Monday, May 26, 2008

Andy Payne Memorial Marathon

I had decided to run this marathon after talking to some other club members. You should read the Andy Payne story when you get a chance. In my heart I knew this wasn't a good idea. It was less than 3 weeks ago that I ran the Flying Pig Marathon, and I also knew the weather was not going to cooperate. The marathon starts at 6:30, then two hours later a 10 and 5k. I ran the 10k last year, and it was hot and humid. I had been watching the forecast for the last week, and the prediction was the same for this year. Oh well, I still decided to go ahead and run. This is a very low key marathon, 79 finishers, in fact it is not much different in support from a small 5k. It consists of a short run through the park, and then 3 times around lake Overholser. I know this course well, and in training have run around the lake twice several times. So I know it's boring. We start pretty much on time, and I'm running with a friend from the running club. I know he is faster, but figure he'll take it a little easier today. We're running sub 9 minute miles for the first loop, and I don't feel too bad. We got separated after that, and I was doing ok, but knew it wasn't going to be a P R day. Near the half way point of the second loop, the weather was starting to take it's toll. I did want to make it to the 10k turnaround so I could see a lot of my friends that were running that. I made it, and saw pretty much everyone running it. My next goal was to make it back to where they would be ending before most of them caught back up to me. I didn't make that goal, but they all knew I was running the marathon, so they would encourage me. I really felt more like I was running an ultra marathon because after the second loop, it turned into a survival run. The aid stations were really too far apart for the conditions. I weighed myself when I got home, and I had lost 6 pounds. That's not good, that means I was dehydrated. I would drink two cups at every stop, but still would be thirsty within 10 minutes. I did finish, after going into the walk/run survival mode, and just barely kept it from being my worst time ever, 4:23:24, although if I take chip time from the other one it was the worst time by a few seconds. I will second what a friend said in his blog, while the time was terrible, the experience was not. I made it through when I really wanted to quit, and because this is a multiple loop course, it would have been easy to quit. I was a little disappointed I didn't get an age group award, it would have been nice to medal in a marathon, but my time didn't warrant that and I'm in a competitive age group.
On a very positive note, I've spent the whole weekend with my 4 year old granddaughter pretty much to myself. It is so wonderful to see the world through her eyes. We went to a rodeo on Saturday night, and have just been walking/running and talking in the countryside Sunday and Monday, and she thinks being in the country is "just so nice." She thinks her "paw-paw" is so great, and I think she's right. Last night, she had pretty much worn herself out, and she took a short nap, then she woke up, saw me in the recliner, and came over, climbed in with me, and went back to sleep. It doesn't get any better than that.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Gusher Gallop 5k, more training

Saturday, I ran the Gusher Gallop 5k. This was only my 2nd 5k this year, and the 1st was January 1st. The way my training has gone, I knew I had a chance to P R at this race. But I set a conservative goal of just going under 22 minutes. I should have been more aggressive, but you never know. I set my Garmin for 5k @ 22 minutes. Those of you familiar with the training partner of the Garmins know that this is basically where you are racing your watch. I was ahead of pace the whole time, and I think I held back a little because of that. I went through the first mile in 6:56 and the next two at 6:57, never really hurting but definitely near the edge. I should have pushed just a bit harder, I finished 4 seconds behind one of my age group competitors in the running club. My finish time was 21:37, 2 seconds off my P R at this distance. When I saw the clock, I knew I was close, but by the time you see the clock, it is really too late to make up much time. All in all I'm still pleased at my performance, and encouraged by how good I felt. Several friends did P R at this event, and their exuberance rubbed off on me, so I really enjoyed the race and the camaraderie afterwards.
Today, Sunday, I had planned to run a hard 14 mile tempo. No one had posted at the website about training this morning, so I headed to the S. River trail which is exactly 14 miles. I was planning to run the full 14 at an 8:45 pace. After 3 miles my body said "not today." So I stopped, walk/rested, then changed my workout to a LSD. Long Slow Distance. In the past after seeing that my workout wasn't going to happen, I would have ended it. But I ended up doing the 11 miles that remained at a 9:25 average, and most of this was because I was feeling good on the last 5 miles, and picked up the pace. I am continuing to learn that if you will adjust your pace and remain patient, you can usually work though the hard parts.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Summary of this week

This has been a very good week in training. Now we'll see if it translates into good racing. I sort of took Monday off. I went to the library to get the "Marathon runner's handbook." I'll give a bit on that in a minute. I checked that out, and then decided to check out this trail that runs right by the library. I had seen it before, but never run it. So I decided to walk it to see if it had any potential for a run in the future. It turns out it's a nice little trail, but not really runable. I saw a lot of families with babies and older children, and I think that's great. It is about 1.4 miles one direction, and .6 in another. So I walked/ran about 4 miles total, but didn't record that. Tuesday I met a group at a local high school track. This was my first time there and I just wanted to see what they did there. I just bought a new Garmin 305 and hadn't used it for intervals yet. My plan was to do "Yasso 800's" but I set my watch for 1/4's which is closer to 400's. So I did 10 1/4's with a 1:30 rest interval. I was surprised to see I was doing them at just over a 6/mi pace. At first I thought I'd do an easy day Wed, but instead decided to do a 6 mi. tempo run at sub-marathon pace. I ended up doing them at an average of 7:59/mi, but it was closer to 8:15's and then I did the last one in about 7 minutes. Thursday I did decide to do an easy run. I hadn't run on the river trails in a while, so I decided to go there. I ran the N. River trail for 10 miles at a 10:40 pace. I was really running by HR, trying to stay below 130. I have a 5K race Saturday, and a friend and I will run at least 12 miles on dirt trails Sunday.
I mentioned the Marathon Runners Handbook, so far I'm not impressed. But I'm only a little into the book. It seems more like a beginning runners handbook. I also mentioned that I bought a Garmin 305. I've been watching the price and availability of the new 405, but decided I wasn't ready to pay $349.95 for the 405 with HR monitor. Then I saw where REI had the 305 on sale for $165, so I jumped on it. I like it a lot so far. By the way, it's not on sale anymore. I have a Garmin 201, and then I would wear a separate HR monitor. The 305 has a HR monitor built in. It seems to be more accurate on HR and distance.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Moving On

This week has been something of a recovery week for me, but I'm getting back into the swing of things fairly rapidly. I'm running a 5k next week, and I'm considering running a small local marathon in two weeks. I walked/ran 3 miles Tuesday. Then I ran 5 miles easy Thursday. Saturday I ran with the running club, they were doing 18, but I felt like that was too much so soon, plus I had to drive 70 miles for a meeting later that morning. So I ran 12 moderately hard. This morning I decided to run around Lake Draper. The weather had gotten a bit chilly, I was showing 45, so I dressed accordingly. I started out easy, and when I got to the south side of the lake, there was a strong wind from the north. It was a crosswind, but that is the dam side, and there is a steep drop off to the south. And it felt like a good gust of wind would carry me over the side. Of course after that, I was then headed north straight into the wind. With all of that I did have a great run. I was completely alone, there was very little traffic, and I just enjoy being alone with my thoughts sometimes. A complete loop of the lake is about 13.6 and like most runners I'm obsessive about distance, so I ran a little past the Marina to get it to 14 miles. It was then back home, shower, church and a Mothers Day dinner. It has been a good day.
One more thing about Flying Pig, and then I'll put it to bed. I got an email from them saying they have the correct distance now, and a calculator for you to figure out your corrected time. Of course this is just a guess based on your average overall pace. Anyway using the calculator my corrected time would be 3:50:19. Which is good only for my ego, because they are not going to change the times on their website, which I understand.

Monday, May 5, 2008

An interesting twist to the Flying Pig

If you don't mind dear reader, please read the post below this one first, if you haven't already.

I mentioned in my previous post about a few things that bothered me about this marathon. One was, that you couldn't hear the P A announcer. I actually thought I heard them say something about the course being in the process of recertification, and we would be running at least a marathon distance. I didn't post about it, because I wasn't sure what I heard. The next thing was the race started 15 minutes late, and I didn't know why. And finally I didn't know why my Gamin and their mile markers were so different. Well I now have those answers. The paragraph below is from an email I received today. By the way, there is no mention of this at the official web site.

"For those of you who were at the start line Sunday morning, we thank you for your patience as the full marathon route had to be changed at the last minute because of a structure fire along the final stretch of the Marathon route. The three-alarm fire sparked about an hour and a half before the scheduled start of the Marathon, and three houses involved in the fire were destroyed. The Marathon staff thanks the Cincinnati Police and Fire departments for acting so quickly to re-route the Marathon runners, with the safety of the runners, the fire fighters and the residents at the forefront. Because of the change in the route, the course will be re-certified. According to Marathon Executive Director Iris Simpson-Bush, after the new distance is measured, "we can deduct runner's times by determining their pace and then apply it to a 26.2-mile distance. Then we will check with USATF to get it recertified."

Ok, stuff happens. I understand their job is extremely difficult under circumstances like these. My BQ attempt pales in comparison to the people who lost their homes and belongings that day, and the people who put their lives on the line to try to protect everyone involved. Here is the good news from a Cincinnati newspaper "There were no injuries and fire officials estimated damage at $200,000." So I'm not really concerned about what my "true marathon" time will be.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

The Flying Pig Marathon

Well it's over. The 10th anniversary of The Flying Pig Marathon. Some of you know that my main goal for this marathon was to Boston qualify. I didn't quite make it. But I'm ok with that. I did run my fastest marathon so far. Before I tell you my time, let me tell you about it. This is the biggest marathon I've run. And I know why I prefer the smaller ones. I'll get back to that also. Yesterday morning (Sat) I caught my flight to Columbus. Why Columbus? Because it was $200 cheaper than flying into Cincinnati. I got my car, it was raining lightly there, and drove to Cincy. On my way in I stopped at Trader Joes, can't wait till we get one here, and picked up a potato salad and a Turkey sandwich. I planned to eat in my room and watch basketball. I got to the hotel, checked in, and walked to the expo two blocks away. This was a great expo, everything moved fast, and there were plenty of exhibits. Got my bib, then went on to pick up my shirt. They had a surprise gift, a duffel bag, it's nice. I went back to my hotel and settled down for the evening. I went to bed at 9, Cincy is on EDT, and woke up at Midnight. I then ate the rest of my dinner, and went back to sleep. I got up around 4, and went to this little continental breakfast just to get some coffee and a bagel. I walked to the start. The weather was a bit chilly, but that was perfect. It was easy to get to my pace area, 3:30-4:15. The race started at 6:45, 15 minutes late. I don't know why, the P A system was terrible. You had to be right at the front to hear. Anyway, we start, it takes about 2 minutes to cross the timing mat, but we still weren't able to run yet. In front of me were much slower people and walkers. I guess they couldn't read the pace markings. One man was asking where the 3 hour pace started. He was an old man and I noticed he was wearing a 1/2 marathon bib. Oh well. This race is very hilly, we went over a bridge into Kentucky and it was quite a climb. I had planned to run 9/mi pace for the first 3 to 4 miles and then start pulling it down. My Garmin said I was doing just that. By the 10 mile mark I was holding 8:30 or better, but the one thing that was bothering me was my GPS was clicking long before their mile markers. I was understanding that my watch wasn't going to get me there on time. So I started trying to pull it down to 8:15's. I did that for a couple of miles, but with the hills, I decided to drop back to 8:30's and then see how I felt around mile 20. Around 20 I was starting to realize that I might not make it. Around mile 23 it was all I could do to keep running. I made myself a promise that if I could run to 25, I could walk a little. I got to 25 and it was a slight downhill so I said no way I'm walking now. I also knew even though I wasn't going to get the 3:45 I needed, that I could still set a personal best. I finished in 3:52:32 and even though I didn't quite make it to my BQ time, my Garmin says that I ran 27.1 miles and had an 8:35 pace which is exactly what I needed. The only thing I can think that would account for that big a difference is all the zig zagging I had to do to get around the slower people. Also I was never alone in this race, which is why I said it reminded why I prefer the smaller races. From start to finish I was always surrounded by people. And there were way too many IPODs even though the race prohibited them. One guy that I kept going back and forth with, every time he'd pass me, he would then get right in front of me and slow down. I wanted to say something to him, but I didn't. This race is very well attended, and they run you through the downtown area several times. The crowds there make you feel like you're running in the Olympics. A great race, if you like crowds you'll like this race.

OK Male 54 Chip 3:52:32 Gun 3:54:20 Overall 1048/4725 Sex 839/2719 Age 68/297