I am a 44 year old runner from Eastern Iowa. I have run 5 Chicago Marathons all during my mid to late thirties. Since then injuries and other distractions have put my marathon career on hold. Well I have decided to give a fall marathon a try and write about the daily struggles that many of the over the hill gang face.
Today I ran 7 miles starting off with my 3 older kids running with me. My wife would give us a 10 minute head start and follow in the car. She would pick up the kids as they decided not to continue. My 8 year old son Brody and 10 year old daughter Darby were the first to drop off just after the first mile point. Maddy my 12 year old daughter continued on with me to the 1.6 mile line. I had a drink of Gatorade and continued on my favorite training run course. Sutliff Road just south of Lisbon, Ia is an ideal trek for a serious long distance runner.
Training for Marathons past I probably have run thousands of miles on Sutliff Road. The first 1/2 mile is up a slight grade. The next full mile is down a grade of varying degrees of 2-5%. The next 1/2 mile is most daunting on the way out. 6 degrees the whole way. The first few times you experience it you think it couldn’t be any worse until you realize that that hill you just came down is twice as long and you get to see and have it hit you on the way back. The following 2 miles are rolling hills. The next 3 are the flatest of the course, but flat. No such thing as flat on this bad boy. You cross the road bridge during this stretch where you can see the half washed out Historic Sutliff Bridge. The next 7 are long curvy hills that seem to go on forever, but are not steep.
Today I turn around at the 2 mile point (3.6 into the run). My recent battles with calf cramps have led me to employ compression socks on long runs. Today I ran without them and the heat made me feel only mild calf discomfort. Hydration, which I didn’t pay much attention to in my youth has been my priority pre and during runs this summer. Since I have begun eating a few pickle slices (for the salt) before my runs and drinking water and gatorade during my runs the cramping has been almost nonexistant.
It’s now 11:00am in the 80 degree Iowa heat and humidity. The sweat is pouring off me. I run the entire mile long hill on my return to Lisbon. On some of my recent long runs this hill has broken me to a run walk interval. I am pleased that I was able to maintain about a 9 minute pace today.
Tomorrow a 14 mile run is scheduled. I started my marathon plan a bit late this year. I decide to run the Quad Cities Marathon on a 11 week schedule. In comparison my Boston Marathon qualifying time Chicagos (3:11 and 3:14 age 36 and 38 respectively) were on a 18 week plan with a year round running base.
The last few years my running base has not been mantained due to bowling distractions. My weight went from a Marathon prime 181 to a high this year of 235 on a 6’1′ frame. 2 weight loss challenges at work got me running more seriously this spring. My weekly milage was not charted until I decided on the marathon, so I am not exactly sure where I was other than I had hit a few 7 milers over the last few weeks before the BIG decision. I knew if I didn’t have a BIG goal the excuses would continue to outweigh the goal.
I went to fitnesssports.com and started looking at races in my local area. I linked to the QC Marathon. Liked the location, price and the course. My only concern is the lack of participants (751 last year). I am used to 30,000 plus and a million spectators for the BIG push. My concerns faded as the idea of open running space along 2 states, over 4 bridges, over the Mississippi River and on a island made it sound pretty interesting and motivating to me.
September 26th was only 11 weeks away, but I quickly put together a long run ramp up plan of Sunday runs of 9,11,13 (all done) 14,16,16,18,20,22,20, 15 and race day. I would prefer to do a double stair step plan of 18,18,20,20,22,22,24,20 and 15 but time would not allow. The way I feel conditioning wise I am confident I will be able to finish the 26.2 in under 4 hours. I just want to finish this marathon and go for a Boston qualifying time in the spring 2011.
See everyone tomorrow for the next post run post.