Monday, November 8, 2010

Mission Accomplished - Manchester Marathon

Yesterday I ran the Manchester City Marathon.  It was the first road marathon I have run since Disney 2008.  I had two goals going into this race.  The first was to get a Boston Qualifying time of under 3:20 and the second was to be in the top 50 finishers. 

I finished with a new PR in 3:15:10 in 31st place.  The race went well, although I still hate running that far and fast on the pavement.  I don't have the time to write out an entire boring race report, but I would like to say thanks to my coach, Jack Pilla, for changing my training in the last 4 weeks to get me ready.  Also to Ron Abramson for being a constant sounding board and driving me to the race.  And of course, as always, my wife Amy and my ever supporting kids for coming to the race, cheering me on, and spoiling me when I got home.

For those of you that are marathon runners and you think running an Ultra would be hard, I have to let you know that I would rather run 50 miles in the woods than run 26.2 of fast pavement.  I feel much better after a 50 than I do after a marathon.  Come on over to the dark side and give it a try!

Friday, November 5, 2010

26.2 Mile Sprint Race - Manchester City Marathon preview

As a runner, one of the most common questions you get asked is "so, have you run Boston?".  In the Ultra Running world it's almost a joke.  Its about as common as being called Forest Gump.  Unlike some Ultra runners who get grumpy about it, I actually want to run Boston.  I just never seem to get around to doing a marathon to see if I can qualify.  I have long held the belief that I will not run Boston unless I can qualify.  For my age group that means running under 3 hours 20 minutes.  It doesn't sound that hard, but it comes out to a 7:39 per mile pace.  The last time I ran a marathon was in 2008 at Disney.  I ran a 3:51, but it was the day after a 1/2 marathon (I did the Goofy Challenge) and I didn't have any specific goal. 

My normal training for Ultras is much different that training for a faster marathon.  I train on as little pavement as possible because I try to duplicate the terrain of the Ultra as much as possible.  I don't do pavement ultras.  I did a 100k pavement race a few years ago and it just is not as exciting for me as being in the woods.

About 4 weeks ago I told my coach, Jack Pilla, that I wanted to run a BQ before the end of the year.  I was going to pick a fast flat race but nothing fit in my schedule.  I eventually just decided to try it at Manchester because it fit my schedule and I've wanted to run it ever since they brought it back 3 years ago.  It is also only about 20 minutes from my house!

Jack changed my schedule around to include much more speed work than I normally do.  He also had me incorporate tempo runs at faster than marathon pace in the middle of my weekend long runs.  For example I did a 24 mile run two weeks ago where I warmed up for 12 miles at around a 8 min mile pace then I ran 10 miles at an average of 7:17/mile then I cooled down with a couple miles in the high sevens.

While I hit all the workouts my ankles are both hating me right now.  I'm in the middle of the taper and in two days I'm going to do my best to run 26.2 in less than 3:20, even though Boston sold out for 2011 in 8 hours.  I am psyched to do a different type of run and can wait to go!  I'll post how I do when its over.