While I am still disappointed with my post Grand Rapids fitness, I have decided that I am ready to take on the Marathon again. My new goal is to run the Martian Marathon in Dearborn, Michigan on April 14, 2012. This will be my third marathon and I have a primary goal of finishing in under 5 hours and a secondary goal of going under 4:30. Hopefully the lessons I have learned in the first 2 will help me get there. The first lesson is that I have been doing my long and easy runs way too fast. The second was that I just didn’t have enough mileage on my long runs.
I will be using the Runners World Smart Coach Training Plan. I used my recent 10k race time of 59:50 as the basis. The plan lays out for me to ultimately run a 4:12 marathon. That may be a little optimistic, but the plan does have me running 20 miles 8 times between now and the marathon. I think this will get me to the Marathon as prepared as I possibly can. The plan calls for 3 runs a week, the other days are for either cross training or rest. My intention is to take one day during the week off and swim on the weekdays. The day after the long run, I am going to try to ride my bike whenever weather permits.
There are 34 weeks to go and a lot can happen between now and then, but I feel encouraged to have a plan.
Well things have changed significantly since last year. Last year I was late in training for the Grand Rapids Marathon. This year I am trying to catch up after taking 3 months off after the marathon. I ran this race last year as a training run the day after a 10 miler. This year I ran as a fitness test. I really like this race because it is relatively small and low key and it has a great course. The first three miles are generally uphill and the last three are generally downhill. The only real goal I had for today was to finish in under an hour.
The race started with the first mile gradually uphill. I knew my fitness was not great so I had to concentrate on holding back. I kind of naturally fell into a group of women running at about 10 minute mile pace. I comfortably rolled through the first mile in 9:56 and was feeling good. I stayed in the group for the second mile which went uphill a bit more then downhill to cross the Huron River and back up. My focus was to keep the effort constant on the uphill even if I had to slow down. The second mile was 10:04. This is where the race started to change. First is started raining and second I started to pick off people who started faster than me. The rain really was little bother other than it made my sunglasses fog up. I moved the sunglasses to the top of my hat and they ceased to be a bother. I moved through the third mile in 10:04.
The half way point was where I allowed myself to pick up the pace. I was also moving out of the group of women and actually passed a couple of guys. The fourth mile was fairly rolling but net downhill and I managed to run it in 9:34. In mile four and five I was out of the group running at 10 minute mile pace and out of touch with the faster runner, basically alone. The fifth mile was completed in 9:18 and in fairness was a net downhill. The sixth mile started with what I will now call “heartbreak hill.” My heart rate jumped up and my pace plummeted. I think I crested the hill at 12 minute mile pace and a 178 heart rate. Then the race finally turned downhill and would stay that way to the finish. I managed to recover and get my heart rate down to 170 and the speed back up. I finished the sixth mile in 9:04 and could see the final turn. No reason to hold back now. I gave it everything I had. Especially when I could see the finish clock turn 59:00. Since my goal was 1 hour, I had to hit it. I think I crossed just after the clock turned an hour. The race had a timing mat at the start so I may have actually beat the hour. I won’t know for sure until the official results are posted.
Overall, I am happy that I made my goal time, but now I am going to set up the training plan for the Martian Marathon. This will be my third marathon and I am hoping to go under 5 hours. Hopefully this will be a good kick off.
I know haven’t written anything in quite a while. I have every intention of changing that. Soon.