I'm headed to Utah tomorrow to run the Idaho Bear Lake Marathon on Friday and the Utah Bear Lake Marathon on Saturday. Over the course of two days I will run around this lake. The lunacy of this is only now starting to hit me.
First off, to finish off my taper week of running:Sunday: 6 miles @ 9:55 pace
Monday: 3 miles @ 9:58 pace
Wednesday: 6 miles including 4 mi @ 8:46 pace; The air-sucking portions of the pick-up I imagined I was high at altitude running 10:00++ minute miles.
It has been almost five weeks since my last marathon which is the longest break I have had all year. This has allowed me to do some real training in recent weeks which has been quite enjoyable.
As far as my expectations for this weekend, there are three things scaring the heck out of me:
1) The race is at altitude. 6000ish feet. Not terribly high but I am definitely going to be feeling the effects. I read somewhere that the effects of altitude have nothing to do with how fit you are, it is entirely dependent on how your personal physiology adapts. I have no doubt I am one of those people who does not adapt well.
I have run one other marathon at altitude (after about 5 days acclimation) and clocked in at just under 6 hours. I am in far better shape now than I was when I ran that race so I don't think I will have any problems bringing the first day home faster than that (assuming 5 days acclimation vs. no days is equivalent). The second day... I have no clue.
2) Speaking of that second day, there is a SECOND day. I have never run marathons on two consecutive days. Six days apart is my shortest interval. The farthest I have run on consecutive days is 13.1 miles and 26.2 miles. I am not sure this translates into the ability to do 26.2/26.2. I have no illusions of being a hero and my main objective is to finish both races. There are no time limits for either race so no big pressure.
3) The weather has turned a little nasty. There are thunderstorms and thundershowers forecast for both mornings. The temperature has also fallen (which I am pleased about). But some forecasts have it dipping to 34 degrees as the low which is a tricky thing to plan for when there is rain in the forecast. I've packed for everything from freezing rain to a sunny day. I am a little concerned if there is lightening (thunderstorm implies lightening, yes?) a race may get canceled. But I am not going to think about that possibility.
I have a question: Do you think I should incorporate walking breaks from the very beginning of the first race? So for example should I plan to walk a few minutes every two miles or so on day one? Or would you just run as well as you could the first day and survive the second? I may devolve into dribbley puddles of walk from the altitude, but I'd like to go in with some plan.
I found this video on youtube:
If you can't stand to watch the whole thing fast forward to 5:25 to see "Downtown Garden City." I am going to be in this town for 3 days. By myself. I am hoping it will be an utterly serene and relaxing time vs. mind numbingly boring.
Thinking about the thin air, I am reminded of something one of my fellow marathoners at Safaricom in Kenya told me the day after the race:
"I never walk during marathons. When I started walking at 8k I thought, 'This is going to be interesting.'"
Thanks, Bruce. I'll remember you said that when I am asking myself "Why did I sign up to do this? Why did I sign up to do this here?" over and over again.
I think this is going to be very interesting.
Cross your fingers and toes for me!