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Friday, October 10, 2014

Training Plan Completed

Sixteen weeks have passed since I started my Chicago Marathon training plan and it's finally time to toe the line.    My dream of qualifying for the Boston Marathon is a longshot.   A recent 5K  race time has McMillan's running calculator projecting a 3:48:20 marathon (I need to run 3:54:59) finish time, but last Sunday's 10K only projects to a 4:02:10 finish.    Below are this years best race times and McMillan's projections based on those times.

Brick Road Mile - 8/6/2014 :7:04 (3:59:01)
Shamrock Two Mile - 3/15/2014 : 15:20 (4:09:25)
Run for the Grapes 5K - 9/28/2014:   23:26 (3:48:20)
Five Mile mark of Cosie Laurello 10K: 41:37 (4:04:33)
Cosie Laurello 10K - 10/5/2014 : 51:37 (4:02:10)
Hermes Cleveland 10 Miler - 4/26/2014: 1:27:34 (4:05:48)
River Run Half Marathon -9/7/2014 : 1:55:05 (4:02:12)

At this point I still haven't decided on a race strategy.    One option is to just go out and run at 8:58 pace and hold on as log as I can.   There is no 3:55 pace group in my corral, so I thought of starting at the front of my corral and catching up with the 4:00 pace group in the corral in front of me

Race officials project 1.7 million spectators on the course but for motivation, I've decided to dedicate each mile of the marathon to special  people who have been influential in getting me to where I am today.

Mile 1 - Dr. Anil Patel  for saving my life.   Dr. Patel took the time to be thorough with me following a routine colonoscopy that revealed no abnormalities.     During the post procedure follow up, he asked if I had any other issues or concerns.     I told him that I played in an adult baseball league and that in recent years when I would run the bases, I would get extremely winded and would need significant recovery time before I was breathing normally again.    I had dismissed it as the asthma problems I have had most of my adult life.    Dr. Patel thought it prudent for me to have a stress test to rule out any coronary issues.   The stress indicated some irregularities that might be a sign of coronary artery disease.   A subsequent CT scan and heart catheterization confirmed a 70% blockage in my left anterior artery (the widow maker) 

Mile 2 – Dr. Cliff Packer – Cliff was my baseball teammate and a doctor at the VA in Cleveland.    When I told him I was going in for a heart cath, he insisted I call him afterwards.    He looked at my results and made the suggestion that I consider an alternative to the bypass surgery that the doctors at the Cleveland Clinic were recommending.    He turned me on to the teachings of Dr. Dean Ornish and Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn who each had conducted separate studies on the subject of reversing heart disease through diet and exercise.

Mile 3 – Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn – The doctor and author of the book “Preventing and Reversing Heart Disease” whose lifestyle plan I eventually chose.    Learn more about his teachings at    Dr. Sprouts as he is called by his peers, advocates eating nothing with a face or a mother, eliminate all oils from the diet,  eating lots of whole grains, fruit and vegetable along with 30 minutes of vigorous exercise per day.

Mile 4 - Jim Smith – (The axe murderer) Jim was one of the first runners I connected with when I started running.   I met Jim online through and he frequently commented on my daily postings, offering encouragement and advice.    When we agreed to meet up one Sunday afternoon for a run, Carol just knew he was some sort of deviant.     

Mile 5 -Warren Dillaway –Warren is always willing to slow down to help a back of the packer.  Warren is probably the most influential person in the promotion of our sport in the entire county. 

Mile 6 - Thom West – Like Warren, whenever I was the lone turtle in group ADR runs, Thom would never hesitate to drop back to keep me company.    He always seemed to know when to back off if I was struggling and when to push me if he sensed I had something left in the tank.

Mile 7 - Don Gill- The Encyclopedia.    I've learned more about running from Don than anyone else.    He’s always there for welcome advice and encouragement.    Before every big race Don always calls to wish me luck and he calls again soon after the race to find out how I did.

Mile 8 - Denver Haught – Training partner extraordinaire.    Denver and I are close (he’s a little faster) in speed and is my perfect training partner.    He joins me on my hard days (tempo runs and cruise intervals).    There are days I push him and days he pushes me and then there are days we carry each other.   One thing that is guaranteed, when Denver and I run, we are both exhausted if and when we finish the run.

Mile 9 - Drew Smith – The pace setter.    Drew refuses to let me finish ahead of him even in long slow runs.     If we go out for a tempo run with a target of 8:00 minutes he’ll push me to 7:55.    If my plan calls for 8:30 miles, we have to run 8:25.  I set three PRs running with Drew this past winter and they were all during training runs.

Mile 10 – Amy Bodnar and Elizabeth Bodnar – My running nieces.   Amy started this insanity.    Since Amy lived on the west coast we didn’t see her very often.   One year at a family reunion I noticed that she had become like myself a little pudgy (to be kind),  at the next reunion she was this slim, trim hotty preparing for her first half marathon.   We finally got to run together at the Detroit Marathon and toughed it out together under some pretty grueling conditions.   Lizzy started running about the same time I did and is a great motivator for me.    I would make a breakthrough in training and think I had a chance to keep up with her only to find out she improved equally as much.   Keep setting the bar higher Lizzy.

Mile 11 – Heather Harmon, Crystal Stoneman, Brenda Long, Mary Beckwith,  Lisa Haytcher, Giovanna Kustala – Long run partners.   “My Girls” and I have logged a lot of miles together this past year.   Many a Saturday morning I was content with blowing off a long run but I knew my harem was getting up to run with me so out the door I went. 

Mile 12 - Lexi Meaney – My early race partner.     When I first started running it was Lexi’s first year running cross country.     It took me six months before I could beat her.    She always used a strategy of begging me to slow down.   She would claim that her side hurt or she couldn’t breathe and convince me to walk for just a minute.   It never failed when the finish line was in sight though she could sprint like Usain Bolt and cross the finish line just before me.

Mile 13 - Alyssa Meaney – Lulu, Grand Daughter #2 hated running when we convinced her to try a 1 mile kids run.   I think that’s changed now as she seems to be enjoying her first year in cross country.   She has shown steady improvement.   I’m looking forward to the day when she catches me.

Mile 14 - Angela Bodnar-Meaney  - The unofficial ADR race photographer was convinced I had a death wish when I started running.     She convinced her husband Brad to start running so that he could keep an eye on me in case I had a heart attack during a race (as if he was going to make a difference).

Mile 15 - Brad Meaney – Brad first started running on orders from my daughter.   Brad was side by side with me in my other marathon attempts and practically carried me across the finish line.  It wasn't long before he got the bug and started serious training and has become a pretty darned good runner himself.

Mile 16 – My Daily Mile Friends – Lisa Kiser, Jean Smolka, Chris Bamberger, Robin Stewart and Deb Roberts.    During my first couple years of running I logged all my workouts on DM and my online friends’ constant encouragement kept me training.   If there was a day that I didn’t quite feel up to running, I would see their posts and out the door I went.

Mile 17 - Nicholas Bodnar – All year long I had to get up at 4am so I could meet Nick at the Y for our morning workouts.    The spinning and weight lifting we did together  added an important new dimension to my conditioning which helped stay injury free even though my mileage has increased dramatically over the previous couple years.

Mile 18 – Eric Riesterer – Eric joined me on some pretty tough tempo runs and track workouts.   I would be feeling like I couldn't run another step and he would tell me I was looking good or something like only one more lap, or two more minutes.

Mile 19 - Chrissy Tobias – My main motivator.    What an inspiration.    The first year that I ran, Chrissy was always beating me (barely).     It wasn't until late in that first season that I was finally able to catch her and that took an all-out kick passing her just before the finish line.   The next season, I got the upper hand and finished just ahead of her in most of our contests.    I like to think beating me this year was some of her motivation to train like she has the past year.   I can only dream of beating her again, but she knows I’m going to try like hell.

Mile 20 - Steve Wychock – My Guru.    Always available when I need advice or rehabilitation.   I’ll keep telling myself during this difficult mile what Steve always tells me.   “It’s not painful, It’s uncomfortable”

Mile 21 - Kim Kreider –Kim is the most amazing runner I know, always one of the first to congratulate you on a good run and say just the right things when I’d get those feelings of self-doubt.   

Mile 22 - Jesse Sharp – For setting such a high bar for me to shoot for.    Jesse and I were in the same age group until this year, and when I see him consistently finishing in the top five against runners many years his junior he proves to me that my advanced years is not an excuse to not be able to compete with the elite.

Mile 23 - Erik van't Veer and Dan Loose -  Two of the most dedicated runners I know.   Through the mileage challenges we had this year they've shown me the kind of work that is required to attain the lofty goals that we have in common.    When I coached baseball, I used to tell my players that hard work was no guarantee of success but without it they had no chance.    These boys have put in the work and experienced disappointment despite the work that they have put in.    They keep persevering, Erik has been rewarded with his BQ and I’m certain Dan will get his very soon.

Mile 24 - Flo Bodnar – I’ll be counting on Mom to be sending me strength from above when things really start getting tough.     At an early age, mom instilled in me an old world work ethic and encouraged me to “Dream the Impossible Dream, to fight the unbeatable foe……TO RUN, where the brave dare not go".

Mile 25 - Carol Bodnar  - My biggest fan and best friend.    When I made the decision to change my lifestyle, she was terrified that I was making the wrong choice but helped me stay on track.   Together, we went from living the life that most people in the western world live,  high fat, meat centered meals with little exercise to a life with daily exercise and a oil free vegan diet.    I’ll bet most of you are thinking our meals must be totally tasteless, but Carol is always creating exciting new recipes.    It would have been absolutely impossible for me to travel this journey without her by my side.

Mile 26 - The Almighty for blessing me with good health, good friends and a second chance at life.

Rising Cholesterol - Good?

Had my six month follow up with my primary care physician and things are continuing to improve.   A first glance at my blood test results had me a little concerned.    My total cholesterol levels had risen from a minuscule 118 to a borderline high of 145.    The American Heart Association recommends that total cholesterol of less than 200 mg/dl is desirable, however heart disease guru Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn suggests that total cholesterol of less than 150 mg/dl is heart attack proof.

My 27 point increase in total cholesterol is not necessarily a bad thing since the increase was attributable to a 27 point increase in my (good) HDL.    My LDL (bad) actually stayed the same at 48. An LDL value of less than 100 mg/dl is considered desirable by the AHA.   As a result, my doctor cut my statin dosage in half for the 2nd time in a row and gave me the ok to start weaning myselft off my very low dose of beta blocker.