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TRAM Training--Week 1, Day 1

Monday, May 21, 2012

My first half marathon is in the rear-view mirror now and my sights are fully set on my next big goal for the year (as far as fitness goes, that is): to complete The Ride Across Minnesota (TRAM) with an average speed of 17.5 mph or higher. TRAM is a 5-day, 300 mile ride that benefits Multiple Sclerosis research and the MS society services. It usually attracts about 1,000-1,200 riders, along with 500-600 support staff etc, and raises about $1 million. My wife has MS so this ride is very special for us, and the people have become like family to us.

So as far as fitness goes, I will be focusing solely on preparing myself to reach this goal over the next nine weeks. Here's the plan:

Week 1: Five 20+ mile rides at race pace.
Week 2: Four rides designed to work on cadence, strength, and endurance; core strength.
Week 3: Four rides designed to work on cadence, strength, and endurance; core strength.
Week 4: Five 30+ mile rides at race pace.
Week 5: Four rides designed to work on cadence, strength, and endurance; core strength.
Week 6: Four rides designed to work on cadence, strength, and endurance; core strength.
Week 7: Five 40+ mile rides at race pace.
Week 8: Four rides designed to work on cadence, strength, and endurance; core strength.
Week 9: Several recovery rides.
Week 10: TRAM

Today I took the first ride of the first week of serious TRAM training, and it went fairly well. It was a 24.7 mile ride with 10 brief climbs (longest 1.5 miles). Last year, when I was in much better shape, I completed the ride with an average speed of 18.6 mph. This year I came in at 18.3 which is good given that I haven't been training nearly as long or as well as last year. I'm definitely more fatigued after the ride this year than last, but even so my fatigue is pretty mild. After the final climb of about 0.5 mile, I was able to maintain a speed of over 20 mph the rest of the way home (about 2 more miles mainly on flat ground).

So I'm happy with today's ride and am setting my mind on tomorrow's ride. It's a 21 mile route that includes the steepest climb in my area (probably 10-12% grade). I'll probably come in at 17.2-17.5 mph as it is a harder route but that won't be my primary focus. Rather, I'll be focused on completing a series speed-endurance intervals designed to develop aerobic capacity. And of course, I'll be focused on glorifying the Lord by enjoying my time on the bike!

Thanks for reading, hope you have a great day!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MPLANE37 5/21/2012 3:34PM

    Congrats!!! Sounds like you are doing great.

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Half Marathon--So What's Next?

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

The half marathon is now in my review mirror, though the glow of actually doing it is still lingering with me several days later. But I've taken a couple of days to enjoy and celebrate and now it's time to look ahead and focus on what's next.

And what is next? Training for my annual cycling event, The Ride Across Minnesota, a 5-day, 300-mile ride that benefits Multiple Sclerosis research and services. My wife has MS so this ride is important to us, and a cornerstone of our year for the last ten years. This year we travel from Bemidji to Walker to Park Rapids to Wadena to Fergus Falls to Alexandria. It's a very beautiful area, the terrain is perfect for my style of cycling, and I look forward to reaching my goal for the year of averaging at least 17.5 mph for the duration of the ride.

Previously my goal was to finish with an average speed of 18.0 as my normal average speed for rides around town is 18.5-19,0 mph, but I'm not as fit as I was last year and I'm not sure I can reach that lofty a goal right now so I decided to set my goal at something that's challenging for a 300-mile ride but still attainable.

After I complete the TRAM, I'm going to go back to a dual focus on cycling and jogging, and I'll say more about my late summer/fall goals at that time. For now it's all about the TRAM. I'll give you the details of my training schedule for the next 11 weeks tomorrow. For now, thanks for reading and God bless!!!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LILPAT3 5/15/2012 3:07PM

    Good deal! emoticon

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KA_JUN 5/15/2012 12:56PM

    Sounds great, good luck on your training! How's the sprinting coming along?

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Half Marathon--Why it was a Success

Monday, May 14, 2012

As I was nearing the end of the half marathon and realizing that I didn't have it in me to do even 12:00 minute miles (in all my weeks of training I was able to maintain around 11:30 miles through to the end of each workout), I began to think of reasons why the event was nonetheless a success for me. So here are a few of my thoughts:

I succeeded because...
1. I found, adapted, and completed a twelve week training plan, missing only one workout due to illness.

2. During my training, I allowed my body time to adapt to the rigors of jogging and it responded faster than I thought it would so that I soon caught up to the level of fitness I enjoyed before the winter began.

3. Because I completed this training program and event, my fitness level is now higher than it was at this time last year.

4. Though I had trained to do walking/jogging intervals of 1.5 min/3.5 min, or sometimes 1 min/4 min, I jogged the first seven miles with only three minutes of walking. That's more than twice as far as I've ever jogged essentially non-stop and it came rather easy. Because of this I slowed down in the last third of the course, but I feel so great about having done this that I don't care about that!

5. I smiled a lot and had a lot of fun, all the way to the end. Even when I felt tired and could not perform as I desired, I didn't allow that to suppress my joy.

6. I met some new people and feel enriched by that.

7. I did something I've never done and never thought I would want to do or be able to do.

8. I beat my goal of 2:40:00 by slightly more than five minutes!

9. I inspired friends and family alike to do something they didn't think they could do.

10. I, however imperfectly, completed the training and the event for the glory of God and enjoyed many memorable moments with God. "So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all for the glory of God" (1 Corinthians 10:31).

It's been two days since the event now and it seems that my joy in all these successes has only risen day by day as it lands on me that, by the grace of God, I did it! Now I'm setting my mind toward what's next, which I'll write about tomorrow.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LILPAT3 5/14/2012 11:22AM

    Fantastic! You also succeeded and are a winner because you chose to get off the couch and do something a small minority of people will ever do. You found positive things to think about when the race did not go exactly as you had planned, you enjoyed it and are thinking about something else to do. Good for you. I am proud of you! Keep up the good work. emoticon

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TBOURLON 5/14/2012 9:04AM

    Great job - and you are RIGHT to be proud of yourself!

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PROVINCETOWN 5/14/2012 8:25AM

    Way to go!!! You inspire me to count every little step toward success as I engage in my own attempt to train to walk a 1/2 marathan.

Comment edited on: 5/14/2012 8:25:57 AM

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Maple Grove Half Marathon--Race Report

Sunday, May 13, 2012

I couldn't have asked for a better day for my first half marathon. It was in the high 50s as I arrived at the starting area and steadily climbed into the mid-60s over the next few hours. The sky was clear, the sun was bright, the wind was still, and the company was great! Honestly, I couldn't have asked for more and very grateful to the Lord for his grace!

As a bona fide turtle, my goal was to come in at 2:40:00 or less but I thought I would hit pretty close to that mark. I had been training at about 11:30 miles which included walking and jogging in five minute cycles (1.5 min walk, 3.5 jog with some exceptions) but given the couple of extra miles on top of my training jogs I figured this was a good goal time.

Some where around 2,000 runners lined up for the start and I chose my pacing group: goal of 2:30 with 11:26 miles. I figured I could stay with them for a while and perhaps even surprise myself and stay with them until the end. Since this group planned to jog the entire course with little or no walking intervals, their jogging pace was slower than that at which I had been training and so, in violation of the way I had been training, I jogged with them for 10 and then 20 and then 30 minutes with only a couple of brief walking intervals--if you can even call them that--and before you know it I had jogged with them for seven miles! Wow, that surprised me. That's more than double of the farthest I've ever jogged with so few walking breaks.

But it also wore me out. I had to let them go at that point and do things my way from there on out, which I did. I still felt fairly good so I did intervals of 1 min walking and 4 minutes jogging pretty much all the way to the end with only one or two exceptions. My times really slowed down at this time because I was pretty tanked, but that was okay with me. I felt that having jogged so long with a group like that was an accomplishment in itself and I had no problem putting in a series of slower miles.

Around mile 11 or 12 I was very tired but I tried to just focus on the interval that was in front of me and not think about it so much. This helped a lot and I was able to finish strong, at least for a turtle! I completed the last 0.1 in one minute which, after 13 miles, was pretty good for me! Felt good to finish strong.

I came in at 2:34:57, slightly more than five minutes ahead of schedule and I'm happy with that. Below are my splits for the day. Tomorrow I want to write about why I feel this half marathon was a success. God bless you all and thanks for reading.

My Splits:
01. 11:29
02. 11:06
03. 11:28
04. 11:42
05, 11:55
06. 11:24
07. 11:03
08. 12:22
09. 11:49
10. 12:14
11. 12:27
12. 12:36
13. 12:14
14. 01:00

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SUGIRL06 5/15/2012 2:11PM

    Way to go!!!!
So do you find that the walking intervals really help? I generally take some but never at regularly spaced times. Just whenever for me really (but averages about 1 break per mile). I am starting marathon training soon emoticon and have to decide if I want to do regular walking breaks or not!

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RJSAMS 5/13/2012 10:56PM

    Good for you! Awesome race report.

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VISUALLYRICS 5/13/2012 10:18PM

    emoticon emoticon Awesome Race!!! emoticon emoticon
You beat your time....had a great race & such a great attitude!
I love your walking and jogging in five minute cycles. Cool!

emoticon Race! , Laura

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Finished My First Half Marathon Today!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

I did it! I'm going to blog more about this, in pieces, over the next few days but for today I just want to say that the training plan worked, the plan for the day worked, the weather was perfect--what a gift from the Lord--and I had tons of fun!

I am "The Blazing Turtle" so my goal was 2:40:00 or less, and my actual time was...drum roll please...


Praise God and for all your encouragement, Spark Friends! More to come, thanks for reading.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KAYZAKCX 5/15/2012 1:04PM

    Nice job on the half marathon. While I have only done 2 of them, I find them quite addicting.

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MNNICE 5/13/2012 11:47AM

    Congratulations!!! Great accomplishment!

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BILL60 5/13/2012 10:29AM

    Congratulations on your impressive accomplishment. You worked hard to get to where you're at. Keep it up!!

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WINACHST 5/13/2012 9:04AM

    Congratulations on the half marathon. And I am looking forward to reading about you reaching that sub30 5k goal. That is my goal again this year, I did it while training, but I want on official time on it.

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DISCIPLEAD33 5/13/2012 12:35AM

    That is awesome. Congratulations on this major goal being achieved, and at a 2:34 at that, amazing!

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FLUTTERFLI 5/12/2012 10:57PM

    emoticon emoticon

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JAMBABY0 5/12/2012 10:55PM

    That is so great!!! You rock!

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SOCDIRECTOR 5/12/2012 10:53PM


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