Well, I decided to not write a whole lot about my running this time till I complete my Big Sur marathon. But, given the magnitude of the effort I have put in, I wanted to pat myself on the back on what I have done so far instead of focussing just on the end result, which is the actual marathon itself.
Having completed my first marathon last year, as everybody else, I thought I should run another marathon, at a better pace…. I wasnt quite convinced with my timing on my first marathon since I felt that, if I had paced myself right, I wouldnt have ended up having as many cramps as I did during the last 6 miles of the marathon, which killed my time by around 20-30 minutes… I thought I should try the sacramento marathon just a month later and dismissed it since it was just an impulsive thing to do…
When Mano told me about Big Sur marathon in late November, I wasnt up for it. First of all, it was a slightly challenging marathon, given the hills and elevation. Secondly, I preferred a flatter course to improve my marathon time. I also thought that I should better my half marathon speed really well before attempting another full marathon. I told him that I would run with him in Ranchos hills since it would help increase my pace for the half marathons. We did some hill running during December and by January, I was convinced that I should take up Big Sur… Runner’s world magazine says that, if a runner had a choice of running only one marathon in his life time, it would be Big Sur and I thought that I shouldnt pass on that oppurtunity even if I cannot run it at my best pace…
My training base was solid this time. But, I didnt do any long runs (> 10 miles) till end of January. So, it was a little sluggish from that angle. However, I joined a Gym called Club One and I was regularly doing cross training. So, that was an addition to my running schedule. Also, I was doing interval training once a week which greatly helped my pace.
On Feb 1, I decided that I was going to dedicate the next couple of months for the marathon. No excuses….My objective was to run atleast 3-4 16 milers and 2 20 milers before marathon over the course of 2 months. I started training 6 days a week of which 4 days were running, 2 days were cross training and 1 day of rest. I ran a 14.5 miler the first week-end of february and then increased it to 16.2 and 16.5 miles the weeks following that. Then, I did an 18.5 followed by 10.5. In March, I did an 18.5, 19 and a 20 miler with the last week as a break since I went to Antigua. Just last week, I did a 20 miler again. I was quite impressed with myself about sticking to my schedule.
This year, as of April 11, I have run 400+ miles and cycled close to 200 miles, totalling ~600 miles of activity excluding the weight training that I did during my cross training days. When I look back at it, I am impressed with myself. My pace as of last week for the 20 miler was around 9 minutes and 12 seconds. I ran my 20 miles in roughly 3 hours excluding 4-5 minutes of break time in between during my 13 and 16.5 mile stops. If I had to run a marathon today, I think I should be able to do it in 4:00-4:15 hrs. But, given that Big Sur has a hilly terrain, I should discount another 10-15 minutes. My target for Big Sur is to be between 4:15 and 4:30 if everything goes my way and I dont get any sickening cramps.
I am well on my way to taper. Last time, I considered taper as my time of rest. But, after some reading, I think it is a big mistake. The books advice you to reduce the mileage to 75% and then 50% but yet running those miles at the same pace as how you would run during regular training weeks. With the marathon on April 29, I am hoping to complete this month with 500 miles of running, my half way mark for the year’s target of 1000 miles ! It may not be time to light up the cigar, but it sure is time to buy one and smell it…:)