After taking much of September off (Run Across Idaho recovery, Costa Rica trip), I am using October to slowly build my training back up as I get ready for my epic adventure in Chile this coming March.
The race in Chile is all about running while tired -- there will be 4 consecutive days of marathon distances followed by a fifth day of an ultra distance -- so my training for the next few months is going to be focused on running long distances on consecutive days.
Saturday a friend I and went for a tough 15.5 mile run in the North Idaho mountains. My legs were tired and heavy by the end of the run, and when I woke up early Sunday morning for the 1.5 hour drive to the Spokane Marathon, my legs were still tired and heavy. Running a marathon on tired legs is good training.
I ran this marathon a couple years ago (3:49:12) and it was in the 20's at the starting line. It wasn't nearly as cold yesterday, but the air was wet and brisk. I didn't set a goal for this race as much as I tried to guess how I'd do on tired legs. I figured I could finish semi-comfortably in the 3:30-3:45 range.
Nipple protection is key
Start of the 2010 Spokane Marathon
The course is scenic, with spectacular views of the Spokane River during a good chunk of the route -- but it's tough and hilly.
Doomsday Hill looms around mile 22.
Even though my legs weren't ever feeling great or fresh, they didn't feel too bad. I settled in at around a 7:30 min/mile pace for the first 15 miles knowing that I wouldn't last at that pace for the entire course. But as I've learned from earlier marathons this year, sometimes it's worth shooting a little higher than what you think you can do, because you might surprise yourself.
And I had this waiting for me at the finish line:
What's better than a carrot on a stick?...
So though I didn't think I could keep a 7:30 pace, I decided that there was no harm in trying. But by mile 22 I realized that I had been wrong and that there really was harm in trying, because my legs were hurting. Bad. To add insult to
injury tired legs, this is about when the course throws Doomsday Hill at you.
I was toast after that, and cruised into the finish line at 3:24:57, which (to my surprise) was still good enough for 10/183 overall and 3/18 in my age group.
I'm running so fast that no one even sees me.
Glad it's done.
This is a great marathon. It's about as cheap as you'll find a marathon that provides aid ($25 if you don't want the t-shirt), it has great volunteers (and aid stations every 2 miles), great organization, and it's a beautiful course. This year they even had a medal for the finishers. It's a good one.
I'm going to give a go at a half marathon this coming weekend (I've never actually run a half marathon before) and then I'm headed down to Utah in a couple weeks for the Goblin Valley Ultra.
And last but not least, a HUGE shout-out to my sister-in-law, Jennifer, for completing the Chicago Marathon yesterday. She scared us last year when she was in, and thankfully survived, this accident. But after a long stint in the hospital, she made it a goal to run a marathon. And she did it! I'm very proud of her. Jennifer inspires me more than any 2:10 marathoner out there.
And isn't that what's great about runners? We come in all shapes and sizes, with different speeds and abilities, and with different life stories, goals, and motivations.
I'm a runner.
You're a runner.
Let's all keep running.