It has been a long journey and I can see the finish line. One last hurdle and then it is trusting in where the last 4 months of training have taken me. The miles I’ve logged and loads of laundry completed.
I have the Oakland Marathon on Sunday. This will be my fourth consecutive year running their event and it remains one of my favorites.
- The early spring date keeps me training in the winter.
- Challenging course: uphill the first half, mostly flat second half.
- The organization remains consistently on point.
- The crowd on the course is enthusiastic and encouraging.
- Taiko drums, Raiderettes, arches of fire, giant iron horses and nice medals.
But this race is not my finish line.
Although I will be attempting to PR this race, it is a training run for me. Strange to think a marathon can be used as a part of your training, but ultra running can be responsible for funny things. I have my 50 mile race the second week in April — which makes this race my last strong run before its taper time.
The course with an uphill profile the first 10 miles and the (mostly) flat second half is a reminder to stay focused and have a plan. I’m notorious for going out too fast on this course. The plan will be to keep it consistent 9 minutes for the first 3 miles, move to 9:30 on the uphill to 11, bank a couple of seconds on the 3 miles (8:30-8:45) downhill, then cruise back into 9 minutes. That should be me pretty close to having a shot at sub 4 hours on a hilly course. I feel strong and confident about it, which is scary.
It has been a fine line of balancing seeking PRs, but staying focused on the end game:
finishing 50 miles in under 11 hours and qualifying for Western States 100.
There will be plenty of thoughts going through my head on race day and there will be points of struggle. How I deal with them will determine my results.
Remember to keep it consistent like I did in Pasadena.
I’ll keep an eye on the 4 hour pace group and use them as a guide. I won’t get swept up in their group as I enjoy having something to chase and having space around me. I’ll stay within eyesight and make my move the last few miles.
Remember that you have set a PR on this course already (2012).
But you bonked on the second half and posted a 2:06/2:18 split. Note, I will be aiming for a 2:00/1:55 split for this year, but my training is much stronger and I’m a much faster runner. Crazy the difference a year can make.
Remember that you are more prepared this year.
I participated in both preview runs and kept a strong 9-10 minute pace over those hilly miles. There was some miles more consistent than others and those runs were on tired legs. It’s not home-field advantage, but I feel more ready than any previous year.
That’s my race day preview. I posted my entire playlist here (68 songs, 4.3 hours) if you want to see what I will be listening to.
I’ll be tweeting a lot over the weekend and will be at the Expo on Saturday around 12 or 1.
If you are going to be there around the same time, let me know, there may be an unofficial meet up happening.
Hit me up over on the twitter: @PavementRunner
Any final tips for how to run like a (insert animal here)?