Race Week: Marshall University Marathon

It’s Wednesday, and reality beginning to settle in. It’s my 6th week back to running since I’ve made my comeback from a tibial stress reaction, and I’m running a marathon. Good idea? Eh, probably not. I’ve got a few successful tempo runs, a 5K, a 10K, a half marathon, 20 miler, and a pretty nice 15 mile run under my belt. Prior to my hiatus, I completed a solid summer of training and high mileage running. I’ve spent a considerable amount of time on my bike and in the pool cross training to preserve my endurance. I might not be PR ready, but I’m as ready as I’m going to be for this one.

I’m still undecided as to how I want to attempt to run it. I feel like this is the same post I wrote back in June, right before the Vancouver Marathon. Sunday’s marathon is a two-loop course, meaning it should be similar to the experience I had when I ran the Long Branch Marathon a few years ago.  The upside: you’ll know what to expect in the second half of the race. The downside: you’ll know what to expect in the second half of the race. It’s good because you might be able to run a little smarter, but it’s bad because if you hated it the first loop, you know you have to do it all over again. You can spend the whole first half dreading it, and then the second half hating it even more than the first time around because you are twice as tired:

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The elevation profile is pretty sweet, and even the biggest “climbs” look pretty mild. The problem is that I’m not sure what I am capable of and much of what I decide to do will be determined by how I feel on race day.  After reviewing the elevation, I came up with a plan to negative split the first 20 miles as long as I can hold back in the first 13 miles. For the last six, it’s the same as always: 1) keep negative splitting, 2) hold on to whatever pace I have at that point, or 3) just survive. I didn’t have any idea of my capabilities and went into Vancouver post injury and had a great day. On the other hand, I also ran three marathons while training for it: Boston, Vermont, and Buffalo. So at this point, who really knows. Injury or no injury, there are always so many variables that can affect the outcome of a marathon so I’m not going to dwell on it anymore.

The race has an early start: 7am. I prefer starting early, but that means I’ll likely be up by 4am that day preparing. We are staying at the Holiday Inn, which is close to the start and offering runners a 2pm checkout. Bart Yasso is the guest speaker at the free pasta dinner the night before, and will be announcing the runner’s names as we cross the finish line. He lives in close proximity to me, so my friends and I are actually going to be traveling down to the race with him! The 2pm checkout will be nice, because we will have plenty of time to shower and clean up while Bart is announcing the finishers…or plenty of time for my friends to wait for me in the event that I completely blow up.

There is also a half marathon, a half marathon relay, and a 5K all on the same day. All of the races have a 7am start time. My thought is that the first loop will likely be more crowded than the second one. There is no bag check, but this was announced on the site so I know to plan accordingly. I’ll likely be bringing some throw away clothing for this event. The pasta dinner is free to registered runners and children under the age of 10, and guests pay something like $5 to join in. Since we registered early, our entry fee not only gets us our usual shirts and medals, we also get jackets.

I’ve got a few more shakeout runs planned for this week, but my last key workout is going to be today. Regardless of the actual outcome, I’m excited for the weekend. It will be fun to spend time with friends and knock another state off of my list.

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