For starters, I can't dance. I have no rhythm, so I look super awkward and dumb. I also don't fish because I refuse to touch worms or any other kind of live (or once-live) bait. Or the fish.
On September 23rd, I embark on marathon #2
of my journey to Boston and toe the line the at Sundance to Spearfish Marathon. This is an interesting one, and one I may soon live to regret.
I searched long and hard for my fall marathon. I wanted to avoid a hot day as much as possible, so I was looking for a PR-friendly course where I would stand a better chance of a cool temp. I decided that I would be willing to travel a bit throughout the Midwest. The Heartland and Omaha Marathons are too early for my liking and run a high risk for a warm day. I'm running the Good Life Halfsy, so Des Moines and the Nebraska Marathon are toast due to them being so close to the Halfsy.
Then, I stumbled across one that starts in Sundance Wyoming. Then I noticed that the race finishes in Spearfish South Dakota. What really piqued my interest was that, on my cross-state journey, the Boston-eligible and USATF-certified course starts at 6,624 ft and finishes at 3,654 ft above sea level. Aside from one hill from mile 2 to 2.5 (roughly), the entire course is downhill. A real quad-killer but, with the right training, the kind of course where I could lay down a good time. More importantly, I like doing really stupid things and racing a marathon with a net elevation loss of 2,970 ft seemed to be just that. So, after convincing Ashley that we should take a four-day weekend so that I could run a race, I threw down my cheddar cheese and it all became real. It will also be sort of a partial run nebraska getaway, so four of the Partners will be checking off yet another state in a dual family vacation.
The race is capped at approximately 50 people. There is a very high BQ rate, but I'm not expecting to drop a sub-3:10 at this point in my decidedly average marathon career. I put my training plan together for a 12-week cycle. I went off of the same basic training philosophy as my last cycle, but with some harder workouts thrown in and lots of hill work. Specifically, lots of hill work pounding the downs. Once a week, I had a medium-long run (9-11 miles) where I would do repeats over the railroad viaduct in good ol' Fremont, running the uphill pretty easy and then pushing the downhill. While I won't run this race at that pace, I had to get my legs used to the punishment. This may sound stupid (let's face it, most things out of my mouth usually sound pretty dumb), but this has been one of my favorite workouts.
Last cycle, I tapered for 2 weeks. Since I had a shorter ramp-up time this phase, I'll put in a long run of 18-20 miles 2 weeks before the race (my 5th run of 18-20 miles this segment). The week before the marathon is my prescribed "down week", but I'll still drop about 35 miles. I instituted this down week philosophy every 3rd to 4th week in my training to dial back the mileage, while still having some good intensity on my workouts. While this may sound like a well-constructed plan, I largely have no idea what the hell I'm doing.
Another thing I've done during this cycle more than others is weight training. In most weeks, I've gotten in the gym (my garage) at least once for a heavy lifting session and, in most weeks, have done another body weight type of workout. This has involved squats, deadlifts, power cleans, plyo work, pull-ups and a whole bunch of other stuff. I've focused on heavy weights, lower reps and it seems to work. I think?
As of this writing, I'm 3 weeks out from race day and I'm really excited. I'm also nervous that catastrophe will strike and I'll either go out too fast and shred my quads like they're Ninja Turtles or have to poop or something just as bad. I feel prepared, though, and I feel pretty fit. I've never had a race like this, so I'm honestly not sure what to expect. However, I've always been good at running downhills, so maybe this'll be a good thing. Time will tell. Stay tuned, amigos.