Tuesday, September 22, 2009

It's All Downhill From Here

I mean that in a good way. I am now less than three weeks from the marathon. The remaining weeks will hopefully get my legs re-charged and I'd love to catch up on some sleep. In a way, I'll miss the 5 A.M. or earlier alarm going off. I usually start reminiscing about the training cycle in the week of the marathon, but it's starting to hit me a little earlier this year.

As those of you that have been around for the last 15 weeks or longer, I've trained smarter and harder this cycle than I ever have. I know in two and half weeks or so, I'll be toeing the line for my 8th marathon as prepared as I could possibly be. It's a good feeling, but at the same time, I know I need to stay focused and realize that I still need things to go my way on the 11th for me to hit my goal. As the saying goes and a few people have told me, the hay is the barn.

Speaking of goals, there is one goal for the 11th. 3:10. That's it. Anything slower than that will be a disappointment. As I mentioned back in May, I know the jump from a 3:29 to 3:10 is huge. But I have hit every goal that I set back then and everyting points to me being able to hit my goal. Here are the goals I set back in May:
  • Train my ass off
  • Get down to 165 pounds
  • Run 6 days per week
  • A sub 40 minute 10K
  • A 1:30 Half
I fully expect to run a 3:10 on October 11th. As of now, the strategy is to hit the first half somewhere around 1:33:30-1:34:00. An even split would net me a 3:07 to 3:08. It will give me a couple to few minute cushion in case things get a little rough in the second half.

I know it may be a tad early to talk of strategy, but I think that will help me focus on the task at hand and get me through these next couple of weeks without going crazy. I have about 55-58 miles planned for this week after hitting 66 last week.

Last week was kind of a jumbled mess as life threw the ole' running schedule a curve ball. I recovered pretty well, but did have to a run 10 miler on Saturday and my final 20 miler on Sunday. The original plan was to run the second half of the 2o miler at goal marathon pace, but I found myself running upstream into a few thousand runners after I hit my turnaround point.

This group of runners was participating in the Chicago Area Runners Association's Ready to Run 20 Miler. It's really kind of ridiculous. I can appreciate a Gatorade and water supported final 2o miler run, but signing up (which cost a good chunk of money - as much as $50 - for a training run) doesn't give you a license to run wherever you want. The lakefront path in Chicago is pretty congested as it is. Add to that groups of runners running as many as 7 and 8 wide in spots. I really was afraid I was going to bump shoulders and get knocked into the lake between Oak St. and Ohio. Anyway, I ended up getting away from them with 7.5 miles left and turned it on for those miles. I ran all of the first 7 miles in the 7:11-7:17 range, so I was pretty happy with my last really long run. I still have a 17 miler on tap for this coming weekend.

I did manage to take a few pictures on the first half of Sunday's run. Here they are:


Puerto Rican Kenyan said...

I was wondering about whether you'd run into the CARA Ready to Run people on Sunday, and sure enough, you did. I ran with them for my first ever 20 mile run two years ago, and I totally understand how frustrating it must be to have been to navigate your way around the pace groups. And yes, it's a very expensive training run, especially when you consider that most of them have already spent tons of $$ for both the marathon and the training program.

Mir said...

Sounds like you are ready to rock! Just stay healthy and take exaggerated care during your daily life to avoid things like the corners of coffee tables and the like. I am keeping my fingers crossed for good weather for you!

Melissa Fanaro said...

Great Pictures! Nothing more relaxing then running along the lake on a beautiful fall morning. Best of luck, I see a 3:10 in your future!! We will be there to cheer you on :)

Mark M. said...

Hey Zab. A few months ago I dropped you a note on one running forum or another. I work with Ken and Judy Fanaro (Cru's one set of grandparents) and gave you a shout out at the time as a new runner - I think at that point I'd only run a half marathon. I've since run the Illinois Marathon in April and will be with you in the sea of humanity on 10/11 - although at least 45 minutes behind you.

I was just checking in to see how your training and fund raising were going. I can't BELIEVE the weekly mileages you've put up - truly amazing. Best of luck on the 3:10. I'll be cheering for you.

Preston said...

Sounds like a good race plan!

ExSoccerGuy said...

Zab, you are sitting pretty, my friend. And while a 19-minute improvement is a lot to ask, it's not really when you consider that your training this time has been far superior to any past cycle. Not to mention the gloriously cool day that awaits you!

You are ready. October 11th can't come soon enough.