A little over a week ago I completed my 2nd road marathon (6th race of marathon or longer) and set a new marathon personal record by 10 minutes. The race was the Reykjavik marathon in Iceland and came at the tail end of my 9-day trip. I was hoping to qualify for Boston (3:05 for those of us under 35), but came up a little short. My main goal going into the event was to run a strong race without blowing up. My recovery time is limited as I have only 4 short weeks before taking on my first 50-miler.
The course was nice. It began in downtown Reykjavik and quickly worked its way out to a road along the water. For the first 11 miles you ran along with the half marathoners before they peeled off. Following that the race was almost exclusively on bike paths and looped around the regional airport and through a few parks (one of them even had a small waterfall), before getting back to the coast. The final 6 miles followed a similar path to the first 6, but you were off the road and on a path, which made it feel quite a bit different.
Unfortunately the weather wasn't quite as nice as the course. While it was great to race in 50 degree weather, it rained and drizzled through the day and was fairly windy along the water. The humidity was also over 90%, so while it was cool, I was still sweating quite a bit.
I started the race off pretty strong, knocking out the first 2 miles in the 6:55 range. From there I actively tried to back off a little hoping to have some solid energy for the second half of the race. I went through the split in 1:32:08, 22 seconds faster then my goal pace and held pretty strong for about 5 miles before I decided that 3:05 wasn't happening without some severe pain and bodily damage. From there I backed off some and tried to enjoy the scenery.
At mile 21, I passed Amy, Jen, Sharvari, Noah, and Neil and with Neil's cheering got a solid adrenaline boost and had brief thoughts of closing the final 5 miles out at 6:50 pace. About half a mile later is where the real pain started to set in and it took most of my effort just to convince myself to keep moving. Thinking back to a book that I recently read by Scott Jurek, he said something along the lines of "It isn't that runners are too tired to continue, they are just too sore to land." This described exactly how I felt.
Miles 23 and 24 where in the 7:50 range and I was starting to get passed by a few runners. I was able to get my pace back into the low 7:30's for 25 and 26. Once the finish line was in view, I found the extra gear I was looking for and caught the 3 runners who had passed me in the preceding 3 miles. I was glad to be finished and happy with a new marathon PR.
T-18 Days to Virgil Crest
After flying back from Iceland the day after the marathon, I got back to work. After a bunch of 4 and 5 mile runs over the week, I attempted my first long run back on Saturday -- 16 miles on the Western Greenway trail from Belmont to Bentley College in Waltham. I was treated to 75 degree temperatures and 94% humidity. By the turn around at mile 8, I was pretty fried. I ran the flats and walked anything that resembled a hill and even stopped at a cemetery to get some water. After taking Sunday off, I ran 20 flat miles on Monday and felt significantly better.
This will be my last high volume week (70ish miles) before I start to back off as I go into the race. We are already making plans to visit some relatives on our trip.