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January 26, 2009

Ran 21 on Saturday.

Had 20 on the schedule but had my fastest marathoning friend tell me she thought, mentally, 21 was actually easier than 20. I’d already planned to outrun 20 on my last long run and I thought, why not go ahead and outrun the distance twice? You know how I love putting in miles in practice . . . as long as I do it slow and don’t risk injury, why not?

I also realized that this was one of my last pre-race dress rehearsals, so I put a little more thought into what I wore for the run. A friend had let me borrow her Nathan belt, so I didn’t need my Race-Ready shorts. I picked my shorts from Target’s C9 line because they have a nice, low rise.

In the Nathan belt went two packs of Gu and two packs of PowerBar gel. I thought I’d thought this kind of fuel becuase they’re sponsoring the Gasparilla Distance Classic and if I need to use their fuel, I’d like to have tried it once before*.

I wore my Nike tempo singlet. I’ve been wearing my C9 long and lean tanks for races and most of my training, but by March 1st, it might be warming up in Florida. The tempo top has more ventilation and isn’t as tight, affording me more cooling. Over that top I wore my long-sleeved Nike top, which isn’t bad if I have to tie it around my waist.

It was 51 or so as I set out, just right for shorts and the long sleeve.

Ran into Natalie again right at around mile 1, which I finished in what I hope will be my beginning marathon pace–right at 10-minute miles.

Ran the next 12 miles with her happy company, at an average 10:26 pace. Though she says she’s saddened by her lack of speed, I will say one thing about this girl–she is a fantastic pacer. I am terrible at keeping to a constant speed, but Natalie can run mile after mile at one set speed and not get thrown off by much. Where our speed does vary, it’s where we get distracted and allow me to do the leading. If we let her pace, we’re steady.

Anyway, at her drop-off point (she was doing 13 that day), I turned around and reset my Garmin, since it had gotten crazy on me earlier in the run. Because I’d been with Natalie, I knew how many miles I had on (and mapping the run later at RunningAHEAD proved I’d nailed it–21.5 miles). I headed north and started picking up the pace.

My splits for my lonesome miles:


oh, and I ran another half just for the heck of it–at an 8:57 pace.

Some questions.

Should I be worried about the fact that I’m running the early miles a little slower than I intend to run them on race day? I see myself still speeding up in the later miles, so energy and resources are still available, though I tried to rein myself in somewhat this week since I knew I was running a new distance.

However, I am entirely aware that the reason energy is available may be the fact that I’ve just finished running 13 miles at 10:25 instead of 13 miles at 10:00.

The race predictors say I can run the 26.2 at a nine-minute pace, and I don’t want to try that speed in my first marathon and hit the wall with force. Instead, my strategy, for now, is to start at a ten-minute pace for the first 16 miles and see where I am when I get there. If I’m still alive and in the game, I’ll pick it up to a 9:45 pace. The strategy will have to play itself out from there.


*Yeah, it’s a no go on the PowerBar gel. No offense, but . . . wow. It’s going to be back to the Accel Gel for me. I’m going to pack more fuel than I think I need, just in case. But, as Natalie pointed out, “I think at mile 23, you’ll probably eat anything.”Ah, the wisdom.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. run4change permalink
    January 26, 2009 4:47 pm

    As was all excited with anticipation as I read your post. it was a great post. I am a total believer in starting out slow. I each marathon that I have done, I have passed up so many people in the miles beyond 20. I have had a much more enjoyable finish also. I am going to try and beat my time for my 40 miler by 42 mintues this May, but I will still head out of the gate probably at least 1 minute per mile slower than I want to finish. Then I will slolwy gain pace (hopefully) as the race goes on. That is just my experience though. Great job. When I did the Seattle marathon, I was actually dead last for the first three miles. The cop car was right behind me. By the finish line I had beat my marathon best by over 30 minutes.

  2. the Zookeeper permalink*
    January 27, 2009 1:03 pm

    J, this is exactly what I needed to hear. I was questioning my strategy during my run this morning–should I plan to run faster at the start? So glad you stopped by, oh you ultramarathoning man! Thanks for the encouragement!

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