Sunday, November 16, 2008

The Inagural 2008 Pasadena Marathon

Well, what can I say...The marathon was cancelled due to the fires. The smoke was pretty bad. I would've run slowly, but it's probably better that they cancelled it. It was a fun weekend nonetheless. Who can complain. A night at the Westin, good food, good friends, and of course family. It is disappointing not to have done the race especially since I haven't run in two weeks since the last marathon. Now I guess I have to go out tomorrow and run 18 miles or so just to stay in some sort of shape for the Over the Hill Track Club 50k on Dec. 7th.

I really feel bad for the runners who chose Pasadena to be their first marathon. I couldn't imagine the how that would feel, having done 16 weeks of meticulus training, perfecting the race strategy, building that confidence gained on the long run, probably barely sleeping the night before with the anticipation of the epic event looming only to wake up to find it's cancelled. What a let down. I hope they don't let it get them down.

For me, it was disappointing but not that bad. I think my response upon finding out the race was cancelled was, "Uh...Ohh...You want to go to Starbucks!?"
Happy Trails. Mike.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Santa Clarita Marathon '08

Well, it was a beautiful weekend! We drove down Saturday after soccer games and checked into the hotel. The expo at SC Marathon is small and somewhat obscure, but nonetheless, is a good place to get some free water and goodies. This marathon is somewhat small with only a little over 300 in the marathon. The majority of participants were in the 5k or 1/2 marathon.

I awoke at 5:30am after a good nights sleep with an extra hour thanks to Daylight Savings Time! After a bowl of oatmeal, a bagel, and a cup of coffee I headed down to meet Bob in the lobby. It was a cool and wet morning. It didn't rain but you could tell it had during the night. Basically it was humid and turned out to get pretty warm as the day went on. I wasn't hoping for much of a performance since I hadn't been training very much. Our plan was to recover as we went with a 4:1 run/walk ratio. As we got going however we decided to just run for an hour or so to warm up and then make a plan based on how we felt. Bob was very positive and helped me to feel confident. We decided we'd do what he did in LA this year. Run a mile and take a 30 second to 1 minute break just after each aid station. Before long we were 12 miles in and feeling great. We started to skip our little walk breaks although I did take a couple breaks to stretch my legs a little in an attempt to stay loose.

The miles seemed to fly by! We were both amazed at how fast each mile went. In no time we were at 18, 20, 23, and then DONE!

Fueling strategy: I tried something a little new for this one. I carried two bottles; one full of Ensure and the other Cytomax. Lately on my longer runs I've just felt bonked and wanted to avoid that. Every half hour I took a big drink of Ensure and every hour took an advil and an Endurolyte. The result was that I felt better at SC than at any other marathon I've done! My legs were getting a little heavy as we were climbing over the last couple of paseos, but other than that I felt good.

I guess you don't have to run as much when the training you do is at altitude! The bottom line is that the training we do up here is tough. Even if we're not doing 20+ mile long runs, we're doing hilly 16-18 milers at 6-7,000 feet. I was running a ten minute mile pace and breathing easy, chatting the whole way with Bob.

After the run we showered back at the hotel and ate at BJ's Brewery. One word of advice, don't drink a nutty brewnette after a 26.2 mile run on an empty stomach! I got a little dingy! Oh yeah our time was 4:40. My best ever time at Santa Clarita!