Tuesday, September 6, 2011

And now the anxiety begins...

I ran my 20 miler this past weekend! It went well... ran around Golden Gate Park with some jaunts along the Great Highway and into the Panhandle. It took me three hours and forty-two minutes with an average 11:08 pace.
20 miles done!!! Enjoying my post-run chocolate milk.
Afterward, I met up with the Sunday Runday crew for brunch at Q for some mac & cheesy plus a mimosa. Which, sadly, I was not able to enjoy until much later (and for the mimosa, not at all). There must be some distance threshold where you completely lose your appetite because I'm pretty sure I could have chowed all that down after a half marathon. But after 20 miles? Bleh.

It tasted just as good five hours later.
Sunday Runday crew with new friends Sarah and Renee!
It is now three weeks until the Akron Marathon. With my peak run behind me, I've finally allowed myself to start thinking about my race goals and expectations. My main goal with the marathon had always been to finish sub-5 which I finally was able to do with the 2009 CIM Marathon. And that was with really sporadic training.

To hit sub-5, I would need an 11:26 pace or better.  To get a PR, I'd have to beat 4:55, 11:15 pace. My 14 to 20 mi long runs had an average pace ranging from 10:50 to 11:10 so I seem to be in good shape. Plus this year is the first time since 2007 that I've followed a real training plan for a marathon so surely I should be able to hit sub-5 and maybe even beat my previous time, right???

Well, I don't know... and I'm not trying to be a Pessimistic Peggy or anything, I'm just trying to be honest about what I should expect.

Last night, I started reading Akron race reports, reviewing the course map, and checking out the elevation charts. Oh, the elevation charts! The thing is that I knew my two upcoming marathons were hilly. That's one of the reasons I liked Akron was because I knew it would be a good preparation for NYC. But I'm not gonna lie - I would also love to get a new PR and normally people pick fast and flat courses for PRs, right??? Every race report I've read about Akron included the word "challenging". Not that I couldn't PR on a "challenging" course, it's just not an ideal scenario.

So let's check out some elevation charts, shall we?

CIM (Ran in December 2009 in 4:54:49, 11:15 pace for a PR)
The funny thing is that this elevation chart makes it look all downhill and super easy, right? But it didn't seem that way at all when I was actually running it.  It just felt like a lot of rolling hills. The other big thing that CIM had going for it that year was that it was FREEZING! I mean, literally, it was around 32 degrees that day. And if anything is going to motivate me to keep running, it's the fear of freezing to death if I slowed down at all.


Akron Marathon (Running on September 24th)
That's a pretty big difference, right? What kind of crazy person signs up for a full marathon whose challenging uphill climbs start at mile 17??? Did I mention that I thought my legs were going to fall off at mile 17 of my 20 mi long run on Sunday? Egads. At least there are a lot of downhills as well so I can try to compensate for my uphill pace there. (But that one at mile 11 looks potentially painful if it's anything like Nike.) I've tried to add some hills in my long runs by running across the Golden Gate Bridge, Fort Mason, and Golden Gate Park but I'm not sure if they were enough since the elevation climbs on those routes were never more than 200ft. Oh boy...

I will be harassing Roadbunner to give me the honest scoop on this course since she's the one that sold me on this race. (But in all fairness, the race is located less than an hour from my family so I'm sure I would have run it anyway. Maybe.  She did push it pretty hard - if you read her race report, you'd think she was on the Akron Marathon payroll.)

NYC Marathon (Running on November 6th)

Not as bad as Akron so at least the harder one is out of the way first. I think I will be on an adrenaline rush for this race with being surrounded by 45,000 other runners, the spectator support, and just the fact that I will be running through one of my all time favorite cities.

Nike Women's Marathon (Ran in October 2007 in 5:33:58, 12:44 pace)
I just added this in for comparison's sake since I consider this to be the most challenging full marathon course I've run. It looks like the Akron climbs are a lot more gradual than these so at least I know it won't be worse than this course. (Thank goodness!!! As Roadbunner always says, "Friends don't let friends run the Nike Full.")

Anyway, feel free to chime in with your thoughts. Meanwhile, I'll still be here staring at elevation charts and weather forecasts.

8 comments:

Janac said...

I'm running the Nike full. Do I need to be afraid? :-)

Jamie said...

You are going to rock it. You know what to expect and the pacers are awesome in crack-ron! You are ready for the hills!

RoadBunner said...

I think you are more hill-worthy than you think. GGP hills are no joke when you run them regularly. Akron and NYC are both tougher than CIM for sure. But, I don't think either of them are super tough courses. I agree Akron is probably tougher than NYC but NYC is so congested it makes it hard to hit a good pace. Personally, I'd go out harder at Akron and save NYC for a victory dance with all the spectators. We can discuss further later :) And yes, I <3 the Akron Marathon!! It was my suprise discovery of 2010.

Angela said...

Yay 20 miles done!! I'm so curious to hear how Akron goes for you. I'm running CIM for the first time this year & everyone has warned me not to be fooled by the elevation chart, & that the first 10-15 miles are a lot of rollers & pounding.

naomi said...

I was so happy to see your CIM elevation chart and then gasped when I saw Akron. No wonder you shook your fists at RoadBunner! But you will do fine - you know it! But if you do want to hit up the Dish, let me know!

Kristen said...

I think if you can do Nike you can do anything! With those training paces I have no doubt you will crush your old PR.

Looks like a fun Sunday!

Alisyn said...

Looks like I missed a cheesy afternoon! I am confident that you are going to rock Akron! I am so excited for you!!
On a side note - I noticed an add for the Tokyo Marathon in Feb. $2172 includes air and hotel....I so want to do it...hehe.

Layla said...

Look at Akron this way: You rocked your 20-miler last weekend. You KNOW you can run 26.2 miles. So get yourself to that mile 22 marker in Akron and know that the rest will be downhill.

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