[For information on how to track me during the race, read the very bottom of this post!]
I've been dilly-dallying on writing any posts about Twin Cities next week, mostly because I'm not sure exactly how I feel about it. I've felt a bit behind the ball in my training, the ENTIRE TIME, and therefore come into race week completely unsure of what to expect. On one hand, I could have a fabulous race, PR by a few minutes, and feel awesome about it. On the other hand, I could have a repeat of Jackson and feel like my muscles are going to explode three miles in. I'm hoping for the first scenario.
Overall, I shouldn't complain too much about my training. My normal runs have been fine, my speedwork has been exceptionally fast and easy (well, maybe not "easy" but certainly manageable), but my long runs have all been VERY slow. Like, at least a minute slower PER MILE than I would like. I'm not sure what that's about, but it's been worrying me since last time I had so so so many fast-finish long runs. I didn't have a single one this round, because I just couldn't pick up the pace!
All of these factors leave me feeling physically unsure of how I'll do, but mentally really wobbly. I was really confident before Napa, because I'd proven to myself that I could RUN, and keep running, and do it FAST. I haven't really proven that to myself this time, and find myself seriously doubting my capabilities this time around.
That said, I'm going into the race as if I AM prepared to PR, and my race-plan will reflect that. Of course, I'll have to assess how I'm feeling as I begin running — perhaps slowing down, or maybe speeding up (!) depending on which pair of legs show up on Sunday. Let's hope the fast ones decide to make an appearance!
My taper (ha!) has been going ok. I've been admittedly lazy, more on the "resting" than the "running" side of things. We spent the weekend in Jackson, WY for a wedding and I was just too darn exhausted to do my 8-miler this weekend. Two nights of dancing left my legs tired and sore, though! (Does that mean I'm getting old and not dancing enough? Let's not go there.)
This week I have a few 4-milers, one last quick speed workout (2x1600), and I'll do an easy shake-out run Saturday with a few quick bursts to get my legs moving. The weather here has been pretty relentlessly windy and rainy, which makes it really unappealing to go outside — even if just for a 5 minute walk to the gym. Excuses, excuses.
I've been reading a lot of other blogger accounts of the TC Marathon from previous years — they all make it sounds scary hilly. Ugh. You can see from the course profile that it isn't THAT hilly, but there are a few hills (notably, miles 21-23) I'll definitely need to be prepared for. The sudden dip at mile 19 is actually not there — that's silly Google maps going down to the river instead of over the bridge (where I'll actually be).
I'm tentatively planning on a 7:45 pace. I might make that 7:50, and really only need a 7:58 to PR, but I like the sound of 7:45 so we'll stick with that for now.
- Miles 1-2: Start slow, 8:00 pace.
- Miles 3-13: Speed up and average 7:45 pace.
- Mile 14: Taz says this could be a slow one — try to keep it below 7:55.
- Miles 15-20: Let 'er rip! If I'm feeling good, I'll perhaps speed up a tad (7:40 pace), otherwise try to hold steady.
- Miles 21-23: Try not to die. If I slow down to 8-minute-miles for these (especially 22&23) I'll be fine with that. This is the most significant hill, and I don't want to totally bonk.
- Miles 24-26.2:SPRINT. Not literally. These are downhill, and hopefully I'll feel fresh enough to make up the time lost on the hill in the previous miles. I plan to give these last 3.2 miles everything I have!
I remember crossing the line at Napa and not feeling that awful — this might sound strange, but I'd like to feel a bit worse when I cross the TC finish. By that I mean that I'd like to feel like I really gave it everything I had, and couldn't have possibly gone any faster. Those last three miles of gradual downhill should give me a good opportunity to open up and fly towards the finish, legs permitting.
Seeing as this is much bigger marathon than Napa, I think I'll have to rely more on aid stations for hydration than on Derek (like I did last time). We will still map out various spots for him to meet me, but I don't anticipate it being as easy to rendezvous as it was in California. That's probably fine — I can drink from the aid stations — but it was so nice to have a personal bottle handed to me every few miles! Oh well, I'll get over it.
The weather is supposed to be perfect — no rain on Sunday, high in the mid 60s and low in the mid 40s... I think it will be a beautiful fall day for some running! I'm really excited to see the Twin Cities, and Derek is super excited to show me all of his favorite things out there. Hopefully I'll have good news to report before noon (central time) on Sunday!
How to Stalk Me
If you're interested in stalking me on Sunday, you can definitely do so! THIS LINK should take you to the Mtrack portal for the Twin Cities Marathon (it won't work until this weekend). Either enter my name (Mary LOUDERMILK), or my bib number (3146), and you should be able to see me progress along the course. If I'm past the halfway mark by 1:42 (chip time), you know I'm probably feeling pretty good... and have just set a half-marathon PR for myself. Ha!
If you want to receive text message updates, go to this link and follow the directions. You'll have to search for me, sign up, and follow the directions. I'm not sure how often if will update you, but I presume every couple of miles (they have a lot of check points during the race).