Posts tagged ‘Run Less Run Faster’

January 19, 2015

Making Progress

Stress Fracture Update

The big news this week is that I ran… twice!  The first one was supposed to be just a mile, but turned into two, and the second was supposed to be 3.5 and ended up being 2.5 due to freezing rain, but still, I ran!  My foot felt a bit sore for about the first mile or so of each, and again towards the end of both runs, but overall there seemed to be no increased soreness or swelling afterward.  I did notice that my arch felt a bit tight a few hours after, and I think I will probably need to be a bit more diligent about stretching and using the foam roller as I ease back into running.  I’ve been keeping up with the strength, biking, and swimming this week as well, and weirdly, I think I can actually feel my body starting to adapt to the new training.  Everything stays the same for days or weeks, and then suddenly the hand weights that felt heavy last week seem to be lighter, or something will just click mid-swim.  Last week I looked in the mirror and thought that it seemed odd that my arms didn’t really look any different after a month of swimming and weight training, and then two days later I looked like I had taken up a blacksmithing hobby.  (I actually did a little in college and have some lovely candlesticks to show for it…)

Anyway, I’m trying hard to come up with a training plan for the next several weeks that will challenge me without risking reinjury.  My successful runs this weekend gave me enough confidence to sign up for a 4-mile race a month from now, and I’ve decided to try using a slightly modified FIRST plan to train.  I’ll actually be doing the cross-training this time, which should fold nicely into my tri plans, and if all goes well, a fast 4-miler will set me up for faster distance work this spring.  I still need to lay out my full race calendar for the year, but I want to hold off a few more weeks to see what kind of running volume I’m able to handle before I start committing to the spring races that I really want to do.  In related news, I got the email on Thursday for my guaranteed entry to the NYC Marathon, and $227 later I am officially in!  Long Run Buddy is as well, and I’m very excited to have a training partner for the full distance of my long runs this fall.

When do I get to call myself a Triathlete?

Even though I’m holding off on committing to any major (running) races for a few more weeks, I did sign up for two sprint-tri’s in May and June, and suddenly that whole endeavor is getting much more real.  My swim classes started last Tuesday, and I’m so, SO glad I enrolled.  The class is geared to novice (but not absolute beginner) swimmers and is focused on the basics of technique and efficiency.  I’ve always seen myself as a weak swimmer and was nervous that I should have signed up for the beginner class, but I seem to be at least at the average skill level in the group.  A few of my classmates have done the NYC Tri before, so I feel a bit more confident that I’ll be able to get through the swim in the allotted time, not to mention survive a dip in the Hudson.  There are also several veteran runners/first-time triathletes in the class who are signed up for the NYC race, and it will be great to get to know a few other newbies as well.  Last week’s session focused mainly on breathing technique, and in addition to working side lying kicking and one arm drills, our coach referred us to this video, created by sea mammal Michael Phelps’ coach, Bob Bowman.  His explanation is very clear and after a very focused half hour in the pool this weekend I actually did start to feel the bow wave on my head.

This week I hope to start structured training for the 4-miler and settle into a workable training schedule that incorporates multiple swim, bike, run, and strength workouts each week.  I will be doing two-a-days several times a week, but I’m hoping that scheduling more short and varied sessions will keep me healthy while still building fitness and strength.  I’m trying to alternate days so that I minimize doing the same activity back-to-back, but I still have to work out the kinks.  I’m incorporating a lot more strength training that I did last season, and I hope that will help me prepare for a heavier training load and avoid injury.

Here’s the plan this week:


Weight training – JM No More Trouble Zones




Running – Intervals

6×800 @ 3:38*

RI 90 sec


Swim class




Swim – 30 min


Strength – JM Ripped in 30 Week 2




Running – Tempo

2 mi @ 8:04*

1 mi easy

2 mi @ 8:04*


Optional 30 min bike




Strength – 1 hr with Trainer




3 mi easy


30 min swim






10 min easy

10 min tempo

10 min easy

5 min hard

5 min easy

Long Run – 7 mi @ 8:34* (If all goes well this week)


*I should note that these paces are pegged to my last marathon and I have no idea if I’ll be able to handle the speed after 6 weeks off.

July 14, 2014

Harder than I Thought

I read a quote recently that went something like, “Most things we deem impossible are really just much, much harder than we expected.”  That kind of sums up my long run today.  I’ve been feeling a little sluggish the last few days, but when I left this morning I was confident I could get through 18 miler on my schedule.  The first red flag was that when I got up at 5:45, the thermometer in the back yard already showed 73 degrees and 75% humidity.  I’ve been really lucky that so far this summer I’ve managed to avoid long runs on days with the usual New York humidity, but my streak was apparently at an end.

After my smoothie and butter coffee I headed out on my usual route of Brooklyn Bridge Park to Prospect.  I kind of spaced out for the BBP section, which was my first mistake.  I wasn’t running crazy fast, but I was not focused on keeping my heart rate down, either.  My stomach was feeling a little sloshy, so I also didn’t drink much in the first 5-6 miles, which was Mistake #2.  When I started up Park Slope’s titular hill to Prospect I finally reined in the pace a bit, but by that point I was almost 7 miles in.  The first lap of the park went okay and I actually felt a little better than I had earlier, thanks mostly to the shade on the west side, but I was still sweating buckets.  When I came around to the more exposed eastern side I tried to control my heart rate and effort in preparation for the hill at the end of the lap.

Lap 2 steadily degraded as the temperature continued to climb.  On a side note, I’ve been toying with the idea of switching to a fat-adapted fueling approach for the marathon, and I made a coconut oil-based gel concoction to try on this run.  I had brought two regular gels and two of the coconut oil, figuring I would use some combination depending on how I was feeling.  I was getting pretty hungry by the time I got to Prospect, but fearing a mess with the homemade gels, I waited until I got to the trashcans around the south side to eat one.   I seemed to tolerate the fat just fine, though it didn’t take the edge off my hunger at all. (Mistake #3.)  I should note here that I did a little research after the run, and confirmed that in higher temperatures, the body shifts to burning a higher ratio of glycogen to fat, so this may not have been the best day to start my experiment.

By the end of Lap 2 I was starting to feel very low-blood-sugary, so I had one of the normal gels before starting the last lap.  The sugar combined with the bit of shade and downhill section of the park helped enormously, but by the time I rounded the lake at the bottom I was dragging again.  I was taking walk breaks on a lot of the uphills by that point, and was just trying to pull it together enough to get the job done.  I only had about half a mile left after I left the park, so I had a mercifully short downhill finish.  Even with all the walks at the end, I still somehow finished just under the RLRF 9:32 proscribed pace.  My watch lost two miles somewhere in Lap 2, but this graph pretty much encapsulates the suck-fest that was this run:



Because who doesn’t like an info graphic?


July 8, 2014

Make Mine a Venti

Last week was crazy busy, with pre-holiday deadlines at work, getting ready for my parents, who were visiting for the weekend,  another friend saying with us on Monday night, capped off with prepping for work travel the beginning of this week.  By Friday I was definitely ready for a day off, and we made good use of it.  Before I moved here my parents had really only seen the touristy side of New York, so when they visit now I try to balance museums and the traditional highlights with neighborhoody local activities.  On Friday we walked Brooklyn Bridge Park and DUMBO, went to the Guggenheim, and watched the fireworks from the Brooklyn Heights Promenade.  I had planned to hit the gym for a quick XT session at some point, but according to my mom’s FitBit we walked almost 9 miles, so I figured that counted as active recovery.  Since my parents were leaving Sunday after lunch and I was getting on a plane to Florida on Sunday night, I decided to do my long run on Saturday morning.
Thanks to my foolproof alarm, Hungry Kitten (TM), I was up at 5:30 sharp.  In an effort to not wake my parents, I ground my coffee in the closet and put the Vitamix in the bathroom sink to make my pre-run butter coffee and smoothie.  Ah, New York apartment living…  I was out the door a little before 7 and headed down to Brooklyn Bridge Park.  I planned to meet my parents at Prospect later, which meant that I needed to cram in as many miles before I got there as I could.  It also meant that instead of my usual downhill finish home from the park, I’d be finishing on the hill up to Grand Army Plaza, but I’m getting ahead of myself.
This is one of my favorite public art works of recent memory.  It's a full-scale reproduction of a piece of the Statue of Liberty, in this case, her shoulder and raised arm.  If you look closely you can see the real thing to the left of the small pine tree in the background.

This is one of my favorite public art works of recent memory. It’s a full-scale reproduction of a piece of the Statue of Liberty, in this case, her shoulder and raised arm. If you look closely you can see the real thing to the left of the small pine tree in the background.

It was a gorgeous day and BBP was somehow spotless after hosting a crowd of hundreds of thousands the night before for the East River fireworks.  (Thank you, NYPD and Parks Conservancy!)  I tried to just relax and enjoy the view as I did two out-and-backs for a total of 8.5 miles.  I had a gel and then headed over to Prospect, about a mile and half from there, arriving at GAP on schedule at mile 10. The first lap went by quickly and the Mt. Prospect hill really wasn’t too bad.  The west side of the park was still in the shade, so I had a chance to cool down a bit for the first half of the second lap and refilled my bottle and had another gel at Lakeside.  The second run up the hill at the top of the loop was a little more arduous, but after a quick stop for water I took off for lap three.  I ran into my parents at the west gate, and we agreed to meet at Grand Army in 15-20 minutes.  That gave me no out for avoiding the last hill, which I figured was for the best.  I was really happy with how I was feeling; I was physically and mentally tired, but was still holding my form together and wasn’t having any major problems.  My left hip was a little achey and both knees were a touch sore, but on a run that long it’s really to be expected.  I was able to hold it together up the last hill (I think I even kept the pace at around 9 flat), and finished in 3:04:16.   I was feeling pretty low-blood-sugary by the end and I probably should have had a third gel, but I’ll chalk that one up to experience for next time. After finding my parents, I made them wait around for 10 minutes while I laid down under a tree and elevated my legs.
I think the really good news from the 20-miler was that I was able deal with a full day of tour-guiding activities afterward and I really didn’t have any soreness the next day.  I am traveling this week, so I did an easy run last night and will do my intervals either tonight or tomorrow, depending on when I get to go home.
June 24, 2014

Week 2.1 Recap and Queens 10K Race Report

I made it back from Florida on Thursday night, having gotten in two 5-ish mile runs while I was there.  Friday after work I went out for another easy 5, primarily to celebrate being reunited with my running bra collection.  (It was glorious.)  We had the Queens 10K for the Five-Borough Series on Sunday, so I planned to get in a cross-training session on Saturday to wrap up the cut-back week.  As it turned out, the Caveboy decided he needed to shake his legs out a bit on Saturday morning, though, so instead I joined him for another easy 4 in Brooklyn Bridge Park.



On to the good stuff:

Race Stats:

Location: Flushing Meadows Corona Park
Finishers: 8,410
Weather: 67F / Overcast
My Course Rating: 6.5/Perfect Day in Central Park

The Pros:

+ Flat, fastish course
+ Proximity to Queens’ amazing ethnic food
+ Baggage check was conveniently located between Registration and the starting line
+ Plenty of parking

The Cons:

– Course itself is not particularly scenic
– Tight turns on crowded paths slowed the pack down a bit
– Despite abundance of parking, getting in and out of lots was incredibly slow

Sunday morning, after a sitting in a 15-minute traffic jam to enter the parking lot, we arrived none too early at the start.  The Caveboy and I were in different corrals, and we had decided to run this one separately.  I really had no plan for this race going in, but when I don’t have a particular time goal in mind, I usually just make a bargain with myself about how much I’m willing to suffer. That gives me some threshold for what counts as a cop-out without being too results-driven.  This time I decided that I was willing to practice dealing with a bit of pain during the race, but nothing that might linger and hamper my training schedule this week.  I had forgotten to check what my 10K PR was before the race, so to kill time in the corral I looked back in my Garmin history and determined that it was 51:11.  That was an 8:15 split, so I figured I would try to hold an 8ish pace for the first few miles and see how that felt.

I loves me an Olmstead park, and Flushing Meadows seemed lovely, but unfortunately the race course stayed mostly on the perimeter.   There really wasn’t much to see, so I mostly just focused on slowly picking off runners ahead of me.  I seemed to be able to hold about an 8:05 pace pretty comfortably, so I tried to hang there and push it to 7:55 when the field opened up a bit.  The weather was about as perfect as one could hope for this time of year–high 60’s with a light breeze and overcast for most of the race.  I felt good throughout, and really only had a bit of discomfort maintaining the pace for the last mile or so, which was an out-and-back with a pretty tight lollipop turn.  I still gave some guy who tried to pass me in the chute a good sprint to the line, and finished feeling tired but not wrung out.  My official time was 49:45, which is on pace with my last half and the predicted marathon finish I’m aiming for.

This week is pretty jam-packed if I do everything on the schedule:

Monday: cross-train
Tuesday: Intervals –
1200m @ 7:13 pace
1000m @ 7:09 pace
800m @ 7:04 pace
600m @ 6:58 pace
400m @ 6:53 pace
Wednesday: 8 miles with Caveboy’s office crew
Thursday: Tempo – 1 mi easy, 5 @ 8:24, 1 easy
Friday: Strength training with Kali the Destroyer
Sunday: 17 mi @ 9:32
June 13, 2014

Week 2


The theme of this week has been all about second-guessing.  It started on Monday when I decided to reread the cross-training section of RLRF in the hopes of figuring out how hard I was supposed to be doing those sessions.  I soon realized that I own the first edition of the book, and the app is apparently based on a more recent edition.  The book advocates mostly hour-long, lower-intensity aerobic workouts.  The app, on the other hand, has me doing 20 or 30-minute workouts with frequent, short bursts of high intensity.  I’ve read the studies on the effectiveness of this type of training, so I’m fine with the theory behind the change.  My concern, however, was that at the intensity I was doing the cross-training, my poor undertrained non-running muscles were going to end up chronically sore or injured.  Since the book was no help, I then searched for “Run Less Run Faster cross train intensity,” thinking that Google would surely know what to do.  What I found was a number of articles and blog posts dissecting the ways in which the RLRF cross-training approach is flawed, and advising runners to use the program as I had been all year–substituting easy runs for the XT days.

That, of course, had me at hello.  The only thing keeping me from swearing off the spin bike in perpetuity is that my SI joint had started to ache after last week’s long run, and I’m worried that I could be starting down the path to another IT band injury.  In any case, I now had competing theories that 1) Cross-training prevents injury caused by excessive running mileage and allows greater aerobic training volume overall, or 2) Cross-training causes injury by replacing necessary ‘time on the legs’ with sessions that overwork under-developed muscles.  I ran my best season ever this year by going with door #2, but I do need to seriously consider the risk of injury if I increase my mileage.  It was quite the quandary.  Luckily, I didn’t have to figure it out until Wednesday.

Tuesday I did the 4×800 intervals at pace and was happy that they were way less difficult than the 16’s last week.  My SI joint continued to ache a bit after the speedwork, though, which was how it had all started last time as well.  I’ve been doing a strength training routine that’s supposed to prevent IT-band injuries every day since the Brooklyn Half, but since the problem seems to be rooted in my SI joint, I decided to research exercises for SI-joint stability as well.  I found what seems to be a solid routine here, which I’ll now be alternating with the IT-band days.  My hope is that strengthening the area will take care of the problem altogether, but I don’t want to exacerbate things before I’m able to build strength. On Wednesday morning I was still unsure whether to run or cross train when I left for the gym.  In the end I decided to run easy until I felt any sort of twinge, which took about 3 miles.  At that point I switched to the bike and did the 20 post-warm-up minutes of the XT workout.  (Either best or worst of both worlds, depending on how you look at it.)

Thursday’s tempo went well, particularly since the paces are much slower than I was used to in the half marathon training.  After 7 miles, though, my SI joint was definitely aching and a few hours later my glute on that side felt sore and a bit tender.  I decided that this morning’s session would definitely be on the rowing machine, which would hopefully give me fresher legs for Sunday’s long run and also give the SI a break.  (Oddly, as sore as it was yesterday, it felt 100% fine today, which is strange, but somewhat encouraging.)

I’m still not completely sure what to do about the cross-training.  I’m leaning toward eliminating one day of it in favor of an easy run, or I may just keep it flexible, and just decide based on how I’m feeling.  I’m also thinking that since it seems to be the speedwork intervals that particularly set off the SI, I may rework the schedule a bit to compensate.  I’ll need to really look at the tables to judge, but the marathon plan seems to preference faster interval sessions and slower tempos that run closer to race pace.  I’ve always found faster tempos to be hugely beneficial, so I may change it up so that those are more in line with half marathon paces, and then take the intervals down to a less punishing level.  On the up side, next week the Caveboy and I are running the Queens 10K, so I’ve made the weekday training essentially a repeat of this week, with the race instead of a long run.  That gives me the option for a break after the 15 miler this weekend if I need it, and I’m going to book a massage right now.


June 8, 2014

Week 1

Week 1 of marathon training is in the books, and any concerns I had about losing fitness on the cross training have been thoroughly dispelled.  In fact, this week pretty thoroughly kicked my ass.  Tuesday was intervals, which is usually my favorite workout.  After years of running track, I still think of myself as a sprinter, and banging out 400 repeats and ladders is really the only venue in which I can hang with the big kids.  This week I had 3×1600’s on the schedule, though, which I’ve always felt are just an exercise in pain.  The gym was pretty warm, which didn’t help, and I had to work really hard to get through the repeats at pace.  It was a little intimidating to start the training cycle fighting that hard for a workout, but it was a good opportunity to practice staying focused and pushing through.

Wednesday was my first day of cross-training, and I opted for the rowing workout.  I read this article about the benefits of rowing for runners, so at 6:30 AM I ventured into the corner time forgot in the cardio rooom at the gym and dusted off the erg.  I’m still trying to figure out the appropriate level of effort for the cross-train workouts, but in the 25-minute session I felt like my arms and core got a decent session, through cardio-wise it felt pretty easy.

Thursday was a 2/2/2 tempo with 2 miles easy, 2 at 7:54’s and the last 2 easy.  That run was surprisingly comfortable and I had to admit that my legs felt much fresher than they usually did at that point in the week.  I had an early meeting at work on Friday, so I punted the second XT session to Saturday, which may have been ill-advised.  I did 30 minutes on a spin bike, with the middle 10 at a “tempo” effort.  I should probably take a spin class to understand the theory a little better, because again, I was unsure exactly what the resistance to speed relationship was really supposed to be.  I ended up overdoing it a bit and really hammered my legs, so I’m chalking that one up to experience.

Today I had a 13-mile long run on the schedule, and I knew I was in trouble when I got up at 6:15 and it was already 70 degrees.  By the time we got out and moving, it was close 80 and bright sun.  I’ve never been a great heat runner, but I felt good starting out and took the climb up to Prospect Park at a quick pace.  My legs felt a bit heavy from the bike on some of the hills, but overall the first lap of the park went quickly and I held about an 8:45 pace, well ahead of the 9:17’s on the schedule.  On the second lap I really started noticing the temperature coming up and tried to stay in the shade where possible.  When I made it to the top of the hill at the end of the second lap, I decided to reverse direction for the third, which would give my legs a bit of a break with a long stretch of downhill and a longer and more gradual climb at the end.  By this point it was clear that I had gone out way too fast and probably pushed my heart rate too high trying to hold onto the pace on the second lap.  Despite how much it was sucking, I was still having trouble keeping the pace down, so I started taking 30-second walk breaks every mile or so to even it out and push fluids.  I finally made it back to the park entrance and was grateful that the last mile and half home would be mostly downhill. It was still largely an act of willpower getting through them, though, and I felt completely wrung out when I finished.  In the end, I averaged exactly the 9:17’s I was supposed to, but it was not a fun way to get there.  This was far and away the hardest long run I’ve done in recent memory, including the 15-miler I did a few months ago while jet-lagged and in the throes of a terrible head cold.

As tough as it was, I think this week was exactly what I needed.  Coming off the Brooklyn Half I was feeling 100% ready for what was coming.  This week I was reminded that ready or not, this is still going to be hard.

June 2, 2014

A Race and a Plan

On Sunday morning the Caveboy once again dislodged ourselves from a warm bed at 5:15 and headed to Central Park.  As part of the New York Israel Day festivities, NYRR was hosting a four-miler, which at that time of the morning hardly seemed worth putting on shoes for.  The race actually turned out to be a really lovely run though, and I thoroughly enjoyed myself.  The field was relatively small (5,000ish), which meant it was much less crowded than the other Central Park races I’ve done this year.  As an added bonus, after days of rain and wind, Sunday morning was sunny and breezy.  We actually arrived at the start with plenty of time to spare, which was a distinct improvement over our previous warm-up sprints to the start.

Since neither of us was gunning for time, we decided to run together as much as possible.  Even with the smaller field the paths were still crowded, and we did a lot of bobbing and weaving in the first few miles.  We were holding about an 8:40 pace, and I was encouraged that even after two weeks of lazy recovery runs the pace still felt easy and I was barely noticing the rolling hills.  We got separated at the water station at the 3-mile mark and the Caveboy waved me on from the midst of the Gatorade scrum.  I was warmed up and feeling good and decided not to look at the Garmin and just crank it up to what felt like a good tempo pace for the last mile.  (When I checked my splits later, it turned out to be about a 7:30.)  After a fun final sprint I ducked out of the chute to watch the Caveboy finish, and we grabbed our baggage and headed back to Brooklyn.  The weather was too pretty to miss, though, so when we got home I filled up a water bottle and headed down to Brooklyn Bridge Park for another 5 miles before calling it a day.

My other activity this weekend was really dialing the marathon training plan for Baltimore.  My biggest dilemma has been adding some extra time (and flexibility) to the schedule without dragging it out so long that I get overtrained or injured.  RLRF is a 16-week plan, which would put the start of training on June 30th.  The plan as written does have periodic recovery weeks with lower mileage, but does not include any tune-up races or really allow any slack in the system.

I’m not planning any A races this summer, but we do have two more 5-Boroughs races on the calendar, along with a tune-up half in Charleston in August.  While I probably won’t taper for any of those, I definitely will not be getting scheduled long runs in on those weeks, and will probably want a few recovery days after the halves.  So after laying all of that out and re-jiggering a few things around a bit, I ended up with a schedule that starts tomorrow.  That’s a full month early, but I am happy with the flexibility it will allow.  After looking at the RLRF plan, I realized that my running mileage even on the longest weeks is still short of what I’ve been  averaging this season, so I think I should be able to tolerate the longer schedule.  I am planning to do the cross training per the plan right now, with the idea that if I truly hate it, I can swap out one of the sessions for an easy run now and then.

This week, here’s what’s on the menu:

Monday – Rest

Tuesday – Intervals — 3×1600 @ 7:21 pace

Wednesday – Cross-train

Thursday – Tempo — 2 mi easy, 2 mi @ 8:20, 2 mi easy

Friday – Cross-train

Saturday – Rest

Sunday –  Long Run — 13 @ 9:47 pace

May 28, 2014

Hacking the Marathon


I’ve been working on the training plan this week, starting with setting my priorities for the marathon.  Obviously, getting to the start and finish as happy and healthy as possible are the most important things.  Rather than framing the race as the ultimate test of my training or some kind of referendum on the season, though, I’m trying to approach it from a broader view.  What kind of runner do I want to be at the end of this season, and how do I use this training as a means to get there?  

I’ve been thinking about this a lot over the past several days, trying to take a mature and objective approach to a mid-season evaluation.  I thought about what worked, what hadn’t, and what I could do better.  And it was intensely boring.  Eventually I realized, though, that what I was really trying to do was hack my training, and that sounded hardcore and awesome.  In that spirit, I recognized the following:

1. I love structure, but I start to get stressed out when I just can’t fit everything in.  

2. I run best when I trust my training 100%.  My schedule needs to allow some flexibility so that if I miss a workout or need a little extra time to recover that I don’t start to panic.

3. I like having numbers and data that I can use to evaluate my progress.

4. I tend to underestimate the need for, and benefit of rest.

In understanding how I work best and where I’m most likely to falter, I am aiming to create a training plan that plays off my strengths.  I know I will need a schedule that is highly structured (RLRF), but also has some slack in the system.  Given the choice between pushing through a scheduled run when I’m not feeling up to it or missing an important workout in favor of rest, I will always choose to push myself.  If I’m going to stay healthy, I need to give myself permission to take a day off when I need it.

With that insight, I returned to defining my big-picture goals for this year.  I’d like to get stronger in a way that I can quantify.  That means weight training, complete with logging weight, reps, and sets.  (Data, hooray!)  I’d like to be a bit leaner going into the marathon.  Again, this will probably take some dietary hacking, but shouldn’t be too difficult to quantify.  Third, I want to continue to build my confidence and work on my mental game over the next few months.  This one will be harder to measure, but I can at least be deliberate about the steps I take to get there.  If I can toe the line in Baltimore having accomplished those goals, the race will be a victory lap.  There’s just one teensy other thing that I want, and that’s a sub-four finish.  And that is totally doable.