Monday, October 31, 2011

May Marathon = Sunday A.M. Group Run ... Oh So Early

Alright. I have now settled on a spring race goal and it's a little more ambitious than I originally intended.  I signed up to run the Kalamazoo Marathon in May.

This is definitely more than I was planning on.  Originally, I really only intended to do a couple of half marathons.  At my nuttiest vision of how I saw things unfolding, I considered what my husband referred to as a Trifecta of Halves, where I would run three half marathons, each a week apart from the other, so essentially three half marathons in fifteen days.  I was really excited about this goal until I found out that the one race out of the three I hadn't done was axing its key feature in 2012.  That put a damper on that plan.  The Green Bay Half Marathon usually goes through Lambeau Field - Home of the Packers, thank you very much - but due to construction, they won't be able to do that next year.  Since I have never done this event, I really want the run through Lambeau to be part of the race when I do end up doing it.  So, I decided to shelve that race for 2012, leaving the same two half marathons I had done earlier this year, and that just didn't hold as much allure.

So, why Kalamazoo, and why a marathon?  Well, I credit my mom with giving me the idea for Kalamazoo.  I was in research mode trying to find something new to try when she sent me the link for the Kalamazoo Run for the Health of It runs.  Their festival of races is in its 33rd year, but the marathon is still new - just in its second year.  There are a lot of reasons I ended up choosing this one:  I have family in Kalamazoo, which makes where to stay easier, not to mention I get to visit everyone; I had the opportunity to run with the Kalamazoo area running club on a previous visit to the city earlier this year, and they were a really nice bunch of folks; and - of course - it is new for me.  As to why I chose the marathon over the half marathon?  I don't know.  I guess because I enjoyed Lakefront more than I thought.  It definitely didn't wipe me out like I had feared it would, and instead left me with a feeling of wanting to do a better job of it.  I am really excited about the marathon goal.  The only reservation I have is that I know Kalamazoo to be pretty hilly.  What are the odds that they would find the one flat route through their town to hold a marathon?  Slim to none, I would guess.  Oh well.  I'll think about that part later.

So, what's my goal for this marathon?  Well, I am not quite sure yet.  I finished Lakefront in about 4:55, so I have a lot of room for improvement. I started wondering about the possibilities after my group run yesterday.

The Sunday morning running group is a fun group to run with.  Aside from the fact that I have to get up way too early to make the 6 a.m. meet up, or even - gasp - the 5:30 a.m. meet-up spot, they are a really entertaining bunch of folks.  Yesterday being the day before Halloween, for example, most of them were in costume - some quite elaborate.  (Luckily, I knew enough to anticipate that and grabbed my daughter's Mickey Mouse ears on the way out of the house.)  The Sunday morning group is nice for me for another reason: they average out to a pretty slow pace.  When they are running, the pace isn't bad, but they do take some longer walk breaks.  Yesterday's five-mile run averaged out to a 12-minute per mile pace.  That's slow, even for me, but I am not going to criticize.   Any one of these people could leave me in their dust if they decided to pick up the pace.  It just so happens that the Sunday group run isn't about speed, it's about having fun, talking, hanging out, and - oh yeah - getting a little run in.  They just aren't in a hurry Sunday mornings, and that suits me fine.

The slower pace did get me thinking, though. Jeff Galloway advocates running your long runs about two minutes per mile slower than race pace.  If that is the case, then if I run with the Sunday group and we average about a 12-minute pace, then I should be able to shoot for a 10-minute per mile pace during the race, right? That would mean a 4:20 finish.

Is that crazy?  My husband thinks maybe I should aim for taking my time down in steps.  While cleaning our desk area yesterday my husband dug out an old temporary tattoo pace chart that he never used for a 4:35 finish.  This is something that he doesn't need anymore, so he suggested that maybe I could use it instead.  Hmmm, probably sensible, but 4:20..... It sounds so much better.  :)

Anyway, in the meantime, I am glad I got back to the Sunday morning group.  I hope to make this part of my regular routine.  They have both a five-mile loop that you can meet them for, or if you want to do the whole shebang, it is about eleven miles.  Both are great distances to work from.  Even yesterday, I didn't stop at five miles.  After running together, I added on three miles more for eight total.  The first five were rather slow with the walk breaks.  I picked up the pace for the last three miles.  If I can keep that up for marathon training, I should be set up nicely for negative splits, right? Right?  LOL

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