4:30 or Bust: A Quest for Marathon Mediocrity


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Where to start.  First, had a great 3.1 mile run last night.  3.1 mile course is a single loop of Stuyvesant Town in the service road, hitting all the loops, and then 2 times around the oval in the middle of the complex.  This used to be a very typical run for me, my default run essentially, but I have not done it in a year.  Last year, after my disappointing New York City Marathon (where I did not beat 4:30), I decided that I needed to seriously increase my mileage.  Immediately after the marathon, I started running this course as 2 full loops around Stuyvesant Town, or 5.2 miles.  Now, I’ve ditched the 3.1 mile route, my shortest course is 4 miles, and I’ve made the 5.2 mile version and other longer runs a more regular part of my routine.  Running this 3.1 mile route is just a reminder to me of how much harder I worked this year than in years past!

Since I ran this as 3.1 miles and not 5.2 miles, I was able to push harder than I normally would on the course.  Felt really great and had a strong initial 2.6 miles.  Then, with Disco Inferno on the MP3 player, I turned it into high gear for the last .5 miles.  As I hit the oval loops, I saw 2 young people (NYU students probably – lots of them in Stuytown these days) pushing a good pace in front of me.  Around the first loop I slowly crept up to them.  At about the 1 loop point, I made my move and passed them both.  I could just tell that they were not happy about this and so I entered ‘sprint’ mode.  I could feel them on my tail and see them just behind me in the shadows.  About 2/3rds around the 2nd loop I could sense that they finally dropped back and so I was able to beat them out as I finished my run with the 2nd loop.  My final sprint was in record breaking territory.  The last .5 miles was registered in 3:37, easily the fastest ever done in that portion of the course.  The overall time for the run was 26:44, my third fastest on record, covering approximately 240 previous runs since 1999.  Even with my head cold, I was totally energized with the great effort, crisp weather, and a ‘win’ in the loop!

In terms of measurable milestones, my run last night took me over the 600 mile mark for the year.  While not yet at my record for miles in a year (that will occur on Friday or Sunday) 600 was always a giant milestone for me, and if I could hit it, would typically do so on the last week of December, if not on 12/31.   I’ve only done it 3 times, and reaching the mark in October is a big accomplishment.  In prior years, I would consider a good month to be 50 miles.  In any given year, I’d have a couple of months of upwards of 70 miles in the month and a couple of months with little, if any, miles.  The most typical month would be 10-12 runs averaging 4-5 miles per run.  Like I said, this is a big accomplishment for me, and I’m really hoping the increased mileage this year will carry me to a better than 4:30 finish Sunday.

Forecast for Sunday seems to have been ammended again.  Now it says sunny, with high around 50.  Will be a little chilly, but hopefully there will be no wind out of the north…


Written by SCL

October 28, 2008 at 6:46 am

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