Last year I ran the Long Beach half marathon. Lori ran too (but we didn’t run together). Our dad joined us and cheered us along at the finish line. It was my second race and first half marathon. Prior to the race, I had never run more than 10-11 miles. I didn’t take any gels/chomps and relied on the course water, sports drink and food from spectators. Along with Target capris, tank and stopwatch ($10), I wore my first pair of Mizunos and a pace band I picked up at the expo. The day was cool and gloomy (high of 65ish), perfect distance running weather. I met my goal finishing in 2:03:56 (<2:05) without walking. I came away from the race ready for more.
This year, I’m running the marathon. Lori won’t be running, but I won’t be alone at the start. Sean is running too. He’ll be running his first half marathon. I have more experience running races, but not too much as my codo hurts every time I pay a race fee. Long Beach will be my second marathon. I have a stronger distance running base and despite gaining a few pounds have gotten faster. I’ll be wearing the same capris, but I’ve upgraded watches to a Garmin to help me keep pace.
1. Weather: it’ll be hot and sunny in Long Beach. The high will be in the low 80s. Frankly, I’d rather run a marathon in rain than in the heat. The rain doesn’t seem to slow me down, but the heat does. I ran most of my long runs in cooler temps (60s-low 70s) with the protection of the marine layer. Maybe I should have run more when it was warmer and sunny.
2. Health: I’ve had a cold all week. Thankfully, the worst has passed. I’m less congested and feeling better.
3. The hamstring: Despite getting plenty of rest during my super taper, my hamstring doesn’t feel any better. I went out for a 3 mile easy run yesterday morning. It was hard from the beginning and my heart was beating way too fast for an easy run. Could I really have lost that much fitness in 3 weeks? My leg started hurting about 20 minutes in once again and I stopped to stretch a few more times before I got home. I stretched and iced afterward, but my leg still hurt the rest of the day. I felt better after getting a massage in the evening. Today I tried an icy hot patch. It burns, but it feels good.
I have no clue how I’ll feel on Sunday, but hopefully my parents’ and grandparents’ prayers will make a difference. Who knows… I prayed for a dry LA Marathon and didn’t get that, but I did have a great race. When I thought of my paternal grandparents in the last few miles, I felt a surge of energy and finished strong.
Four weeks ago:
A. Less than 4:10 – Based on my 1:58 finish in the Pasadena half marathon, the McMillan running calculator put me down at 4:09:59 for the half. I thought the time was ambitious but doable considering Long Beach is a flatter course.
B. Less than 4:16:19 – I know this seems arbitrary. I chose it after reading in Men’s Health that it was the average marathon time for men 40-44, the fastest age group. This was in 2009. In 2010, men 40-44 were a little slower, averaging 4:19:51, but they were still the fastest age group.
C. Set a personal best, finish in less than 4:23:56.
A. Set a personal best (see: goal C above)
B. Finish. It’s okay if I need to walk. At this point, I just want to prevent further injury and get my medal.
If you want to see how I do before I get around to posting a race recap, track me live. The race starts at 7. My bib number is 2016.