Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Marathon PR at WhistleStop!

... for my friend Ron -- Congratulations, Ron!!

This was Ron's 3rd marathon in 3 years, and he's improved by 30 minutes or more each time out. At this rate, 3 more marathons and he'll be under 3 hours!

Me? Well, I PRed too... for the year anyway. My time was 4:55:45, which beats my Grandma's time of 5:01:46 and my Moose Mountain time of 7:13:32. (Ok, beating my Moose Mtn time was probably a given.) Like probably 98% of everybody who's ever run a marathon in their life, I was hoping to do better. I have no real data that suggests I should've done better, but isn't this how it often goes with the marathon: "I made it, but not as fast as I would've liked".

I will say that I don't think long, slow trail runs do a very good job of preparing me for long, faster-paced 'road' runs. I'm not sure why I was thinking they would. Especially when my long, slow trail runs involve me walking, a lot. And then I want to do the long, faster-paced 'road' runs without walking. In hindsight it seems I might be expecting a little too much. Hmm, why don't I think of this stuff beforehand?

As for the run itself, it was a very good day to be out there: great weather, nice colors. My plan was to run conservatively, run pretty much the whole way, and finish somewhere in the 4:30 range. I felt like I was taking it easy at the beginning and got to the half-way point in just under 2:15. The 2nd half of the course has 10 re-decked railroad trestles (yes, that's straight from the race brochure). I don't know exactly where the first one was, but when I got there I could tell I was starting to fade. So I quickly decided that my new strategy would be to walk a minute at each bridge. [interesting note: when I took my first walk, someone ran by and said "oh no, you were my pacer!" I thought "Oh great, I'm not only disappointing myself, I'm disappointing you too." bah.] The first couple bridges were spread out nicely and the new strategy worked well, for a little while anyway. At mile 18 I took my first non-bridge walk. And soon after that slow-mode officially set in, with lots of walking and shuffling the rest of the way. After a couple 15-minute miles I was able to pick it up a bit at the end to still get in under 5 hours. Woohooo for small victories. :)

I've upped my miles the last year, and wanted to get to the point where running a marathon wouldn't be such a big deal. (It used to be... I'd run one every couple of years, and only after following a pretty strict training schedule.) It seems I've gotten to that point. What I haven't seemed to figure out yet is that one of the sacrifices of that approach (the "I'm not going to train for it" approach) is the expected finishing time. Some day I'll get smarter, maybe.

So, marathon #11 is in the books. As a finish is never guaranteed, I'll take it. Now it's time to complete the last race of the MN Trail Running Series: the Big Woods Half Marathon; and then see if I can complete my 4th 50K: Surf the Murph. And then... it'll be time to ease into the off-season and see how much low heart rate training I can do before going totally bonkers.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

In Yan Teopa and Twin Cities Marathon

A couple weeks ago I camped out at Frontenac State Park and ran In Yan Teopa (#11 of 12 on the quest for a fancy mirror): the initial downhills and chatting with Lynn Saari got me going too fast, and I paid for it later. Very nice day for a run, and another excellent job by Larry and all the great folks involved. Congrats to Jim for keeping the streak alive with some 'high paced' driving! And for some reason it cracked me up that within about 3 minutes of Karen's finish, her knee problem had been diagnosed and she'd been given about 18 different stretches and exercises to deal with it -- I hope you can remember all that!

I didn't run the Twin Cities Marathon, but hooked up with Pete Anderson around mile 23 to watch -- Congrats to all those who ran it! It was fun and inspiring to be out there. I usually do ok with pictures, but today's are pretty rough. And I did pretty well spotting people [gotta love those Afton shirts!] until Ted showed up. So if you're bummed that I didn't get a crappy picture of you... sorry. Blame Ted.