Sunday, October 23, 2016
Well, the training is in the bag, with one week to go. There were some snafus as can happen:
Riding a Nighttime Charley Horse
3+ weeks out I woke up in the middle of the night with a calf spasm from HELL. I actually woke up in the middle of the cramp, sat up, and grabbed my upper calf and started digging my fingers in to try to get it to release. Boy did it HURT.
Quite a way to wake up at 2am! This is the first time this has happened to me...I have had calf strains before but never night cramps. I blame it on pushing pretty hard that week, and not wearing my calf sleeves. I really never seem to learn that when I push hard I need to wear them.
I hobbled out of bed, dragging my right leg like Quasimodo and got an ice pack thing from the freezer and strapped it on my leg. Back to bed but not sleeping....eventually removed the pack and put on the calf sleeve. Also took some Aleve and back to sleep , eventually.
Managed to not wake Toni through the entire thing, which was pretty amazing.
In the morning i was still sore and that Sunday, which was supposed to be my last 20+ miler I decided to bag it...By Tuesday I was back on the roads and all seemed well.
I learned the difference between a 'pull' vs a 'cramp'. The former implies a small muscle tear and requires 6 weeks to heal before a marathon. The latter does not damage the muscle and after it gets relaxed you are good to go!
Phew! Bullet dodged.
As in caught one. Working with a new team at work and there are more people with small children in daycare. One of them came to work 2-3 days after getting a sore throat. ...alas it takes 5-7 to stop spreading a virus, so I got to partake. This took about 9 days to get over
Today (Sunday, one week out) I did a moderately hard 9.5 miles and head and lungs are just about clear of crud (after about 50 'farmer's blows' along the way....yucko...;)
So I think I'm good to go.
The Pacing Decision
I was planning on trying to target a 10min/mile pace. It's such a nice round number. My 10k race a few weeks ago, 51:08, would very conservatively say I could do this pace (5X 10k pace), but that's before the training bumps in the road just described.
OTOH, I've been training pretty consistently this year (with 1100 miles for the year so far and 2 marathons) so that previous training leaves me pretty strong, and I've been doing speed-work and hill sprints..... so I think 10m/m is a good target. I ran a 4:30 at very hilly San Francisco with almost even splits which gives me more evidence this pace might be justified.
Marine Corps Marathon is pretty darn flat compared to SFM, which is a good, but there are some downsides:
1) It will be crowded: so no running tangents and lots of extra jinking around other runners will cost a few minutes.
2) MCM can also be warm. Washington DC is actually the beginning of the "South" (as Abe Lincoln almost discovered during the Civil War ...) and it can get humid and warm. The race also starts a bit late, at 7:55am.
Right now the forecast is cloudy 45F low 60F high, with scattered showers, cloudy.
This is pretty ideal! I would much rather run in some cooling rain showers than the heat. Won't be fun for Toni spectating though.
If you've been following my blog you know that I'm really into nailing even splits in my marathons right now. Lucky for me, right now Strava has the 'negative split' challenge: If you can run negative splits in a USATF sanctioned marathon you can can win a coupon for a pair of New Balance Running shoes.
So, barring race day modifications to my plan, looks like holding a 9:55 pace (allow 5sec per mile for GPS noise and crowd jinking) is my plan. At mile 20+ if I have anything left I will speed up a very little bit to get a slight negative split (30-60 seconds). There is a nasty 50' climb to the finish line I'm told so some banking of a few extra seconds for that may be required.
If I'm feeling crappy for some reason, I will slow down. You never completely know until race day.
Starting to feel the old anticipatory excitement building. It never gets old.
MCM has something special called "The Wear Blue Mile". It's at about the halfway point and time for reflection on all the people that have lost their lives on behalf of the USA and all of us.
I'm not a fan of some of the wars our country has got us into, sometimes they start with good intentions but bad outcomes.
Sadly, the world continues to be a messed up place; somebody has to do the fighting...and it falls on the young.
I'm not somebody to shy away from reality, but it's going to be the hardest mile of the entire race.