Archive for June, 2010

Poconos Marathon 5/16/2010

June 16, 2010

After eleven weeks of not running a marathon it was good to get back on the road and grind one out.  For a guy accustomed to running one…maybe two a year I’m not sure when I crossed over to thinking that 11 weeks in between was “too long”.

After completing both the Texas Marathon Challenge and Marathons of Texas I was looking forward to traveling outside of Texas for a race.  Coach Al found a list of races that sported a high percentage of Boston Qualifiers (BQs)…which I translated to mean downhill and decent weather.  First up, Poconos Run for the Red in Stroudsburg, PA.

My strategy, after reviewing the course profile, was as follows:  run the first 10 miles at an 8:30 pace, run the next 12 miles at an 8:00 pace, and try not run any slower than 9:17 pace for the final 4.2 miles.  Doing it this way would put me in the best position to take advantage of the course and squeak in with a sub 3:40 PR.  With that in mind…I strapped on the Timex, rolled out the 3:40 PaceTat, and hit the road to Tobyhanna (the little town that the race started in).  Frank and Shelley were nice enough to give me a lift to the starting line from the hotel so that I didn’t have to catch the bus 2 hours prior to start time.

Quick sidenote.  After disclosing my strategy to Coach Al, he thought about what I was planning and proposed the following three bets.  Bet 1 was that I would run mile 1 faster than 8:30.  Bet 2 was that the first 10 would be sub 8:30 pace.  Bet 3 was that I would run miles 11-16 at a sub 8:00 pace.  Of the three bets…I took him up only on the one that covered miles 11-16 (aka Bet 3).

The format for the splits below is Mile, Split, (Overall Pace), comment.

Mile 1 = 8:41 (8:41) – shoulda taken bet #1
Mile 2 = 8:25 (8:33) – a little more downhill than up
Mile 3 = 8:20 (8:28) – getting dialed in
Mile 4 = 8:36 (8:30) – missed 4 so this is the average of 4/5
Mile 5 = 8:36 (8:31) – missed 4 so this is the average of 4/5
Mile 6 = 8:36 (8:32) – nice rythm
Mile 7 = 8:37 (8:33) – running like a metronome
Mile 8 = 8:23 (8:31) – prepping for downhills
Mile 9 = 7:56 (8:27) – LOVED this mile
Mile 10 = 8:04 (8:25) – this one rocked also (woulda lost bet #2)
Mile 11 = 8:07 (8:23) – make it three in a row
Mile 12 = 8:04 (8:22) – ok, maybe four
Mile 13 = 8:17 (8:21) – more realistic
Half = 1:49:39 – perfect half per goal time
Mile 14 = 8:19 (8:21) – wow, this is kinda fun
Mile 15 = 8:26 (8:21) – still digging it
Mile 16 = 8:11 (8:21) – won bet #3…8:12 pace
Mile 17 = 8:23 (8:21) – starting to believe I can PR
Mile 18 = 8:21 (8:21) – really thinking it’s possible
Mile 19 = 8:44 (8:22) – hmmmm, maybe not
Mile 20 = 8:40 (8:23) – but then again
Mile 21 = 8:49 (8:24) – first substantial late hill
Mile 22 = 9:09 (8:26) – second substantial late hill
Mile 23 = 9:29 (8:29) – it’s just me vs the last 3.2 miles
Mile 24 = 9:28 (8:31) – doubt is creeping in
Mile 25 = 9:48 (8:34) – doubt is prevailing
Mile 26 = 9:57 (8:37) – really had to speed up to keep it under 10
Mile .2 = 2:09 (8:39) – thank you finish line

I’d rate the course as “as advertised”.  Lots of rollers for the first 8, lots of downhill for the next 12, and lots of rollers from there to the finish line.  I pretty much ran the race I set out to run and clocked a 3:46:48.

The list we were working off touted a 30% BQ ratio for this race based on 2009 results.  They just updated the list with 2010’s results and 30.9% of this year’s participants qualified.  Both are pretty impressive, ranking Poconos as #5 for 2009 and #2 for 2010 (2010’s ranking could change as more races are completed and calculated).  What’s even more impressive?  71.43% of the ship who ran qualified!  5 out of 7.  Frank, Michelle, Sandy, POJ and Al all punched their tickets…POJ for the first time!  Michelle and POJ also had significant PRs.  Sandy and I both ran our second fastest times ever.  Al ran his fastest time in his last 40 marathons.

Fast?  Yes!  Easy?  No!!

I walked back to the hotel to freshen up a bit before heading out to Barley Creek Brewery for a little recovery fuel.  I scarfed down a pretty good burger and rinsed my mouth out with their Rescue IPA.

After lunch it was off to Philly.  We spent the night there, checked out some historical sights in the morning, and blasted through some Philly Cheesesteaks from Pat’s and Geno’s.  Yes, they’re right across the street from each other so we had to try both.  Pat’s wins!

We all attempted to “run” up the steps to the Philly Art Museum (where Rocky sprinted up during one of the movies).  Here is coach Al making it to the top!!

And the view from up there back towards town.

We also saw the Liberty Bell.

And Rocky himself!

The girls then wanted to know if their butts made this statue’s butt look big.  Yes!

I hauled it over to the airport to catch my flight home.  Warning!!  The Philly Airport is a complete CF.  I was running a little late and could not believe the line at security.  They had 14, yes 14, scanning lines…3 of which were open.  We were in a long line that snaked back on itself no less than 8 times.  I timed the first leg at 7 minutes.  56 minutes to get through security.  I’ll never make it!!  I called Continental to see what my options were…the next flight out wasn’t until the next day.  As I made the final turn, they lifted one of the glass doors and opened a new line.  I was first up, through security, and standing at the gate with 5 minutes to spare.  Nice.

Next up?  Beaver Island in September.  This is a destination marathon and long training run for St. George in October.

I’ve now run seventeen marathons in eight states.  I managed to do four in 2009 and another four so far in 2010.  Interestingly, I’ve managed to run all of my 2010 races in under 4 hours.  Beaver Island will put that streak to the test.