28 June 2009

Life Goals: Run a Marathon....Check!

When I ran my first track meet in 8th grade, nine years ago, I never would have imagined that I would one day run a marathon. Even after my first half-marathon, I wasn't sure I could run the full 26.2 mile race. Yesterday I ran in the inaugural Seattle Rock-n-Roll Marathon. The course as a whole was good. Some portions could have been better but it wasn't too bad. Running along Lake Washington and I-90 was amazing. The views were great!

I woke up at 4am to have a small breakfast and some fluids. I left for the start line village between 5 and 5:30. My wonderful fiance and my mom were nice enough to wake up early and drop me off there. I got a bottle of water and a banana from the volunteers. The corrals opened at 6:00 and I was in my corral around 6:10. Now, I was in corral 6 (bib 6390) with a 'predicted' time of 3:49:15. Based on my fitness level and some time trials I did during my training, I used several prediction calculators/tables. They all said I should be running 3:3x. So I figured shooting for 3:45-3:49 would be conservative. Sadly, I don't have accurate splits past mile 12 because my Forerunner lost signal in two of the tunnels.

About 2 minutes after the gun went off, my corral was at the start line. It was like no other race I've ever ran. Hitting that line with a hundred other people next to me and thousands behind me was something else. The first few miles were very crowded. I still managed to run a pace that would set me up to run 3:4x fairly easily. I leap-frogged with the 3:45 pace group a few times before dropping them around mile 8. I made sure to hydrate at every aid station. A little before mile 8, I had my first round of shot blocks. They served me well on my last 20-mile training run so I decided to bring them along for the race too.

Just before the halfway point, the 3:45 group passed me and would stay ahead of me for the rest of the race. Things continued to go well until mile marker 18. I started to feel more tired and felt my pace begin to slow. Just before (or after?) mile 19, I stopped to use a port-a-potty. When I started running again, I knew I was flirting with the Wall. I never hit it during my two 20-mile runs so I was a little worried. I backed off a little bit, walking through the aid stations and slowing my pace a little. That worked well until I got to mile 24. The heat started to get me around mile 21 so I lost my singlet and ran in shorts for the rest of the race. I walked a bit more on some of the hills. Still, when I was running I kept my pace sub-9:00. The final bit of the course came down a hill off of the viaduct and around a corner to the finish near Qwest Field. As soon as I rounded the corner and started down the hill, I picked my pace up a lot. I was actually surprised I had that much left. I was probably running close to sub-8:00 when I hit the 26 mile marker. Rounding the final corner to the finish, I picked my pace up even more, close to 6:30 pace. After I crossed the line, I took a few strides and stopped my watch, 3:54:14(my chip time was 3:54:11). I heard my fiance, mom and little brother cheering near the end! That helped a lot! I made my way through the finish area, grabbing some water, bagel, orange and Cytomax(their Gatorade of the race). Of course, I got my race medal and one of the mylar blankets.

Before I left there to find my family, I ran into the father of a guy who was on my high school cross country team when I was captain. He's also a Marathon Maniac. We chatted about the race for a few minutes before he ran over to take some pictures with other Maniacs. After leaving the finish area, I met up with my family. They took some pictures and hugs were passed around. Then my mom bought me a 'Finisher' t-shirt :)

In all, I am happy with my first marathon experience. My time wasn't exactly what I had hopped for but it was only my first race. Taking that into consideration, I am very happy with my time. I think next year, I'll run the half-marathon at this event and find a different race to go after a sub-3:50 finish!

My Splits (before the Forerunner lost signal):
6-7:55 (no idea where that came from. must have been a downhill mile)

Official Splits:
5K- 26:30
10K- 52:52
9mi- 1:16:29
13.1mi- 1:52:51
30K- 2:41:28
24mi- 3:32:05

14 June 2009

The countdown begins...

I am one week closer to race day. This past week was week one of my taper. It went fairly well. It started a little off from my plan but was a good week.

Tuesday was suppose to be an easy 5 miler. Well, I was a little stressed about some things and just pushed it the whole way. I averaged 7:07 for the first 3 and 7:19 for the whole run, finishing in 36 and change.

The next few days I took it easy. Saturday's long run was only 12 miles. I ran the first 3 with Belinda :) and ran the last 9 @ 8:11 pace. The weeks total of 32 miles takes me over the 500 miles mark for the year!

The next two weeks of the taper will probably be tough. I've been averaging between 35 and 43 miles for the last month. The next two weeks only total 33 miles. I think I might go crazy running that little.

06 June 2009

And now, for the taper

The hard part is over...well...the long running is over. Tomorrow I begin my three week taper before the race.

Running went well this week. Around Tuesday it got really hot. So I ran early then and cut Wednesday's run short. On my rest day, Thursday, I got a surprise from my parents. They gave me my graduation present....a garmin Forerunner 305! I was very excited. I tested it out on a 5 miler on Friday and I love it.

Today, I had my last long run of 20 miles. It went much better than the last one. The course I ran on was a lot flatter, so that helped. I ran on a trail in the valley. I started at the McMillan (sp?) trailhead and ran the first leg to Orting by myself. There, my fiance joined me on her bike :) We rode/ran together for the next 14 miles. We stopped for some ShotBlocks and water/Powerade at miles 7, 11 and 14. On my previous long runs, I had used gummy bears. The ShotBlocks worked much better, I'll probably use them for the race.

I was hoping to run around 9:00 pace or 3 hours total. As you can see below, the first 5 miles made that seem unlikely. I'm not sure why or when, but I began to pick up my pace quite a bit. On the latter portion of the run, I was 'caught' by runners competing in the Rainier-to-Ruston race. A 50mile relay from Mt. Rainier to the Tacoma waterfront. It was fun watching them compete. As a bonus, all the people supporting them cheered for me too, thinking I was in the race! In all, I averaged 8:56 per mile (according to my Forerunner :) ). Three weeks until race day!

20-miler stats:
Total: 2:58:35/8:56 pace

9:03, 9:12, 9:24, 9:20, 9:03, 8:50, 8:36, 9:01, 9:04, 8:47, 8:42, 8:39, 8:43, 9:10, 8:55, 8:46, 8:54, 8:45, 8:50, 8:44