Monday, May 21, 2007

Long Training Runs

On Sunday, three co-workers completed their first major endurance races. Bellin Chick and KC completed their first half-marathons, and my training partner completed his first full marathon. They all did great, keeping to race plans that were adjusted as needed.

Bellin Chick, who found out five days prior to the race that she is pregnant, completed the race in about 2:20. Based on estimates, she became pregnant within a week of beginning her training program, and this race was an awesome way to transition from run training to mommy training. Bellin Chick’s friend and training partner also completed her first (and supposedly last) half-marathon. Time will tell on that.

K.C. stayed with the group for about a half-mile. He then took off at his own pace, completing the run in 1:47. More importantly, he did an amazing job of negative splitting the race, getting faster with each 5K segment. He is now considering a September marathon, so long as I can run it with him.

And my training partner completed the marathon in 4:56, nearly 15 minutes faster than my first marathon time. Our plan was to run with Bellin Chick and set pace for her during the first 11 miles (where the half split off). After that, the plan was to use the half marathon and 20 mile points as gauges for the rest of the race. Our goal was to get him to the finish line, under five hours, if possible. His stretch goal was a 4:30 marathon. He learned a lot about the 26.2-mile distance, and is considering the same September race as K.C. (likewise dependent upon my running it with them).

My training partner learned the importance of a solid training program, and admitted that the last eight miles were very tough. What he lacked in discipline during the training program he made up with determination on race day. He heeded the advice provided from others, and learned a lot for future races.

Most remarkable was the success of these individuals given the conditions. With the weather forecast calling for slightly overcast skies and a high temperature of 60F, it looked to be a perfect day for running. Of course, had the meteorologists been anywhere near accurate, it WOULD have been a perfect day. When they miss the high by 10 degrees, and temperatures during the race never break 50F, it’s another story. It was cloudy and about 40F when the race began. We had winds at about 10-15 mph with gusts over 20 mph. Looking for the 60F prediction, I wore light clothing, ditching my sweatshirt at the start. That was a BIG mistake.

Arms and hands bore the brunt of the cold, and anything requiring manual dexterity became a challenge. Opening gel packs, tying shorts after pit stops, and opening or closing bottles were a few of the issues we faced during the day. Luckily, it never rained. I’m fairly certain rain would have ended the day for my training partner, for me, and for hundreds of other runners.

Even so, marathon number five is in the bag. It was primarily a support run, and I count it as a long, slow run in my books. Once again, if Louisville in August happens to run in the 50s, my training is supporting that. Hopefully, it will warm up in the near future. I rather expect these “Frozen Tundra” runs will do little to prepare me for race day conditions come Ironman.


Kewl Nitrox said...

WOW... Marathon number 5! Congrats!

My concept of a long run is still 12+km. ;-)

Comm's said...

There is little that can compare to the feeling of helping a friend through an endurance event.

You were part of the inspiration and all of the motivation out there that helped in the cold.

For them, from me, Thanks.