Saturday, March 15, 2008

course preview

I saw that the Marathon had training runs Saturday mornings, but never got up to do any of them. I guess I'm a just a loner or too busy to drive or something. Not today. I had put this date on my schedule a while back. It's an important run, a long run on the first half of the course.

Knowing where you're going to run is a big thing. You get to know turns, hills, flats, and landmarks that help you know how to pace. So today was a great motivator and I think will help tremendously. Got up around 6:30 ate and headed out the door. On raceday I'll be getting up much earlier than this because the race is at 7, not 7:30 like todays. I was one of the first few people there though and just sort of hung out with the course director volunteer guy- who's name eludes me. At 7:30 we still hadn't started, but lots of people had come for the training run- maybe 30 or more. The director tried to tell us where the turns are and what roads were where, but I still had pretty much no clue. All I remembered from last year is flat/hill/flat/hill/end, well honestly a little more than that but not enough to say I could lead anyone on this run.

So a few guys took off in front and everyone else hurried up and clicked their watches, garmins, or for me, ipods. I started off behind the three guys and a taller guy was right there with me. Eventually two guys died and we were now behind a man and a woman who were leading. I probably would have went in front of them if I knew where I was going, but I didn't have that option- I really had no idea where turns were or anything. Things started looking familiar to me, "there is where I died", or "there was where I lost all hope." Soon enough Bob started talking to me. We just chatted away. It was something I was looking forward too, but didn't know who would talk first. As we chatted the two leaders slipped away. He had read "Running with the Buffaloes" recently and had a garmin, so we talked about that. It's hard to talk and breath, but we were doing fine.

Soon the course turned off and the leader guy stayed behind. He knew we'd probably miss the turn (or were only doing the half so we'd keep going straight). LOL, the half marathoners turned off here. Obviously I was feeling great about an easy 15 today!! so I stayed with the full marathoners for more miles. The woman who was ahead of us who turned out to be not bad herself came back and ran with us. We all got along so well, like old friends meeting up again. Apparently we were all teachers, and so she was like "what are we doing out here". That cracked me up.

The run went on and we picked up another guy who actually knew the course a million times better, so that made things easy. I knew where the hills were. Thats it. So we started on one of the roads I remembered and I said "at the end of this road is a huge hill". And there it was. Actually it's two hills on top of each other (which reminds me of a certain HH in my area ....) We all slowed down a tad bit, but still kept pretty strong. I tried to take in landmarks and stuff, and a lot came back to me once we got there, but it's still a pretty winding course which makes it a little confusing to me even now.

Turns out Andee, who lead with the me the whole long run, won the Marathon here two years ago. She is shorter than me by a few inches and has a quick stride with a carrying armswing combo that makes her look like she's floating. I wondered if I looked that easy while I was running. She also never breathed hard- except once after a hill. I don't think I ever got to that point as I was only noticing the others. So it was nice to run with a winner. She called it a fluke and said "God made it happen" for her. She had been in a car accident the day before and used part of the money she won to pay for the insurance and the other for her vacation.

The whole run seemed to be God inspired. Everybody ran fine, the clouds parted, and the sun shined through even though there were supposed to be thunderstorms today. Bob did take a spill while we were on our 13th mile and I (we)turned the wrong way, realized it, and turned back. He stumbled on the curb because of it and fell. Luckily and thank God he didn't get hurt or I would have felt terrible. I already felt bad enough and apologized a lot afterward. We almost didn't run the extra, but I kept going and everyone decided to follow me. It was my last long run and 13 wasn't going to cut it, not in my book. So we ran an extra out and back for 15 total, which Bob had on his garmin. I had 16.5, which is about right since my ipod is always over and even moreso on long runs. It's nice to have a second opinion for comparison sake because I knew it was off.

So I met some new people, got in a nice run, previewed the course, and am feeling pretty good. The running joke was that I was the half marathon guy, and I'm out here doing the run with the full. Everybody kept saying how I was going to do well and what not. I hope I live up to that. I felt good today and even feel like I should run something shorter tonight. 15 just isn't that much of a long run to me anymore I guess. Don't get me wrong it is a tough course, but aerobically I could probably handle the full marathon but with a time I wouldn't be happy with. Soon after I got home from the run, downpours and lighting erupted. Good day.

15(16.5)miles @7:10. 48 degrees cool/sunny. GM 340

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