Monday, April 07, 2008


I’ve probably known this all along, but yesterday it occurred to me to blog about it. There’s really a very simple way for me to know when I’m enjoying running. It’s not about pace per mile, MPW, heart rate VDOT, etc.

The simple measurement is that the miles during a race go by incredibly quickly. I'm not talking about time on the clock, but rather time in my head. It's that sensation you get when you think, Wow, I'm at another mile marker already.

That’s it. It’s that simple. If I run a race and it’s over before I know it, then it’s fairly safe to say I enjoyed the experience.

Now it doesn’t necessarily mean I ran a blazing-fast time. It could mean I ran a smart race – or at the very least, a conservative race early on and then finished strong.

This all occurred to me after running the Ron Daws 25K on Saturday. With Boston only 2 weeks away, I didn’t want to race all-out. Yet, with no real idea of my fitness, I wanted to put worth some effort to help figure out how I should pace at Boston.

I started out with a controlled first mile in 7:18 and immediately thought okay, I can handle that pace at Boston; 3:10 will be my goal.

Sidenote: Why do some guys feel compelled to push it hard on the uphills no matter what? We were 5 miles into the race and this guy next to me was breathing like it was a 10K. When we hit a hill he pushed the pace and I let him go. Then just after cresting the hill, I blew by him just by maintaining my effort. It must be an ego thing.

Anyway, soon after that I ran with another guy and we settled into 7:05-7:10 pace and then ran some 7s has we reeled in a pack of 4-5 runners around mile 8. The guy I was running with was really strong through mile 9 and then when we got to mile 10 it was like he just ran out of gas and he immediately slowed down. Rather than let him hang on, I dropped the pace as low as 6:40 – if you can believe the mile markers. Before I knew it I was at mile 14 and couldn’t believe how quickly the race was going by.

I ended up a few seconds under 1:48 or 6:57 pace on a very hilly course. That gives me a little confidence heading into Boston that I can at least put myself in a position to run sub-3 and not worry about a total meltdown.

18 miles for the day, 50 miles for the week. Time to taper.

Just to show how completely shot I was at the end of last year, I ran the City of Lakes 25K, which is a much easier course, 2 minutes slower than Saturday’s race.

Quote of the day;

“Thrust against pain. Pain is the purifier. Walk toward suffering. Love suffering. Embrace it.” Percy Cerutty to Herb Elliot


Mark H. said...

What a nice day for a race! Good luck at Boston!

I was very happy with my Ron Daws race. It was my first time running it. I ran it with a friend and my (our) goal was to finish in under 2hrs. 1:59:59 would be fine! A 7:43 pace. Our first mile was fine. The second was 6:59... Oops! Then there was a little back and forth from mile to mile. We knew we were going to finish a bit fast and ended up at 1:57. My 7:32 pace shows I'm in good shape for the Fargo Marathon in May where I'll be shooting for a 3:27 (7:55 pace). In hindsight, I could have raced it faster but I was using it more for as a 'between MP and tempo' race. I had a lot of fun running it just as I did. --Mark

Kel said...

Maybe the time spent skiing instead of running the past few months paid off!

Adam said...

Nice tuneup...have a great time at Boston!

Chad said...

Mark, nice job. I don't think all of the mile markers were correct - like you, I saw a big drop from mile 1 to mile 2. But I could be wrong. Good luck at Fargo.