Created: Tue, Mar 6, 2001, 1:05 PM

 marathon training schedule
 calendar of marathons
 avenue of giants 10K/marathon
 national park service redwood web page
 facts about redwoods
 the largest tree in the world

 AoG logo
 AoG course map
 course pic at the 5 mile mark
 "founders tree" -- a large redwood
 a fallen redwood


I've decided to train for a marathon. I've been doing spinning (riding a stationary bike in a class) as my cardio exercise 3x a week or so for about 8 months, so I'm hoping some of that conditioning will carry over.

The beginner's training schedule I've been going by is an 18 week program; you progressively add more and more mileage each week, with your "long" run on Sundays and "short" runs 3x during the week.

The problem is, that race I'd really like to run is the "Avenue of Giants" marathon, because it's a run through the redwoods in California. I've been wanting to go back and visit the redwood forest again for years now, and being able to run through it would just be awesome.

When I say it's a problem, what I mean is that the Avenue of Giants marathon is on May 6th -- that's exactly 9 weeks away, not 18 weeks. I'm going to give it a shot, though -- if nothing else, I will at least run the 10K race out in the redwood forest. My real goal, though, is the full 26 miles.

Starting Week: 3/5/2001
Marathon date: 5/6/2001

My training schedule is as follows:

Tuesday3.4 miles32:45My first run, and just after we got slammed by a huge snow storm, no less. It was actually a 3.4 mile run, but it felt tougher than I thought it would -- had to stop 3x to tie my shoes (until I gave up and double-knotted them) and once for traffic. My outfit was about perfect, but my gloves were way too warm. 9.63 minute-mile pace
Wedneday3.4 miles30:33Phew -- legs were sore. Spinning Monday, ran 3.4 miles Tuesday morning, leg workout Tuesday night, and now another 3.4 miles this morning. Phew! Felt good -- I wanted to get under 30 minutes for the 3.4 miles, but didn't quite get there, despite sprinting the last leg of the run. 8.98 minute-mile pace
Thursday3.4 miles27:47Neither rain, nor snow, nor homicidal minivan-driving soccer moms will stop me (though she came damn close to crippling me). I dunno if it was the new shoes, or the music, or what, but despite spinning last night and trouble sleeping, I ran the 3.4 miles much better today. 8.17 minute-mile pace.
Sunday8.9-10.5 miles86:16I did this run at the Whistler ski resort in Vancouver, BC, Canada (I'm here on a ski trip). The elevation is about 2,100 feet, and the run was a bit more hilly than I am used to, but I ran for 1 hour and 26 minutes straight -- given my worst minute-mile time, that's 8.9 miles -- given my best pace thus far, that's 10.5 miles. Either way, I'm sore (both from the run and from the skiing), and I was only supposed to run 6-7 miles for my training, so I'm happy with my run.
Tuesday4.5km25:31I was fairly disappointed by my run today -- I was supposed to go 3 miles, but only went 4.5km (which is slightly short of 3 miles -- I found a measured trail to run on). What made it so disappointing was that for the first 2km, I was running at a fantastic pace -- under 7 minute miles -- then the trail I was on turned into a snow/slush covered mess, which was really tough for me to run on. I felt like I was working extremely hard, yet my time sucked. Ah well.
Wedneday4 miles--n/a -- was away travelling
Thursday3 miles--n/a -- was away travelling
Friday3.4 miles26:31After some travelling hell, I finally made it back to Rochester (after unexpectedly spending the night in scenic Chicago). Felt pretty good this run; 7.79 minute-mile pace
Sunday11 miles100:57Ow ow ow ow ouch. This was a tough run for me; woke up, had some water and coffee (the drink of champions) and then set out on an 11 mile run. The first 2 miles I did at a 7.66 minute mile pace, then I settled into my distance pace for the rest of it -- and good thing, too, it was painfully hilly. The last 1-2 miles were brutal for me, and I was dizzy and spent when I finished, my calves hurt, but I finished! I was only supposed to go 9 miles according to my schedule, but 11 miles sounded like a good idea (though trust me, I considered stopping at 9 miles several times). 9.17 minute-mile pace
Wedneday3.4 miles26:42I decided to move the schedule up so that I have two days rest AFTER my long run instead of before -- based on how I felt yesterday, I think this is a good idea. Felt pretty good on this run, nothing special to say, really. Gettin' there, one step at a time. 7.85 minute-mile pace
Thursday5.5 miles43:42This run was supposed to be just 5 miles according to my training schedule, but the circuit I measured was 5.5 miles, so I decided to just do that. My back hurt slightly on this run, and my legs ache a bit now -- I'm going to start taking ibuprofen to reduce the swelling the counteract this. Still, I felt pretty good on the run, despite the lousy weather and lack of sleep last night (5 hours or so). 7.94 minute-mile pace
Friday3 miles--Skipped this one (in no small part due to lack of sleep from a cat, who's name I won't mention) -- hopefully this will be the only training run I miss (plus it was only 3 miles)
Sunday12 miles109:13The course I measured was actually 14 miles, but I stopped at 12 miles and collapsed on someone's lawn. I'd been waking up and running without eating anything, and while this is fine for the shorter runs, on the longer ones, I think I burn up all my blood sugar and glycogen and hit a wall. I was *craving* sweets when I finished, so I think my body needed calories and sugar. Next time I'll eat a few hours before my long run; still, I did the required 12 miles, and did it in pretty good time. The 2 mile walk home sucked, though, because I was wet with sweat and it was very cold (20F) and windy -- I froze my ass off. 9.10 minute-mile pace
Wedneday3.4 miles26:21Despite not being quite over with the head cold I got from my 2 mile cold walk back on Sunday, I did good this run! Felt like hell for the first 10 minutes or so, then I went on cruise control. My actual time for this run was 27:21, but I'm subtracting the time I had to wait at the damn stoplights (I kept jogging in place). How dare the cars get in my way! :) 7.75 minute-mile pace
Thursday5.6 miles45:15My legs were a little sore from a leg workout the day before, but I still did pretty good this run. I ran at a fast pace for the first 3 miles, but then I had to slow it up a bit to stay on pace. I was supposed to run 6 miles, but the course we clocked ended up being a bit short of that. Still, a decent run. 8.08 minute-mile pace
Friday3.4 miles26:43Oh man. My calves felt welded shut this morning (the second day after a workout is always the worst). I stretched a bit and started running, but my legs didn't start to feel reasonable until at least halfway through the run. Even then, it is arguable whether they warmed up or the endorphins kicked in :) Also, the weather was another crappy snowy/slushy/rainy day in Rochester; spent a good bit of the run dodging puddles and traffic. 7.85 minute-mile pace
Sunday14 miles122:25This run was supposed to be just a 13 mile run, but I decided to tackle the 14 mile course I'd clocked instead. Good things this run: I felt pretty good the whole way (legs were still a tad sore, but I ignored it), I didn't get dizzy, and I didn't pass out on anyone's lawn -- went the full 14 miles, and even sprinted (well, ok, ran more quickly) for the last mile or so. Amazing what a little food (and a little more common sense) will do for you -- I ate a few hours before the run, and I brought some runner's Gu with me (I ate 2 of them during the run) for extra energy. I can't decide what the Gu taste like, and I'm frightened to look at the ingredients (which is out of character for me, it's normally the first thing I look at), but it appears to work.

I also bought some "real" running gear (right down to the underwear), so now I am SpandexMan! (women, children, and people with nervous stomachs, please avert your eyes). Still haven't gotten a "runner's high" but I felt good enough to keep going for a longer distance. Woohooo! 8.74 minute-mile pace

Milestone: I'm now officially halfway through my accelerated training schedule. What I thought was an impossible goal of being able to run the marathon now seems possible -- "The journey of 1,000 miles begins with a single step", as the expression goes.

It's very rewarding to be running a course you've run before, and feeling good at certain points where you used to be gasping for breath and wanting to quit. I am glad I did not quit. I hope I will continue with the second half of the marathon training with similar vigor.

Wedneday3.4 miles35:37Beautiful day outside -- the weather in rochester changes her mind as abruptly and randomly as a bipolar woman with her period (ladies, it's a joke, laugh a little! :)! I was a bit overdressed for this run; I was moving at a good pace, and because it was (relatively) warm and sunny here, I overheated a bit towards the end. I took a *slight* detour to avoid having to stop at a traffic light (I hit a good stride, and didn't feel like stopping to wait), but I checked the route, and it was still 3.4 miles -- actually all of my "3.4" mile runs have been closer to 3.5 miles (probably 3.48 miles). My best pace yet! 7.53 minute-mile pace
Thursday8.3 miles68:45This run was supposed to be a 7 mile run according to my schedule, but we already had an "8.6" mile run clocked, so I decided just to do that. I was a little tired from working late, but still, I moved at a good pace -- when I did the calculations at the end, it was an 7.99 minute-mile pace! I was a little disappointed when I re-clocked the run to find out it was only 8.3 miles, but still, a decent pace, and I feel good (except for my ever-expanding blister on my right foot). 8.28 minute-mile pace
Sunday4.3 miles36:04Ye gods, you haven't run until you've tried running up hill while the Rochester "trade winds" are blowing. The first two miles of this run were fine; the second two were mostly up hill, and entirely into a rather massive headwind. I checked the weather, and they said 32mph winds, gusting up to 45mph -- and it sure felt like it. This run was supposed to be 15 miles, and we set out on a 16.1 mile course we clocked, but with this wind, it just wasn't going to happen. I ran into the wind for 2.3 miles, turned the corner for the next 6 mile stretch, only to find that the wind was still hitting me nearly head on (only at a slight angle now), so I decided to just make this run the 4 mile run I was supposed to to Friday, and do the long run tomorrow (Monday). I'm a little disappointed in myself, but the wind was *brutal* to run in head-on. 8.37 minute-mile pace
Monday16.1 miles141:44I was a little tired and a little sore today -- this was he first day that I didn't have at least a day off before my long run, and additionally, a certain cat decided to wake me up several times (FOR SALE: combination furry poop machine/alarm clock (snooze button non-functional) -- best offer). The weather was much colder and a little rainy, but it actually made for good running weather. I felt good most of the way, but the last mile or two required a bit of effort to stick it out; still, never a doubt that I'd finish. 8.80 minute-mile pace
Wednesday3.4 miles25:03This was supposed to be a 4 mile run, but I've grown fond of my little 3.4 mile course, and I like comparing my times, so I decided to just do it instead. Ran with my friend Joellyn (sp?) -- I don't think she's ever running with me again because I ran at my own pace ("That's not running together"). Ah well. Felt good this run. 7.37 minute-mile pace or, 7:22 (mins:secs)
Thursday8.3 miles72:32Had just about everything against me on this one -- legs were sore, didn't get much sleep, just finished working out, 40mph gusting winds, and ran quite late at night (started at 8:45pm or so)... blah! The only thing that kept me going was that I did not want to mess my schedule up! :) 8.73 minute-mile pace
Friday5.6 miles43:33Gotta go eat fondue so this will be quick -- good run, nice pace -- knee hurt a bit, but that's what Advil is for. 7.79 minute-mile pace
Monday18.1 miles165:13Phew! 2 hours and 45 minutes of straight running, not a single stop to tie a shoe, take a piss, or even for a traffic light. I ran this entire run a bit slower than I normally do -- usually the first 2-3 miles are at a 7:30 minute-mile pace or so; today it was closer to 9 minute-miles; I just took is fairly easy the whole way, a steady pace. I must admit that at about 15 miles, all I thought about was "ugh, when is this going to be over??" Also, although this may fall under TMI (too much information), I think it might be useful to some people who are thinking about getting into this. After running in the cold for 2+ hours, your shirt moving up and down over your nipples is like someone taking a nail file to them. In fact, my running shirts are bloodstained from them bleeding from excess wear and tear. I'm definitely going to have to tape or bandaid them up next time. 9.12 minute-mile pace
Wednesday5 miles--I've decided that I definitely need more than 1 day rest after my long run, so I didn't to my run today. In addition to the nipple thing, my knees are a bit sore -- it's weird, it's not in my joints or muscles, it is on TOP of my kneecap. I suspect it is from running on the slanted (for drainage) pavement for so long. Maybe I'll make it up Saturday, but I doubt it, since it would mean no rest before the 14 mile run on Sunday. *sigh*
Thursday5.6 miles43:11 Well, I managed to shave exactly 22 seconds faster than last 5.6 mile run -- not exactly a huge improvement, but still, I'll take it! I managed to find a good solution to the chaffing issue -- "Nu Skin Liquid bandage" -- apply it like varnish, let it dry, and away you go! 7.71 minute-mile pace
Friday9 miles----
Sunday14 miles----
Wednesday3.4 miles25:38You know, after a day of work, then a good workout, it is *hard* to pry yourself out of bed at 9pm and go for a run! I did ok despite being tired and rather worn -- got a cramp about 2/3rds of the way through, but just worked through it. 7.53 minute-mile pace
Thursday6 miles--I took a few days off -- one of the things my training literature says is that to ensure you don't hurt yourself, you rest if your body tells you to. Well, a combination of food poisoning (I think) or some kind, trouble sleeping, and the beginings of knee pain, I decided to take a few days off this week and last week. I'm glad I did.
Saturday6.0 miles49:42This was a really pleasant run. Beautiful day outside, and I'm in my "taper" phase of the training, where I keep running, but I take it easy so that my body can recover and be at full strength for the marathon (I won't be weight training at the gym for the next week, either). This is the first run in a while where I really just enjoyed it -- took a slow pace, and had fun with it. For those around here, I ran from my place (Buckingham) to Park, park until it ends, then over to Harvard, to Culver, left into Cobbs Hill park, right onto Winton, right onto Highland, then I went up Cobbs Hill, around the loop, down to Monroe, to Culver, to Park, back home. Cobbs Hill is a reasonably steep hill; to my surprise, it felt great running up it -- wasn't even short of breath. The timing/distance on this really surprised me; I thought I ran much slower and not as far as a did -- this is a good thing! 8.28 minute-mile pace
Sunday8.4 miles64:58Today I had a friend of mine bike along side me while I ran; I had to stop myself from stealing her bike and riding the distance :). I did the same run I did yesterday, but I tacked 2.4 miles on the begining of it -- so towards the end, it was a nice run up Cobbs Hill again. I felt pretty good the whole way; this was about 1/3 the marathon distance, so hopefully I can do the whole thing! Was surprised at my pace (again) -- I ran this faster than I thought I would -- though I did feel it in my legs a bit (I think in part because of the run yesterday). 7.73 minute-miles
Wednesday3.6 miles31:57A nice short run, at a very moderate pace. I almost feel lazy running this way, but the training schedule says to take it easy and taper down at the end, so I am. Still, I enjoyed it -- beautiful day! 8.87 minute-mile pace
Thursday4 miles----
SundayMay 6th --marathon-- 26.2 miles4:09:13I was extremely tired after I flew in on Friday, however I got a good night's sleep Friday and Saturday nights, and on Sunday morning, I felt good! I was a little nervous about the marathon, but overall I felt ready to go! I suited up, packed my runners Gu into my shorts, taped my nipples up, applied vasoline in the right places, and I was ready to go!

(Incidentally, there is very little flattering about the outfit I wore for the run, but it sure was comfortable -- getting ready felt like one of those stereotypical "gearing up" scenes from cheesey Rambo-esque movies).

The run itself felt good -- too good! Despite the fact that numerous runners told me not to get caught up in the excitment, I did. First, the Redwood forest was gorgeous, and bellowed energy -- and secondly, it was just extremely exciting to finally run the race, with so many other people around. I ran the first 13 miles waaaaaaay too fast for me. If I ran at this pace for the entire marathon, I would have finished in 3 hours and 20 minutes or so. I finished at the 1/2 way mark (13 miles) in 1:44:17 -- about an 8 minute-mile pace for 13 miles! This was too fast for me by far, but I felt so good I just kept going with it.

That was a mistake. I was pretty burnt out by mile 18, and by mile 22, I was out of energy, my legs hurt like hell, and I had huge blisters on my feet. There were many times during the last 6 miles that I looked at my watch, and knew that if I ran at even a moderate pace, I'd finish in under 4 hours (which would be a dream for me -- my first marathon, such short training, etc.). However, I just couldn't do it. I'd burnt all my blood sugar, the lactic acid in my legs was causing them to seize up, I felt dizzy, and the half-dollar sized blister on the bottom of my feet made me feel every step.

Still, I finished running, and did so at just over 4 hours -- and I'm very happy with that. At the end of the race, there was no elation, just happiness that the punishment was over, and I could keel over on the lawn and start whining (but with a medal around my neck!)

Official Results

262.  Andrew Welch Rochester, NY  1178   M    31  4:09:46  37 / 58  262 / 662   9:32  4:10:18  1:42:28  7:49
Basically, this means I did the 1/2 marathon (13.1 miles) in 1:42:28, at a 7:49 minute-mile pace and I did the full marathon (26.2 miles) in 4:09:46, at a 9:49 minute-mile pace. You can see how how burnt I was from the first 13 miles because of how my time plummeted (1:42 for the first 13 miles, 2:27 for the second 13).

I finished in 262th place out of 662 people who finished, and 37th place out of 58 people in my "division" (age/sex group).

Marathon Pictures

Michelle stretches the morning of the marathon
Andrew, looking like some freak from "A Clockwork Orange" with nipples taped
Andrew before the race, all ready to go kick some butt!
Michelle before the race, ready to run her third (!) marathon!
Andrew's feet after running 26.2 miles; note the blisters (they looked worse before they were lanced)
Looking rather drained, and somewhat smaller, but Andrew poses in victory after the marathon
After running a marathon, Michelle casually decides to strike a glamour pose
Yeah, right Andrew, pretend you have any strength left after 26.2 miles!
Michelle strikes a contrite pose
Michelle and Andrew together after the run -- both smelling "rather ripe"
Good thing Michelle is light, or this just wouldn't work

There are other pictures of the Redwood Forest and coastline here


Other strange adventures, stories, and pictures can be found here. If you have any questions, please feel free to email me at:

Andrew Welch / el Presidente / Ambrosia Software, Inc.