Wednesday, November 28, 2012

CIM Goals & Race Plan

Maybe I should call this post The Art of Racing in the Rain (apologies to Garth Stein, whose book I haven't yet read).

Yes, it's true: "heavy" rain and 18 mile-per-hour winds. If I'm reading the course map right, we'll be running right into those winds for a good chunk of the course. The race is still five days out. I'm hoping that wind forecast will be revised. You can't do anything about wind except maybe draft off of other runners (and when you do that it's only polite to take a turn being the trailblazer yourself)......or revise your finish time expectations.

Rain, however, I can handle. This being high and dry Colorado, I didn't train in it even once, but I used to run in it all the time in Houston and New York City. Here are the tips I plan to follow on race day:

1) Wear a garbage bag while waiting at the start.
2) Wear a baseball cap to keep water from dripping down my face (thanks, Raina, for this one!).
3) Lube up with Body Glide and (on my feet) Vaseline.
4) Have a friend hold dry socks and shoes somewhere on the course. Lucky for me my old friend Angela is coming from the Bay Area to watch, though she may change her mind when she sees that forecast.
5) Change quickly after finishing into dry clothes.

You can't do anything about the weather except try to make the best of it. Those of you who ran the Boston Marathon earlier this year know that all too well.

My taper runs this week have gone well, including the 4x1 mile at race pace workout I had yesterday. I ran it on the treadmill at a 1% incline with each mile at an 8:27 pace. My heart rate cooperated nicely, staying between 155-163 on all four miles.

That positions me nicely to go with the plan Darren and I discussed on Saturday afternoon. Darren, like my husband Dan and like me, said his only concern is whether I've done enough time on my feet (long runs). Due to my back issue and a September cold, we couldn't ramp up to the point where I could get in a really good number of 3-hour-plus length runs. But on the other hand, I did well in my half-marathon in October, I've felt good during the training since then and I'm feeling healthy and rested. Even my twingy hamstring has cooperated for the last three weeks.

So Darren thinks if all comes together, I can get the Boston qualifying time of 3:44:59 or better.

So that's my goal: 3:44:59

Here's how he wants me to execute:

1) Run about an 8:30 pace for the first half. That would put me through the half-marathon mark at 1:51:30. A little slower is OK, but he absolutely does not want to see anything faster.
2) After the halfway point, I'm allowed to pick up the pace if I'm feeling good. He thinks 8:20 to 8:25 miles at this point would be safe, but NOTHING faster than 8:20. I'm to hold these paces through Mile 22 if possible.
3) After Mile 22, if I've been able to hold the pace, I can either speed up more if I'm still feeling good OR slow down a tad if I'm feeling tight or tired. If I do slow down, he thinks I should still try to maintain 8:40s in order to make my time goal.
4) I'm not to worry about my heart rate, though I do plan to have the strap on (liberally lubed with Body Glide) so I can analyze it later.

 Here are some additional things I plan to do:

1) Start with the 3:45 pace group. As long as they are not running faster than 8:30/mile, I'll stick with them through around 15 miles. If they're a little slower (like 8:34 or so), it's probably to my advantage. Slower at the beginning is good.
2) Wear my pace bands from Races2Remember in case the pace group doesn't work out (maybe because they are going too fast). These will save me from trying to do math with an increasingly addled brain.
3) Turn on the tunes at Mile 18. This really helped with "the Wall" in Houston and I hung on to it as as reward for getting through the earlier miles according to plan.
4) Carry a bottle for the first few miles at least so that I don't have to scrum at crowded aid stations. Ditch the bottle when things spread out and it starts to bug me to have it in my hand.
5) Stick to my trusty Shot Bloks with water every 4 miles or so for fuel. (Darren thinks I need to learn to love sports drink, but we agree we'll save that task for the next marathon.)

I'm rooming with Tricia, and am very excited for her to finish her first marathon, which I think she'll do in style. There will also be numerous other bloggers there. I'm excited to meet Amanda, Margot, XLMIC and others.

And I'm VERY excited to see Angela. I've known her since first grade. Her whole family is an inspiration and not just in running (though they excel at that). She's mentioned in my first post on this blog. It would be an honor if I could qualify for Boston with her there.

Getting back to the issue of the wind....I will be unhappy if it doesn't turn out to be the perfect day. I'll be disappointed if I don't meet my goal for this race. But I'm determined that ONLY something like weather, which is totally beyond my control, will keep me from it this time. Damnit, all you can do is try. In marathons, even on perfect days, you NEVER know.

As the author I mentioned at the beginning of this post put it: "There is no dishonor in losing the race. There is only dishonor in not racing because you are afraid to lose."

I'll see you guys on the other side!


  1. Ahhh Terzah - I am so, so excited for you!!! I really hope the wind dies down a bit. And, like you said, rain is rain. There could be worse things. Make sure you have plastic bags on your feet too, while waiting for the start. It's such a hot look but helps a lot ;)

  2. I love the way you break down your stats ... you know I'm a fan! Dang ... it might be raining sideways ... but I know that won't stop you! You are going to crush this race and bring home that BQ!!! I know it!!! Just run like you know you can - stay out of your own head ... you've got this! Best wishes!

  3. I wish i could be there!!! this post made me weepy - you are so tough and level headed. I'm wishing you speedy legs and a lot of endurance. :)

  4. I will be cheering you on from afar! I can't wait to hear how it goes, and I'll be sad when your blogging journey stops. :( Perhaps you'll start a book blog?

  5. I'm going to be so pumped if you BQ!!!!!!

  6. Great quote!! It could be my motto, too...just slower than you. ;-)

    So jealous of all the cool bloggers you're going to meet...not so much the weather, but it'll make the story better, right?

  7. Oh, and I've read that book. Liked it, didn't love it.

  8. It sounds like you are well trained and in the perfect mindset, and that is all you can ask. I, however, can ask for a little bit of luck for you, and I have. Go Terzah!

  9. You've got a really great plan in place! I think you've got this.

    I am the lucky winner of both Boston and now this. But I'll tell you, I'll take this over the heat ANY DAY! See you Sunday and good luck!

  10. Excellent! (other than the weather...) Personally, I can't say enough great things about the 3:40 pace group that I ran with during Carlsbad last January. I partnered up with a friendly girl in the group and between her and the pacer(s) (they switched off at the halfway point), the miles flew by. And I didn't have to use my brain for any mental math. It was awesome. I actually stuck with them until mile 20, and then I took off because I felt really good.

    At any rate, best of luck! I'll be cheering for you from the DRY desert. I'll send you some dry vibes too.

  11. My 3:44 marathon PR was in Tucson in gale-force headwinds for 17 miles. Seriously sucked in a small race like that, but you do what you gotta do and hover around others as much as you can. Pace groups are excellent for this...the pace leader doesn't expect you to take your turn so this would be a great place to draft. Also bring a pair of gloves. Rain in the NW (ish) is cold and when I did StG in constant rain, my hands were really cold the last few miles and I wish I didn't ditch my gloves. Once the hands (and toes) get cold, then the body quickly follows suit.

    You have some great plans and I know you'll execute them well.

    Have a blast!!!! :)

    Oh and yes, DEFINITELY would love a pacer at Leadville (if I do it)....Steve and Kathleen are going to help also :).

    Go, Terzah, Goooo!

  12. Oh I can comment using this device!!!! Yeah! Just in time for the big day! I so wish I could be there. I will be thinking of you my friend . I pray you get your BQ and that this is going to be YOUR race. THE race. I know you can do it. You are ready! Here's to 26 happy, fast enough, pain free, smart miles!!!!!

  13. I am the biggest weather obsessor (is that a word?) on the planet, so I am not one to give advice, but at some point, I think you have to acknowledge the weather so you can figure out how to dress for it, then just ignore it and know that you are going to go out and do what you can do and not let the weather determine the outcome. Okay, I know, easier said than done. And you totally get to say this right back to me next weekend (or anytime) as I am freaking out over a forecast :) GOOD LUCK!!!

  14. Wow, talk about being ready.... Mile 22. let's speed up...... LMAO, why didn't I think of that???? Good luck and stay dry, dodging rain drops.

  15. Sounds like you have a great plan and are prepared to conquer this. I'll be cheering for you at home and can't wait to hear all about it. Good luck!!!

  16. I have nothing brilliant to add, but GOOD LUCK! I really am expecting a brilliant recap about how awesome you were.


  18. Jen @ runforanna.blogspot.comNovember 29, 2012 at 2:35 PM

    You've got this! I've been watching the weather, too, and can't believe it. Hopefully, it will change, but - if not - you've still got this!! :)

  19. SO excited for you!! No matter what you are going to kill it. Have a GREAT race!!!

  20. Oh for four hours of no rain/wind. It could happen -- I keep wishing the sky would just open up now so it would get it out of the way. Goodness I wish I was fast enough to go with you so I could see you BQ!

    See you in a couple days!

  21. Wow, those are some negative weather conditions! I hope the forecast changes!

  22. Great plans! I really hope it stays a little drier, and mostly that the wind stays away. Crazy wind can be the worst. Somehow though, wind never seems as bad when I'm racing because I'm not the "lone wolf" fighting it solo. I'll be thinking of you and eagerly awaiting your recap. You deserve an amazing race, and I really believe you're going to run it that way! P.S. I enjoyed that book & would recommend it.

  23. Good luck! It's going to clear up for exactly 3:44:59 so you will have no rain (or wind)! I am sorry I won't be there for! I wanted to but I have a friend coming in from out of town who has never been to San Francisco and I can't justify driving all the way to Sacramento and back with her tagging along. But you are going to rock it with or without me! Go, go, go!