Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Mission Accomplished

Everyone has a bucket list. Even the people who claim they don't have a bucket list secretly do. I didn't realize until this last Saturday that I had checked one off my list.

With the completion of the Provo City Marathon, I had just completed two marathons and a half marathon in a 3 week period of time. My bucket list item wasn't necessarily to complete this multiple, but there was always a longing to see if I could do multiple races in a row. The answer is a definite YES. I learned a lot from these past three weeks which I'll share in another post, but first here is a recap of the race.

The Provo City Marathon was a good finale. My pace time was a 3:55 finish time which was much closer to where my current level of fitness is compared to the 4:30 finish for the Salt Lake City Marathon two weeks before. I was a little apprehensive about the race, but it all turned out good.

We boarded the bus to go to the start line around 4:00 am. They were giving out some free swag to people who took the bus early. I ended up with some free coupons for Yogurt and a 2XL shirt from another race the group sponsors. The best thing about getting to a race start early is that there is no waiting for the honey buckets.

The weather was cool, but the wind was calm unlike the 30 mph wind at my house when I left. The race started 7 miles up the canyon with the marathon start time at 7:00 am and the half marathon at 7:15 am. The course started on the road, but after a mile it turned onto a bike path that wound down to the bottom of the canyon. My group was about 5 miles into the race when the top half marathon finishers past us.

From the bottom of the canyon until mile 13 the course was a gradual downward run. At the 13 mile mark, the race changed. The marathon and half marathon started at the same spot and ran together until the half marathon finished and the full marathon continued. The rest of the course was relatively flat. From 13 until 18 the course was uninteresting–just roads. At 18, the course turned onto a trail that followed the river which was a nice change from the boring road. At 23, the course looped back onto the road until the finish.

Overall the race was good. It was nice to put this race behind me so I can focus on the Utah Valley Marathon.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Marathon Pacing Anxiety

I'm pacing the Provo City Marathon tomorrow. After tomorrow, I will take a short break (a few days off) and then make my final push for the Utah Valley Marathon. I've worked to keep up my training while at the same time pacing some races. My mileage went as follows for the weeks of each race.

Salt Lake City Marathon: 56 miles
Thanksgiving Point Half Marathon: 48 miles
Provo City Marathon: 38 miles (26.2 of that comes from the marathon itself)

It has been harder and harder to keep my miles up and still do a big race at the end of the week. Without any context, my desire to keep putting in the long miles flies in the face of traditional marathon training. Normally, I would take  a two week taper leading up to the marathon and at least 5 days off after the marathon and then build back up slowly for the next 4-5 days.

In pacing however, I have treated each of the races as training runs. The Salt Lake City Marathon I ran a 10:17 pace. Thanksgiving Point I ran a 9:32 pace. Both of these are slower than what I would have run these had I not been pacing. I am however, slightly nervous about tomorrow. Why?

Because I am pacing the 3:55 marathon finish time. This equates to a 8:57 pace time. While I have been training to run at a faster pace than this and the course is mainly downhill, it still has me nervous. Why?
Last year, I ran the Salt Lake City Marathon in 3:55. Of course the Salt Lake City Marathon was more hilly and my training sucked.

I'm playing mind games with myself. The ones that go like:

• Should I wear my fuel belt or not?
• Will I burn myself out on the downhill despite the fact that I ran a 1:50 half last year on practically the same course as a pacer?
• What if you burn out and finish slower than 3:55? Will they kick you out of the pace group?
• Which GU should I bring?
• You only ran 12 miles this week before the race. Will it be enough?
• etc..

The best I can do is run, stay steady and finish in 3:55. My training has been strong, i'm in better shape than ever. This will be a good prep for Utah Valley though.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

An Unbelievable Feat with Photographic Evidence

If I was going to list of the best and worst photo categories, here is where I would put them.

Glamor photos
Nature photos
Classic once in a lifetime sport photos
Candid shots of the family that are timeless no matter how often you look at them

Mug shots
Driver's License
Passport photos
High School Year Book photos

Where would you put race photos? 

After the Thanksgiving Point Half Marathon, I'm wondering when there are great race photos. 

Probably the best photo I've ever had
during a race.
The closest that I have ever had was at the Salt Lake City Marathon a few weeks ago. I was at a comfortable enough pace that I could enjoy giving high-fives to the kids and prep for the camera.

On the other hand, at Thanksgiving Point I was having wardrobe issues that got caught on camera. Here's how it went down with a little pre-story so you get the full picture.

Race Day Temp when I left my car: 36 degrees warming up to low 60s for the day
Skies: Clear and sunny
Race Day Apparel: Long pants with my shorts underneath, long sleeve top with pacing singlet on top, gloves, running jacket that I tossed into the clothing bin at mile 1.

Race Strategy: Thanksgiving Point is generous in their aid station and GU. They have 4 aid stations with GU for the course of the half marathon. I'm a 1-2 GU type person and I ALWAYS bring my own so that there are no surprises. I will usually grab a couple and stash them for when I am training. Thanksgiving Point is a great race to grab a few extra. I planned on this, but forgot one simple logistic....my shorts (which have pockets with zippers) are under my pants. 

I'm running along, chatting with runners and doing my pacer thing when we get to an aid station with GU. I grab a couple and just have them in my hand for the next mile or two.  They got hard to manage after a couple miles so I opted to put them in my short's pocket.  Had I been thinking, I would have stopped, put them in my short's pocket and kept going. Instead, I thought I could manage getting the GU in my pocket, while holding a sign, while running without stopping. 

I wonder what runner 821 is thinking when
she looks at her race photos?

I even have the photo to prove it!