As I write this blog update I am in the Denver Airport waiting to board my first flight in a trip to the island of Kauai. I’ll be stay in Kauai tonight through next Monday and running the Kauai Marathon on Sunday. The Kauai Marathon is a challenging race that has heat, humidity, and hills.
The goal of the next 6 months is the Olympic Trials, but I did a lot of thinking to try and come up with the best plan to compete the best at the trials and beyond. My best asset in training is my recoverability. In fact, I generally feel better a couple days after running a hard half marathon. Every long run and long workout I continue to learn and grow in the sport. However, unlike any other event, the marathon is tough to learn because you are limited in the number you can do per year. Looking back from the trials, I definitely am planning on doing the Chicago Marathon. It’s perfect timing (12 weeks) after Chicago to the trials. That is an ideal number of weeks for me to build-up to a marathon. Chicago is a flat course with the lead pack untouchable for me as I expect a 2:04-2:06 to win Chicago. I need to learn patience in the marathon and running pace for the Olympic Trials. In between Chicago and the Olympic Trials I will likely run a half-marathon in November in Philadelphia.
If anyone remembers last year’s Chicago Marathon, it was quite hot and humid. I wanted to prepare for this possible scenario. In addition, the Olympic Trials are held in Houston, Texas. Everyone seems to forget that even though the date is January 14th, it can be very warm and humid in Houston. In fact, the record high temperature is 82F on January 14th in Houston! To train for the heat, I slowly started running in t-shirts, long sleeve, tights, full sweats, and finally some runs with full sweats with a long sleeve underneath. This preparation has really boosted my overall fitness. I can tell my heart rate is much lower than it otherwise would normally be in the heat. Yesterday (Sunday), I did a workout with a long warm-up and then 2×3 miles with only a minute rest in between. After warming up in sweats, I went back to shorts/t-shirt and cranked out two great three mile reps with Patrick Rizzo. Our last mile of the 2nd rep was 4:57. Not bad at 5300ft. As soon as I stopped I reset my watch and counted my heart beats for the next 15 seconds and calculated my heart rate to be 152. The temperature at the time was about 80-82F. A big confidence boost that I’m fit and ready for the heat.
Still, why Kauai? The Kauai Marathon is a perfect way to get in a hard workout 5 weeks out from the Chicago Marathon and learn to run well in the heat. This year the top American marathoners will compete in the heat and humidity in Daegu for the World Championships. In my career, I hope to represent the US at championships. If it is hot and humid, the Kauai experience will be a huge help in preparation and confidence. The Kauai Marathon also boosts a $15,000 speed challenge for breaking 2:30. Earning some of that prize money would significantly help finances too! Lastly, it is a good opportunity to practice a long travel to a race.
In addition, I never want to stop having fun in this sport. I’m looking forward to spending a couple days in Kauai and enjoying the experience. This is another chance to challenge myself against a good field and tough course in a different atmosphere. It’s time to board a flight so I have to go. Thanks for reading and following my journey!