Tuesday, October 23, 2012

And ABQ Marathon?

I'm not sure where to even begin so I'll just lay it out.

DNF at 14.  That means I Did Not Finish and dropped at the 14 mile mark.

Sigh.  I'd trained marathon pace at 8:20 but knew with my lower miles overall that even though that was the correct pace to train at, I'd not be able to run a marathon at that pace.  My plan was to go out at a 8:45 pace for the first half except for mile 12/13 which had a bit more uphill.  I'd hoped to then speed up to 8:35-8:40 or just maintain.

I'd felt pretty terrible through taper but mentally focused on the training I'd hit. I'd managed 6 days of running most weeks and felt great and had solid miles.  I'd had a solid 10k which predicted marathon pace and I'd felt i was holding back a bit on that 10k because of the course. I'd not had any aches or pains. My cycle was finally lining up correctly for a race.

I went in with the idea that I'd just relax and coast and enjoy the first 10 miles.  I knew it would start to feel hard somewhere after that and that was ok.  I was ready.

I went out right on pace (8:45) and then hit the next two miles a bit faster as it was downhill towards the river (8:40).  Once on the river path I was back comfortably at 8:45.  This is ever so slightly uphill for the next 10 miles.  I think i felt good from about mile 4-6. And then I wanted to slow because it was feeling harder.  And I did to 8:50.  That's ok, i told myself.  No need to beat my head about this.  Stay focused and relaxed and smart.

The best part of this race was taht it was an out and back along a bike path with easy access in a lot of places for course support.  We were at this race with a big group of runango marathon online forum friends who were all doing the marathon to get NM checked off their 50 states/50 marathons list.  K was spectating with S who was the wife of a runango runner i've known online for years.  He was running the half as he's recovering from an injury and their daughter was running the full marathon.  There was another spouse out there cheering for his wife who was running the full.  So I'd have my own personal cheering section in a few different places and it was wonderful! 

I'd figured out fueling/hydration needs and decided to carry water in my race vest. This was a wise decision as they had these itty bitty little cups out there with water.  I had fuel in a small handheld carrier and stuck to my plan and felt good about that.

So what happened?  By 10, my pace had slowed more.  I just didn't feel like i could push it at all.  then at 12 a more gradual uphill started.  I'd expected to slow quite a bit here but it felt like i hit a wall.  Uh ok.  K and S were at the 12.8 mark as I'd requested a drop of more fuel here.  I reached the turnaround and came back and walked with K just a bit to use the inhaler again.  I was having a bit of a hard time taking a deep breath although i wasn't wheezy.  I fully expected to stay in the 9 range and that would've been fine.

I left K and S and it was not fine.  My pace was slowing even more even though i was going downhill now.  It felt even harder and everything was starting to ache.  I crossed a main road (the trails cross underneath the roads) and realized that I was going to start having to walk and even hitting 10 minute miles was going to be tough.

Really?  Did i want to finish just to finish even though it was going to turn into a death march for 12 miles?

No.  I've done death marches and really I didn't need another one.  I stopped and texted K that I was done.  And that was it.

Now the rest of the day was great because we went back to the finish to cheer the rest of the runners in and there were some spectacular performances that were just thrilling to be there for.  As a large group we went off to my favorite restaurant on my recommendation and had lots of fun celebrating the victories.  And then we went and did the Tram.  AFter 20 years of visiting ABQ, I finally did this most popular tourist activity.

So what was the problem people kept asking?  Altitude?  ABQ is at 5000 feet.  Uh maybe? Low miles overall?  Maybe? I'm just not mentally cut out to race a marathon?  Probably.

Overall I really enjoyed the Hanson Marathon plan and hope to incorporate those principles into my training going forward.  I've never been able to hit such consistent miles on 6 days of running and feel so good and strong.

What's next?  We are enjoying summer again in Albquerque and I hear winter has hit Seattle.  I'm not really looking forward to a lot of running right now in rain and wind but we shall see.  I need a bit of a break from formal training for sure.  

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Seattle Summer

Touring the Seattle Public Library
What a great end to the summer!  And it was a nice distraction through the last couple weeks of marathon training.  I had long time out-of-town friends visiting and staying with us on consecutive weekends.  Seattle really shone too.  Instead of the fall rains, we had sun and more sun.  Record dry weather for Seattle in fact.  I have no doubt we will lose some plants in the garden as I failed miserably in keeping up with garden watering.  Oh well.  I just consider it a good thing that we'd not planned on planting this fall!
Mischief Distillery

Fun stuff to do in Seattle:
Theo Chocolate Factory Tour - a quick and informative tour of a small batch, organic and fair trade chocolate maker in Fremont.  There are lots and lots of samples!
Fremont Mischief Distillery - a local distillery also in Fremont that offers free wee samples.  yum!
Theo Chocolate!
Tour the Downton Seattle Public Libary.  I happened to have a couple architects handy as we followed the self-guided tour available from the information desk.  I work a couple blocks from this library and visit it at least once a week but this tour still took me to places I hadn't seen.
Top Pot Doughnuts - yum.  They were OUT of a new flavor salted caramel old fashioned.

Seattle Public Library Koolhaas
Of course we wandered through Pike Street Market and had some samples at Beecher's Cheese.  We also grilled some salmon at home.  Those are just a given.

I'd not known the friends were going to visit and had signed up for the Alderdash.  This was a running/walking event (not timed so not a race) on Bainbridge Island which supported the wonderful IslandWood program.  IslandWood takes kids and puts them into a spectacular outdoor learning center "designed to provide exceptional learning experiences and inspire lifelong environmental and community stewardship."  

Having run the trails over on Bainbridge Island last year, I knew this would be a fun event on a gorgeous course.  it would require a short ferry ride from Seattle to Bainbrige but really that would be a fun thing for out of state visitors.  The friend is not a runner but she was game to walk a 10k and her husband is a casual runner who'd enjoy it as well.  Woohoo!  

This event did not disappoint!  It was a beautiful morning for a ferry ride. With four of us, we brought our car but the event was providing a shuttle service to and from the ferry terminal.  It was a very well organized event with some really nice touches.  The friends who have never done any sort of running event were all impressed.  We had to inform them that this was not the norm!  

We got off running right on time.  And down we went.  I knew it would be hilly and this 10k course did not disappoint.  We roamed a bit around on the ADA accessible trails within the IslandWood campus.  I had wanted to run at a moderate pace and get a good workout in if I was feeling good.  I was feeling great and pushed the first downhill miles knowing I could then settle back and finish strongly.
The view down from the Canopy Tower

The course then went out onto roads, down to a gravelled waterfront trail with view of the Winslow Ferry terminal and then back up.  Wow.  There was one short but steep hill which was really surprising.  It was straight up!  It was a long hill back up to the finish.  This course had nice water stops along the way and was well marked.  I finished and immediately turned around to jog back to my friend who was walking.  They had a wonderful lunch available.

We also got a map of the trails and went to explore IslandWood's Canopy Tower and Pedestrian Bridge.  The tower is worth climbing if you ever get a chance. Basically we all agreed that we'd all love to come here for a week of school! 

We stopped quickly in Winslow to wander about a bit and window shop and then were back in Seattle by late afternoon. This was the first annual Alderdash adn I am already looking forward to next year.  

The friends returned to DC on Tuesday and I completed my last marathon paced workout before the marathon this morning.  Despite sleeping horribly I had a very hard time slowing myself down to marathon pace.  I think this is a good sign! I feel ready and really curious to see how this all plays out.