This was written by our patient, Mark D. It's a great story and a great testament to the power of the VO2 Max test. Thank you, Mark, for sharing your story and inspiring others to push harder and do more!
I started running almost 5 years ago. It was October of 2008, and the girl I was dating at the time came up with this idea of paying my entry into the P. F. Chang's Marathon as a Christmas present. Yah!!... Some present.
While the relationship didn't last long after that, I spent 10 weeks training for my 1st marathon. I made every mistake a 1st time marathon runner could make. That was the most miserable 4:52:19 morning of my life!!!:-) ... Don't let them fool you... a cup of coffee and a banana for breakfast does offer the fuel efficiency one would hope.
After the aches, pains and blood blister under my left arch (felt it happen at mile 13)... all went away, I stated doing some research and discovered that the average training program should take 16 weeks -- NOT 10.
By fall of 2009, I was determined to discover what I could do if I had 16 weeks to train. So I spent 16 weeks training for my 2nd marathon, P. F. Chang's. 2010. Training smarter and longer I shaved almost an hour off my time with a finish of 3:57:00.
After that, I was hooked. I fell in love with the sport. Later that year, I ran San Diego in June, Portland in October and came back and did P.F. Chang's again in 2011, where I set a new PR of 3:33:14. I did Chicago in fall of 2011 and found myself FLAT with my results, after less-than-happy finish with P.F. Chang's 2012, I stopped racing, let myself fully heal and "went back to the drawing board."
Revamping my training all summer long, my next race found ME. It was the Phoenix Marathon 2013. By far the smallest venue I've run, however I was open to the change. December of 2012. I decided to "test" my new approach to training during the Hot Chocolate 15k. That turned out to be the race of my running career. I ran negative splits every mile and finished with a 7:12 average pace. Whatever I was doing was working!!:-)
March of this year, I ran the Phoenix Marathon. It was an awesome experience although I was still "hitting the wall" at about mile 18 and from there off pace to earn my BQ (boston qualifier). I did set a new PR though!!:-) I finished with a time of 3:25:47. Not too shabby after some "G.I. Distress" at mile 13 which added almost 3min. to my day.
Now a week out from Marathon #9, The Lehigh Valley Marathon in PA, I feel more ready and race confident than ever before. Why? Because 3 weeks ago I made an appointment with Scottsdale Sports Medicine to do something I read about on runnerswold.com last year. I knew that if I wanted to MAX out my training... I need to know what my VO2 MAX was.
I spent the morning with "Fireman Dan," and he gave me all that I needed to know about what the test would provide me. After a 5min. warm up, and the mask they make you wear (which is not as easy to breath in), I was ready to see what I was made of that day.
As the results will show, it took quite a bit to "break me" and get me to hit my threshold. 9min. 35sec. into the test, I was done!! However it took a 6:40 pace and an 8% grade on the treadmill to break me!! Not too shabby for a 43 year old male. My results were impressive enough that the doc invited me to have my pics posted and share my story with you.
Leaving that morning, I was given a training plan strictly based upon my HR (heart rate). I'm 3 weeks into that program and let me tell you... OMG!!!!... I was WAAY TOO EASY on myself!!!:-) I've never ran so fast on a daily basis. I've learned from this that my body, properly trained can handle a LOT more than I was giving it. I have seen the improvement in my HR since starting this training. For those who don't run distance, the goal is to run as fast as you can with the lowest possible HR. Because of the training his HR program has given me, I can now say I'm more ready for this next race than ever before.
What do I need to qualify for Boston? A finish time of 3:15:00 or less. This equates to a 7:26 mile x 26.2 of them. For those who want to improve their sport, there is a LOT to be said from what you will learn from having a VO2 MAX test done.
Thanks Fireman Dan, thanks Doc. you're both great guys!! I'll let you know how things go in PA.