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The Loop

Remember Marshall?




Not going to recap here. Except for the week I was sick that summer (FIVE YEARS AGO!), I hit every workout. Every single week, every single mile.

2019, not so much.

First there was my goal to only run when the weather was decent. I'd also planned to take days off when I just didn't feel it. Broke that one. Anyway, the last three weeks were supposed to be the big ones getting ready for Vermont. Oh by the way I officially registered for it yesterday. 58 - 48 - 60 miles. Wedding messed things up some. 18 - 47 (yay!) - 49 miles. Overall I'm about 180 short of the mileage I had planned. I'm also skipping intervals this time, relying on the long tempo run and what hills I can find for strength workouts. For long runs, I've only had a pair of 14s, a 15 and a 16.

Anyway, with 3-1/2 weeks to go I feel pretty good, but I can't say I'm comfortable setting a solid goal for the race. Moderate paced runs are mostly in the 8:20-40 range, but without the good speedwork behind me I don't know if this translates as well as it did last time. I'm also confounded by Burlington's elevation profile.


Can't just turn on the metronome pacer and run. My initial thoughts are to take it easy going up and steal back whatever time I can going down. Question is, how much? Can I run a whole marathon by feel?

But what's a marathon without a goal? A = 3:40 (BQ -10), B = 3:50 (BQ), C = 4:00.

Wednesday. Tuesday's tempo left me feeling pretty beat up. Normally here I'd say I was careful about the pace. In truth, I was just slogging along as best I could, which wasn't very good. At least, it didn't feel very good. Only 3 of them were at 8:30. But, 11 miles as planned. Hay in the barn.

We'd checked in for our Thursday flight that morning. About 1:00 PM there's a text from Southwest. You're scheduled flight from MDW (Chicago) to SEA (Seattle) has been cancelled. Please visit our website or call to reschedule. Apparently we were caught up in the 737-Max8 fiasco. Not our plane, but the juggling of flight schedules resulted in the second leg of our trip getting lost. We gave them some slack because they'd given us a discounted fare on this last minute trip for the funeral. Airlines don't do bereavement pricing anymore, but the agent I talked with on the phone did a little kindly trickery in their system and we had great tickets. Except now we had to find another way. There was a flight through Phoenix that left Detroit 15 minutes earlier than ours, and a connector to Seattle that landed 20 minutes later (turned out faster and we landed at the same time as our original plan). They also let us do pre-boarding for free. Love Southwest Air.

Thursday. Travel day. Zero miles. I had time when we were all settled, but I wasn't feeling up for it after the previous 24 hours.

Friday. Ran the Interurban Trail north out and back for 12 miles. Same average pace as the 11 on Wednesday, but much more consistent and felt 100% better. This trail is OSOM, btw. And the weather was perfect. Sunny, a light breeze, 45 degrees. Heavenly. Went north as far as the Alderwood Mall exit. Then of course I had to stop for a bathroom. There were several businesses right there, including a couple of hotels. Hotels are excellent places for mid-run stops. Always clean. Never a question about who you are or if you're a guest.

My in-laws life at the top of a hill. Every run starts down and ends up. Sort of makes the fast finish hard to do.


Saturday. The funeral was in the morning, and I didn't know if this run was going to happen, but things were all done by late afternoon, so Mrs. Dave said I could take off. This was scheduled as an 18 miler, but I wasn't prepared for that. Another perfect day - 52o, sunny, light breeze. The northern end of Lake Washington is due west of the house and I thought I could get there if I didn't get lost. Ocean_101 likes to tell me there are no hills in Seattle, do let's just say that the elevation adjustments made the difficulty on this 10-1/2 miler closer to the 18 I had planned if I were at home. Took a couple of wrongs turns from my planned route, but I wouldn't say I got lost, and the neighborhoods I ran through were gorgeous. I went back and took a couple of pictures, but they didn't do justice to how beautiful it was. There was this house, though, that warranted a second look and I'd have loved to have talked to the owner about it.



Sunday. Rest day.

Monday. This one was also a question mark since we were flying out that afternoon and wasn't sure about laundry. But I got up early and headed west (and down, of course) to the beach. Another perfect morning. I love the PNW. Used the toilet at the park, dipped my fingers in Puget Sound, took in the view of the Olympics, snow covered in the distance. Then negotiated the 500 feet of elevation adjustment.


Not much news on the flight back. Layover in Denver where it was snowing. We landed in Detroit at 2:00 AM. Work has been a struggle the last couple of days. Staying awake at work I mean.

Tuesday. Fear and trepidation for this tempo run. I was prepared to bail entirely, especially when the radar showed a bunch of rain over the house. It stopped by the time I was ready so it was more a question of how tired I'd be after getting 3 hours of sleep that morning. It was OK, and since I'd gone into it with such low expectations, I consider it a major win. 7:54, 7:37, 7:29, 7:46, 8:13, 7:44, 7:42. But today was even harder to get out of bed, so the 11 I have planned for this afternoon are going to be a struggle. Maybe I'll take a nap first.

Two more good weeks (with no travel plans!) and then I can taper. As usual, I'm really looking forward to tapering. The miles aren't quite there, but all things considered, this has been a good run. I feel about as tired as I should. I'm about as hungry as I normally am. I'm about as mentally ready to stop running altogether as I'd expect to be with a couple of weeks to go. Just about right.

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Marathonguide.com will give you a pace band based on the course you are running, time goal and race strategy.

i put in 3:45 goal time and evenly paced. Here’s what it spit out for you. 

Good luck! You’ve done some decent training with everything that has been going on.



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You can and should run an entire marathon by feel!

I also think that tempos are SO MUCH more valuable than speed work in marathon training.  You might surprise yourself!

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I'm just glad you can get to the start, given all the issues you've had over the past year or more. I'm hopeful I can do that one of these days, but my current mileage is 0, so I have a ways to go. 

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When I ran NYC a few years ago, I did it without speed work -- I was trying to find a way to get to a start line without getting injured.  I had a decent race (I went out way to fast which made the end a little more interesting).  Keep your head on straight and you should be fine.

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