Colfax Marathon Goals

It is time to talk goals.

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The Colfax Marathon is this Sunday. I do not know what wave I am in, but the marathon is not too big and the race starts at 6:00 am, so I should be on the course pretty early. The weather is supposed to be ideal for a marathon. Hopefully it stays that way.

The race is split into 5 sections. The first and last sections are largely the same and include a run through the Denver Broncos stadium where you get to see your picture on the jumbotron (not sure how much I’ll care about that in the first go through, but I’m sure at mile 20, it’ll certainly be helpful). From miles 1-16, it is a very mild uphill gaining about 500 feet of elevation. I figure I won’t really notice it too much, since 500 feet over 16 miles isn’t all that much. However, from miles 16-20 is a section called the “Screaming Downhill”. Running downhill has always been my strength and I will be looking forward to that section.

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Not a terrible elevation profile. 

My plan for the race is to run at 4:00:00 pace with the pacer until the Screaming Downhill. If the pacer goes out too fast, I’ll keep it chill and find them later. I trained for a 9:00/mi race, so 9:06 should feel rather comfortable. I want every mile before 16 to have a “9” in the front… not an “8”. I know it will be a problem if I start punching out 8:50’s and stuff. If I am feeling good at the top of the hill, I will let the pace go down a little and ride the downhill. The bottom of the hill is right into the Broncos Stadium for the second time at mile 20, I’ll probably be excited and once I exit out, I’ll be seeing Frank and our friends at mile 22. My goal from that point is to finish with the 4:00:00 pacer behind me.

So… that brings us to my goals. My main goal is to just have fun, so if any of the other goals (except the C goal) are in the way of that, I will abandon it.

A: 3:59:59

B: Under 4:10:00

C: Finish the damn race!

Since this is my first marathon, anything that gets me to that finish line is okay. If I end up walking, I’m sure that will be accompanied with tears, but Frank and my friends will put it in perspective that I will have finished a marathon. Any time is a PR for me and I will have another opportunity to crush it in Chicago come October. I do feel attached to going under the big 4:00:00 barrier, but it really is okay even if I don’t.

I have my outfit picked out (I’ll post it later), and my food and gels are ready. I have some laundry and a little packing to do, but I am basically done. The preparation was as good as it was going to get and I am ready to do this.

I’ll be getting my bib number on Thursday and will give you all that information then. You can search me on athlete tracking by my name (Kerry Regan). They have a funny system where you get email updates (my parents are already signed up, so if you take one of the other email slots, that is fine). My Twitter account will post splits, so you should see those on the sidebar on my blog or you can just go on twitter and search @thisyogiruns. They may have a system come race day in the results, but Run Colfax has not indicated how that will work. Either way, if you want to track me and see splits, I’m sure it can be done and it will definitely be here on the sidebar of my blog and on Twitter.

I really need to say thanks to all of you for your advice, encouragement, and overall kind words throughout the marathon training process. It seriously takes a village to get me to a starting line feeling confident and all of you have played a huge part in that. During those last 6 miles, when it is tough and I want to quit, I will think of all of the things you all have said throughout my training. It has really been a journey getting to this start line and I will not forget how much that journey meant.

I’ll be heading out to Denver on Thursday (It is a 7-hour ride, so that will be fun…). I will post again before I leave with the bib number, race outfit pics, and a little surprise about a race in the UK. 🙂

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Hey Denver!! I’m coming for ya!

What is your favorite race playlist song? I am putting together my marathon day music and I need some good ones!

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Thinking Out Loud: The Taper Crazies

Let the taper crazies commence.

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Today I will be linking up with Thinking Out Loud. I am going to talk a little about my thoughts (mostly anxieties) heading into my first marathon. Those of you who have run marathons, feel free to chime in and tell me that this is normal (or not). In fact… I think everyone should just conclude that I am going nuts.

  1. So… What happens after mile 20? I have run two 20-milers and they were HARD. I felt like I could have kept running, but the run was 45 seconds per mile slower than my goal pace. I’ve been warned that a marathon is a 20-mile warm up for the worst 10K of your life… but I didn’t feel 10K racing worthy after my 20-miler. I felt like eating a ton of bananas and sleeping. Do I hit “the wall” after mile 20? And how do I run through the wall? Does race adrenaline REALLY get you through another 6.2 miles after you have already run 20? Seriously… I feel like at mile 20.1 that I my legs will go into self-destruct mode and I’ll end up walking the last 6 miles.
  1. I had a few great weeks in my training… but not every week was great. Sometimes I cut runs short because I felt over-trained or that an injury could happen if I pushed stuff. I don’t feel like I was completely consistent in my training. Should I have pushed a little harder? Will those missed miles come back to haunt me? Ok… now I am just sounding crazy.
  1. The first week of my taper calls for 40 miles. THAT’S A LOT OF MILES! Am I tapering enough? What if I am not properly rested? I don’t feel sore or anything from last week and my peak week was 55 miles, but I still feel like 40 miles is a lot. I’m worried that if I don’t taper enough I am not going to be able to finish this marathon. Next week I hit 28… which is substantially less and makes me feel a little better, but I feel like if I don’t taper enough this week that I am not going to be well rested enough come May 15.
  1. I’ve been pouring over race equivalency charts (yes, I’m that crazy) and based on my half marathon PR and other times that I’ve run during this cycle, they predict that I should have no problem cracking 4:00:00. But I am not so convinced. I know that people are often unprepared for the mental battle that happens towards the end of the race. I’d like to think that my consistent yoga practice will help me remain focused and present, but I am not so sure. I am worried that I’ll crash and burn and potentially not even be able to finish. There are plenty of people with better half marathon PRs than me that have not run a marathon in less than 4:00:00. 26.2 miles is FAR… like farther than I like to drive, no less run! A lot can happen in the course of 26 miles!

These are the crazy worries that I have been having. I know… this is the taper crazies, but I feel like they are real. These are real problems heading into the race and I want to have a good time. I don’t want to hit the wall and end up crawling my way to the finish. I go through moments where I am thinking this will be no problem… that I’ve trained hard and I’m prepared. But then I remember that no one is REALLY all that prepared for their first marathon. This is a really hard race and a really long distance that I should respect and not take for granted. I keep going back and forth… seriously… This is four days into the taper. I am already going nuts!

Thanks Amanda at Running with Spoons for hosting Thinking Out Loud and thanks to all of you for being so encouraging throughout my training ups and downs.

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What are your taper crazies like? Do you find yourself doubting your training as you head into a big race?

Made it to south Florida!

I made it to Florida! The way here was certainly not easy! My flight was cancelled and I was forced to change my entire itinerary. I didn’t make it home until about 11:30 pm, but after a good night’s rest, it seemed pretty worth it. It is nice to have some warmer weather AND I get to hang out with my favorite dog.

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I woke up him to take this picture. He has a case of bed head here.

Oh and my parent’s cat too (she doesn’t cuddle like Elly).

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I do miss Elly!

I’ve been doing a bit of a taper heading into A1A. On Tuesday, I went for a run on the dreadmill because it was just way too cold! On Wednesday, before my flight, I managed to get myself out and moving for a marathon paced tempo run, despite the cold. I finally managed to feel comfortable holding my goal pace for Colfax.

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The river was looking super nice!

I am definitely feeling a little nervous heading into A1A. I feel tired and a bit overtrained and I am just not sure if I can hold a PR pace for 13.1 miles. Although the extra mileage that I’ve been putting on my legs during marathon training has certainly improved my fitness, I’m not sure that it has improved my SPEED. I feel like I am ready to run a super long distance… but just not very fast. Maybe I’ll wake up Sunday morning with super legs. It’s just hard to imagine holding under 8:30 paces for over 13 miles. I know that I tend to show up strong at races, but I do tend to feel inadequate during training. Unfortunately, there will be no pacers to help me reach my goal of under 1:50:00.

Whatever happens… happens. Regardless, I plan on having a good time!

I am excited to see both Kristina and Ally on Saturday! It’s going to be great to finally meet and wish them good luck on their races. Also, Lizzy is doing the LA marathon on Sunday, so wish her good luck nabbing that new marathon PR!

Anyone racing this weekend? Do you usually feel unsure of yourself heading into a PR attempt?

Rocky Mountain Half Marathon Race Recap

I tend to underestimate myself. I go into a race and I often limit what I can do, not because of my training or physical capabilities, but because of my mind. So, when I looked at the 1:52:01 half marathon cutoff for the first wave corrals at Chicago, I figured there was no way I could ever run that time. I mean… that’s 8:30/mi for 13 miles! I figured that there was just no way, especially at 7,500 feet. Well, I’m going to just cut to the chase.

I ran the Rocky Mountain Half Marathon in 1:51:44. That was a huge PR and I am now in the first wave at Chicago!

Pre-Race

We drove out to Boulder on Thursday evening and made it in time for me to get a quick run in and some dinner. The next morning, Frank and I woke up at 4 am to get to the national park and reserve a campsite for the next few days. We did a little bit of hiking and went to Estes Park to pick up my packet. We hiked a lot more and drove around for a while.

Cold before the race!
Cold before the race!

So, I did all the pre-race stuff wrong. I walked A LOT on Friday, I camped on the hard floor, I probably didn’t eat or sleep enough. I had to wake up at 4 am, and I woke up like 4-5 times during the night. I tried to scarf down some food at our campsite, but my stomach was giving me some trouble. We got to the race around 5:00 am and hung out at the starting line until the race started.

The elevation profile for the race. This was not exactly an easy course.
The elevation profile for the race. This was not exactly an easy course.

Miles 1-4

The gun went off at almost exactly 6 am. The race had a few thousand people, but they did a good job keeping the corral small so that we didn’t have to dodge around people once we were off the starting line. The first few miles were pretty chill, although I took them fast because I knew that miles 5-8 had a huge hill. I felt pretty comfortable averaging around an 8:30 mile on the rolling terrain and was surprised at how quick the miles were going by. I just kept telling myself that I am a lot faster than I think I am, and that seemed to work pretty well. I had a pretty good feeling by mile 4 that I was had a shot at a PR but I tried to hold myself back. I knew the hills in the race would eventually wear on me.

Splits for miles 1-4
Splits for miles 1-4

Miles 5-8

Mile 5 was the start of a pretty substantial hill. I knew it was coming, so I decided to play a little game with myself to pass the time. Each time I passed someone on the uphill, I gave myself a point and each time I was passed by a runner, I lost a point. So, I just started reeling people in. I’d get my eyes on a runner who looked kinda tired and just started creeping up on them. By the end of the uphill I had passed 22 people and had only been passed by 1 (that’s 21 points!!!). I managed to keep around a 9:00/mi pace. At the top of the hill I looked at my watch and was pretty amazed at how fast I had gone. I think I knew by this point that I was going to PR for sure.

Splits for miles 5-8
Splits for miles 5-8

Miles 9-13.1

At the top of the hill I could see the finish line and I knew that it was all downhill from here (ok… there were a few surprise hills, but nothing too terrible). I just coasted on down and even squeezed in a 7:34 minute mile in there. I figured that if I could keep an average of 8:00/mi, I would have a shot at getting under the 1:52:01 cutoff for the first wave at Chicago. I knew by this point that I was going to PR… but now I really wanted to be in that first wave. So, I pushed a little harder. The end of the race was close to a beautiful lake in the middle of Estes Park. As I got closer I started to hear the announcer call out names of people as they crossed the finish line. I kept pushing and eventually heard my name as I crossed. Frank was not even there because he wasn’t expecting me to finish for another 10 minutes.

The downhill miles!
The downhill miles! Check out that 7:34 minute mile!!!!

My official time was 1:51:44 and I placed 7th in my age group out of 137… which is pretty freaking good. There was close to 1000 feet of elevation gain throughout the race… so this wasn’t even an easy course. Honestly, I’m still in shock that I ran that well.

A well deserved medel. I was pretty exhausted after this race.
A well deserved medel. I was pretty exhausted after this race.

I learned a lot running this race. My biggest problem as a runner is that I set goals that are not outside of my comfort zone. I don’t let myself think that I can do something really crazy because I don’t want to be disappointed. From here on out, that’s gonna change.

Immediately after the race, Frank and I went back into Rocky Mountain National Park, picked up our friends and climbed up Hallett Peak. This was a 10-mile hike up a 12,713-foot mountain. Doing this hike got me 50% off entry into the Rocky Mountain Half Marathon for 2016… so the soreness was worth it. I am officially in the Continental Divide Club!

My friends and I at the top of Hallett Peak!
My friends and I at the top of Hallett Peak!

The race (and hike) was a huge success. But… now the Chicago Marathon countdown really begins.