over again.

PM:  Ran 30 minutes.  Progressed to a decent clip over the last 15 minutes.  Legs felt good.

Thursday, April 7

AM:  Ran 50 minutes progression.  Legs felt great.  Progressed over the last half hour.  Was rolling!

PM:  Ran 30 minutes progression.  Was rolling by the end.

Friday, April 8

AM:  Ran 50 minutes the first 25 or which was chill and next 25 I was progressing down.  Legs felt great.

PM:  Ran 30 minutes progression run w/ drills and strides. Legs felt really good by the end.

Saturday, April 9

AM:  Ran 6 mile tempo run at Sawyer camp in 27:45 (4:37 pace).  Legs felt great.  Felt smooth and comfortable the whole time!  Wow, I haven’t felt this good in a while!  Praise God!  His timing is perfect!  Thanks be to God!  A big shot of confidence for the race.

PM:  Ran 30 minutes moving along/progression.  Legs felt great!  Was rolling.  I feel like a new man.  I am entering into a new place in my running and precisely right at the right time.  God is good!

Sunday, April 10

AM:  Ran 50 minutes.  Legs felt great.  Was rolling!

PM:  Ran 30 minutes.  Felt a little low blood sugar.  This was the first time in the last two weeks that I haven’t felt great, but still felt solid and moved along a bit.  Makes me appreciate when I am on.


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Monday, April 11 – 1 Week till the Boston Marathon

AM:  Ran 90 minutes moving along.  Took the first 15 chill w/Sara then got right into a decent clip.  Legs felt great.  Was moving along well.  One week to go!

Tuesday, April 12

Rest Day.  Bottled up some energy.  Felt rather restless and was up in the middle of the night for a time.

Wednesday, April 13

AM:  Ran 4 by 2k then 1 by 800.  Took 2 minutes rest between the 2k and full before the 800.  Legs felt awesome!  2 minutes rest felt like a ton.  Came through the mile in the first one in 4:48 and it felt easy, then 4:38 for the second mile, then 4:38 again for the third and then 4:28 for the fourth.  Felt like I could pretty much run as fast as I wanted.  Then ran 2:04 for my last 800.  I could tell within the first three steps out the door than I felt great!

PM:  Ran 30 minutes.  Progressed along but didn’t go crazy or anything.  Legs felt great.

Thursday, April 14

AM:  Ran 50 minutes easy.  Legs felt great for just rolling out of bed and hitting it.

Travelled to Boston

PM:  Ran 30 minutes easy.  Legs felt a little sluggish starting out but was rolling by the time I finished.  Felt great!

Friday, April 15

AM:  Ran 2 miles in 10:10 then 6 by 400 in 66-67 on a minutes rest.  Legs didn’t feel that great this morning.  Lesson learned.  Do not try and do a pre-race workout wicked early in the morning (it would have been 3 am PST) on the first day of arrival into a new time zone.  Legs didn’t feel bad (I ran into a stiff wind on the 2 mile but it still didn’t feel very easy at all.  The 400s w/the wind felt a little bit better but still not great.  It’s all good though.  This gives me a little perspective going into the race and takes away the thought that it is going to feel easy out there.  Glad to be healthy and be here.

PM:    Ran 30 minutes pretty chill.  Legs felt better this afternoon at a more sane hour.

Saturday, April 16

AM:  Ran 40 minutes easy plus drills and strides.  Legs felt good!  Battling my mind at the moment.  Getting some great encouragement from friends and family but finding it difficult to stay positive but the battle is the Lords and I look to him more the harder it gets.

Sunday, April 17

AM:  Ran 30 minutes easy plus drills and strides.  Felt amazing today.  I am ready to run. Sara and I ran down to the river.  Lots of supportive well wishers out there.  Felt like I was hardly running.  Getting really excited.

“The big thing is hydrating the day before the race. I will have 20 ounces of water right when I get up in the morning the day before, and I’ll drink throughout the day.” 

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Monday, April 18th, 115th Boston Marathon

“I don’t go to the start line expecting to win. I go to the start believing this could be the day when incredible things happen” 

AM:  This was the day I had been praying for a long time.  Finished 4th and ran 2:04:58.  I am a 2:04 marathoner!

When I was out there running I almost couldn’t believe what was happening.  I went right to the lead in the first 100 meters and was surprised to look down at my watch after a half mile of running and see that I was on schedule for a 4:26 opening mile.  My turnover felt easy and my stride felt smooth, but more than anything I felt at complete mental ease in the front of the race.  I have never felt this comfortable before in the front of a race, let alone the Boston Marathon.  I was feeling full of faith and whenever I was at the front I was filling up even more and more in faith with every passing mile.  And the miles did pass faster than usual and with relative ease.

For the most part I lead all the way through 15 miles, then there was a hard surge and everything split open and things began to stretch out in the pack.  I stayed on pace and after having already passed through the half in 61:50 I knew that even if I ran 5 minute pace for the rest of the race I would still P.R. so I just thought that every second per mile I was under that pace I was bagging free time.

What a difference a month can make after running nearly 64 minutes for the half in NYC.  This really was a run on faith because nothing I did in practice or in a race proved, or led me to be confident that I was physically in shape to run 2:04.  I was letting my faith lead and dictate my circumstances and not the other way around.

I caught back up to the pack just as we made the turn at the fire station before hitting the hills at Newton, which was redemption in and of itself after getting dropped in a similar place last year and not being able to catch back up at this very point in the race.  I went back to the lead and lead up the first two series of hills.  I felt good on the hills and we were still running a decent clip but I wasn’t able to get rid of many guys.

After the second hill, just passed the 20 mile mark another hard move was made and I was not able to respond.  I did stay somewhat close and could see the leaders for a time but by the time we hit Commonwealth Ave they were out of sight.

It helped having guys in front of me to pick off.  I finally caught Geb at mile 24 and we ran together.  At mile 25 I saw that I had a chance to break 2:05 if I ran my last mile under 5 minutes.  I pressed as hard as I could to get my wheels turning.  Everything was hurting.

Right before we made the final turn onto Boylston St Geb made a really hard move and I lost him.  I noticed in the tunnel 400 meters earlier when we were still running together that I was breathing much harder than him at that stage in the race.  As I came around the corner I could only feel Sara watching me come around the corner and feel her joy.  I knew she would be waiting for me.  I pumped my arms as hard as I could to try and propel my body to the finish.  As I was getting close to the clock I could see the time getting closer to 2:05.  I wanted to settle and enjoy the last couple hundred of meters but I knew I had to give everything I had to try and break 2:05.  I wasn’t sure if I got it or not when I finished.

Things I learned from this race:

-Run full of faith!  Walk by your destiny, not your circumstances.
-I did a good job of weathering the storms of the surges.
-I did a good job staying positive throughout the race.
-I did a good job of running my own rhythm.
-I did a good job at honing the excitement of the crowd but I should smile more and have even more fun out there that would help relax my body and run better than ever before.
-The marathon is fun.

Things I learned from this build-up:

-The importance of rest
-The importance of allowing faith to lead your circumstances and not the other way around

“It’s a long, hard road and it’s going to have its bumps; there are going to be times when you fall and times when you don’t feel like going on anymore, times when you’re just crazy tired but it takes focusing on that one step you’re taking. That’s what I’m trying to do with the marathon; I don’t think about the miles that are coming down the road, I don’t think about the mile I’m on right now, I don’t think about the miles I’ve already covered. I think about what I’m doing right now, just being lost in the moment.” 

2011 Boston Marathon Top-5 Places

Place Athlete Nationality Time
1. Geoffrey Mutai Kenya 2:03:02
2. Moses Mosop Kenya 2:03:06
3. Gebregziabher Gebremariam Ethiopia 2:04:53
4. Ryan Hall United States 2:04:58
5. Abreham Cherkos Ethiopia 2:06:13

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