📅17 February 2013
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Derek MandellBy Derek Mandell

I grew up in a family of distance runners. My father began running in the 1970’s and has an impressive half marathon personal best of 1 hour and 18 minutes (or 1:17/ 1:19*: I can’t remember so we’ll go with the median). My mother took up the sport in the early 90’s and was competitive for her age group. My brother Desmond was an all-island runner since middle school and was the top high school 800m runner by the time he graduated from JFK. I took up running because it was cheaper than getting a babysitter.

Naturally, there is always competitive banter when it comes to race performances for our family. The unofficial “Mandell Family Records” are kept somewhere in our memory banks and are subject to occasional tampering, essentially saying we ran faster than we actually did at certain points of our lives. Over the years I’ve managed to claim most of the records from 800m to the half marathon, although the 400m record is currently in dispute between my brother and I (see previous sentence).  One record, however, has stood the test of time, which is the Mandell marathon record of 3 hours and 15 minutes. My dad ran that time in 1995 at the Honolulu Marathon when he was about 41 years old.

Desmond Mandell II (green shorts) sets the pace for the Mandell running foundation. Son Derek is out to beat his marathon time. (courtesy photo)

Desmond Mandell, Jr. (green shorts) sets the pace for the Mandell running foundation. Son Derek is out to beat his dad’s marathon time. (courtesy photo)

This April at the Guam International Marathon I plan on running much faster, but for now Dad’s record is the first on my semi-long list of objectives for that race.

The Century Club and the First Test

From October through December 31, 2012, I stopped keeping track of my training. I simply ran for the enjoyment and justification of my eating habits. So officially, my marathon training began on January 1, 2013. Since then, I’ve managed to build up to a steady routine of running at least 80 miles a week. I don’t recommend that novice runners follow this training plan as it may cause unnecessary injuries.

Running mileage isn’t new to me as I routinely ran 90-mile weeks while competing in college for the University of Portland, so my body can handle the stress. But it’s been years since I’ve gone higher than 75 miles per week. However, in all my years of training, I have never run over 100 miles in a week. Bill Bowerman, Oregon coaching legend and co-founder of a little shoe company called Nike, was once quoted as saying “the magic is in the man, not the 100 miles.” Last week I joined the century club with 101 miles and it saddens me to say that I didn’t learn any magic tricks, although I may be interpreting that quote entirely wrong. Either way, the training load definitely builds confidence.

On a side note, I recently completed my first “fitness” test by running the Hafa (half) Marathon. My final time was around 1:12:48, although I did not see the official results. I haven’t run close to that time since I ran my personal best of 1:12:34 at Gold Coast, Australia in 2009, but considering the conditions I feel that my Hafa Marathon performance is better. I can safely say that training is going well; I just need to stay healthy. Stay active, my friends.

Previously on Run Love: Marathon Goal Initiated

Derek Mandell is a two-time Olympian and a GSPN contributing writer. He will be writing about his preparation for his first ever marathon on April 7 in the Guam International Marathon.

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