Today I finished my last “long run” before the Houston marathon – 10.5 miles in the storm, followed by 8 awful miles on the treadmill at home. I normally do my long runs on Sunday, but we have a major storm here this weekend, and I wanted to get in some miles outside before it got too bad. Mike and I exchanged e-mails this week, and he suggested that I try to get a run in that lasts 3 hours, 15 minutes or longer. My pace was soooo slow in the few inches of snow (around 10 mins/mile, slower than I've gone in months), that I thought the time goal wouldn't be an issue. However, after 8 miles on the treadmill, I had enough, and finished with a few minutes more than three hours of total running.
As for the Houston Marathon, my mileage has been reasonably close to the original plan, but I have been lazy with the speed work. Evidence of this came in the form of a 5k New Year's Day race yesterday in Fredericton. It was more of a "fun run" than a race, with no records kept of the finishing times or places, and no chip timing. See the picture below of the organizer looking at his watch as he calls out finishing times. Looks pretty warm, eh?
A picture of my chum Robert and I before the race. Don't I just exude “Don't Touch Me!” ?
The weather for the race was very reasonable for this time of year, with little wind, slightly overcast, and a temperature around -9 celcius. My final time was 24:23 – a bummer. The pace about 30 seconds/mile slower than my last 10k in the fall. I blame some of the slowness on the snow and ice that we ran on, and perhaps the temperature (although I read conflicting opinions on this) but the blame more likely rests with the lack of speed work I have been doing. Most of my runs for the last couple of months have been at a pace of 8:45 to 9:15 per mile, with just a few runs in there that included some faster intervals. The speedwork in the 5k race today probably was overdue.
What does all this mean for the marathon? Not a lot, I suppose. I expect a result similar to my first marathon in PEI. I'm going to try to keep a pace similar to what Mike and I *tried* to do in PEI – 5:40 mins/km for the first few kilometres, followed by a 5:30 mins/km pace.
A couple of Canadian notes on the Houston Marathon. The fifth place finisher from last year was a Canadian named Andrew Smith, with a time of 2:16:14, which was also the top marathon time by a Canadian last year. He will be racing there again this year. Also among the elites this year will be Eric Gillis. He is a first time marathoner, past national champion in the 10k, Olympian, and native of Antigonish, Nova Scotia. He is hoping for a 2:14 finish. My grandmother was also a Gillis from that area (Cape Breton, actually), so perhaps some of those speedy genes will find their way to me ... or not.
Now for the obligatory look back on 2009. I ran 1667 miles for the year. Considering that I averaged about 70 miles per month for January through March, that wasn't too bad. In my first full year of running (resulting in personal bests for all distances, of course!), I did three half marathons, one 5k, two 10k's, one 30k and the marathon. This link shows the times for my New Brunswick races as well as the PEI marathon.
I already have my fall marathon for next year booked, and I have a few other races in mind. I would like to sprinkle in a few short races through the summer, and concentrate more on speed work. More on that in a future post.
To end this one, here is another winter related link, showing Cam and I sledding down a hill at Mactaquac Provincial Park. One of the screams comes from Cam, the other one or two are from another family that was there at the time!