Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Blue Nose recap, and other stuff

A picture of me during a cold and windy 5k race last month in Lincoln

So I did run the Blue Nose marathon last weekend, finishing with a personal best time of 3:45 exactly. It was my goal time, and I was surprised and happy to hit it. I had *ok* training heading into it, roughly following the Pfitzinger 12/55 plan. This summer I'm going to take a shot at bumping up the mileage, taking on the 18 week/peak 70 miles per week plan.

My blogging has taken a back seat to updates via the dailymile website. However, while dailymile allows for the online accountability thing, the blog serves as a historical journal. Reading along with Thomas as he hit his sub-3 hour marathon this summer, and being able to review his history of past races has convinced me - at least for the time being - that I'll keep up this online diary for another spell ... at least until I reach the sub-3:40 marathon at Mount Desert Island this fall.

I should also note that in addition the new personal best time at the Blue Nose, I also bested my previous best half-marathon time by running a 1:43 in Fredericton. Next weekend, off to the Cabot Trail Relay in Cape Breton, where I'll be running leg 12.

For now, here is a brief (?) recap of my Blue Nose marathon, courtesy of my dailymile update.

Coming into this marathon, my A, B and C goals were as follows:

A) The "feel great and fall into it" goal - a 3:40
B) The realistic goal that I would be very happy with - 3:45
C) Hitting 3:50, matching my time from last fall at MDI

The weather was cool but not so cool that I was cold (yet, that came later), there was negligible wind, and I wasn't hurting, so I had no excuses not to run my best.

As is the case for many marathoners, the first half, up to about the 25k point, felt great. My pace to that point was about 5:12 per kilometer, which put me on pace for a 3:40.

However, as great as I felt, as we were about to cross into Dartmouth around the 25k point, I knew how difficult the rest of the race was going to be. The last 17k is rarely flat, and includes four larger hills. Still, I ran a relatively steady (but slower) pace. The worst hill is up Maple Street in Dartmouth, at the 37k point. It's a steady, fairly steep incline for about 500 meters. I walked twice going up this, for perhaps 15-20 seconds each time. The only other two times I walked during the race were very briefly through a couple of water stops over the last 15k. I never really felt I hit the wall, though I was five minutes slower over the second half compared to the first half. It was nice to run around the city where I spent so much time in my youth, although I don't think I pay much attention to the sites while running.

I'm happy with this, and feel I couldn't have done much better at this point. I plan to increase the mileage this summer. My goal for the fall marathon at MDI is to break 3:40, and I'm confident I'll do it.

A few other notes on the race:

The winning time was a course record at 2:28. Only two other runners of the 300 competing broke 3:00, both finishing at 2:59. However, according to the local paper, the 2nd through 4th place runners missed a turn at one point and ran an extra 4k. It's not the first time something similar to this has happened on this course.

Just to show that some people prefer a few hills, my running friend Eric from Fredericton ran a 3:26:34, two weeks after finishing with 3:27:58 on the flat Fredericton course. He also ran a 3:32 in Boston in April. Not bad for a 56-year old who only started running two years ago!

Faith Ann ran the 10k, while my father and his wife watched Cam. They didn't wait for me to finish the marathon. I took the key to the car with me on my run, and would meet them when I was done. After finishing and grabbing a bite to eat, I walked in the cold wind to the vehicle (they ran out of mylar blankets very early - all those cold 5k'ers I guess). I took out the key to the *car*, realized we had brought the *van*, and I was stuck. I walked back to the finishing area in the cold, begged someone for a cell phone, and had the rescuing/laughing party come pick me up.