This weekend was a fun trip to Madison and Appleton, WI. Yes a place near Green Bay can be fun. Asia and I made the trip to run the Fox Cities Marathon. The original purpose of the trip was to use the race as a Boston qualifier for Asia. Since Boston filled up last year in late October or early November we wanted to have her qualifier before registration opened. It was going to a long run but as chance would have it the race fell on the same weekend that Steve planned the first race prep for Team Rogue. The race prep and the marathon deserve some assessment. I’m sure Asia’s post will be much more entertaining.
The prescribed race prep was 3 x 5 miles at marathon goal pace (MGP). I ended up running a modified version of the race prep during the marathon, starting pace work at the 5 mile point in the race. My current MGP for CIM is 6:18 minutes per mile, my average pace for the 14 miles at MGP ended up at 6:14, the different sections were:
- 5 Miles – 6:21, 6:24, 6:19, 6:12, 6:15 (6:18 average)
- 3 Miles – 6:16, 6:26, 6:20 (6:20 average)
- 3 Miles – 6:30, 6:08, 6:02 (6:13 average)
- 3 Miles – 6:06, 6:13, 6:06 (6:08 average)
The Fox Cities Marathon
This race had a great feel to it. The only marathon I’ve run with a small community feel to it. We drove from Madison to Appleton with Asia’s mom and the expo and packet pick-up was at a community college. We could have really just gone in and out in under 10 minutes. The number of people running the marathon and relay must have been 1000 with more doing the half (which started an hour before the marathon). We got to the start and 10 minutes before the gun at 8:00 could have lined up in the second or third row without any problem. Really pretty cool to not have the craziness of larger marathons. The only downside to the smaller race is if you’re running faster times (3:10 or faster) you may not have a lot of company to run with which can mess with your mind. Of course seeing people break down and walk from mile 20 to 26 can mess with your mind too so maybe fewer people isn’t a bad thing after all.
The goodie bag was a mixed bag. The great things were a GU and stainless steel bottle. The, well not so great was a set of tampons and depends for women. One of the sponsors of the race was Kimberly Clark so that explains the Kotex and Depends. On the plus side it did mean the toilet paper was Scott brand and other nice soft stuff.
The race started exactly on time, very cool. Not sure when that has happen in Austin lately. The course was reasonably flat, some rollers etc but an honest course. There were a few turns that were confusing, a quick right where if you weren’t paying attention to the arrows on the ground you’d miss the tunnel that goes under the highway and then one section where you just ran into a park; in general a good course. The weather was great, 50 degrees at the start and 55 at the finish. Oh, and the area was very reasonable to stay in, not crazy expensive like Boston or other big city races. I would gladly recommend this race to people.
The Race Prep
The fastest pace group was for a 3:15 marathon at the race and that’s a 7:25 minute/mile pace so Asia and I decided to start with them. The cooler weather made it difficult to hold back but the pace group was a good check on us. At mile 2 I looked down at the watch and thought, I bet the pace group leader freaks out and tries to make up time … he did, very predictable and ran the group into the ground with a 7:08. It was just funny seeing him react to a mile that was off just a little and over correcting. It’s much easier to observe others doing that then being aware of yourself in a race, as I showed during the race prep.
Going into the race we decided on running our first set of 5 at 5 miles, the second set at 11 and the third at 17. As we started the first set I was very aware that my legs just aren’t used to the faster paces yet. It seemed very forced to move my legs faster. It wasn’t a natural or even motion. I kept felling like the effort was too hard for MGP but as we clicked off the first mile at MGP it was 6:21, my mind was a little taken back. This is only two weeks after the end of our base phase so it’s expected. I don’t think I would have kept the effort going if Asia wasn’t ahead of me and keeping me honest. Our overall pace for this 5 mile set was 6:18 so right on target.
We started the second set well at 6:16 and then during the second mile the race prep went a little off plan. There are so many things I do during a run or race that just happen. Simple things like how to drink water while running at MGP. Well, Asia has been running track or cross-country till now. She’s never had to take water this way before. Well she took some Gatorade and … down the wrong pipe it went and she was choking on it. Somehow she managed to keep going but the gasping and restricted breathing had an impact. We finished the third mile of the set and she had a cramp she just couldn’t get rid of. I was impressed that she kept going after the choking. We both started walking to make sure she was ok and we decided to make an audible on the race prep and try for another 2 sets of 3 miles to make it 14 for the day and hope the cramp would subside. We’d talked about what to do if one person wasn’t having a good day and the other a bad one before the.
Then the next two sets of 3 miles. Asia upped her effort but getting under 6:20 was just too painful so she did what she could. I’m just really impressed. I know if that was me I would be walking or just doing a death march to the finish, not trying to push as hard as I could. That mental part of the race prep is something that I give a lot of credit to Steve for working into Team Rogue. During race preps he’s teaching us to reach the edge but not cross over it, and if we do to back off and try again. Nothing prepares your for the crappiness your mind inflicts on you during a race except for a race, the race prep is the next best thing.
My legs started to really loosen up and I was feeling a little guilty at not running 3 x 5 miles at MGP and the audible so decided I’d try and run somewhat under 6:18. That ended up being 6:13 and 6:08 for the next two sets of 3 miles. They weren’t forced, just hard effort.
Asia and I ran the rest of the marathon and crossed the finish line together, in a time of 3:02:44 This was her first marathon and first race prep (for her own race) and I think an invaluable experience. It’s a little crazy to think she just ran her first marathon in 3:02 as a workout, at a sub 7 minute per mile pace, qualified for Boston ,and by the way, finished 4th overall female.