Sunday, April 05, 2009

One last long run before Boston

YRCM 3:15, 3 minute PR.

With two weeks to go I figured the Yakima River Canyon Marathon would be a good tune up and last long run. There are many similarities that I thought would be good for me to experience before I flew back east.

First traveling and staying in a strange bed. I almost always travel to my races on the morning of. After 80 marathons/ultras in the past 45 months I've only not traveled to the start the day of the race 9 times including Yakima and 3 of those were in a camper. That's the benefit of living in Washington. After being up early working and traveling to Yakima I fell asleep early and slept all night.

Second would be the travel to the start hours before you need to via bus. Of course Yakima was only 2 hours before the start and Boston will be twice that. I didn't mind hanging out before Yakima because I knew 1/4 of the 500 runners there. I even met a couple of new ones. Hopefully I can find a place to chill out at Boston (and stay dry and warm).

Next would be a point to point downhill race with a big hill near the end. I think Yakima is hillier than Boston. Yakima has 1000 feet of drop and 700 feet of climb with nearly half of the climbing coming in the last hill at 22 miles (much bigger than heartbreak).

There are 2 major differences between YRCM and Boston. First and most obvious is the number of people running and watching. Running in the canyon was peaceful and quite virtually no spectators and the biggest pack of runners I found myself in was 3. Things will be much differentl in Boston. I just hope I can remain patient until things thin out. And I don't let all the screaming girls distract me too much.

The other is the camber on the roads in the canyon. I thought since the roads were closed I could find some flat places to run, down the middle or in the gravel or somewhere, but that wasn't the case. Nearly the entire course is either slanted left or slanted right. I thought the camber would even out left right left right as I snaked my way along the river, and it wouldn't really bother me that much. I was wrong. I am one of those runners that can't handle running on a cambered road, even as a teenager it hurt to run on the side of the road. I saw people that didn't show signs of it bothering them and maybe there are exercises I could do to strengthen my hips but until that day I'll continue to steer clear of cambered roads. Thankfully Boston doesn't have them.

So how'd my race go. The 3 min PR doesn't tell the whole story and I know I'm capable of running faster.
My plan was to run 7's and see how things went. I thought other than the hills I could hold it the whole race, but I wasn't looking to kill myself or get injured, just finish somewhere under 3:20. Well, right before the race I realized I needed new running shoes. I ordered them and they came in on Friday the day before the race. I choose the new Brooks Racer ST4. I knew my feet would be fine in brand new Brooks shoes but I didn't have a chance to calibrate them with my watch. I figured it wouldn't be a big deal if it was off by a little and gave it no more thought. I should have. It turned out that the watch was about 10 seconds (or 20 yards) off per mile so instead of running 7's I was running 6:50's. I didn't feel like I was pushing the pace and was just running along enjoying myself when I should have been thinking about correcting the time in my head and trying to run 7:10's. I think this might have made the hip situation worse. After about 10 miles my hips which had been working hard due to the camber started to hurt a lot more. They went from a dull pain to a sharp pain. This wore on me even after taking a couple of Advil and I soon slowed down. I went through the half in about 1:31. Once in a while the road would actually straighten and flatten out for a while. That was great because after about a quarter of a mile my hips would start to feel better and I would pick up the pace. This let me know I wasn't injuring myself and that I still had life left in me but not as much as I should have because of the earlier fast pace. One great thing is that I never any calf or hamstring cramping so I know I had some gas left in the tank.

Five of my miles were just over an 8 min pace;
17 was an 8:19
19 was an 8:07
20 was an 8:10
22 was an 8:55 (big hill)
23 was an 8:23 (1/2 hill at a crawl 1/2 downhill sprint toward the finish)

1:31 1st 1/2 is a 6:56 m/m (and a PR)
1:44 2nd 1/2 is a 7:56 m/m (Ouch that sucks!)

Picture from the Yalima Herald


Laura H said...

Nice job! The screaming girls will make you not feel anything - you'll float along on the energy. Have fun at Boston - and don't worry about where to hang out pre-race. They really take care of you. Just remember to wear warm throw-away clothes and if it's nasty, take a plastic sheet to sit on and wrap up in. Best to try and catch the early bus so you can snag a spot under the tent - if it's raining. Hope your hip treats you well the next two weeks! Can't wait to hear about Boston!

Backofpack said...

Arthur, The picture in the Yakima paper makes it look like you are running in just socks! You're gonna do great in Boston. Have fun and enjoy the atmosphere!

Tony C. said...

Nice half marathon ;-) ... I think you should be able to hold 7s for a full marathon although I have no experience with Boston. The one time I ran Yakima, I was fine with going down the middle of the road ... I 'am' affected by the camber as you are but I tried not to fight it. What I wasn't expecting was the hill at mile 14. It wasn't bad I just didn't know about it. I was pumped for the mile 22 hill. Once I knew I wasn't going to break 3 (1:29:59 at the 1/2) I just coasted the second half which made it easier to run harder after 20 miles (1:35+ last 2nd half). Oh, and I just barely beat Mary. She's fast on that course!

robtherunner said...

Congrats on the new PR!

Jenn said...

Great job hun! We are all very excited for Boston! Wish we could be there to cheer you on!

Steve S said...

I've heard you can expect some slowing due to crowds at Boston but that the start is better grouped and managed than most. Even though is it generally down hill I don't think Yakima is a very fast course with the camber and hills. You're in great shape so are capable of a nice PR but I think you should focus first on enjoying the experience and let the PR come in the second half if you feel good. Cheers and good luck.