4:30 or Bust: A Quest for Marathon Mediocrity

Final long run before Austin Marathon

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With proper planning, was able to do the long run on a beautiful day yesterday.  Started out at 11am with temps in the upper 30’s.  By the end, it was 51 degrees.  Therefore, weather was not a factor, as it has been so much in the last month.

My route took me down 1st Ave to Canal St, then over the Manhattan Bridge, then up through Brooklyn and Queens to the RFK Bridge (recently renamed from the Triboro) and back down 1st Ave home.  This is the same run I did in early October, in my training for the New York City Marathon.

Felt very comfortable with just the limited layers of clothes.  2 shirts, but otherwise 1 layer everywhere else.  It makes such a huge difference to not be bulky with lots of layers and and an outer jacket.

Managed to keep a nice, slow, steady pace.  What I like about this run is the relative desolation of the route.  Manhattan Bridge is empty.  Flushing Ave and Wythe Ave in Brooklyn are also desolate.  Also, the long strech over the RFK Bridge and Randall’s Island are empty too.  It is just less stressful than working around cars on the streets of Manhattan, and bikers and people on the East River and Hudson River paths.  I was able to get into a nice rhythm early.  I stopped about every 13 to 15 minutes to drink, which worked real well for the first 13 miles or so.

I messed up a little bit as I ran out of water on the middle of the RFK Bridge, at 13 miles, which is where I took my last Gu.  It is then a long way off the bridge, through Randall’s Island and over the little bridge to Manhattan.  Then I needed to work down to 120th and 1st Ave to get find a bodega to get some Gatorade.  I think it was about 3 miles  between drinks.

The last 5.5 miles down 1st Ave was pretty hard.  Up until then, I was running away from the sun and any noticeable breeze was at my back.  The run felt almost effortless.  That changed once I headed south down 1st Ave.  I was running right into the bright sun, and without a hat with a brim to shield it out.  Also, I was running into a pretty good headwind.  Nonetheless, felt worked through it in those miles, stopping about every mile to drink, and running up the 1st Ave hills, rather than walking.  By the end, though, I most definitely hit the wall.  I felt like I had absolutely nothing left in the last half mile.  My run was 20.3 miles, so right in the ‘wall’ territory.

Finished the run in 3:27, a 10:12 pace.  When I last ran this course, I made a wrong turn off the Manhattan Bridge and thus ran about .4 miles longer than this time.  With the difference in distance, this run was about 6 minutes faster than that effort.  That is the good news.  The bad news is that I ended my training short one planned long run (2 aborted efforts in the January cold), and the Austin course looks to be harder than the New York course, with significant uphills in the last couple of miles.  Starting to get nervous about 4:30!

One day later, I’m feeling a little on the tired side – didn’t nap or sleep early yesterday.  Just vegged out in front of the TV watching the Super Bowl.  However, no soreness at all!  I think I’ll be fine for my Tuesday night speed workout in Central Park tomorrow night.

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Written by SCL

February 2, 2009 at 10:01 pm

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