SUNDAY! SUNDAY! SUNDAY! FLYING MONKEYS! RUNNERS! HILLS! SUNDAY! SUNDAY! SUNDAY!
It’s Race Week, and I have been getting anxious… more than I have in the past (except for 2009 Knoxville Marathon). The Race that I am running is the 4th Annual (A New Hope) Flying Monkey Marathon run in the “rolling” hills of Percy Warner Park just outside of Nashville, Tn. Like any of my marathons, I am very excited about it, but I am holding some reservation on getting too excited. When I get to excited, I get delusions of grandeur and when I get delusions of grandeur, I get stoopid. Usually this comes in the form of “temporarily forgetting” the amount of training that I have completed before a marathon. I have yet to train adequately for ANY of marathons, despite the passion for running them, I find myself not having enough time to get it all in. Sometimes it is that clever avoidance technique that has me miss runs or cut runs down in length. THIS time was supposed to be different. Oh, and it was… just not in a “good” way.
What was supposed to be around a 15-16 week multi-moderate distance (16-18 miles for long runs), ended up being a sporadic shorter distance 5-6 week training plan. With the “Taper” being NO running because of chest congestion issue that I didn’t want to inflame to pneumonia or something in that neighborhood. As of today’s chest x-ray (part of my annual physical exam) my lungs are clear and my symptoms are gone. I am being to believe that my issue was 50% cold and 50% allergies. While I did have a slight sore throat, I never had a fever, but was really tired for a number of days… one of which I slept close to 18 hours. I kept having a cough with some phelghm with little improvement. Last week, I did an overhaul of the kids bedroom, thinking that they were having allergy issues, and I felt better, but I still had the cough.
In running, there are a few Rules of Thumb that most people abide by. One of them is the 10% Rule, which is used for different aspects of running. I don’t necessary follow (but understand the logic and reasoning behind it) the 10% Rule for Weekly Mileage: Thou Shalt not increase weekly mileage by more than 10% of the previous week’s mileage or suffer the wrath of INJURY. I do follow the Sickness Rule… if your cold symptoms are Above the Neck, You Can Run; If Below, Don’t!
Since I still having the cough, I took an Allegy med late Sunday and in a few hours felt much better. Monday, I was feeling MUCH MUCH better, but I still had “The Cough”. On Wednesday (which is yesterday as I type this), I only had times where I felt the need to cough and the volume of phelghm was smaller and smaller. Today, I have only coughed once, with minimal results. Plus, verification from the doctor who not only saw my Chest X-ray, plus listened to my breathing said he couldn’t find anything. So, I feel that I am Free and Clear now. But where does that leave me?
Over in the STRAT3GY MARATHON ROOM, the debate on “How to Run the Marathon” is being discussed. There are 3 different methods being debated. The consensus is that it will not “Be Raced” but that leaves the questions, ” How Shall it be Run?”
- Race It
- Start Running and Hope for the Best
- Tortoise and Hare method (Run-Walk)
You might think that this marathon situation is new to the Planet3rry Universe of Running, but you would be mistaken. I have encountered a very similar situation back in 2002. I was on a project in Lake Charles, LA when it went from going okay to “uh-oh”. The tritium clean-up we soon discover would take longer (it ended up being 3 weeks longer) and that left me the opportunity to run the Mardi Gras Marathon. Previous to the Mardi Gras Marathon, I had run the Strawplain Half-Marathon the week before and cumulative mileage for 2002 up to the Mardi Gras Marathon was 40 miles. I was in the “Rest” mode coming off my PR performance at the 2001 Richmond Marathon (November 2001). I was at the Mardi Gras Marathon where I perfected my “Marathon Survival Mode”. I knew that since I had little to no training, plus running with a friend for the first Half of the marathon, but by myself the rest of the way, that I would need to be “Slow and Steady” for the entire race. The course is ridiculously flat. Seriously, the ONLY incline that we went over was a man-made bridge that rose to 10′ or so over a culvert, which we ran over twice. Other than that, it is FLAT! But too much of one thing is not always good. While it was flat, you use the same muscles over and over and over, with no reprieve given from rolling (i.e. gentle) hills. So my deficit in training miles was also amplified from the fact that we were in New Orleans the night before. If there was any carbo-loading, it was from the sugar in the alcohol. Plus, we didn’t get to hotel until later in the evening early morning leaving the amount of sleep to a few hours. But, I one of the maxims that I use is that it is not the Night Before the Race where sleep is important, it’s the ‘Night BEFORE the Night Before’ the Race that counts.
Despite the fact that the Mile 4 water stop was grossly unmanned for the number of runners demanding water, nor the fact that at the Mile 9 water stop, it had either NEVER been staffed or had been abandoned because there were two 6-foot table with packages of cups and two trash cans of liquid for you to “Self-Serve”, I still had a decent first Half-marathon. By Mile 14 I was starving, which means “It’s TOO late for fueling, eat and wish for the best”, I started to succumb to the fatigue and began shifting into my survival mode. At first, it was purposely walking through water stops and food tables to maximize my intake of solids and liquids. At Mile 21, I had shifted into stopping to massage and stretch my legs after each water stop (now a mile apart). Near Mile 24, I had created a simple stretch routine that would give my legs a breather while being quick to perform it. And then at mile 26, I had gone through my Finish Line “procedure/technique” and knew the point where I could go “full throttle” to the Finish Line. My finish time was 4:38:14, which was a surprise to me since I knew that I wasn’t going to “race” it. My original Race Report of the Mardi Gras Marathon can be found here.
Here’s my Mile Split Times from last year’s Flying Monkey Marathon
So what does that leave me to believe that I can do? I am not too sure!