I told myself that the one marathon that I would run would be Munich in 2005. Another marathon would be a bad idea - too much risk of injury, wouldn't be prudent, etc. I saw the application for London in the summer of last year, and thought, "Well, this will be my last chance to use my flight benefits to run this race. I like Greenwich, and it would be a neat race to run, but I will never get in. So I will enter, get rejected, and tell myself that I tried and did not make it." At least training for the possibility would force me to get back into shape. And then the organizers cashed my check!
The training has been a challenge. This time around I have been training along some roads in my neighborhood, in addition to the parks. This adds some of the long uphill stretches that have beaten me in past races like the Biltmore 15K or the Run the Reagan 10K. I have not lost as much weight as I had hoped, but I am running the best 10K times of my life now, so I must be doing something right.
Shorty Howell Park
Pinckneyville Soccer Fields
Pinckneyville Baseball Fields
Berkeley Landing to Berkeley Lake Chapel
Bush and Lou Ivey Roads to South Old Peachtree
South Old Peachtree to Medlock Bridge
Spaulding Drive from Medlock Bridge to Holcomb Bridge
Peachtree Corners Circle
The Shorty Howell Park has a track that is marked by posts every quarter of a mile, and is 1.25 miles in circuit. This is handy, as each circuit is a little more than 2 kilometers. The track goes around a small playground, a lake with various kinds of ducks, a small bridge over the entrance to the park, a practice football field, a small forest, a gazebo, and then the park's restrooms. There is a good mix of terrain changes, with a little strip of Korean-language shops just before the entry into the forest just over the 1 kilometer mark. There is a steady grade from the bridge at about three tenths of a mile up to a point inside the forest at about the three-quarters of a mile post. There is a steeper but shorter hill in the forest near the mile post. I tend to use it for the long-distance runs, as I can stash some water on the hood of my car and simulate a water station in a race.
The Pickneyville Soccer Fields are marked off every tenth of a mile. I believe that the posts between eight tenths of a mile and nine tenths of a mile are somewhat shorter than advertised. The circuit is officially 1.1 miles. I start by a bridge at the three-tenths of a mile mark. There is one steep grade from about the four tenths of a mile point to the half-mile post, but the rest of the course rolls gently. This is the easiest course. This is where I think that I ran the 10k in nearly 60 minutes a few years ago. One hazard is that soccer balls fly over the fence from time to time, and it is only polite to get them and throw them back so the game can continue. Sometimes it is hard to start back up after than happens.
The Pickneyville Baseball Fieldsare marked off every quarter mile, but there is a 0.14 mile section at the end, for 1.14 miles total. I can run near 10 k by starting at the mile mark, and running toward the park entrance toward the 0.75 mile post, and then turning around. This gives 0.5 miles. Then 5 circuits at 1.14 miles gives 5.70, for a 6.2 mile total. There is a steep hill just past the mile post, but it lasts for less than a tenth of a mile. There is tougher set of grades between the half mile and three quarter mile post. On the route I take, it starts the steep hill in a forest, then a gazebo and parking lot, then a large bridge over a creek with an industrial park on the right, then a lake, a forest, a baseball field, the park entrance, another baseball field, a skateboard park, and then a small bridge.
Berkeley Landing to Berkeley Lake Chapel is a good five mile out and back route. (Click on the link and mouse over the hot spots to see photographs.) The route starts at the Berkeley Landing apartment complex on Peachtree Industrial, and turns right at the South Berkeley Lake light. While it runs out of sidewalk for about a half mile, there is plenty of grass at a bank and office park lawn before a narrow sidewalk resumes at Little Ridge Drive. The 2.5 mile point is at Berkeley Lake Chapel, located right on the lake. For longer runs, I will take a left onto Bush Road for the Bush Road - Lou Ivey route.
Lakeshore Drive is a scenic route that is a good alternate to the noisier Peachtree Industrial Boulevard. The problem with the route is that there is no sidewalk, no lighting, and in some places the shoulder is not that broad. So it can only be run during the day, and I have to be wary of any traffic, of which there is little. And the hills are definitely tough. On the other hand, this route is the best place to train just for the pleasure of the scenery. The best route for training is to take a shortcut on Little Ridge Road back to South Berkeley Lake Road, which leaves out the most difficult section of Lakeshore Drive.
Bush Road and Lou Ivey to South Old Peachtree is an extension of the Berkeley Lake Chapel route for longer runs. There are no stoplights and it is quieter, although I have to look out for dogs from time to time. There is a nasty dip where a creek crosses Bush Road, making two tough hills on an out-and-back.
South Old Peachtree to Medlock Bridge extends the Lou Ivey route mentioned above to about 15 k if one goes out and back. The last part runs past some strip malls, a power distribution station, and a large cemetary.
Spalding Drive from Medlock Bridge to Holcomb Bridge is a route of 3 miles that I sometimes use as an extension of the route mentioned above, but it has a few problems. There are a couple of long lights at Peachtree Parkway and Peachtree Corners Circle. The sidewalks are OK, but a little uneven in spots in the office parks past Peachtree Parkway. Spalding is an arterial road, although it is quieter on the weekends. It winds through two large outdoor malls, two schools, a number of churches, and residences.
Peachtree Corners Circle is a good alternate
to the Peachtree Corners light on the Spalding Drive route. The road has a good sidewalk
and I can get back to Spalding Drive either by way of the Triangle
Parkway (which is surprising busy even on the weekends) or Peachtree Parkway.
Training for 2007
The training program that I am using for London is based on the same traing program that I used for Munich, the Novice program of Hal Higdon. As with my training for the marathon in Munich, I have had to make modifications for illness, work, and slow recovery.
|1 January 2007||Berkeley Landing to Spalding and Howell Ferry Road||4+ hours||about 13 miles||Started at 2PM. Still stuffed from Christmas ham and chocolate. I lasted about 2.4 miles to the Avocet Road intersection. I walked down Avocet Road and back, and then down Spalding to Medlock Bridge and back. Lots of robins by the Millipore building today.|
|20 February 2007||Berkeley Landing to Medlock Bridge||about 60 minutes||6 miles||This was originally going to be an eight mile run, but the police intervened. I was approaching S. Berkeley Lake Road from Bush, when I noticed that a police car had his lights flashing, and stopped a car next to the chapel and the section of sidewalk where I was running. Not wanting to slow down, I veered off into the grass on the other side of the guard rail. But guard rails are not put there to guard grass. They guard things like drainage channels. I fell into one and banged my knee into the gravel. Fortunately, the officer saw what happened and offered me a ride back to my apartment. The knee was swollen for 24 hours, and my training schedule had to be altered at this point to allow for the knee to heal.|
|11 March||Shorty Howell Park||3 hours, 5 minutes||16 miles||I made it through 13.5 miles before starting to walk parts of this. I noticed that a pair of bluebirds have settled in to the boundry of the park away from Pleasant Hill Road. I will see if I can get their pictures sometime.|
|18 March||Shorty Howell Park||3 hours, 25 minutes||18 miles||I set a goal pace of 68 minutes per 6 miles, and held to it through through the first 12 miles. I used this session to practice taking water. I was ready to quit by the time I was done, but I made my target, and did not walk once.|
|22 March||Berkeley Landing to Pinckneyville Baseball/Soccer Fields||113 minutes||10 miles||This unusual run incorporates 3 cycles around the soccer and baseball complex to the Peachtree Industrial section that I run when I do not feel like fighting traffic to get to a park.|
|23 March 2007||Berkeley Landing to Medlock Bridge and Spalding||108 minutes||9.1 miles||Night run. The knee felt pretty good. I wanted to make up for a missed run on Tuesday so that I could get 40 miles in this week.|
|24 March 2007||Shorty Howell Park||40 minutes||3.5 miles||That was dismal. I was supposed to run 20 miles. I did not get past the third lap in the park. I had a slight blister from a thistle seed, and today was hot - high 80s and sunny. This is just a run that I will have to write off, and try to recover in time for the Bridge Run next week.|
|29 March 2007||Berkeley Landing to Berkeley Chapel||about 65 minutes||5 miles||I have been working late this week, and need to stay off that knee to give it a last chance to heal, and so that I am not depleted for the Bridge Run this weekend. The goal is to get a time of under an hour and not get injured.|
|31 March 2007||Cooper River||57:46 (gun time)||10 k||See below.|
|3 April 2007||S. Lakeshore route to Berkeley Chapel||about 61 minutes||about 5 miles||New route that I have always wanted to try. Beautiful. Away from the noise of Peachtree Industrial. With the trees, azaleas, lake, and hills, I would not have minded more of it. Think of the pictures from Augusta National for the Masters. I think this was better.|
|4 April 2007||Berkeley Landing to Lou Ivey and South Old Peachtree||about 91 minutes||8.1 miles||I used part of the Lakeshore / Little Ridge section as an alternate to Peachtree Industrial going in, but took Peachtree Industrial back, as it was getting dark.|
|5 April 2007||S. Lakeshore route||about 61 minutes||about 5 miles||Instead of going back toward S. Berkeley on Little Ridge, I took Lakeshore Drive all the way to South Berkeley and back. There is more beautiful scenery, but the grades are tough, and I always have to be aware of traffic coming from some of those turns.|
|7 April 2007||Berkeley Landing to Spalding and Howell Ferry Road||2:17:20||12 miles||Compare this with nearly the same route (without the Avocet Road section) on January 1. And this day was a bit of a failure, as I started to walk on that last hill before the North Berkeley light, and only managed to keep going for 11.6 miles. I am hoping that the London course is more like Shorty Howell Park. But the run was generally enjoyable until I was back on that hill.|
|10 April 2007||S. Lakeshore route||unrecorded||about 4 miles||Another try at my new favorite route. I took the short-cut down to Little Ridge and back to Peachtree Industrial.|
|12 April 2007 (morning)||Berkeley Landing to Bush Road and Lou Ivey and back||about 70 minutes||6 miles||I missed the run that I was supposed to do for Wednesday as I had to work late, so I got up early and slogged through this one. Not only did I have that nasty dip in Bush Road, but I was just feeling down in general. Too much caffeine from yesterday, perhaps.|
|12 April 2007 (evening)||Berkeley Landing to South Berkeley and back||38:15||3.25 miles||Lazy evening run. I felt better.|
|14 April 2007||Shorty Howell Park||87:10||8 miles||This was a morning run around good old Shorty Howell Park. Tried my desired pace of 11 minutes per mile. This worked well. We will see if this holds up for 26 miles on the 22nd. Temperatures were in the 60s, with some cloud cover. Storms are supposed to come in later tonight.|
|17 April 2007||3 miles|
|18 April 2007||4 miles|
|19 April 2007||2 miles|
|1 April 2006||Cooper River Bridge Run (Charleston, SC)||65:48||
Started early, made it past the 4 mile mark and the bridge, but slowed to a walk on Meeting and E Street, if I remember correctly. It got hot on that last stretch.
A water main around Turkey Creek burst the night before, and the cities of Charleston, North Charleston, and Hanahan were without water. This was appropriate, considering the race date. Fortunately there was a lot of bottled water available for the race itself. Picture of a me in front of the Old Citadel in Marion Square.
|4 July 2006||Peachtree Road Race (Atlanta, GA)||about 75 minutes||Very hot. I made it about 3 miles in, saw that hill by Piedmont Hospital, and started walking.|
17 Feb 2007
|57:48||Wow! It was 27 degrees F and I ran in a hooded sweatshirt, but running on all those nasty hills on Bush Road has worked. I not only broke 10K in an hour, but I beat it by over two minutes. My official time was 56:54, but I think someone got some cards mixed up. I will have to thank the two Bills that I ran with for providing me encouragement.|
|31 March 2007||
|Beautiful conditions. The temperature was in the 50s, and overcast, unlike last year. There were fewer runners than last year, which helped. I counted the 24 blocks from the end of the bridge to the finish line. I did not slow down, but there was nothing in the tank for sprinting across the finish line, either. On to London!|
|22 April 2007||London Marathon||I will be wearing number 54301, and will be at the blue start. I am hoping for an 11 minute per mile pace, which would put me at 4 hours, 48 minutes. If I can beat the 5 hours, 25 minutes that I did in Munich, I should be happy.|
|4 July 2007||They cashed my check, so I am in. Here is hoping that I don't get put back in time group 8 again.|