The Baseline for 2012

Today was the first workout of the year. Just an easy 4 mile run on the treadmill. If you don’t know me yet, I wake up at 3:45 am to work out before I go to work. I weighed in this morning at 238. So I have some work to do before the Martian Marathon on April 14th.

I am hoping after a year of keeping my weight between 230 and 240, I can drop a few pounds from this. Hopefully losing some weight will help me reach my goal of a sub 5 hour marathon. Losing weight will help with energy management at least.

2012 Goals

I am starting 2012 a little behind in fitness and I am hoping to fix that. My first goal is to complete a sub 5 hour marathon. I intend to sign up for the Martian Marathon on April 14th. This will be my first goal race for 2012. Depending on how my training goes, I am thinking about making an attempt at a sub 6:30 Half Ironman. I am looking at either the Racing for Recovery Half Ironman in June or possibly another one in September. My backup plan for the Marathon will be either Grand Rapids or Detroit in October.

2011 Summary

I did not have the best of years in 2011. I lost a lot of fitness at the end of 2010 and fought very hard to get some of it back. I ended 2011 still not as fit but at least making progress.


I competed in 6 races in 2011. I did 2 indoor triathlons, 2 sprint triathlons, a 10k and a 5k. All of the races were significantly worse than races in previous years. The lesson learned is that fitness is difficult to obtain and easy to lose.


I covered 1534.66 miles in training, 929.05 miles cycling, 546.09 miles running, and 54.96 miles swimming. This was about 100 miles short of what I did in 2010, which is about the distance of the Marathon and Half-Ironman I did in 2010.

My training in 2010 was a bit aimless because I wasn’t following a plan and didn’t have a hard goal for the training.

The Next Goal

While I am still disappointed with my post Grand Rapids fitness, I have decided that I am ready to take on the Marathon again. My new goal is to run the Martian Marathon in Dearborn, Michigan on April 14, 2012. This will be my third marathon and I have a primary goal of finishing in under 5 hours and a secondary goal of going under 4:30. Hopefully the lessons I have learned in the first 2 will help me get there. The first lesson is that I have been doing my long and easy runs way too fast. The second was that I just didn’t have enough mileage on my long runs.

I will be using the Runners World Smart Coach Training Plan. I used my recent 10k race time of 59:50 as the basis. The plan lays out for me to ultimately run a 4:12 marathon. That may be a little optimistic, but the plan does have me running 20 miles 8 times between now and the marathon. I think this will get me to the Marathon as prepared as I possibly can. The plan calls for 3 runs a week, the other days are for either cross training or rest. My intention is to take one day during the week off and swim on the weekdays. The day after the long run, I am going to try to ride my bike whenever weather permits.

There are 34 weeks to go and a lot can happen between now and then, but I feel encouraged to have a plan.

Running the Rails 10k 2011 Race Report

Well things have changed significantly since last year. Last year I was late in training for the Grand Rapids Marathon. This year I am trying to catch up after taking 3 months off after the marathon. I ran this race last year as a training run the day after a 10 miler. This year I ran as a fitness test. I really like this race because it is relatively small and low key and it has a great course. The first three miles are generally uphill and the last three are generally downhill. The only real goal I had for today was to finish in under an hour.

The race started with the first mile gradually uphill. I knew my fitness was not great so I had to concentrate on holding back. I kind of naturally fell into a group of women running at about 10 minute mile pace. I comfortably rolled through the first mile in 9:56 and was feeling good. I stayed in the group for the second mile which went uphill a bit more then downhill to cross the Huron River and back up. My focus was to keep the effort constant on the uphill even if I had to slow down. The second mile was 10:04. This is where the race started to change. First is started raining and second I started to pick off people who started faster than me. The rain really was little bother other than it made my sunglasses fog up. I moved the sunglasses to the top of my hat and they ceased to be a bother. I moved through the third mile in 10:04.

The half way point was where I allowed myself to pick up the pace. I was also moving out of the group of women and actually passed a couple of guys. The fourth mile was fairly rolling but net downhill and I managed to run it in 9:34. In mile four and five I was out of the group running at 10 minute mile pace and out of touch with the faster runner, basically alone. The fifth mile was completed in 9:18 and in fairness was a net downhill. The sixth mile started with what I will now call “heartbreak hill.” My heart rate jumped up and my pace plummeted. I think I crested the hill at 12 minute mile pace and a 178 heart rate. Then the race finally turned downhill and would stay that way to the finish. I managed to recover and get my heart rate down to 170 and the speed back up. I finished the sixth mile in 9:04 and could see the final turn. No reason to hold back now. I gave it everything I had. Especially when I could see the finish clock turn 59:00. Since my goal was 1 hour, I had to hit it. I think I crossed just after the clock turned an hour. The race had a timing mat at the start so I may have actually beat the hour. I won’t know for sure until the official results are posted.

Overall, I am happy that I made my goal time, but now I am going to set up the training plan for the Martian Marathon. This will be my third marathon and I am hoping to go under 5 hours. Hopefully this will be a good kick off.

Summary of the First Week.

I made it to the gym 5 days in a row this week.  Unfortunately, I had to answer my pager on Monday so I only worked out 4 days in a row.  I ran twice, swam and rode the trainer.  These were the first meaningful workouts since October.  My longest workout was 30 minutes but it is a start.

There is a lot of work to get done before June 5th.

Starting Over in 2011

I haven’t done any meaningful workout since Thanksgiving Day when I ran the Turkey Trot 5k. I have gained back about 22 pounds since then. I have some serious work to do. My plans are to do 3 half-marathons and a Half-Ironman triathlon this year. The ultimate goal is to do a Full Ironman distance triathlon in the next 2 or 3 years. I hope to do a better job of updating this blog at least once a week.

Tomorrow I will start working out again by going to the gym first thing in the morning. Tomorrow’s workout will be a simple 30 minute run maybe a little longer if I feel up to it. It will also be my first weigh in on the scale at the gym. I am going to cut down my workout tracking to just Daily Mile. I will upload my Garmin data to Garmin Connect, however, Daily Mile will be my primary tracking program.

My next post will be my baseline data. That will include my weight and how the treadmill run goes. After that, I am hoping to post to the blog weekly, and use my twitter account for daily updates.

2010 Turkey Trot for a Cause Race Report

The 2010 Turkey Trot for a Cause was my “A” Race for one reason and one reason only. I would be racing my 11 year old daughter for family bragging rights. This was our 3rd annual Thanksgiving Day 5k, but it was the first time Stephanie was in condition enough and competitive enough to actually race me. I will cut to the chase and admit that she did beat me. It was not a fitness victory, rather it was the superiority of her tactics. It was a close race, 25:51 to 25:52 and the outcome was not set until the final 100 meters.

First a little background. Last spring Stephanie (who I refer to as MLG ‘my little girl’ for short) ran cross country for her charter school. In her first race, she shot out to the lead by the first turn and about a mile in was running in 3rd place. Did I leave out the fact that MLG was a 5th grader running against 5th-8th graders? Meet after meet this would be the case as Stephanie would finish in third place with only 2 older girls ahead of her. Since the regular season meets included the same 5 teams, this would be expected. The next meet would be the regional meet and an additional 5 team. At this meet Stephanie would come in 3rd again. Finally the state meet rolled around and all of the National Hertiage Academy charter schools were represented. MLG was complaining of a sore knee and had a limp, but she wanted to run really badly. She did run and finished the 2 mile race in 14:45 but was limping really badly. Both her mother and I knew something was wrong. We eventually discovered she had a stress fracture of the Femoral Neck and underwent surgery at the end of May to put 2 screw into her femor to stabilize the Fracture.

After a remarkable recovery began training for Select Soccer with the Van Buren Wildcats F. C. We could early that she needed time to build up her fitness again and strength in her leg but by the time Fall Season started, I think it would be fair to say she was fully recovered. It was during this recovery that MLG decided the Thanksgiving Day Turkey Trot would be a race instead of a run we did together.

I had run my first Marathon in October of 2009, my first Half Marathon in April of 2010, my first Half Ironman distance Triathlon in June of 2010 and my second Marathon in October of 2010. My focus has only been on longer races so until 2010, my only 5k races were ones I ran with MLG. The best was a 28:06 that we ran in 2009. This year I did a sprint triathlon where I ran a 27:04 5k run leg. I then ran a 24:35 5k on Father’s day.

All of this being said, I was expected a competitive race. I didn’t count on MLG’s tactical superiority. She got me with the one strategy that will work every time. She used the “My Dad will always look out for me” strategy. We started very fast and I held back because I knew the pace was to fast for me. Then I saw MLG coming back. I eased off to keep her going and we ran together from about the half mile mark until the 3 mile mark. We ran at a good pace, but not at the ragged edge for me. I thought MLG was about to give up at the 3 mile mark, but as we rounded the final turn, she turned on a sprint that I was no match for because I simply am not as fast as she is in a sprint. I might say next year I will show her no mercy, but that is probably not possible. I am guessing next year she will be far to fast for me to keep up with and even if she isn’t I will always be a sucker for this year’s strategy.

Time To Prepare For My A Race

Now that my silly season which consisted of a Half-Marathon, Sprint Triathlon, Half-Ironman, 5k, 10k and a Marathon is over. It is time to get to work on the most important race of the year. This will be a battle royale. On Thursday November 25th, I will be racing in the Canton Turkey Trot for a Cause against my toughest competitor yet, Stephanie Miller, my 11 year old daughter. What started in 2008 as a fun run where we both ran our first 5k together and continued in 2009 where we both ran faster and finished in a tie to the hundredth of a second, has now become a competition ever since Stephanie announced earlier this year that she would beat me Thanksgiving Day. Since trash talk and sarcasm are our family’s love language, I figure this is the perfect forum to get it started.

The Competitors

Steve Miller
Age: 44
Height: 6-2
Weight: 230ish
Experience: Started running in 2008 to train for the 2009 Detroit Free Press Marathon. First 5k was the 2008 Turkey Trot for a cause. Finished 2 Marathons (2009 Detroit Free Press, 2010 Grand Rapids). Finished a Half-Ironman Distance Triathlon (2010 Racing for Recover Half Ironman) and a Half Marathon (2010 Martian Half Marathon).
5k PR: 24:35 (2010 Plymouth YMCA Father’s Day 5k)

Stephanie Miller
Age: 11
Height: 5-5ish
Weight: 120ish
Experience: First 5k was the 2008 Turkey Trot for a Cause. Competed on the Achieve Charter Academy Cross Country Team as a 5th Grader. Finished 26th in the National Heritage Academy State Meet and was later in the week diagnosed with a Stress Fracture of the Femoral Neck. Currently plays Select Soccer for the Van Buren Wildcats F.C.
5k PR: 28:04 (2009 Turkey Trot for a Cause 5k)

The Match Up

The stats would appear to favor the older Miller, however there are a few things about the younger Miller that don’t appear in the stats. Stephanie has been training for Soccer since Late June. This training has included a lot of speed and agility work. She has only run 2 5k races in her life, however she has run a 2 mile race at 7:20 per mile pace with a Stress Fracture. This is about 10 seconds per mile faster than my fastest mile from my 5k PR Race. It is really going to boil down to pacing experience versus speed.

When she was 9, I was excited that Stephanie liked running and wondered how long it would be before she was faster than me. Little did I know, 2 years later, I would be wondering if I can keep up with her.