Friday Five: Running Resources

And I’m back with this week’s Friday Five. This week I’m sharing Five-ish Running Resources.

First up, four (4) places to find training plans:

  1. The Furman Institute of Running and Scientific Training
  2. The “Non” Runner’s Guide to Marathon Training
  3. Hal Higdon Training Plans
  4. Couch-to-5K Running Plan

A follow-up, four (4) articles about running/training:

  1. Yasso 800s
  2. Two Types of Marathon Long Runs
  3. McMillan Pace Calculator
  4. Treadmill Pace Conversions

Next, eight (8) books about running that I’ve read:

  1. Run Less, Run Faster – Bill Pierce, Scott Murr, And Ray Moss
  2. YOU (Only Faster) — Greg McMillan
  3. Marathoning for Mortals – John Bingham and Jenny Hadfield
  4. My Life on the Run – Bart Yasso and Kathleen Parrish
  5. Born to Run – Christopher McDougall
  6. Hal Koerner’s Field Guide to Ultrarunning — Hal Koerner
  7. Daniels’ Running Formula — Jack Daniels
  8. Advanced Marathoning — Pete Pfitzinger

Short and sweet, but that’s it for this weekend. Feel free to leave a question in the comment if you are looking for additional resources.

Glass City Half Marathon: Race Recap

I wasn’t sure how to write this race recap because it took me a while to process the race. I’ve PR’d twice at GCM before, but this year, it was not my goal race. Last year I worked my tail off to PR in the full marathon and I had a lack luster day at the races; this year coming off of LA training, I really wasn’t training very much more than to finish the race. So going into race day, I was not sure what my expectations were.

Race Week Training

I. Did. Not. Taper. You read that right. No taper. And if you read my 2015 PR Race Recap of Columbus, then you’ll recall I did the same thing. My mileage since LA has been low, so there wasn’t much to taper. I ran every day what felt good,  and I didn’t run when I didn’t want to.

Training Review

This year I transitioned from training for LA to training for GCM, while substitute coaching for Dave’s Running Marathon in Training program. During this transition period, I noticed that compared to this time last year I was running on average a minute/mile slower.

Race Day Wake-up

Sunday morning’s wake up came at 3:30am. Breakfast was a oatmeal with blueberries and peanut butter, and coffee. I used my morning walk with Addie to help me determine what I would wear for the race. After our walk, I packed my bags and we headed to campus. After a quick photo op with the Oiselle Volée flock, there wasn’t much time for a warm-up so I headed to the Start Line.

Start Area

I still had no game plan. I decided to start with the 1:55 pacer, except I couldn’t find them. I had set my watch so I had to manually lap each mile, and I was hoping this wouldn’t have me watching my garmin too much during the race. As I waited for the race to begin, I had 3 Raspberry ProBar Bolts and 2 Margarita Clif Bloks to start the race off.

Miles 1-3: 9’00″/8’41″/8’43”
I wanted to keep it relaxed early on since I really had no idea of my racing capabilities. I saw a fellow Dave’s MIT coach pacing her group, so I began with them as my rabbits. Shortly before Mile 1, I spotted Cory and Steph, hoping I wouldn’t regret trying to catch up to them early on. I stuck near them until right before Mile 2. I grabbed water around Mile 3 and decided to try to drink while running (and hopefully not choke!).

Miles 4-6: 8’40″/8’35″/8’31”

I was expected to feel fatigued and slow down at this point. Around Mile 4.5, I ate 3 Raspberry ProBar Bolts and 2 Margarita Clif Bloks. I was pleasantly surprised that my legs felt fresh and I had energy enough to sustain my current effort. I was pretty happy so far in the race. I was seeing my dad multiple times and Bob, one of the head coaches for Dave’s MIT, which helped keep me up beat being able to spot them along the course. (Side Note: this made me super excited to spectate the Cap City Half Marathon the following weekend.)

Miles 7-9: 8’32″/8’44″/8’39”

Around mile 8, I wondered if I had the potential to PR. I knew there was plenty of miles of the race remaining, but focusing on the possibility kept me moving forward. I was pleasantly surprised about how I was doing as we made the “turn-around” on Central Avenue and headed back towards campus. I forgot to fuel so I grabbed it around Mile 9.5.

Miles 10-13.1: 8’40″/8’19″/8’31″/8’11”
I passed Steph around Mile 10 and I knew she was struggling. I wanted to open up at this point in the race, but quickly realized I didn’t have the legs for a huge push. I knew without it that a PR was out of reach, but I would be damned if I wasn’t going to hang on and try for at least a sub-1:53.

Finish
Official Finish Time 1:52:30 (only 47 seconds off my PR)
Average Pace 8’35”

Holy Batman! My previous races at GCM had me working hard for my finish times. Relatively speaking, this race felt like a cake-walk. I was reminded why Ottawa Hills is called “Ottawa Hills” but really surprised (and absolutely amazed) how my body handled them and my pace.

Pros:  It was the perfect weather (probably because it was almost the perfect “date”–you can laugh if you’ve seen Miss Congeniality and know what I mean). GCM still isn’t my favorite race or course, but I’m trying to learn to see why so many people do love it.

Cons: I can’t get it out of my mind but I think there are some major security issues with this race (yeah I said it).

I’m done racing for the time being while I train for a GORUCK Heavy! If you’re interested, you can find all of my Race Recaps here!

Thanks!

Jes

LA Marathon: Race Recap

LA was my 4th (fourth-that’s right) full marathon in less than 11 months; this doesn’t take into account that I ran an ultramarathon in December 2015. That’s a heck of a lot of running, for me. I know there are marathon maniacs that are practically running a race every weekend but that’s not my life. I’ve taken a few days (okay a week) to process my LA Marathon race experience. I’ve already recapped some of the usual pre-race things such as the Expo in last week’s Friday Five which can be found here. So let’s get into discussing Race Day!

Wake-up: I slept very well and woke up before my alarm at 2:30am. I prefer having some time to relax, drink my coffee and eat breakfast, instead of sleeping in then having to rush.

Weather: Leaving my hotel I noticed that it was cool (55 degrees F), and a bit humid (around 90+%). I wore a pair of throw-away sweatshirt and sweatpants, plus my Oiselle Pom Hat.

Goals: I didn’t have any to be honest. I hoped I could break 4 hours, so I started with the 4:00 pacer. But I knew that my training period had many rough spots, so enjoying the course was my primary goal.

Shuttle: I was scheduled for a 4:30am shuttle from Downtown Santa Monica, but I arrived early around 4:10am and boarded a bus immediately. Approaching our exit for Dodger Stadium, we realized the exit was closed by CHP, so we were diverted to the general traffic entrance. Once arriving, we were turned around by traffic control. Many people on our bus were not very happy about this and a few wanted off the bus right there. It was barely 5:00am so we had plenty of time, and there really was no reason to stress (yet). I was sitting inside Dodgers Stadium by 5:15am.

Start Line: There was a lot of room at Dodgers Stadium, plenty of bathrooms, and free bananas, water bottles AND Clif Shot Bloks, which was perfect because I accidentally forgot to remove my second breakfast from my gear bag before checking it after I applied my body glide and sunscreen.

Mile 1-5: Within the first ¼ mile we were so bottlenecked we were walking. Within the first ½ mile men were breaking off to the trees for a potty stop. Our first mile overall was a wee bit slower than a 4 hour pace, but it was comfortable. Besides that first mile and sometimes at water stations, the course wasn’t very congested; you looked ahead and it was a sea of runners, but there was always sufficient elbow room thankfully. For this race I actually turned off auto-lap on my Forerunner 230, and manually lapped myself each mile marker to get a more accurate mile-by-mile split times; I only forgot three times because that’s how quickly this race flew by despite how slow I was running/walking. I knew there were some rolling hills but I underestimated these inclines (I should’ve driven the course!) and that’s saying a lot from someone who has run the Flying Pig (Cincinnati) and Pittsburgh Marathons! Mile 2 was my second fastest mile of the day at 8:44, but it didn’t feel uncomfortable; the pacer did slow down to a 8:58 for Mile 3, but as we hit Mile 4 I lost them because of the Hill. This was also the start of walking the water stations to allow my legs a minute of recovery.

Mile 6-10: I wasn’t quite hitting 4 hour splits, but I was happy with my pace. I had decided to walk inclines to save my legs because let’s just admit it now, I wasn’t in the best shape for this course. Around Mile 6, we passed Echo Park Lake. At Mile 9 I stopped for a potty break. I was also on the border of being too thirsty and worried that I would be overhydrating in the weather. It was sunnier than expected and I was regretting not wearing a hat. I was still pretty positive at this point, but a bit sad that the course was going by too fast and I was certain I was missing some touristy type sights.

Mile 11-15: Around Mile 11, I ran passed Hollywood & Vine, the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and Grauman’s Chinese Theater. I was excited to see these landmarks because I felt certain I had missed them. I don’t remember where it was on the course, maybe somewhere around here, but you get an amazing view of the Hollywood sign. Just as with Detroit, most of this part of the race was a bit of a blur; although I was in a much better place physically and mentally than Detroit. I think during this part was when Jen from NYC passed me, and when I noticed a blister on my foot. I also noticed that almost every mile appeared to begin with an incline which had me walking for almost a ¼ mile. I was probably too cautious at this point with the walking, but mile 4 pretty much tormented my quads and too a lot out of my legs.

Mile 16-20: I knew that I needed to learn how to push myself at this late in the race. But I was comfortable and not really thinking at all about my finish time at this point. It was during this stretch that I entered Beverly Hills and was running down Rodeo Drive. I really wanted to stop and take pictures but I was focused on putting one foot in front of the other because while my finish time wasn’t a concern (yet) I didn’t want to waste more time on my feet.  Despite how slow my mile splits were, the miles really did seem to be flying by!

Mile 21-23: Somewhere between Mile 20 and 21 I caught up to Jen and asked her if she wanted to run together. At this point, I was feeling good and knew I could pick it up. But I had been wanting to run with someone else for most of the course, so regardless of my desire to pick up the pace, my desire to run with someone else was stronger. Eventually around Mile 23, Jen encouraged me to keep going. I passed the Oiselle Cowbell Corner around Mile 23.5. I wanted to stop for a photo-op but my legs were just carrying me at this point and I knew that I had to dig deep to get in under 4:30. The only reason 4:30 even was a “goal” at this point was because I had caught up to the 4:30 pacer and suddenly I began calculating my estimated finish time.

Mile 24-26.2: In order to break 4:30, I had to hit a 9 min/mile for the last two miles. I had taken it too easy for most of the course, and with the hills being over I had that kind of kick left in my legs, but physically I had been on my feet for over 4 hours so sustaining that pace took a lot of mental focus to keep the physical drive alive. Contrary to the elevation map, I didn’t notice that lovely decline into the finish.
Finish: My watch said 4:29:53. I never noticed the clock when I crossed the finish. There was no 26 Mile Marker, and spectators aren’t allowed in the last 0.2ish of the actually finish line, so it was pretty lonely and a bit confusing because I’m not a very visual person when it comes to estimating distances. I saw the finish line and knew I was within seconds from not breaking 4:30 (not that it really mattered). Immediately after crossing a volunteer came and walked with me. I probably didn’t look good. I got my medal, took a picture, and texted my mom. Apparently I didn’t actually cross the finish line when I stopped my watch (there were at least 3 “timing” mats at the finish) so I didn’t quite break 4:30 this time around.
Official Finish Time 4:30:32
Average Pace 10’19”

Summary: Each marathon has been a learning experience. The distance is very humbling. Random fact though is that my pace was exactly one minute slower than my pace at Pittsburgh.

Overall: If I lived closer, I would probably run this marathon annually. But the cost of travel isn’t cheap and that will keep me from making this trip. I enjoyed the course, and the volunteers were freaking amazeballs. The course entertainment and spectators didn’t come close to Pittsburgh or Columbus, but the views made up for it. I didn’t have issues with the Shuttle to the Start line, but if you read my blog often you know I’m a planner and I prefer to be early rather than late. For my first point-to-point race, I thought the logistics were very smooth. Compared to Columbus, Detroit and Pittsburgh, while LA did have constant contact via emails, and social media, they are not as responsive to posts or interactive with guests as the others. The coolest feature of LA was the Students Run LA (SRLA) group, they just brought a whole new energy on the course that was contagious.

You can find all of my Race Recaps here!

Question: Have you ever run LA? If yes, what was your favorite memory of the race?

Jes

The Real Cost of a Spring Marathon

Last Fall (2015), I broke down what your registration fee pays for. In preparation for this upcoming Spring season, I thought I’d break down what it really costs you to run a marathon (or any race) by sharing with you what I spent training for GCM 2016.

The first cost to consider is the registration fee. The Mercy Health Glass City Marathon registration fees start at $70.

The second is going to be your running shoes. Depending on what kind of runner you are, you’re probably going to need at the very least 2 pairs of shoes for training (because of all the miles). A lot of non-runners think that this is all you need…if they only knew. My Nike LunarGlides cost approximately $125 each, so $250 total.

Next will be your training plan. There are free plans on the internet. Or you can purchase a book. You can also hire a coach or join a training program. This year I signed up for Dave’s Marathon in Training Program at $125.

You’ll have to learn some way to track your mileage and training time. If you live where there are easily marked courses/roads, that’s awesome and you can probably get away with your standard stopwatch. But if you want to know how far you’ve gone and your current/average pace, you’ll probably want a GPS watch. This year I upgraded my outdated Nike+ Sportwatch GPS to a Garmin Forerunner 230 at $250.

I also prefer to run with a little background music. Thankfully my old iPod Shuffle is still alive and kicking, but due to rain/sweat/use I replace my headphones approximately every two months. Estimated at least two pairs for the training period at $15 each, so $30.

I also use some energy fuel during my long runs. Currently I am using PROBAR Bolt Chews. They come in a box on 12 packs; each pack contains 2 servings. At an estimated $30 per box and approximately 2 boxes to get me thru my training period, total cost should be $60.

I didn’t buy any new clothing during this training period, so that amount was $0.

Obviously it’s winter in Ohio. The weather isn’t always conducive to training outdoors. Last year, I joined Planet Fitness ($21.50/month) because they have the best treadmills in town; honestly, if the treadmill isn’t good, it’s going to make it even harder to get through your workout. For January-April, total cost was $86.

If you do any additional cross-training, such as Yoga, Pure Barre, or CrossFit (I do all 3), your monthly fees will also creep into your total cost. Yoga at approximately $65/month, Pure Barre currently at $149/month, and CrossFit at $100/month. For January-April, total cost was $1256.

Previously, I’ve used massages as a last resort when it comes to body maintenance; I relied on foam rolling (which I own), and a lacrosse ball (less than $5). As a Christmas present to myself, I purchased a membership to Massage Envy and worked a massage into my training schedule every 3-4 weeks. This costs approximately $90/session (90 minutes), and an estimated 5 massages to include a post-race recovery massage brings the total to $450.

Other considerations are tune-up races built into your training schedule. In the Spring I think there were maybe 2-3 races, running a total cost of less than $150.

The last costly venture of running a race is actual race weekend costs.

  • Spending at the Expo. I encourage budgeting to limit your spending. I think after all was said and done, I walked out with a $10 Nike Hat.
  • Parking (Expo and Race Day). For GCM this was FREE, but other races (hello Chicago and Detroit), parking was pricey.
  • Transportation. See above. Not an issue for GCM because it was local. But for big city races, and especially races that require you to travel (by land or air), transportation can be a cost factor.
  • Hotel. For any race requiring more than a 30 minute drive in the AM, a hotel can be nice to cut down on your time in the morning. But this comes with a cost.
  • Food. Most runners enjoy a pre-race meal, often coming in the form of a meal out. Mine is Chipotle for lunch and Sushi for dinner! This usually runs me anywhere from $30-40.

Total cost of Race Weekend was approximately $50.

Using my 2016 expenses for my own Spring Race listed above, to race this Spring it cost approximately $2777.

Obviously if I was on a tighter budget, I would forgo spending money on a new training plan (if I knew my previous training methods worked for me), not purchase a new watch or other equipment unless absolutely necessary, reduce the number of memberships I have, cut down on my massages (unless necessary, which for some people they are), participate in free tune-up races when possible, and stay local to reduce race weekend costs. This tighter budget still includes race registration fees, running shoes, energy fuels, one gym membership, massages and my local race weekend spending and has a total cost slightly under $1000.

Question: What items are including in your racing/training budget? Are there things you have to have and things that you can forgo to cut costs?

Jes

2016 Running in Review

After a Spring full of being a race ambassador, I took a step back from my blogging life and focused on living life. But I’m back (at least for this post)!

2016 Summary of Events:

  • 1564 Total Number of Miles Ran (As of 12/5)
  • 3 – Full Marathons (April, May, October)
  • 1 – Half Marathon (September)
  • 4- 5Ks (January, March, June, August, November)
  • 1 – 5 Miler (May)
  • 1 – Steel Challenge (May)
  • 1 – GORUCK Heavy (Detroit-June)

HIGHLIGHTS:

  • I paced my first race!
  • Starting off the year with two 5Ks in 12 hours! (Midnight Special and Hangover Classic) This is by far my favorite tradition.
  • Setting a Marathon PR (finally); Glass City Half Marathon in April.
  • Breaking 40 Minutes for the 5 Miler.

Next up, a link up. Last year I participated in Courtney’s Year of Running Link Up, so this year I decided to do it again.

year of running 2016

  • Best race experience: I raced less this year than last year, but I raced longer distances this year. I loved Detroit despite my lackluster performance, but my overall favorite race of 2016 was Pittsburgh Marathon because mentally I was all in and that made the biggest difference.
  • Best run: This fall I coached with Dave’s Running MIT and I loved our Wednesday Night Tempo runs and so many of our long runs were just too much fun.
  • Best new piece of running gear: I rediscovered running in shorts. Hands down my favorite are Lululemon’s Hotty Hot (Long) Shorts.
  • Best running advice you’ve received this year: I’ve received a lot of advice this year and most of it from some faster runners that I’ve had the privilege of running with this year. .
  • Most inspirational runner: This year I watched “Unbroken” and “Race.” As an alumni of THE Ohio State University, I’ve always admired Jesse Owens. In addition, I think in modern times we often overlook how much the athletes and runners before us had to go through to make it where they did.
  • Favorite picture from a run or race this year: This picture was from pacing the Boy Scout Half Marathon in September.

    bs2016We were approaching the finish line and both of these lovely ladies were headed towards a PR.

  • Race experience you would repeat in a heartbeat: Coming out of the Detroit-Windsor tunnel returning to the US!
  • If you could sum up your year in a couple of words what would they be? Exhausting. Humbling. Reminding. This year I ran 3 full marathons. I was reminded how much training for 26.2 demands of you; not just time, but also effort, energy and attention. I had my ass handed to me twice during races. I learned that I entertainingly have a tendency to over-train and not allow myself adequate time for recovery.

Don’t forget to check out Courtney’s link up, and join if you are so inclined!

How was your 2016 Year of Running? (Be sure to respond in the comments!)

Thanks,

Jes

 

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Detroit Free Press Marathon: Race Recap

This race was not my race. It was for the most part a great course and a well run marathon. To start the Expo was a little basic in my opinion, while they had a lot there, there was just some things I was looking for that were absent.  Then again I’ve been to worse expos. My favorite thing was the Run Detroit booth with the course preview video. It was pretty fun using the people mover and seeing the billboards next to the start/finish line. I wish I would’ve gotten pictures, but I didn’t. We hit up the Expo on Friday, but came back on Saturday after checking-in at our hotel. Due to pre-race jitters, the only thing that sounded remotely edible was pizza so we enjoyed a salad and a deep dish pie at Niki’s; normally not my go-to be for a race meal, but when you have zero appetite for 2-3 days, you go for what sounds appealing because at least then you might eat some of it.

Hotel: The only downside of the Detroit Free Press Marathon is trying to find a hotel close to the start/finish line. No only do most of the local hotels require a minimum two nights stay (except the Casino a mile away at $499/night) they are at least $300/night stay. Another downside of a city-stay is the traffic-noise throughout the evening/night. But the plus-side was being able to walk to the start, and having a 2pm check-out after.

Wake-up: I didn’t sleep well. Shocker I know. My shoulder was bothering me most of the day, and made it impossible to sleep. So I got up and had to foam roll it before I could attempt any sort of rest. I was in and out of consciousness most of the night, waking up around 2:30am thinking I was never going to fall back asleep; then my 4am alarm happened and all I wanted to do was go back to sleep. It was strange because Friday and Saturday I was a ball of energy doing everything possible to sit still and conserve, especially since I had a nervous tummy and my appetite was all but gone. Waking up Sunday morning, I had nervous energy but I felt exhausted.

Weather: Leaving my hotel I noticed that it was warm (66 degrees F), and humid (around 90+%). The wind which was supposed to be 10-15mph felt wicked strong.

Goals:  I set out with a pace goal for a 3:50 finish. My GCM time was 4:00, and I felt positive that I was in better shape than the Spring. I did make the decision to start out with the 3:45 pacer to help me make it over the Ambassador Bridge and through the Tunnel.

Start Line: I arrived to the start line around 6:15am, and it wasn’t very crowded. I noticed how small the corrals were too, but was happy to find the 3:45 pacer almost immediately. She was friendly and chatted with those of us around her; she commented that the course was long at 26.4 miles. I saw some familiar faces from Dave’s MIT. Around 6:45am the corrals closed, and we got ready to run.

Mile 1-5: Starting off I noticed we were fast, my watch was ready 8’29 pace, which was not at all what I had planned for. But it felt comfortable so I just ran with it. When we hit the Ambassador Bridge I was expecting the elevation change, but knew it was early enough in the course that it shouldn’t be too rough. I was wrong. Combined with the headwinds I slowed to almost a 10’30 mile. Coming down off the bridge I fell back into a 8’50 pace, but I knew something was not right.
Average Pace: 8’51”

Mile 6-10:  I had the 3:50 pacer pass me, and then the 3:55 pacer pass me and I knew I was in trouble. But looking at my watch and the Mile Markers, my watch was almost 0.22 off, which I was expecting considering I knew the course was measured long. Miles 6 and 7 came in around a 4:00 finish time. Mile 8 was almost completely in the Tunnel, and when I read that its hot and humid in that Tunnel–its so very true. I was sweating profusely, and very concerned that I was going to be in a medical tent before the end of the race. My Garmin FR230 had me at a 9’53 for that underwater mile. After the Tunnel my legs were not cooperating with me and I had consecutive 10’50 miles.
Average Pace:9’58”

Mile 11-15: To be honest, most of this part of the race was a bit of a blur; I remember stopping to walk because I was mentally checking in with my body to see what was fixable to try and salvage this race. I was hoping to be back on track for at least a 4 hour finish. At fluid stations I was taking two cups hoping to re-hydrate from the fluid loss in the tunnel. I texted my mom who I knew would be around Mile 13, so she would know when to expect me. I stopped briefly when I saw her to give her my passport and then headed back out on the road. I crossed the half marathon mark at 2:06:55. Now I was hoping to hang on for a sub-4:15 finish. At this point I knew I needed another packet of fuel, but my stomach wasn’t feeling it so I stopped at a fluid station to eat and drink before heading back on the road.
Average Pace: 10’33”

Mile 16-20: Approaching Mile 17, I was approaching familiar territory. But I was still struggling. I was motivated to pull through, although feeling the affects of too much water too quickly at the fluid stations. Shortly after Mile 18, the 4:15 pace group passed me. I fell in with their pace and started to feel really strong again. Then we turned onto Jefferson and hit a headwind. I knew it was time for another baggie of chews, so I stopped at the next fluid station to eat and drink at Mile 19. Then we turned into Belle Isle, and another headwind, but thankfully not an crazy elevation change. My legs were feeling okay, I saw Terra from Detroit Body Garage coming from the other direction; this made me happy because after the Start and my mom, I hadn’t seen anyone else I knew.
Average Pace: 11’07”

Mile 21-25: When they say Belle Isle is windy. Its not a joke. It wasn’t windier than the rest of the course, but most of the course had buildings providing relief and on Belle Isle it was just you and the wind. You could see the storm coming in. I was doing some quick math and determined I really needed to pull out some speedier miles if I wanted to cross that finish line before 4:20. I passed a much speedier Dave’s MIT runner who seemed to be having a rough race just like me, after some words of encouragement, I was back on my way. At Mile 23, I noticed that my watch was now surprisingly 0.55 off the mile markers. Right as we turned onto the Detroit Riverwalk the rain began. I knew with the rain and wind, it was going to take something fierce to get me to that finish line in time. I never saw Mile Markers 24 or 25, so I had no idea where I was compared to my watch. I’m not sure exactly when it happened, but I felt a bad headache coming on during these last miles.
Average Pace: 10’27”

Mile 25-26.2: Around Mile 25.6 there was the last fluid station, each fluid station had a distance marked until the next. I saw 0.6 miles to the finish and I felt a little relief because I had missed the last two Mile Marker signs and wasn’t really sure where I was anymore. We made a quick right and then left and while I couldn’t see the finish line (yet) I knew I needed the fastest legs of this race, thankfully my legs finally decided to cooperate.
Average Pace: 9’10”

Finish: As I headed towards the Finish Line, I saw a crowd of runners ahead and knew I needed to pass them otherwise they would slow me down right near the finish. Once again my legs didn’t let me down and I had the best kick in of my life. I guess when you run one of your slowest marathons (and 20:30 slower than your last marathon).
Official Finish Time 4:24:57
Average Pace 10’06”

Summary:
-Fastest Mile: 1(8’28”)
-Slowest Mile: 17 (11’33”)
-Number of Miles under 9 minutes: 4
-Number of Miles under 10 minutes: 11
-Number of Miles over 10 minutes: 11

Thoughts: To be perfectly honest, this race was not as mentally challenging as my last two Glass City Marathon performances, but physically I fell flat. Most of the race I tried to rack my brain and figure out what went wrong, so that I can fix it for next time. It could be partly due to training, or cross-training; my body felt as if this was more of a cut-back week in training than race week (you know what I’m talking about, the week when your body feels like sludge and you’re thankful it’s cut back week). I’ve run a lot more this summer in hot and humid and even stormy weather, so I thought I was prepared for race day conditions, but my body didn’t respond as if it was prepared at all. I did hear afterwards that many Marathon runners had rough races that day (including those in Columbus); heat and humidity might have gotten the best of many runners, although I did hear a lot of great races from the Half Marathon runners. This was my fourth worst marathon performance since I began running (followed by my 2nd Marathon in 2012, my first in 2010, then Dopey in 2015), but it was also my third marathon this year. I also ended with a horrible headache that kept me nauseous and on the couch until the following morning, typically I get these from allergies, dehydration or heat-sickness, all of which could have lead to a crappy race performance. If you gave me another week or two, maybe I could pull out a better finish. I have one more marathon on my schedule next spring then I think I’m going to take a break and focus on building speed at shorter distances for a while; something I feel like I’ve said before and never followed through on, but this race might have proven that I need to refocus for a while.

Overall: I was pretty impressed with the Detroit Free Press Marathon going into race day. Their website is pretty awesome. I love their responses to FAQs. I learned a heck of a lot just browsing around. But the best thing was how speedy they were to respond to questions via Twitter and Other Social Media. I asked questions over Twitter and not even a few minutes later…response! Amazing. I may have not been impressed with their Expo, but for the most part the course brought you through some neighborhoods that really came out to support the runners, and that is always a marathon win in my book. The only advice I would have for future runners would be to get the Passport card to carry, and please wear your bibs on your crest like Race Officials tell you too–so many Border Patrol agents were weaving in and out of runners trying to make sure they were wearing bibs!

You can find all of my Race Recaps here!

Question: Have you ever run Detroit? If yes, what was your favorite memory of the race?

Jes

PGH Marathon: Race Recap

Holy Crap. I ran almost 4 minutes slower this week at Pittsburgh compared to last week’s performance at Glass City, but I feel so much better.

Expo: This was a large Expo. Not many vendors that I was interested in, but definitely something for everyone.

5K (Saturday): I loved that the Steel City Road Runners offered Pacers for a 5K. I wished more 5Ks had this, especially for new runners (or someone wanting to set a PR). I used the 9:00/mile pacer and she was pretty accurate. Until I got sick of the crowds/congestion and broke loose. The course was narrow at points which wasn’t fun. There were a lot of walkers who started too far forward, and so many kids running without adults. Even with the adults, they lacked some common running manners. But you get that with many 5Ks because you have so many newbies who don’t know the proper etiquette. There was one point turn right before mile 2 and the water stop, never a fun maneuver when running. I really tried to hold it back but as I approached Mile 3, I let it go because I wanted to get out of the pack and I headed towards the finish line weaving in and out of runners. Yes I was that guy. The primary goal of this 5K was to be used as a shakeout run for Sunday’s Marathon.
Finished 32nd (AG), 155/1,744 (Gender), and 440/2,777 (Overall).

Wake-up: I had ants in my pants. I was a ball of nerves. I could not keep still. I had to force myself to just sit there and do nothing. I tried not to drink too much water, but I always feel so thirsty the morning of the race I can’t seem to help it.

Weather: The race started in the high 40s and warmed up to the low to mid 60s. Approximately 80% Humidity and a chance of rain throughout. With weather being a factor, I switched out my ProCompression socks for my SmartWools because they offer more cushion and protect my feet better in wet conditions.

Goals: Running two marathons in 7 days was a true test of my training. I didn’t want to go in with “goals” but still with a sense of how I wanted to finish. I set out with a pace goal for a 3:50 finish. I knew with the elevation changes, that this would hopefully put me in PR territory and maybe even break 4 hours. This was really dependent on how the weather played out and how my body responded. After that pace goal, I really just wanted to run a strong, fairly even/consistent race and finish.

Start Line: I arrived to the start line around 6:25am, and it wasn’t very crowded. I waiting around for the 3:50 pacer. Around 6:45am the corrals closed and we began to approach the start line. When the National Anthem played people were still moving forward, but I stopped, took off my hat. It’s probably one of my biggest pet peeves before a race, when people don’t stop (talking/moving/everything), take off their hats and honor the flag. After the National Anthem was over, I had to weave through the crowd to rejoin the 3:50 pacer. And then it started to sprinkle.

Mile 1-5: It started to rain right before the race started and as I crossed the Start Line I couldn’t help but smile and think of how grateful I am to be healthy enough to run. I was also grateful for the rain because I love running in the rain. The pacer started out slower than the intended marathon pace, and I knew when he picked it up, I wasn’t going to stay with the pack. We crossed 3 Bridges in the first few 5 Miles and revisited parts of the course I saw on the 5K Saturday. Despite the rain, the crowd support was alive and well.
Average Pace: 8’53”
Elevation Gain:
Elevation Loss:

Mile 6-10: Once the rain stopped, the humidity started. Thankfully there was a Misting station (and later on there were fire hydrants open to shower us!) Bridge #4 came and went. I felt good about my current pace, even though it wasn’t on target for 3:50. Mentally I was just grateful to be running and feeling good, so physically I was just out for a Sunday run. Overhydration got to me and I had a 2 minute potty stop at Mile 8.
Average Pace: 9’01”
Elevation Gain:
Elevation Loss:

Mile 11-15: The last bridge of the course, and I knew this was were the elevation got challenging. Then the races split, you turned right and saw the hill. I ran a little bit and decided that it was a smart decision to walk and save my legs. I didn’t want to burn out early. I crossed the half marathon point at 2 hours exactly and I had hopes that I could break 4 hours. But that would really depend on how my body responded to the coming miles. Around Mile 14, I saw Krista. This mile last week was where I felt my run fall apart, so seeing her here was the best. Around Mile 15 was another relay exchange point, which meant fresh legs. It also meant some rabbits to chase.
Average Pace: 9’27”
Elevation Gain:
Elevation Loss:

Mile 16-20: By Mile 16, I was walking the inclines. Krista gave me advice for a consistent effort not consistent pace. So I charged up those hills as fast as my legs would allow me walking. Which was a different mentality than last week. This week I walked to conserve and avoid burn out, and last week I walked not because I had to or chose to but because I mentally was quitting. Homewood really was the best neighborhood along the way and this is where I found two rabbits to fall in with.
Average Pace: 9’27”
Elevation Gain:
Elevation Loss:

Mile 21-23: The elevation didn’t quit. But my legs couldn’t have felt stronger. The humidity was getting to me at this point. I was drinking a lot at water stops and pouring just as much down my shirt. I had some gas left in the tank, but I knew it wasn’t enough for a PR. I ran this race conservatively, and I felt despite my pace that I gave a consistent (albeit comfortable) effort throughout and I was happy. The hills will change you as much as the miles do. During most of the race I had my iPod playing, and I was dancing along and singing; this didn’t stop–I was having fun today.
Average Pace: 9’49”
Elevation Gain:
Elevation Loss:

Mile 24-26.2: Some seriously loss in elevation. And during Mile 23’s climb I was worried I would feel like Flying Pig all over again once the decline to the finish came…but I didn’t. I felt great. I wasn’t able to pick it up quite like last week, but I still felt incredibly strong at this point in the race.
Average Pace: 8’52”
Elevation Gain:
Elevation Loss:

Finish: The longest finishing chute of my life (and I thought Columbus used to be long). I wasn’t lacking for anything but I really just wanted to sit down. I was so grateful to have run the way I did, and I was extremely proud of myself. It wasn’t the time that I wanted, but it was the race that I wanted.
Official Finish Time 4:04:27
Average Pace 9’19”

Summary:
-Fast Mile: 24 (8’28”)
-Slowest Mile: 23 (10’18”)
-Number of Miles under 9 minutes: 11
-Number of Miles under 10 minutes: 13
-Number of Miles over 10 minutes: 2
I ran this race incredibly safe and comfortable. Mentally I was 100% and physically too. Personally I feel I ran an even effort race, regardless of my splits. This was not my fastest race, but it most definitely was my favorite performance.
Finished 57/311 (AG), 274/1,449 (Gender), and 1140/3,666 (Overall).

Randomness: During this race quite a few things happened. I developed a few blisters in places I never have before, I rubbed holes in my Trail Toes tape, and apparently I experienced chafing on my back from both my Sports Bra and my Shorts. Though the chafing bothered me every time I poured water on myself, I never even noticed the blisters on my feet during the race.

 

To find out more about my PGH/GCM Training look here. And you can find all of my Race Recaps here!

Question: Have you ever run Pittsburgh? If yes, what was your favorite memory of the race?

Jes