Wednesday, February 23, 2011


After my first marathon, I took a couple of months off from running to let my aching IT band heal up.  My first race after the layoff was a small local 10k, and it was run under less than ideal conditions. The previous night I was supposed to be camping with my family so I didn't expect to get much sleep.  It got worse when, at the camp, my daughter got sick and started throwing up. 

So we headed home, but, eschewing the intelligent idea of getting some extra sleep, I stayed up playing video games with some friends.  All night.  I still get teased about my 4:30 am sign-off of, "well, I've got to go run a race now - see you next weekend!"

The race turned out okay - I ran it in 47:19, which was a race personal best (not saying much, since I'd never raced that distance before).  I'd done a training run at that distance in 47:16 the year before, so it wasn't a real PR.

This year I have an opportunity for redemption.  I'm running this race on Saturday, and I'm hopeful I can do some serious damage to my PR.  My speed training has been going well lately, and if I have a good day I think I can break 46:00.

Race days are always about managing nerves.  I have to eat bland foods - typically banana and oatmeal - and even then I spend a fair amount of time in the porta-loo.  There's all sorts of nerves and adrenaline and other things.  It's not as bad for shorter races - the build up is shorter and I don't really train for them (since I'm usually in some stage of marathon training).  And if I have a bad 5k or 10k I can always regroup and try it again in a few weeks - not so with the marathon.  

As far as the actual racing goes, the biggest deal is to try to keep the pace consistent - except for the first mile and the last half mile.  The first mile should be my slowest (this is much harder than it sounds), and the last half is when I put the hammer down.  Other than that, it's about staying in a groove, keeping a constant speed, focusing on form, ignoring my lungs feeling like they are going to burst out of my chest.  

We'll see how this Saturday goes.  I love these big races.  It's like a giant party with a bit of running in between.  

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