I have been very, very bad at blogging. It is just tough to find time. But, I started blogging because I wanted to document my runs and hopefully provide a way to keep connected with other runners. So I guess it is time to update.
About three months ago, I decided to sign up for CIM (the California International Marathon). I’ve been training for that and hoping that maybe I can have a great day and finally get a sub-4 (fingers crossed).
I’ve trained hard. At least as hard as I can with my regular job, teaching and a great awesome now 11 month old daughter. I have had two 50 mile weeks and a number of other weeks in the 40s.
I also ran the Morgan Hill Marathon as a training run on November 7, 2010. I had 21-23 miles planned that week and decided to just add 3.2-5.2 more miles and run a marathon. The course was very hilly so I knew it would not be a sub-4. I took it as a training run (meaning there was no taper – it was as if it was just a long run scheduled during my marathon training) and decided that I was not going to go out and try for a sub-4. My plan was to run a 9:30 pace and keep it for as long as possible. The first 15 miles were hills and I was hoping to get through that at the 9:30 pace and just run as long as I could without . . . a walk break. This would be my 5th marathon. In my prior 4, I always had to take walk and bathroom breaks.
It turned out to be a good day for running as it was in the 50s. However, it rained most of the race, which left me a little cold. But, I would rather take a little rain than the heat.
I started off a little slow – about 9:37 pace and about mile 4 decided to pick it up to get to my 9:30 pace goal for the first 15 miles.
The marathon had about 1100 feet of climbing (I’m told). The course was not closed to cars at Morgan Hill, we were running on the shoulder of the road (sometimes with CHP cruising by on their megaphones telling us to move over). However, there were only about 180 finishers for the marathon so there was plenty of room and a lot of time to run by yourself.
The best part is that some of my running friends were running it (which is why I thought it would be a good idea to sign up) and others showed up to support us. I ran mostly by myself, but it was great to see people I knew on the course and people cheering me on at the finish.
As for my training run, I got to mile 15 at 9:30 pace. Then, my goal was to go as far as possible without walking. I was not trying for a time, just to fight and go as far as possible without taking a walk break (or even a bathroom break – which is very hard for me). After mile 15 we had about a 1/2 mile down hill and then the rest of the course were minor rolling hills (one hill, on an out and back, about mile 21 and 23 that was not large, but at that point in the marathon it felt large).
About mile 18 I was getting tired and it was raining hard. But, then rain slowed down and I ran into one of my running friends cheering me on. She joined me for about a 1/2 of mile. She talked to me and encouraged me. By the time she left, I had it in my head that I would push to get to mile 21 before I take a walk break. About mile 20 there was an aid station. I carried a hand held water bottle with me. What I do is open it up and then dump the water from the aid station into it. I try to get two to three cups as I pass an aid station. At this station, I opened my water bottle and reached for a cup. A lady down the line yelled out “refill it over here” as she pointed to a large water container off to the side where I would have to stop and fill my water bottle. I had to yell back (as I took the water cup), “I’m trying not to stop”.
I made it over the hill at mile 21 and decided to try to push it to mile 23 before walking. That would have been the max mileage of my planned long run before deciding to do the marathon. Mile 22 was tough. I was tried and many other people were walking. When you see people walking and you want to walk, it is very tempting to stop running. Yet, I pushed on. Then off in the distance I saw what appeared to be one of my running friends who had been ahead of me the entire race. I decided to try to catch that person before I stopped. I pushed forward and caught up to him about mile 23. The hills took some energy out of him and he was slowing down. I said hi as I kept going past mile 23 and decided to try to make it to mile 24. I had to pass that aid station again and the same lady yelled out me to “fill up my bottle over here.” I had to again yell “I don’t want to stop”. It was annoying.
When I made it to mile 25, I told myself, unless I get injured I’m going all the way without stopping. I made it! I was so happy. It was not a sub-4. That was not my goal. But, it was running a marathon without taking a walk break, bathroom break or any break. That was a first! It was also a PR of 4:09 plus about 50 seconds on the a very hilly course. Not bad for a training run.
Hopefully, I’ll have a good day at CIM.
Here are some pictures from the MH Marathon:
And, the best picture – me with Brooklyn: