Tag Archives: marathon

2012 Flying Monkey Marathon Race Report

Bananas in black!

We've Got Big Hills
We’ve Got Big Hills

Just a mere 8 days after my PR finish at the Chickamauga Marathon, I was getting ready to run the Flying Monkey Marathon (11/18/2012). The Flying Monkey Marathon is my absolute favorite marathon, the culture around the marathon is so awesome, you don’t care that the course is brutal. And if the course doesn’t kill you, the monkeys will.

For this race, the whole family made the trip to Nashville on Saturday with the race on Sunday. Due to poor planning on my part, because My Lovely and Talented Wife is the awesome planner, we missed out on Children’s Museums on Saturday.

This was my 4th running of the Flying Monkey Marathon, I had previously ran in 2008, 2009 and 2010. I had missed the 2011 running because I stupidly thought I could get registered with no problem, but it was closed before I could even blink. This year, registration was done by weighted lottery and because I wasn’t sure if I would get into Flying Monkey, I completed the early registration for Chickamauga Marathon as a “back-up”. If I was chosen to run Flying Monkey then it would be “oh well, gosh darn, I’ll just have to run both”. And that is what happened.

Because Flying Monkey is 1) A tough course: They have Big Hills and 2) I ran a PR time of 4:08:02 at Chickamauga just 8 days earlier, I had no expectations on my performance at Flying Monkey. All I wanted to do was finish. And finish I did!

Pre-Race
The one nice thing that happens is that there are pre-race photos for running groups which cuts out the whole “where is the picture going to be”. I know that Marathon Maniacs (I’m MM#1225 – which Flying Monkey 2008 was my qualifying race) and Run It Fast both had group pictures and I think the other group was those runners that had run all the Monkeys to date.

Miles 1-7
(9:19, 9:41, 9:40, 10:22, 9:37, 11:14, 8:38)

Starting off the race was pretty easy. Like I have mentioned earlier, this was just a leisurely run in the (literal) park. Corresponding with the course profile, my mile split times were correlated positively with the elevation changes. During these first few miles, I was running with a runner who had run all of the Flying Monkey and was just passing time.

Miles 8-13
(10:51, 9:45, 10:14, 10:02,10:18, 11:03)

By about this time, I realized that the pace that I was running was fairly comfortable, very comfortable and by the calculations, I would be finishing in a sub 5 hour time. But it was a no-worries marathon and I figured I would keep the pace and see what happens.

Miles 14-22
(10:00, 11:52, 10:27, 10:21, 11:00, 9:09, 12:03,11:01, 10:17)

Unfortunately, writing a race report almost 9 months post-race about a race on a course previously ran 3 other times, the memory tends to blends races together.  However, things were still going well, pace going well, legs in good shape.

We've Got Big Hills

Miles 23-26.2
(10:43, 11:03, 10:41, 10:47, 1:21)

With things going relatively well, it was now a question could I accomplish my Monkey Goal. I would be pretty close. One of the cool things about the Flying Monkey Marathon is that once you get a bib number, you keep your bib number. My bib number is 438. So my Monkey Goal is to finish in 4 hour 38 Minutes.  In 2008, I was close with a 4:43, but then in 2009, I was 5:31 and in 2011 I finished in 5:41.

On final approach to the finish line at Flying Monkey, the course breaks out from the roadway and crosses into a field with about 0.3 of a mile to go. The about 1/2 of the approach is to a tree, which you take a left turn then the remaining 0.15 mile is a straight shot to the finish line. It is this rounding the curve where I make my final move to overtake anyone at the finish.

My first Monkey finish, I finished running with The Elder and The Younger. My other Monkey finishes have been foot races, coveting a higher finishing spot in the overall results over other runners.  This finish was no different. After the left turn around the tree, I started to pick up speed.

I could tell that as I passed two runners, that at least one of them was going to challenge me toward the finishing. Sensing that they were starting to accelerate to catch me, I started to go full throttle. I had never put on my timing chip, so the race results do not really indicate how I finished. I only had my watch time, which would be close to my actual net time.

I finished the 2012 Flying Monkey Marathon, officially, in 4:31:22,  149th out of 285 finishers, 19th out of 22nd for my age group. Most importantly, I beat my Monkey Goal, by a quite a bit. I was truly amazed that I had ran the entire race so strongly to have kept up that pace.

We've Got Big Hills
Official Time: 4:31:22

Another successful Flying Monkey Marathon.

One bit of Terry Trivia, finishing the Flying Monkey for the 4th time ties it with the number of finishes of the Richmond Marathon (1999, 2000, 2001, 2002). I am currently signed up for the 2013 Flying Monkey Marathon (Faster than a speeding banana).

Runners, Start your training…

Training has begun for the Fall Marathon season. This year, I am planning on running the brand new Darlington Marathon and if I can win at the weighted lottery, (my Fave) the Flying Monkey Marathon.

The Darlington Marathon happens to fall smack dab on my Birthday… that’s September 31st for all of those who have to ask and in a very kind gesture, was offered by the race director a free entry.

I went out on a limb and asked if I could get the #42 bib since I would running the marathon on my 42nd birthday and they said “Yes”. So way cool there!

So one of the selling points of the Darlington Marathon is that you get to finish On The Track of Darlington Raceway (@TooToughToTame). Just like the Knoxville Marathon (@chknoxmarathon) where you get to finish on the 50 yard line in Neyland Stadium, at Darlington you get to finish the race in a place that you’d normally would be unable to as a member of the general public.

Given that Darlington Raceway is a NASCAR venue, I wondered who was the #42 driver in NASCAR. Turns out it is Juan Pablo Montoya (@jpmontoya). So in 2013, both myself and Juan Pablo Montoya will be crossing the finish line ON the Darlington Speedway with the number 42.

 

Before the Fall

I just posted my May running recap and while I was writing that post, I wondered what my June and July would bring. I had a friend at church ask me if I was running any summer races. My reply was that I did not have anything planned other than a 5k in August even though there are quite a few races around here during those months.

Historically, I don’t run very much in June and July. First, there is the heat. It usually takes me all of June to acclimate to heat, so that running in July, August and first part of September is manageable. Second, June and July is my rest period in between the Spring Racing and Fall Racing seasons. Expo 10k is the Farewell to Spring racing while the Scholar’s Run 5k (the one on August 18th) is the Hello to Fall Racing (fall training technically starts on August 1st).

Now, just because I don’t log much running during June and July doesn’t mean that there’s not running stuff happening. It does have LOTS of planning and this year, late July is going to be crucial. My fall marathon of choice is the Flying Monkey Marathon on November 18th. My “alternate” marathon is the Chickamauga Marathon on November 10th. However, it is not that simple…

FMM LogoThe Flying Monkey Marathon is advertised as a marathon for fools. In fact, it is so foolish that training for the marathon is futile. Now, as someone who run the Flying Monkey marathon with little training, I agree. Flying Monkey is a marathon where you are going to get a PR if it happens to be your first marathon, and if it is your first marathon, that’s pretty foolish. However, the Flying Monkey marathon is super cool and sets the bar high to other marathons on how marathons should be organized and how to treat the runner. It’s so popular that it sells out fast. Real fast. Because of this, there is going to be some sort of lottery. What this tells me is that there is a chance I might not be chosen, therefore, I need a Plan B… so say hello to Chickamauga Marathon.

Chickamauga Marathon just happens to be the course of my current marathon PR time. It also does a great job of treating the runner right, it’s just not as sassy as Flying Monkey. A bonus for Chickamauga is that it’s less than 2 hours away, an easy day trip. Another bonus is that “I Run For My Life” Susan has Chickamauga on her short list. Except that if I am going to run Chickamauga, it’s going to be for business (PR time) not for a social outing.

These two race’s registration will collide together at the end of July. Flying Monkey is supposed to have their lottery toward the end of July or on the traditional day of Flying Monkey registration of August 1st. Chickamauga is having “early bird” registration through July 31st. It might be that I won’t to know if I am running Flying Monkey before Chickamauga goes up in price. If this is the case then I would need to register for Chickamauga and then see if I get into the Flying Monkey Marathon.

Worst case scenario, ‘I don’t get into Flying Monkey’, would be the easier of the two scenario as I would only have one fall marathon. Best case scenario, ‘I get into Flying Monkey’, would be the tougher because I would have 2 marathons within 8 days of each other. But for those of you who have been around, might remember that I ran a similar set up back in 2008, with Rutledge Marathon and Flying Monkey Marathon.

Either way, my Fall Marathon training will start on August 1st regardless of the number of marathons I will be running.

 

 

2012 Covenant Health Knoxville Marathon Race Report

In a previous post, I wrote how I was the marathon Pacer captain. I arranged for all the pacers to arrive well before race start at a central location order for us to have a group picture taken and to take care of any last minute items.

Everyone showed up right on time and not only did we get the group picture taken but we had plenty of time to mill around before the race started. I found the Marathon Manic group and met some of the other maniacs running in the race. The were four of us maniacs who were pacing but a fair number of others running.

As it got closer to race start for the 2012 Covenant Health Knoxville Marathon, we headed out toward the corrals so that we could line up. I had brought my backpack with some extra stuff that we might need before race start. It was my intention to use the bag check service, something I had never done before at a race. It was painless. Part of the runner’s bib had a tab with my bib number and attached it to my backpack and gave it to the volunteers.

After dropping off my gear, I wandered out into the 5 hour corral and tried to find the middle of it. We didn’t have a 5:45 Pacer so as long as I was behind Lyle the 5:15 Pacer, I would be fine. We had about 10 minutes before the start, so I held up my flag so that people could see me.

I was quite worried leading up to race start, how was I going to know what a 12:36 minute per mile pace felt like? I had no clue and was worried about going out too fast at race start. There would be the Lyle ahead of me and as long as I stayed behind him, that would help gauge my timing but it would not be enough to be accurate.

It wasn’t until I was in the corral and people milling around that I saw the solution to my dilemma. Around me were a large group of people that felt they should run at the speed I was advertising. Ah-Ha, that was the answer. I will pace off these people until Mile 1 then I could adjust accordingly.

The forecast for Knoxville was on the warm side, but there was an early morning fog that blanketed Knoxville. It was an early morning temporary layer of protection for the runners, but the question was “how long would it last?”

Once the gun fired to commence the race, I estimated that it took me about 3 minutes or so to cross the starting line. This was important because for most of the runners, the chip (or net) time constitutes our Official Time. So by starting my watch at the starting line and using the cheat sheet I had pinned to my bib I would know how well I was doing finishing at the to the goal time.

There’s a lot of excitement at the start of the marathon and whether you are running your 1st or 20th, you can get caught up in it. For the more seasoned marathoners, it is a little easier to be aware that you are getting caught in the excitement. I was trying not to be too excited and lose track of my pace and speed up.

During the first mile, I found a groove that seemed to feel decent for those running around me. The question, however, was this the right pace? If I was running too fast, I would have to slow down and that would be more difficult. If I was running too slow, I would have time to make up the time gradually over the rest of the course. At mile 1 my pace was 12:38, just 2 seconds off! It felt good too, so I kept it up.

One thing that worried me at the time was that I could still see the 5:15 pacer in front of me around mile 3. I know now that I should have expected it since our overall paces were pretty close, it would take some time to get some good separation. Also, once we got onto Cherokee Boulevard, there are enough curves and hills that he wouldn’t be visible for long.

Mile 4 (-3 seconds)

At mile 4, going into Cherokee Boulevard, I was 3 seconds faster than the goal time for that mile split. Cherokee Boulevard consists of rolling, twisting hills among some of pricier homes in Knoxville. Nothing too steep but some spots can be challenging, also going through Cherokee Boulevard, you know that the Noelton Hill will be shortly after this section of the course.

At some point during Cherokee Boulevard, I had the urge to “go”. Cherokee Boulevard has some rather expensive houses with manicured yards, something you might find in a fancy home magazine. I had to wait until the park area of the neighborhood before I could deviate from the course and find a tree.

One of the runners in the current group with me, agreed to hold my flag so that I could take care of business. I was a little surprised at how well hydrated I was since it took me longer than I expected. I was forced to actually run at a decent pace to catch back up with the guy who had my flag.

Mile 8 (-1 minute 41 seconds)

Since the Noelton Hill presents a unique challenge. It’s pretty steep for a bit, then a slight reprieve, then goes back to steep again. My Mile 6 and 7 splits were pretty fast, each around 45 seconds faster than average pace. I did this knowing that I could relax on Noelton and not try to push as hard up the hill, I had enough time “banked” that I didn’t have to worry about needing to play catch up.

Usually, I attack hills. I like to eat hills for breakfast. I try to keep my pace up a hill and not relax until I am over the crest. However, because of the size of Noelton, I was running an endurance length race and I was a pacer, I didn’t approach Noelton as if I just landed at Normandy. I slowed down slightly so that I could talk to the runner with me on how to overcome the hill.

It worked out just fine. We made it up the hill and slowed down through the water stop at the top. Going into Third Creek Greenway, I still felt great with both how I was feeling and how the pace felt. The next couple of miles travelled down Third Creek Greenway which was a little crowded, Fort Sander’s Area and then through World’s Fair Park where the 1/2 marathons split off to go to the finish.

Mile 12 (-50 seconds)

As we approached the midway point, the fog that had been protecting us from the sun had all but evaporated away. With the sun higher in the sky, the amount of shade available was dwindling as well. It would now start to get hotter and with the exposure to the sun, the heat would begin to cause havoc among the runners.

I drank something at every stop that I could, not a lot, but enough to ward off dehydrating. I had been alone for a couple of miles until I picked up a runner near mile 14. We talked for most of the time about lots of topics ranging from religion to parenting and of course running. At the Water Stop around Mile 17, she disappeared, I’m guessing that she needed to take a break because when I looked back after passing through the water stop, I didn’t see her.

Mile 20 (+1 minute 19 seconds)

So by Mile 20, all the extra time that I had banked, I spent. I spent it on the effects of the sun on a cloudless day. Now that we were going into the Island Home section of the course, it would be more forgiving. Most of the mileage between 20 and 24 is pretty flat. Also, Island Home has some very mature trees which would provide some shelter from the sun for a short time, plus the crowd support in Island Home is great, so there would be some external motivation from the spectators.

Island Home didn’t disappoint! There were plenty of people out, some cheering more than others. I passed and was passed by some fellow Marathon Maniacs whom are always great to chat with along the course.

The last major challenge on the course is the curvy hill just before mile 24. It brings the road along the river back up to the Gay Street Bridge. It’s not as steep as Noelton, but because of its location late in the course it can be a challenge. Then add that there’s been no shelter from the sun for the last 2 miles, and it makes it really difficult.

Mile 24 (-44 seconds)

During the 4 miles in Island Home, I was able to build back a time buffer so that even though the mile that included the last big hill at Mile 24 was +17 over pace, I still had 44 seconds to spare. I knew that barring some crazy incident, I’d be well within 3 minutes of my goal time.

At some point on Gay Street, I passed one runner who asked “What pace group are you?”

“5:30,” I replied.

“Oh rats, my goal was to beat you,” he said with a defeated tone.

“Well, COME ON! Pace with me and I will get you there. Let me do the work and I’ll talk you through the rest. I’m running a little fast right now, so we have some time to spare.”

I talked with him about what to expect in the last 1/2 mile: Going down 11th Avenue, Going up Estabrook, heading into the stadium, how to attack the finish line and the one most people forget… looking at the Jumbotron to see yourself.

Near the Mile 26 marker, I knew that he would be okay and since I had some time to spare, I turned around to see who else was close that I could help. Just behind me there were 2 runners that could use some extra encouragement. So I waited until they were with me and started running with them. When we rounded the corner, but who did I see but the guy that I had just let go on by himself. He just didn’t have enough to run by himself, so I told him to join the group and we headed into the stadium.

Mile 26.2 (-1 minute 46 seconds)

I pushed all those that were with me to head toward the finish line, reminding them to finish strong because there would be photographers there and you wanted to look like you were having fun (haha), not that you looked like you had just run for 5 hours and 30 minutes.

After the finish, I went to get my backpack from the baggage claim which was easy peasy and then headed over to post race party with two new friends, Barbara and Michael. At the party which had died down some what, I was able to meet up with some of the other pacers that were still hanging around and to get some food. I had overcome my 2009 Knoxville Marathon DNF as a Pacer.

REDEMPTION

 

 

 

The Pending Decision

I’m waiting on some key information before I determine whether my Spring 2012 Marathon training program officially starts on Sunday 11/27/2011 or if my training program starts on Sunday 1/15/2012. That piece of information is if I won the Free Entry to the Publix Georgia Marathon over at 26.2 Quest website.

If I have won, then I am going to make that my 2012 Spring Marathon and training will start almost immediately. I usually don’t like the 16 week program because I have found that a training program that long seems to drag on for ages and I have gotten bored with in the past. Now, this was at a time when I was doing a long distance race fairly regularly and while I wouldn’t be in “marathon shape”, I would be familiar with training that my body remembered and I would find myself over training because I would make shorter runs longer.

This caused me to burn out or be over trained for the goal race and have a bad showing on race day. I benefit from the “It’s better to be under trained, then over trained” adage and so I would hand craft 12 week training schedules for me to follow. Only problem with the shorter schedule is that you have to follow it more adamantly, because you can’t miss as many training days or talk yourself into shortening your run from say 10 miles, to 8 miles, eventually to 6 miles… just because.

This time is different. I’m coming off what is a longer rest period for me than what usually happens. My last marathon was last year in November, Flying Monkey Marathon on 11/21/2010. My last long distance races were this spring (Calhouns 10 miler, Strawplains 1/2 Marathon and Whitestone 30k) and with my quad and hamstring pulls of the summer, my running was pretty much zilch.

There was also the mental aspect of running which kept my mileage down. I wasn’t motivated. I was actually not motivated from a “whole Terry” perspective and so not running was a by product of that. Now that things have gone through a mental shift back to a more normal (as normal as normal can get with me) way of thinking, the desire to RUN has come back to life.

If I don’t win the contest, then my training program will be starting on 01/15/2012 for the Flying Pig Marathon.

I don’t think I have a preference for either race. While I have not run the Georgia Marathon,  I do have Georgia (2007 Chickamauga Marathon) completed in my journey for running a marathon in all 50 states. I ran the 2009 Flying Pig Marathon, which had the largest crowd size that I had ever experienced at a marathon and wouldn’t mind running through the streets with tons of spectators cheering, just for me.

An update longer than 140 Characters

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?”

  1. Race It
  2. Start Running and Hope for the Best
  3. 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

Miles of (s)miles
I should match this with the Course Elevation Map!

So what does that leave me to believe that I can do? I am not too sure!

August Memoirs: I got the runs

Don’t worry: Despite the fact that I the title might reference poop to some, this post doesn’t… the next one does.

Originally this was going to be one post highlighting my running for August but:

1) I am to longwinded on my descriptions of certain generally gross stuff that I do

2) I keep getting interrupted from my blog to help troubleshoot problems of someone else blog

Therefore, this is Part 1 and as logic would dictate there will be a Part 2 sometime when I can get some time to blog, like at work or something.

I finished August with 69.3 miles, which wasn’t the highest August ever, but still a good amount on mileage. I even busted out a 12 mile run at the end of the month as I move forward in my training for the Rutledge and Flying Monkey Marathons this fall. Let’s take a look at some of my more memorable runs:

August 4th: Treadmill
I got back into the groove of running on the treadmill of all places. I can’t remember the exact reason, but I managed 3 miles despite my last run. I did blog a little bit about this run.

August 7th: Concord Hills
Wanting to take advantage of every opportunity to run, I ran my 5 mile route in the neighborhood. It’s a hilly course and I can tell by my time, in what kind of shape I am in. I finished the course, but my time wasn’t all that great 52:50, when a 49ish would have been a much more encouraging time.

August 9th: The Stroll to Tyson Park
On Saturdays, I either have the kids all day or I have them in the afternoons. Regardless, I take them to Tyson Park and let them play for about 30 minutes until they either soil themselves (The Younger) or start to throw rocks (The Elder). The catch is that we get to the park via 3rd Creek Greenway and the kids are in the double stroller. This isn’t something new. I did the inaugral Worldwide Half Marathon with the kids in the stroller. In fact, I contribute the resistance training of the stroller to my PR time at the Chickamauga Marathon last year. It’s a 5mile course with plenty of shade and hills.

August 16th: Scholar’s Run 5k
5K Road Race 24:58

August 19th: First Long Run
Had my first long run of my marathon training,coming in at 8.2 miles. I explored the new(ish) extension to the 3rd Creek Greenway. A western extension called the Bearden Greenway. It’s pretty darn sweet because when I ran from Volunteer Landing to Farragut in 2001, I had to run on the sidewalks and it SUCKED. So this is a much safer way to make it Northshore, but from here there still is a little work to get to the other West Knoxville Greenways (Weisgarber and Jean Teague)

[ed. okay, here is the end of Part 1]

Lacing Her Shoes

Susan from I Run For My Life is running her second Marathon this weekend. The St. Jude’s Marathon in Memphis. What makes this special is that she is had dedicated her race to Elijah, a personal friend of her’s who is going through chemotherapy for a second time. What makes it special is that Elijah is 6 and will turn 7 on December 1st, which just happens to coincide with the marathon!! And he just came home from the hospital!

Elijah

Susan has been raising money for the St. Jude’s Children Research Hospital and now the raising money and training is complete, it’s now time to put the shoes on the asphalt and RUN! (technically you can still donate 🙂 )

I know that She and I have crossover readers, but if you don’t read her blog on a regular basis, I encourage you to go over there and leave a word of encouragement.

On top of all this, she is well primed to totally destroy her previous PR time of 5:38:15 she ran at the Little Rock Marathon on March 4, 2007.

The Post Marathon Let Down Run

It’s Race week and I am gearing up for some fabulous prizes in the Guess My Time contest for Autumnfest 8k held on Thanksgiving (US Holiday) this coming up Thursday. I haven’t decided what I am going to offer yet, but I will have the prize and the official rules in an upcoming post.

But first onto today’s bleh run. I was emailing one of my friends who recently ran a marathon on her comment that she had a bad run. A really pathetic run of less than 5 miles that left her a little depressed. Why could I run a marathon but then have such a horrible run. Well, it’s a normal occurrence, form my observation. There is a point in the recovery process from a long run or marathon causes this. I don’t have anything but personal experience to back this up, but it’s something that I do see.

Sometimes, it’s not very dramatic but sometimes, like my friend’s run and like my run today it’s very pronounce. I mean, why could have a great 8 mile 2-fer on Thursday at a 8:30 average mile pace and then totally bonk on today’s run?

It started out okay, because I had I good 8:30 pace for about the first mile, but then something uncharacteristic happened, I stopped at around the 1.5 mile and stood there for a minute. That’s not a good sign. I pushed forward until the 2.67 mile marker where I stopped to walk. I actually stopped and admired the river, the current and the leaves and trash in the water for about 3-5 minutes. Just hanging out. Not really doing anything.

This was supposed to be a course familiarization run for Thursday’s race as most of the course is run on Neyland Drive and the UT campus. My last mile was a 12:25 average, but I have to confess that I walked some of it. This put my 3.91 mile run at 39:55 or a 10:08 average pace. And before you go into… “I’d kill for a time like that”… remember that speed is relative. So it’s like a 12:30 pace, if you are used to an 11:00 mile pace or a 13:30 pace if you are used to a 12:00 min pace. Although they are all Apples, they are different varieties.

I’m just hoping that this is a one time deal, that it’s out of my system. I am scheduling a run for Wednesday to run the last part of the course, which will include a finish line simulation to get me ready for Thursday morning.

On another note, thanks to Ms. ShirleyPerly for confirming that my legs are probably NOT broken and that it’s really just muscle soreness. I ran the other part of my Thursday run in the shoes that I was thinking caused the initial onset and I had no new muscle pain. I would expect for the pain to reoccur in intensity with the accused shoes, but alas, my legs were fine post run. Therefore, I am NOT excommunicating my Harmony shoes from my running congregation. In fact, they are the ideal shoes for Thursday’s Run.

Terry went down to Georgia

Terry went down to Georgia, he was looking for a PR to set.
He was in a bind ‘cos he was way behind: he was willin’ to take a bet.

Whether it’s your first, your 10th or your 100th, you will never leave a marathon without learning something. Sometimes it’s about you as a person, sometimes it’s about your running but after 26.2 miles you don’t away with nothing. You also can learn just as much from what you did right as from what you did wrong.

What I did right

Staying on the Plan: I had my plan and stuck to it. Even at the beginning when I wasn’t hitting the 9:00 pace, I didn’t worry and soon enough I was in a 9:15 pace that carried me through the first 20 miles. I didn’t sweat it when I was being passed by runners or I would runners ahead of me that appeared as if they shouldn’t be faster than me. So even though my plan didn’t unfold like I wanted it to, I did not readjust my strategy during the early parts of the race, I let it play out for the first few miles.

Gloves and my form: After I took my gloves off I proceeded to carry them, thinking I might need them again. I did, just not in the fashion that I thought. Towards the last 8 miles, I started to use the gloves as reminders for my form. What I noticed was that when I would carry one in each hand, my shoulders were relaxed. The Rule of Thumb for running form is to pretend you are holding a potato chip between your thumb and index finger. Instead of pretending to have potato chips, I was holding the gloves in this way and that relaxed my shoulders, reducing the tension in my body and helping with keeping my form in the last few miles.

I had been listening to a podcast that was talking about increasing speed during swimming isn’t always about power, it’s about swimming efficiently. The same thing is true for running. Having the right form, even if you are slowing down or hitting the wall, will conserve energy than running with poor form. So, by running with proper form, you can get further than if you ran with poor form.

What I did wrong

Food: I don’t think that I carbo loaded enough during the week and as My Lovely and Talented Wife pointed out, the night before. Also, in the morning I made some oatmeal and a waffle for the trip down. When I finally got off the interstate, I was actually hungry again. I could have eaten alot more oatmeal to keep me full during the trip down. I hadn’t made that long of a trip (1.5 hours) for a race before.

The level of soreness that I had on Sunday and Monday has been very surprising. I am sore, but not to the extent that I have been at other marathons. I have been walking without hobbling, I can walk straight downstairs (although it’s sore). I am very surprised at this because my legs from top to bottom were sore during the later stages of the race AND I sat in the car for 2 hours to drive back.

My conclusion is food related. That I had enough strength in my leg muscles that the distance wasn’t the problem, but that I didn’t have enough fuel in them to last. I only had about 20 miles worth of life in my legs, then managed to get 5 more miles out them, but then it was over. I have run other marathon where I only lasted until mile 16 and then it was a struggle until then.

Chickamauga Splits

What I Learned

So even though I didn’t eat enough on race day, I think the oveall change in my diet this year made up some of the difference on Saturday. One key thing to my diet has been drinking a vitamin enriched smoothie every morning consisting of Flax Oil (Omega 3,6&9), Frozen Blueberries, Soy Milk, and the Vitamin Smoothie Powder. Since I have been on the Gluten Free diet, my snacking has dropped some. Where I might have 2 donuts in the morning 2-3 times a week, I don’t do that anymore and some of the gluten food that is here at work are left untouched by me. Don’t get me wrong, I still eat my fair share of candy bars and other taste-good-bad-for-you stuff, it’s just now, I am more conscious about it.

I also added a tweak to my “Marathon Survival Mode.” When my legs start to fatigue to the point that I can’t go on, I stop to do a simple leg stretch that I learned at the 2002 Mardi Gras Marathon. From a standing position, you squat down (as if you were going to lay an egg) and stay there for about 5-10 seconds, then straighten from the waist and move to a position were you are touching your toes (or close to it). Then stand straight up and continue running. The first time that I did this at Chickamauga, I didn’t drop down as far and it felt pretty good. I’m thinking that given my inflexibility there is a threshold for how far I can go to where it changes from stretching the muscles to putting extra tension on the muscles.

Speculation

I went back to my logbook and my average mileage for the last 14 weeks was 18.5 miles with weeks 11 & 12 being the highest at 29.10 and 29.25 miles respectively. This is very good news for me and breaking the 4 hour barrier. If I can run a 4:08 marathon with minimal discomfort (so far I have taken no pain medication) on an average of 18.5 miles a week, if I could train at the proper 30-40 miles per week, I would really do well.

The two questions are How Well? and When?. I’d have to start with When first. I do have to recover from this marathon first, this was not a training run. I did push myself and I am recovering and so I would need at least 4 weeks to fully recover and probably no more than 6 weeks. Now, I wouldn’t be sedentary during this time, I would be on a 4 or 6 week training schedule with another medium to long run (about 16 mile) thrown in there and then a taper. That would put me in Mid December to Late December, maybe even Early January.

Looking in my region, not many races fit in those parameters. 4 weeks out (Dec 8th) are: Huntsville, AL; Kiawah Island, SC; or Charlotte, NC and there is nothing really close anytime soon after that. I’ve decided that since I am prone to pneumonia in the late winter (feb/mar) that I wouldn’t train for a Feb or March marathon. I would participate in one if everything was right, but I’m not going to plan on a late fall/early spring marathon. It wouldn’t be until April or May that I would even look at the schedule for a pre-summer marathon.

Now, how well do I think I could do? I’d have to say around a 3:58. If I was able to get in good training like I have been up to Chickamauga, I’d say around 3:55. I think I could go out a little faster and hang on to the pace longer as well.

So on my quest for 50 States & DC and Boston Qualifying, I completed my 5th State (VA, SC, LA, TN, GA) and I only have to shave 52:39 off my marathon time to qualify for Boston.