Thursday, April 28, 2011

Let's talk numbers...

So... (as if you didn't know already)... I am running my first marathon on Sunday.

I am excited/nervous/petrified/happy all at the same time. I know, it takes talent to feel all those feelings at once.

In discussion with some of my friends/co-workers, a lot of people have told me, "Just run for fun! It'll be such an accomplishment to finish!"

And yes, it will be a huuuuge accomplishment to finish a marathon!

But, the competitive side of me thinks about the numbers. My finish time, pace per mile, negative splitting. After running competitively for 8+ years straight, I'm not quite ready to just "run for fun."

According to several online "running pace calculators", my half-mary time (from November) of 1:36 puts me at about a 3:20 marathon, 7:38-pace. Yikes! That is crazy fast (for a marathon).

So, in a desperate attempt for reassurance, I emailed my former coach last week asking for advice. [Side note: He has run many, many marathons, with a PR of 2:25. He knows his stuff.] I told him my sob story. "I'm afraid to start the marathon at 7:38-pace, because, yea it will feel good for awhile, but I don't want to die at mile 16! I'd still have 10.2 miles to go!" Followed by, "But I don't want to go out too conservatively and finish feeling like I could have run faster and never know what I could have done. Because who knows if I'll ever run one of these marathons again!"

So he responded with a great plan: 

  • Start out the first 8 miles at 7:55-8:00 pace. (I ended up averaging this pace for quite a few of my long runs, especially the ones I ran outside vs. treadmill.)
  • The next 8 miles at 7:45-7:50 pace.
  • Then see what I have left for the last 10.2.
I think this plan sounds great. It divides the race into segments, and I will have loads of fun figuring my splits in my head. (Which is one of my favorite things to do while running long. Remember, I am a math teacher. Numbers fascinate me.)

So, all in all, I'd be happy under 3:30. I mean, I'll be "happy" just finishing, since it is my first marathon, but I'd really like to run under 3:30. And the closer to 3:20, the better.

But we'll see what happens! It could be raining sideways and 30+mph winds. That would definitely change things.

At a track meet that likely had crazy winds. Almost all our meets were crazy windy.  Miss you ladies! 

On a slightly funnier note, I had my students "predict my finish time" today. A lot of them know I've been training for the race, so I thought this could be fun. I told them my half-marathon time from November, and let them make an educated guess from there. I will be giving extra credit to the person who is closest.

Here were some of my favorites... they left me little notes of encouragement with their guesses.

"I think your time will be maybe 2 hrs. 45 mins. Ruuunnnnn! I hope you finish!"
I hope, I do, too... haha. But pretty sure I won't be finishing in 2:45.

"Tarah says 3 hrs 22 mins! Good luck Mrs. Anderson!"

"I think it will take you 3 hrs 18 mins. Good luck! GO! GO! GO!"
The times ranged from 1:10 to 4 hours, so we shall see what happens! [Side note: 1:10, really? If they knew I ran a half in 1:36, how on earth would I run a full in 1:10?  Looks like we need to do a lesson on proportions!]

So, there ya have it. My race goals laid out. Now we'll just have to see how it goes!


Vanessa @ Gourmet Runner said...

Love these predictions. And seriously, if you run a marathon in 1:10 you're probably doing it wrong. Too funny!

theAlmostRunner said...

you are SO fast! have so much fun with your race, girl. GOOD LUCK!

SbMac said...

Good luck this weekend! I did my first marathon in Disney and had the same thoughts run for time or fun. I ended up getting caught up in taking pictures and had fun. The next time around I will go for pacing and such I think! Sounds like you have a great plan in place.

Running Girl said...

Good luck this weekend! So excited for you!

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