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CHICAGO FOCUS 10-10-10 2:45 or Die Trying

Posted By: Bradley Cordts on 04/17/2010

There is a new mission:  Chicago Marathon October 10, 2010= 2:45

I am going to make my comeback at this race. A new goal is 2:45:00. This will be an attempt to get into Fukuoka International Marathon in Japan.  A qualified runner can get in with 2:45 and a letter from USATF.  I have completed my "self-testing" post ablation and my two Boston Marathons in 2009 and 2010 have given me the confidence to begin training again in earnest. 

Pre-ablation PRs- 2:43:57 Boston 2000 age 35. 2:47:22 in Boston 2001.  2:47 in Chicago 2003. (last sub 2:50)  Symptoms of A-Fib/A-Flutter began in July 2004 at Olympic Trials in Sacramento at City Track doing hard workouts with John Geiger and Todd Sheldon and our boy Stu Lund coaching. Doing hard 300s caused my heart to go way past normal for the effort. I was in the 200 bpm range and it would stay there for up to an hour.  I thought it was too much coffee, too much sun, dehydration, etc.  Later that summer at USATF Master's T&F meet, I finished 6th in the age 40-44 800 meters in the 2:11 range, but now realize I was A-Fib for the last 300 of that race, and I could barely do the warm down run.  I really started feeling it at the Bangor, Maine USATF Master's meet in August 2007.  I could barely function in the 1,500 after doing reasonable well in the day before in the 800. I went for a full physical and the docs could not "find anything wrong" because at that point it took running a super hard effort to trigger the event.  I went to Japan, and had some mild problems during a 5K, and sometimes on the treadmill, but they seemed to go away and by winter of 2008, I had run a sub 3 hour marathon at Tokyo on a "training run" for Boston 2008. I flew from Tokyo to Boston in 2008 for the Boston Marathon, and while no perceived a-fib events, I ran poorly in 3:09.  That summer while at the Olympic Trials in Eugene, the wheels fell off and I could barely jog 5 miles without my A-Fib starting in the first few minutes. It was not good. I got on a drug called Rhythmol which really helped initially.  My cardiologist, Dr. Gordon of Memphis, TN, had initially diagnosed me with A-Fib only.  I was able to actually run the Egan Ave. Mile of 2008 hard without any negative results in July after blowing up in June at the Paul Sax Mile. Then the wheels fell off again - the Rhythmol sort of unmasked a secondary issue - A-Flutter. I could not get my heart to go under 240 bpm for several hours and this time it was triggered by nothing - just watching television.  (Note: drinking a shot of scotch does not make your rapid heart beat decrease or calm you down if this ever happens to you.) After a night in the ER, Dr. Gordon decided it was time to go for ablation surgery, and he referred me to Dr. Lan at the Baptist Heart Clinic. 

I was tested and confirmed for both A-Fib and A-Flutter and Dr. Lan did radiofrequency ablation catheter surgery on me.  Basically, this is going into the heart through incisions in my veins in my groin on both sides.  In layman's terms, he basically burned a bunch of little scars on my heart to get the electrical signal to go in the proper places.  He maps your heart with a machine, and then he can see where the problems are and this allows him to precisely fix them using the radiofrequency ablation tool.   I did this on Oct. 20, 2009, and six months later, I finished Boston in 3:23.  I was basically off running and felt bad for many weeks after the procedure, but I was starting to feel like my old self in March 2009.  I did a lot of work on the treadmill as a safety net to ensure that I was somewhere safe in case of an event.  I have not had any events (knock on wood) since the surgery. Many middle aged endurance athletes get this problem, and this surgery is relatively new. Many of the cases we looked at required two surgeries to correct the problem. In my case, I think I may be lucky enough to have to have only the one. There is no long-term study to see if this is a lasting "cure" but it is in essence a full cure because I am not having to take any drugs, and I am fully back to running and doing what I did before.

Now if you have ridden along this far, let the training begin. Email me encouragement at

There are 172 days to go as of Tuesday, April 20, 2010.

Day 1.  4-19-2010:  Boston Marathon: 3:21:45. Felt good, under trained, but healthy. This is a post-ablation PR. Race weight 165 pounds.

Day 2. 4-20-2010:  Fly home to Memphis. Rest day. Massage 1 hour. Soreness is average for post marathon. New Pegasus shoes (blue)at Breakaway.

Day 3. 4-21-2010:  Back to work. Walk 1.5 miles walking at a relaxed pace with Cookie.

Day 4. 4-22-2010:  Thursday - long day at work. 4 mile easy jog with Mr. Joe Coffelt. One walk break at half way for a couple of minutes to stretch.

Day 5. 4-23-2010: Friday - Rest day. Message in the evening. Felt great. Nearly all soreness gone.  Tired. Bed by 11 p.m. Weight 168.5 pounds. 

Day 6 4-24-2010: Saturday - 168 days to glory.  Confirmed that I got in to corral A with my sub 3:10 from Boston 2008.  Cookie got her corral C.  John Geiger got into A as did Jerry Hickey and Jeff Haushalter.  Called John for motivation. Called Jeff to recruit for the Pilgrimage TC master's team at Chicago. We can have up to 10 runners and 4 counters with 5th as tie breaker for team results. Jeff may have to run for ATL TC, but if not, we can get him.  There are few PTC members other than Ashley Spriggs running at this point.  My full training will begin on May 3, 2010. This will give me 24 weeks to get ready. My current Jack Daniels VDOT is 47.   Using JD formula, I need to get to a VDOT of 60.  His charts are very favorable to the longer runner, and I have not had a true straight line because of my speed (former 3:55.3 1,500 meter PR). I tend to have to have a 65 for the 1500/mile (4:16/4:37), 64 for 3000 (9:17) and two mile (10:01) and 5,000 (16:07) 63 for 10K (33:55) 60 for 15K up (54:18, 1:18:09- half) and 2:43:25 for full.  In theory, Daniels says if you can run a 4:57 mile, the you can put in the mileage to run a 2:43:25 marathon.  I think it will be too easy for me to run a mile that fast and hope to be able to get to the required marathon pace.

I have looked at a good website for pacing:  This gives you both mile splits and kilo splits. It also allows you to build in fades at different points. I am a big fade runner. I can usually get through 20 at a given pace, and then the slow burns sets in and the fade occurs.  Therefore, the current theory is get to 6:12 pace through 20 miles (2:04:04) and then run 6:36 pace for the final 10K.  This will require me to run the "Newman Deuce" route (an out and back certified course) for twenty miles in 2:15 to 2:12 in training at least twice before the race. Also, I will need to be able to run 10 in 62 minutes routinely with a hard effort. I should be able to run 9.5 or better on the treadmill in an hour routinely.  Simply typing these makes me have to run to the restroom as my adrenal glands tell me that it is going to hurt and I need to have pre-race bathroom break.

Race weight - I will have to be at 150 pounds by race time to even have a chance. That means I have 9 weeks to get to 150. Optimally, if I could get to 145, I think I would be in my best possible shape. Ordering a  book by Matt Fitzgerald called "Racing Weight" from

Scheduled workout: Gym: Treadmill warm up and total of 2 miles in 15 minutes with several minutes at the new promised land pace of 6:12. Did 30 minutes of good core work and arms in gym. Starving! Weight post workout 168.0 pounds.

Day 7.

Day 8.

Day 9.

Day 10.

Day 11.

Day 12.

Day 14.

(1) Comment(s)  ...Post Commment
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Train hard, and give it your best effort.
Commented by: Steve Skinner on 04/27/2010