Wednesday, June 9, 2010

One Lake, Two States, Two Days

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!


ShirleyPerly said...

Well, I just got done running a race in Wyoming at 5000+ ft altitude and can say for sure that I don't run as well at high altitude no matter how fit I am. In fact, my slowest marathon was one that started at 6000 feet and dropped down to 5000 feet. BUT, both those races I have finished with my legs feeling surprisingly good compared to after other marathons. I think it's because: 1) I was running slower, 2) for my PW, there were a LOT of stops to pee in the first mostly downhill half (something else that happens often when I run at altitude). So for me, running slower and taking walk breaks to reduce pounding on downhill sections seems to help keep my legs from getting beat up much. That's what I would do if I were going to run marathons on back to back days.

Best of luck to you!!!

Lisa said...

Good luck!!! And be careful.

Marlene said...

Sounds like quite the challenge... should be a unique experience, if nothing else! GOOD LUCK! Fingers are crossed for you. I'd likely go with the run/walk strategy but I have no problem walking in marathons - usually just to take gels or through water stations in later miles. said...

I am no back to back marathon expert but I can say this...GOOD LUCK!!!! Can't wait to see the recaps!

Mica said...

Wow, this really sounds intense...and totally HARDCORE!

Given that I am pretty good at convincing myself to walk during races, I would most likely go in with a walk-run plan already established (like 5 min run, 1 min walk or something). I think you could probably do without that though because you're so fit right now!

the dawn said...

wow! so exciting! and terrifying. i am sure that the town will be the serene variety. are you going to take books?

I'm not sure what to say about the walk breaks. if it were me, i probably would just take it really slow and maybe include walking when necessary. but...i have no real experience. what did you do at the goofy challenge?

Rabbits' Guy said...

Too late for advice on walking ...

I hope it went well. I think finishing both in an upright position, unaided, will be a fine result.

I am sure we all await the results news. It'll probably be right there on that Marathoning Website.

"Frisco Girl trounces locals! Kenyans sign up for training tips!"

Sarah Woulfin said...

Good luck!! Do whatever it takes to stay hydrated and fueled.....Take care!!

Alisa said...

Hardcore lady!

I had a hard time running in Utah last summer but surprisingly biking and swimming didn't bother me.

Southbaygirl said...

Well????? I know you finished! I have seen the medals-now I want to know how it was?? How was day #2?

I cant wait to hear all about it!!

Page said...

Oh man! Good luck with day #2!!!