Friday, September 23, 2011

Huge post about a geeky running question

Last night I had class. Technology has made huge strides in student comfort since I was an undergrad.

 I did get a little distracted at times, as would most likely happen in a traditional class.
 But, mostly, I had to ignore the ipod, because you can get called on. As you can see in the first picture though, I got all the laundry folded while achieving higher learning simultaneously. Eric's still working on putting his portion away.

After my brain was sufficiently stimulated, it was time for Biggest Loser.  Anna Kournikova - pathetic replacement for Jillian.  She cried more than the contestants. We all know I have a love affair with Jillian going on, so it's likely I wouldn't have been happy with any replacement, but Anna was the bottle of the barrel.

The new hot black guy trainer makes up for it though. I tried to learn his name for the whole two hours, but failed.
Google Images didn't have any pictures of him alone, probably because no one else can pronounce his name either.

 Thursday morning is tempo run time. I was up at 4:30, at Lily's at 5, and running by about 5:03. 

We are a true dynamic duo, because she would never get up at run at 5am alone, and I would never push myself that hard alone. This girl is an amazing tempo run pacer, she practically killed me on the six fast miles. This run felt very challenging. My legs almost never hurt while I'm running. They may  get sore and tired as I get up there in mileage, but this was my muscles were screaming by the second tempo mile. We hit some hills, not as bad as my neighborhood, but the long, sneaky, slight incline kind. When we stopped at a traffic light around 3.5 tempo miles in, Lily asked how I was feeling and I told her I didn't think I could keep the pace up. She told me I could, and off we went, and I kept up. Partially it was because I had no idea where we were and it was dark out, but isn't it amazing how someone telling you that you can do something makes such a difference? Even though I doubted it, just having her tell me I could do it changed my whole outlook. I know we've said it a million times, but running is so mental.

After the run, we were a little stiff.
And SOAKED. We all know I'm slow on the uptake, and especially so at 5am without coffee. So on our warmup mile, I wondered why my chest hurt and thought maybe I was having an asthma attack. Turns out the humidity was around 90%.
Wringing the sweat out of my shirt and skirt is sexy

When I got to work, I was yet again confused by the fact that my butt was wet. Like, not damp, my the back of my skirt was noticeably soaked. Finally I realized it was because my sweat soaked my car seat on the drive home from our run, and then soaked my work clothes when I drove to work. Excellent. 

Nonrunners - this may be a good place to exit this post. Thanks for reading!

So, back to that "running is mental" thing, I have a question for my fellow runners. This Saturday is the Baltimore Marathon supported course run.  The running store that helps put on the marathon puts out water stops, complete with Gus, porto-potties, and hands out direction sheets, so you can do your last long run on the actual marathon course. This is a big deal, because there are some parts of the marathon that you really can't run on without risking getting shot or ending your run addicted to heroine. You truly see the city in this race. Last year there were thousands of runners, and we got cheered on because people thought it was the actual race. This year we are even getting bibs! Did I mention all this is free, they just request small donations?

As most people probably are, I'm using this as a dry run for the race, in terms of outfit, nutrition, hydration, etc. My latest obsession, Kristy, has me wondering if I should use it as a practice for marathon pace. Kristy writes an amazingly inspiring, informative blog that chronicles her hard won recent Boston Marathon qualifying time. She does most of her long runs at marathon pace. 

I debated admitting this on the blog, because I'm afraid I won't be able to do it, but since I signed up for Baltimore I had set my ultimate, all the stars align goal to have a 9:30 marathon pace. But, with the fifty miler coming up, I haven't been training at that pace. Most of my long runs are LSD, more like 10-10:30 pace, which is fine, but my focus has been on adding mileage to prepare for an ultramarathon, not speed. I've done speedwork, but I haven't put the effort into it that I would have if the marathon was my key race.

Despite this, being inspired by Kristy, I want to try for a 9:30 pace on Saturday, for 22 miles. I'm asking if it seems reasonable because it means that I'm probably ditching my friend Jill, and running alone, which is kind of a big deal for me. (We already talked and she's fine with it, although I think she could do that pace!). Also, I don't want to go out at that pace and then be dying at the end of the run because I'm used to 10 minute miles. 

So my question is, should I try for marathon pace, or just continue my LSD runs that I've been doing throughout my training, and save the MP running for the next training plan?

And if you are still reading, you get a gold star. I really hope Kristy herself reads this and gives me an advice. It's like she's a celebrity to me now.


  1. Try for marathon pace! The worst thing that could happen would be that you get tired and have to slow down right? Not the end of the world. Might as well try :)

    You can totally run 22 at 9:30 pace!!

  2. Alyssa, you're the best! Thanks for the kind words!

    If I were coaching you, this is exactly what I would tell you to do (so you know I'm being completely honest). I would run the last 10 miles at MP (9:30). Your training has been endurance-based (as it should for a 50-miler). You don't want to crash and burn (and compromise your next few runs) by doing all MP miles on Sat. You have to keep the big picture (your 50-miler) in sight. BUT, that doesn't mean you have to run LSD all the time. Go for the happy medium on Saturday. How great will it feel running negative splits for the last 10 miles (while passing everyone else who went out too fast!)???

    GOOD LUCK!!!!

  3. Even though I have NOWHERE near the experience you do, if it were me I would run the first half at the slower pace as well, and then pick it up for marathon pace at the end. You'll still have the challenge, but you won't be disappointed that you went out too fast and had to slow down. My two cents!

  4. Totally try for the marathon pace!! It's worth a shot right? And if it feels awful, go back to what's comfortable.

    Also, I always put a towel over my seat when I'm driving home after a run. I sweat like a man and don't want sweaty smelly seats (or to soak my work clothes ;)).

  5. Awww I am so happy we are a good duo!!! Thanx for getting me there at 5am ( we need to do it 3 times a week- PLEASE)and I am happy to keep up the pace!!!!!

    Def. try marathon pace :-) I have been asking you to this forever and YOU ARE SO READY TO MAKE IT HAPPEN!!!

    I am sorry I wont be there this Saturday....but I will be checking on you afterwards!!!

  6. I'm not sure about the run - I'll let the more qualified runners answer.

    HOWEVER - totally with you on the Biggest Loser. Tom & I couldn't remember the new trainers name, so we kept referring to him as Zoltran, Zolvat, etc.

  7. I'm no expert, just another hobbyjogger, but am happy to spout off my opinion anywa.

    I think 22mi at MP is too much -- unless it is a race, and at least a month before your actual goal marathon -- to justify such a near marathon race effort.

    I'd suggest making it a 22mi fast-finish long run. Maybe run 12mi easy, then 8mi at MP, then the last 2mi cruising down to HMP.

    Then walking or easy cross-training that night and the next day :)

  8. Oh, and if it is any consolation, I've often wanted to do fast-finish long runs, and even set out thinking I'll go try to do one, but seldom actually accomplished it.

    My first time getting close to a workout like that was when I ran 16mi @ 8min pace last Mon eve, the day after our Rosaryville trail run.

  9. I read ahead so I already know you had an awesome run! But I have found my long runs with race-pace miles in the middle and long runs with the last 1/4 at or near race pace (a la Hal Higdon advanced half plan) much more helpful and confidence-boosting than a long slow run.


Thanks for commenting! Comments make me probably more happy than they should.