Apr 25, 2010

Earth Day Challenge Marathon

The Earth Day Challenge Marathon is as small as the town of Gambier, OH in which it is held. The first four miles goes around and through the town, and is quite hilly. Maybe that is why I couldn't find any comfortable pace or rhythm. The first hill is about a half mile into the race and is MASSIVE. As big a hill as I've done in any marathon (or even any race) that I've run. All the way through the start of this marathon I was getting passed and passed and passed some more. Even two first-timer coeds left me in the dust. I knew they'd all come back though. Well, of course not all of them, but a lot. Anyway, all these people going too fast made me go a little faster than I wanted too. D'oh. The first 5 miles went by at a 8:06 pace. I didn't even know I was running that fast, just couldn't find the pacing.

After that we started on the Kokosing Gap Trail; a converted railroad bed that is now a paved bike trail. Utter bliss to run on. Really, it was fantastic, at least for this small marathon. Oh, did I mention there were only 200 marathoners and 500 half runners? It did get a little crowded on the first out and back when there were people coming and going and passing and running together. I fell in with a few other runners and we started talking marathons. They had done 86, 75, 50+ and 3. The guy who had done 3 was hoping to break 4 hours but was up running with us at a 3:35-3:40 pace. His big idea was to bank minutes so when he tired at the end, he'd have some extra time for walking. Riiiiiiiiight, that always works. Not. So we told him that but he didn't listen and stuck with us anyway. Second 5 miles were still a bit too fast but not bad. Second 5 miles in 8:17.

I'd been having to pee a little bit and thought that it was a good idea to stop just before half so as to increase my chances of running negative splits. Unofficially my half time was 1:47:58; 3:36 for negative splits. Doable, but I'd have to just see how I was feeling. The second half of the race is another out and back along the trail but in the other direction after we dropped the half marathoners. Unfortunately that direction did not have nearly as much tree canopy to run under and the sun came out in full force. It was pretty warm and humid. I'm kind of using that as my excuse anyway because I started to slow down. Third 5 miles was at 8:20 pace. Somewhere in there I passed the coeds who started out so much faster than me. They said their goal was 3:39. First timers, aren't they just great?

Around about 15 miles I went into the mental doldrums. I hadn't experienced these in the last few races but know they are always there. I just kept running; what else could I do? They always pass anyway. Even though I was not into it at all I decided to count the number of people in front of me that were now on the back portion of this out and back. I think I got to around 25 but can't remember for sure. Even though I was slowing down, I was passing some people. In fact, I only remember 1 guy passing me the whole second half of the race (doesn't mean more didn't though). Fourth 5 miles were at 8:31.

Pacing started to get in the 9:00 range and I took a couple walking breaks. I kept telling myself (and still am) that it was because of the heat and humidity because I refuse to believe that going out at 8:15 pace for the first half is that much too fast. Maybe it is though and my ego just won't let me admit it. At one point I had to stop and turn to go back to my daughter for a high five because we missed our first one. I'm sure that added several many minutes (or just a few seconds). I told myself to just keep plugging along at whatever pace and as long as I did that I'd still have a finish right in line with my other marathons this year. The miles rolled on by interrupted by a few short chats with other runners. Fifth 5 miles was at 9:21 pace (ugh, I'm cringing just to write that).

Suddenly the finish was there, right where it started, on the track of Kenyon College. I was given a choice of a medal or a mug; of course I chose the medal. All about the bling right? My unofficial finish time was 3:44:37.

Turns out we had a nice day to run. No rain (at least until about an hour after I was done. I suppose some people got wet). Wind was there but minimal. Actually running into it in the latter stages of the race was quite cooling. I'd definitely recommend this race if you don't need large crowds and constant cheering to keep yourself going. After four miles the trail was a pancake flat affair lined with trees (well, at least the first half). Quite casual but with enthusiastic volunteers and fans (my family). No expo to speak of but a nice spread after with food and massages. I didn't partake though, I'm never in a mood to after running. The ice bath that my kids love to make was torturous but did help.

Right now I'm sitting in a Columbus, OH hotel room writing this because we were shut out of the flights we were trying to catch. Hopefully tomorrow will be better. I never did meet up with Psyche even though she ran it too. Be sure to check out her account of the race though because undoubtedly it will be more entertaining than mine.

April 22 15.84 at 7:57
April 25 26.2 at 8:33

Apr 21, 2010

April Marathon Coming Up

Congrats to all you Boston finishers. It is such a fun marathon to partake in.

It seems like it's been such a long time since my last marathon (5 weeks!). I'm kind of looking forward to another one this weekend. Only problem? Supposed to be windy with thunderstorms. That = not so good. Well, I've done sub-freezing and moderately nice, I suppose this is just another bout of weather to deal with. Hmmm (<--indicates thought bubble), I expect I'll have hot and humid to look forward to sometime. At least I can be thankful that it isn't a triathlon, swimming in those conditions can be bad.

Running has been moderately better lately. Still haven't gotten a long run in but I am doing kind of middling distance runs of about 14-16 miles at about 8 minutes per mile. I might not be able to run the speed I'd like to yet but I can pick it up a bit from what I was doing. I think I slowed my long runs down to 8:30-9:00 minute pace and somehow that creeped into my other runs too. I'll have to be wary about that in the future.

After getting my bike out and all ready to go on Sunday, I took it out for the first ride of the season on Monday. Nothing real big or real fast, just about 20 miles in a little over an hour. Didn't want to push it or anything. Don't want to take too much away from my running legs, not just yet anyway. Felt good to ride though. Kind of funny, my long run route is a short, easy ride route on the bike. It's such a slog when I'm running but goes by so quickly on the bike.

Also got another swim in today. 800 meters in just under 20 minutes. Nothing to brag about but a start. I did 1x400 meters and then 4x100 meters. The second I swam faster but took about a 15 second rest between reps so the total time for each 400 was about the same. I think I like the shorter reps better because that lets me swim a little faster but a real quick rest lets me keep the speed up. Hmmm (thinking again), maybe I should apply that to my running a little more (read interval training). Somehow it seems easier in swimming.

April 16 14 at 8:02
April 18 15.73 at 8:05
April 19 19.6 miles biking at 16.9 mph
April 20 15.82 at 8:01
April 21 800 meters at 2:27 per 100 (I know, I know. I'm not much of a swimmer)

Apr 12, 2010

We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us. -Joseph Campbell

March was supposed to be lower mileage/faster pace than February. Fail. It turns out that I was not only slower but ran more. Not really much more though, only 13 miles but I had 5 more workouts so my average run was way lower. So now, since I've been unable to hit the pace that I'd like, I thought I'd go back to the higher mileage. I should be able to do that right? Well, maybe not. After getting in a good week last week, 66 miles on 4 runs including 20 on Monday and 16 on Tuesday (got to be my two day PB) I set out for my 20 miler today. Uh, not happening. Legs felt terrible after a mile. Stopped at 4 to reassess. Turned around at 5. Don't know what that was all about. Better luck next time.

Total Miles: 203.26
Total Runs: 13
Average: 15.64
Pace: 8:25

Total Miles: 213.09
Total Runs: 18
Average: 11.84
Pace: 8:26

Hmm, can't run faster, can't run further, maybe I'll be able to run less. Since January I've been pointing to the Green Bay marathon for a PB attempt. I'm abandoning that. Actually not that bad a thing, it'll take the pressure off and there are still 7 more marathons left in the year. Now I just need to maintain what I do have. Maybe I'll cut back on a run or so and pick up on the bike riding and swimming every week. I'm thinking one 18-20 miler and two 10-12 milers (plus the cross training) would allow me to complete a marathon every month.

Well, that's the plan anyway. Things tend to not go as planned so I'll tell you about my new plans in a few weeks.

April 8 16 at 8:27
April 10 14.07 at 7:58
April 12 9.03 at 8:29

Apr 6, 2010

Run With The Wolves 5k

I took my son to a Minnesota Timberwolves basketball game (they are a professional team, honest) a few weeks ago. Well, when they advertised a "Run With The Wolves 5k" with a free game ticket on the big screen, he latched on to that right away. So last Saturday we ran another 5k together and he was going for his PB of 28:26.

I paced him to a 9:07 first mile, right on target. The second mile started with a couple hills that took a little out of him. A little later he asked to slow down, so we did. I gradually worked our pace back up but then he asked to slow down a bit again. We went through the second mile in 9:18. We'd have to pick up the pace to make the PB. Then he told me he wanted to walk. I wouldn't let him. I just encouraged him to keep running as much as he could. Towards the end there was a slight uphill and then a couple tenths of a mile downhill to the finish. Mile 3 was 9:07 and he was sprinting hard towards the finish. I thought we were going to make it but we finished in 28:31. He was so funny; he immediately laid down on the ground. He stayed there awhile and got up only to drink some water but then plopped back down again. He worked really hard, I really enjoyed running with him.

Nice, small race. No official timing but lots of food, t-shirt, Timberwolves hats for the kids, massages, lots of coupons for $$'s off massages and spa treatments. Even full size deoderant in the goody bags. And I can't forget the game tickets.

All in:
March 28, 2010 7.37 @ 8:19 (4x1/2 mile hill repeats)
March 30, 2010 10 @ 8:18
March 31, 2010 5.68 @ 7:46
April 1, 2010 12.7 @ 8:25
April 3, 2010 6.48 @ 8:30
April 5, 2010 20.15 @ 8:42
April 6, 2010 16.01 @ 8:50