Monday, May 30, 2011

All Kind Of Marathon Goals Handy

As a running geek, I know all marathon race prediction tables that are available. From my coach’s Chuckit, to running times, to runner’s world, to McMillan, to Marathon Guide, to Rogue.

For four years all my races in every distance have been right on with McMillan, give or take. When I was introduced to Chuck’s, I thought his was too conservative. Well, that happened to be good. Putting all my latest races results, 2-mile trials and tribulations, these were all the predictions I got for my 6th marathon, my 5th state (Idaho) in the pursuit of my 50/50 quest:

Based on Half Marathon
Based on 2-mile trial

I decided to base my Coeur D’Alene Marathon goal on Half Marathon results instead of the 2-mile trial. Reason is that I am a good sprinter and perform way better in shorter distances; therefore, the Half distance would be more accurate for me.
  • My “can live with this goal” was 4:45.
  • My realistic goal and the one I was sure I was going to get was 4:32.
  • My fantastic goal was 4:27.
  • My beyond dreams goal was a BQ, 4:15:59. Though it sounded crazy, if one predictor, based on a 2-mile trial made this goal still within range of possibilities, then I can dream about it.
To spare you a lot of reading I finished on 4:44. Am I happy? Yes, I got a PR by 15 min and was the goal I can live with. Am I thrilled? No. I was sure I could get a 4:30ish, and the race indicated I was going to get it.

The weather forecast by mid race was mid 40’s and rain; perfect for a Seattleite. But as any weather forecast, it changed the day before. Now it was going to be low 50’s by mid race and sunny with 10mph tailwinds for the first half; 13mph headwinds the second.

For first time ever I ran a very consistent pace for the first 9 miles. 10:00 min/mile sharp. This would put me in a 2:11 Half, and right on in a 4:30ish finish if I slowed down, or a sub 4:30 if things continued smooth. Well, neither. At mile 11 we got this already known long 6% gradient hill. It looked horrible when I drove it the day I got there, but no so horrible when I climbed it. Now we had to go downhill to lake level to climb this very hill after the turn around. At mid point I was in 2:14 and felt very good but very hot. It was 51F but the sun was s-h-i-n-i-n-g !!!! After the turnaround, at mile 14, I felt this delicious wind on my face as my private fan… Oh, wait. That means the forecast about the wind was right… The next miles were the introduction to a total new race: Running against the wind… for 12 miles.

Mile 18 is for me the mile to beat. If I pass it in good shape, I know I will be OK. I got there at 3:12 and I have already climbed back to the crest of the non-so-horrible hill that became horrendous. Back to lake level… the rest is flat. I felt good and thought the plan was still achievable. Did some math in my head, and realized that I would have to do a 10 min/mile for the rest of the race to get my goal. Thought of a Venezuelan guy that ran a sub-3 Boston this year and told me: It has to hurt. Ok. Hurt, pain, I am here to take you. Come on… Well, no. Not this time. The wind will not let me.  It’s noteworthy to say that I have run with worse winds, don’t get me wrong. It’s just that this time, this wind was IN the way of a fantastic performance!!!

According to Bob Glover's Runner's Handbook, "A 10 mph head wind will slow your forward progress by about 8 percent.  A 10 mph tailwind will push you along by about 5 percent faster. A head wind slows you more than a tailwind helps you…

Being that said and proven, nothing was left than trying not to go beyond 4:45. Mile 19 to 22 were the worst of all. I was feeling dehydrated (clueless on how this happened to me being the water-drinker I am). At mile 23, the 5K distance looked appealing and I pushed the pace to leave on the course everything I had. I gave it all...

At 4:44:04 I crossed the finish line. I placed 10 out of 24 in my division. A PR by 15 minutes. I conquered Idaho, my 5th state. 45 to go!!!!

Chuck won the predictions... and it was definitely good to have All Kind Of Marathon Goals Handy.

With running buddy Suzanne

With running buddy Shannon

About to puke after crossing the finish line
At Outback ready to attack a piece of steak

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