This will no doubt be just another of the hundreds of blogposts that will be filed about this day, but I need to get this down since:
- CIM 2012 was my first-ever marathon.
- 2012 will be remembered as the year of the epic rainstorm.
Warning. This is waaay too long for to be of interest to anyone except myself, really, but - for what it's worth…
On Friday, though I was still checking the weather every couple of hours, hoping beyond hope for some change, I was pretty much resigned. Yes folks, all indicators pointed to a deluge of not-insignificant proportions in the beginning, middle and most likely by the end of the marathon.
So that was that. My goal – of finishing anywhere from 4-4:15 -- did not change drastically because of it. I figured that I’d start running, and adjust goals from there. Having never run a marathon before, and certainly, having never run long in pouring rain before, left lots of things up in the air. I kept telling myself that ultimately, the true goal was to finish, and finish strong. A good time would be icing on the cake. Also, beating Oprah would be icing on the cake.
Wow, it's truly been a while. The last time I posted I was just starting training for my first marathon, ever, and that was back in September, when I managed to run 46 miles in a week - my highest mileage week ever (even during the "peak" of my cycle). I achieved this 46-mile week was only because I started Labor Day Monday with running the Zombie Runner/ Zoom Running Lake Vasona Half Marathon in Los Gatos.
Now, I find myself 2 days before my first-ever 26.2.
It's been a while... but before I get sucked up into other matters yet again, I need to get this down to help with future training.
16 miles is the longest run I've logged yet, ever, and it went surprisingly well. I attribute its success to a number of factors.
The Day Before
Though I woke up early (6:45am) to take the car in for service, I snuck in a nap around mid-day. I also bought a pastry and soymilk chai and had somewhat of a breakfast on the walk home from the dealership. For lunch I ate an ear of fresh corn and the leftover Santouka miso ramen which still had a goodly amount of noodles. Perhaps my body was trying to tell me something but I was constantly hungry and snacked a bit throughout the rest of the afternoon until dinnertime, when we had some Bun-Cha Rice Noodle Salad and Vietnamese meatballs for dinner. Bedtime at 10:30pm.
Like the noob I was, I started running in old, old way-too-small Sauconys - a fairly little-used pair that had seen some Lindy Hop partner dancing and perhaps some hip-hop choreography over the past 8(?) years. As I neared the completion of our Couch to 5K program, I decided to invest in some new shoes - the Saucony Shadow 6000 that didn't seem too expensive, at the same shoe size I had always worn (6). I did manage to read some articles that indicated I should be ordering running shoes that were at least a half-size larger (to give your feet room), but chose, out of vanity (I like my small feet!) to ignore that advice.
4.65 miles on the treadmill - easy. 8.36 pace. Legs felt tired, even after 2 days off. Couldn't do much with inclines - halfheartedly tried with some 2-3% elevation but not for very long. Then just tried to go fast.
6.03 miles on the treadmill - inclines. 8.50 pace. 3 sets of 2-3, with one of these going up to 4. Legs felt better today, and ready to tackle the inclines. Had to definitely slow pace for these.
Yes, still new to running, so I'm selecting the "fast and flat" courses to try out before getting into the more challenging trails + hills or even hillier road races. This event out by the San Leandro Marina, is the speediest of races Brazen offers, and apparently so flat and boring that hardcore trail fiends Mr. NotthatLucas and his family chose to volunteer for it rather than actually race. We were very lucky with the weather this year, since it was apparently very wet in 2011 with gale-force winds threatening to knock runners off their feet as they braved the course.
I signed up earlier in the season, and was happy that DD offered to come along, bring the Harlow, and take some photos as I ran. We got there around 7:15ish, Endorphin Dude having announced something about a Half Fanatic photo prior to starting. Though I was technically not yet in HF, this race would be my 2nd Half in under 14 days, so I qualified for entry-level "Neptune moon" status. And besides, ED said it would be ok, and who am I to argue with such a running luminary?
I have to admit being nervous for the Kaiser race. I think it might have been because this was my first “big” race of the season – I hadn’t run an official Half since last November’s Quarry Turkey race. Then, I had jumped from my longest training run of 9 miles to a 13.2+ mile race. I did decently, finishing at 2:11:27 (though I had secretly hoped to come in under or around 2:10).
I had signed up for Surf City initially, which fell on the same date as the Kaiser Half. Though what was distinctive about Surf City was that the website was up and fully-featured in October, and Kaiser's remained blankly, enigmatically silent until sometime in the new year. So, chomping at the bit and wanting to have a goal to strive to match DD's Marathon on March 4th, I signed up for what I thought was going to be my first Half in Southern California on Feb 5th, 2012. And then Kaiser announced itself.
San Francisco's proximity to the Napa Valley is another one of the zillion reasons as to why we love living in the SF Bay Area. However, DD did not choose his first marathon to run exclusively because it was in Napa. He chose it based on a friend's recommendation that it was a fast, downhill course, excellent for beginner marathoners - and it fell pretty much on a date ideal for his goal of completing a marathon before he turned the big 3-0.
Part of the training plan involved running part of the course before the Big Day (March 4th), so DD chose the weekend of his 18-miler, which also conveniently fell on the MLK Day holiday, to head up. For those of you curious about a marathon (or half) training plan, DD and I generally run at least 2 short runs during the work week (3-5 miles each), and make sure to never skip a long run on the weekends. Long runs start at 3 miles and increase by a mile or so a week. If you are marathoning, once you get up into the teens, you can drop down every other week until you reach 20 miles. After DD reaches his 20 miles, he starts a gradual 3-week taper period where weekly mileage gradually decreases to leave him in strong, tip-top shape for the main event.