So initially this blog started out as my half marathon training plan for a half marathon on March 20. Unfortunately, and par for the course, I forgot to register for this race and I found out this week that the race is already sold out. This is not surprising, as the same thing has happened to me with the Marine Corps Marathon and the Chicago Marathon in years past. I am too cheap to part with the registration fee six months in advance, so I wait until one or two months out and by then, it’s too late. The thing is, if the race isn’t sold out, I end up paying more for the registration fee, and the hotels are usually sold out. Go figure. I spent hours trying to find another flat half marathon in March or April. I looked at various race reviews and people were going on and on about how awesome these super hilly courses were. They ask “who wants to run an easy marathon?” or half marathon, but my answer is “ME!” I want to run fast. I know it’s going to hurt, but if it’s going to hurt, I want to run fast. I don’t want to hurt only to flop over the finish line in a 1:45. I can do that here in Charlotte at any of a number of the races our fair city hosts. By the way, all of the races follow pretty much the same course. So annoying. I don’t run marathons for the experience, the crowds, the bands, the scenery, etc. I run to beat my prior times. If I don’t, but I can blame it on things like the weather, the unexpected hills, the annoying man in the skin tight purple shorts that kept tailgating me, then that’s okay. But otherwise, if I set my sights on running a certain time and running it on a flat course, that’s what I need to do. The only flat one I could find was in Kansas. I don’t have the funds or desire to run any race in Kansas, unless it is a race for biscuits and Bojangles is sponsoring me. So once I stopped beating myself up over my failure, once again, to plan ahead, I decided to refocus and settle on running a marathon in May. If I’m going to train that much longer, I might as well do a full marathon and try to qualify for Boston, right?
One good thing about doing a race on May 1 is that my mom will be able to train for the half that the race weekend has to offer. She has not run a race since November and has had a lot of back problems, plus she is a CPA so she is going to be working 16 hour days from here until April 15. If she finds time to train, then I will never ever have an excuse for not squeezing a run in on a day when I only work 8 or 9 hours. The bad thing about running a race on May 1 is that I am playing Russian roulette with my heat sensitivity. The race we are doing, the Providence Marathon (and half), is a super flat course in Rhode Island. I’ve never been to Rhode Island, but I know a few things about it from my days in elementary school. One: it’s very small, so maybe we’ll actually run into another state during the race. No? Oh well. Two: No one really wants to go there, so the hotels are super cheap and airfare is actually cheap too. Guess that’s how the Rhode Island travel bureau gets people to visit. Three: It’s in New England, so I would assume the weather there will be cooler than it is here, south of the Mason-Dixon line. Well, one out of three isn’t bad. Two years ago, it was cool (40’s) and rainy on race day. My kind of weather. Last year, it was in the 90’s! What? Preposterous. I know, why would I sign up for this race if there’s a chance Mother Nature will smite me and cause me to overheat to the point where I add an hour to my PR and traumatize the residents of Rhode Island with all of the expletives I am going to hurl at them while they are just trying to cheer me on? Well, it’s not likely the temps will be in the 90’s and if they are, I will have a good story to tell, after I am bailed out of jail for causing a public disturbance.
Another good thing about switching my focus to training for a marathon is that my marathon pace feels really slow now. I was training based off of my half marathon pace, which is a good 45-50 seconds slower per mile than my marathon pace. Tonight I did a workout of 1/2 mile warmup jog, 3 x 2 miles at marathon pace (with 1/2 mile recovery jogs between), then 1 mile cooldown – total of 8.5 miles. My 2 mile splits were 16:10, 16:04, and 15:56. It was not an easy effort but those splits were well below my goal marathon pace of 8:14, which would put me at a 3:35. So as you can see, the speed work definitely pays off because it lowers your perceived level of exertion when you are training at your goal race pace.
I am going to continue doing speed work, hill work, and specific endurance runs, they will just be a bit longer now. I will be getting up to just over 50 miles a week. This week, because I took two off days, I am only going to hit 42. My long run tomorrow is 15 miles at about marathon pace + 30-40 seconds. Sunday will be my recovery run.
The final good thing about marathon training is that I can take in more calories, i.e., more biscuits. But not too many. I have fallen into the “I’m training for a marathon so I can eat whatever I want” trap before and it resulted in Super Dad saying “Isn’t it weird how people don’t lose weight when they are training for a marathon?” He said he wasn’t referring to me. Um, how many people does he hang with that are training for a marathon? Yeah, I thought so. He’s never gonna live that one down.