4:30 or Bust: A Quest for Marathon Mediocrity

Archive for October 2010

5 Days to the Chicago Marathon

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5 days to the Chicago Marathon!  And I decided to take a rest day this morning.  I could have ran, and under other circumstances I would have, but with only 1 day off after a hard triathlon, with some muscle soreness in my legs, just decided to give it one more day.  In a perfect world, I’ll run Wed, Thurs and Saturday, but I have to be at work extra early tomorrow and a morning run might be difficult.  We will see.  I did walk to and from work today, which is 1.8 miles each way.  Not much, but enough to stay loose.

So now there is a lot of chatter about the weather forecast.  When the 15 day forecast first included 10-10-10, the forecast was looking quite chilly, with the high forecasted to be in the 50’s.  Not sure exactly what happened, but the opposite is now being predicted.   It is now supposed to be warm, with a high in the mid-70’s, although with a morning low in the 50’s.  Since the race starts at 7:30am, heat really should not be a factor for much of the race.  However, the temperature is not the only value in the equation.  The most important factor, at least for me, is dewpoint.  If the dewpoint is below 55, then conditions will be perfectly comfortable.  If it gets below 50, then the conditions will be great.  However, if the dewpoint is up towards 60, or in the 60’s, then it will be uncomfortable, regardless of the temperature.  We probably won’t get a gage on dewpoint and humidity for another couple of days.  The other factor in the equation is the sun.  If it is in the 60’s, with low humidity, the conditions might be great.   However, if there is a lot of sun on the course, and the run is into the sun, then it can also become very uncomfortable.  I don’t know anything about the course to know if sun might be a factor or not, so hard for me to judge.

The folks organizing the marathon are certainly taking the weather seriously this time around, after extreme temperatures in 3 recent years.  Today, they sent an email to all participants outlining their Event Alert System, a color coded system to alert runners on the course about the conditions.  On the surface, it seems quite hokey and easy to mock, however, on race day, if conditions become extremely hot again, that system should allow for better communication with participants about what is happening, and when to slow things down, and when to (potentially) shut it down.

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Written by SCL

October 5, 2010 at 6:12 pm

6 Days to the Chicago Marathon

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6 days to the Chicago Marathon!  And I was way too busy today to write up my race report from yesterday.  Maybe I’ll start on the report tonight and try to get it finished tomorrow.

The news to report is that I finished 25 out of 27 in my age group (M 35-39 was actually the largest age group in the race), and I really could not care less.  (I was 120 out 155 overall).  It only encourages me that I have so much farther to go, if I want to work at it in the coming years.  So much room for improvement.  It really is amazing, and inspiring, to me how hard core the triathlon folks are.  The swim was (thankfully) short enough to not be much of a factor in my losing time to others, but I felt like I had a pretty strong bike and run, and yet virtually all of my competition blew me out of the water.  The men 40 and older started out a good 10 minutes after I did, and by the later part of the bike and during the run, those guys were just blowing by me.  So inspiring!

Now, trying to take stock of my legs, and my recovery.  I’m definitely sore in a lot of places, but not badly.  In fact, I’m much less sore than I’ve been after long runs.  I will probably do a recovery run tomorrow morning, just to see how things are feeling.  I think I have enough days left to get in a couple of easy runs (Tue, Thur, Sat?), and let my body heal up to be reasonably fresh on Sunday.  My back is still not 100%, but it doesn’t seem any worse, and I’ve got the rest of the week for that to also to continue to heal.

I think the most exciting thing for me at this stage is watching everyone else get excited about their final preparations, and the race, on Twitter, DailyMile and various blogs.  I love how it seems like there are so many of us from NYC making the trip west.  Looking forward to planning out my own logistics now, the fun stuff!

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Written by SCL

October 4, 2010 at 8:02 pm

Posted in Chicago Marathon

7 Days to the Chicago Marathon

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7 days to the Chicago Marathon!  And today I had a blast at the Red Bank Triathlon, and ran a great race (for me).  Now I can enter my taper in peace 🙂

I’ll write up a full race report later, but here are the stats, as recorded on my watch:

  • Swim (1/4 mileish) – 14:21
  • T1 – 2:56
  • Bike (21.5 miles) – 1:19:20
  • T2 – 1:00
  • Run (5 miles) – 45:20 (9:01, 9:33, 9:24, 9:18, 8:07)
  • Total – 2:23:04

I came out mostly unscathed.  Just one muscle in my left leg that is barking.  Tomorrow will be a rest day for sure, then perhaps runs every other day the week.

Then spent the last 2 hours doing the laundry!  My wife has been out of town a few days and is not back till tomorrow, so laundry fell (literally) on me last night and this morning.  Wow, 14 year olds generate a lot of laundry!

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Written by SCL

October 3, 2010 at 12:19 pm

8 Days to the Chicago Marathon

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8 days to the Chicago Marathon!  And today, I made a silly video.

Not much to add.  Rest day today, but had fun out with my 9 year old around town, including the New York Aquarium.  The trip to Baskin Robbins afterwards unfortunately tied my stomach in knots, but was worth it, and I’m sure it will be fine for the tri tomorrow!

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Written by SCL

October 2, 2010 at 6:05 pm

Posted in Chicago Marathon, video

9 Days to the Chicago Marathon

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9 days to the Chicago Marathon!  And today will be a rest day from running, although I did have a great session with my personal trainer at lunchtime.  My set of sessions are done and now time to think about whether I want to pay the king’s ransom required to continue working with him.  It is so beneficial, yet so expensive.  Aaaah!

Sorry, but I’m going to be a little negative and complainy today.  Why not, it is grey outside, and being negative is very common in the blog-o-sphere.

I’m really looking forward to the Chicago Marathon.  It is a world class event, in a world class city, and will be an amazing event.  I will inevitably compare every last detail of the race, weekend, and events, with the NYC Marathon, which I have run 7 times.  I’m sure there will be some things that Chicago will do better, like starting at 7:30am, but many things that will be worse.  I’ll try to point them out as we go along.

My biggest problem so far is that I take umbrange with the marketing and informational language focusing on 45,000 runners.  There will not be 45,000 runners at the race, but far less.  Yes it is a HUGE race, but no, not nearly 45,000.  They take 45,000 applications for the race.  Of those that pay for the race, far fewer actually run and finish.  In 2009 there were only 33,703 finished.  In 2008, it was 31,344.  Those years were both advertised also as 45,000 runners.  Big races, but at least 25% less than advertised!  Maybe they started with 45,000 people back in April, but many of them will never make it to starting line due to injury, lack of training, or a change of heart, etc.  It is probably predictable how many people will not run, but I think it is disingenuous to advertise 45,000 when the number of runnres will not be close to that.

In comparison, the NYC Marathon, to my recollection, (which I guess could be faulty) always publishes numbers based on how many people they expect to start the race.  Who knows how many applications they have to accept to get to the 43,660 finishers last year, or the 38,096 finishers from 2008.

In summary, it may be a minor detail to some, but it grates me when Chicago talks about 45,000 runners, when in reality it is 45,000 paid applications.  It is kind of like the attendance numbers at my beloved New York Mets games.  No way they are putting 25,000 fannies in the seats these sad sad sad days, but yes, 25,000 suckers overpaid for their tickets!

OK – I feel better now…

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Written by SCL

October 1, 2010 at 4:05 pm

Posted in Chicago Marathon