Friday, August 04, 2006

What's it Gonna Be?

As the previous post indicates, I've all but given up on the half marathon next weekend. I do have the time reserved to get off work, but I will probably still be here next week and not on a plane to Chicago.

In better news, the road closure that eliminated a majority of my running routes has been cleared, though there is still some water running over the roadway. I took advantage of this and visited dog poop trail and the surrounding areas for the first time since Sunday's impromptu aquathon. All told, it was 10 miles this morning at 6:55 pace. The humidity is still ridiculous and we're in for more rain this weekend, but this will have to end soon. The worst part is, we're still in the middle of a drought, even with all the recent rain and the carnage it brought along with it.

As I give up hope on the half marathon I'm looking to the horizon for the next marathon. Jason has put the idea of the California International Marathon in Sacramento on December 3 in my head, which sounds tempting. It's a slight downhill course without many turns, and without the 26 bands I've suffered through during my last three marathons. It seems like a nice, low-key affair that still offers a fair amount of prize money, though a 2:35 would only fetch 15th place or so and no share of the cash. One drawback to this race (aside from the usual travel woes) is that it occurs one week before the final race of my club's Grand Prix competition, which I won last year while the fast guys in town were MIA. This year I'm in a lowly 4th place, though I've missed one race in the series which I could get back by running well at the Tucson 1/2 marathon. I'd gladly trade the free shoes and year of race entries I won last year for a 2:35 marathon this year.

The other option is going back to Phoenix for the Rock and Roll marathon on January 14. This would give me more time to prepare, but would also leave me fighting to peak late enough if I ran the half marathon a month before. This gave me problems last year.

I have some time to think about this, but I'm leaning towards getting back to business next week and preparing for the California race. Stay tuned.

Training: 10 miles, 1:09:05, 6:55 pace


Sasha Pachev said...

Try Top Of Utah. Prize Money - $1000 - $500 - $250. First in age division - $50, so if your 4th you get $50 for sure. The course has about 1000ft elevation drop, but not as fast as it appears. However, it is decently fast. If you run 2:35, you have a very good shot for top 3. In fact, in the past history, the fastest 3rd place ever is 2:33:20 (2001). Recently, with more marathons offering money, third place has hovered around 2:37.

Phil said...


If you're looking for an alternate marathon in January and want to stay away from the noisy bands, check out the Carlsbad Marathon in Carlsbad California. Great weather, about 4000 runners, beautiful run along the ocean and a killer hill between mile 7 and 9. There is no Freeway running like San Diego. This is far from a flat fast course like the R&R Phoenix, but with your training running up through Sabino Canyon, you'd kick some serious butt against the local flat-landers.

Thomas Aquinas said...

I would never, ever accept a 2:35 with a 1000-foot net drop as a legit PR. Downhill races like that don't count. Who cares about prize money. No way. Mike, run CIM. It's a fair race.

Mike said...

Thanks for the suggestion Sasha, but I am looking for a legitimate PR. If I really wanted to just go fast I could run the Tucson marathon, as that also loses more than 1000 feet of elevation. I'm somewhat surprised at the courses athletes in the US have used to get the qualified times to run at the Olympic trials, and I suspect they will change their stance in the future.

Dallen said...

How about Disneyworld?

I don't think you are intending to run a marathon in September, so top of Utah is a moot point anyway, but from personal experience I would say that it could be a fast race, or a slow one. It just depends on one's ability to endure downhill running. If you specialize in downhill running, like Sasha, then a very fast, but not legitimate. time is possible. Otherwise you will end up like me with a very fast first 18 miles followed be 8 miles of pain once the course flattens and gravity has already destrotyed the legs.

Evan said...

CIM also has a record-ineligible drop over the length of the course, though it's deceptive apparently. It doesn't feel like you're losing hundreds of vertical feet.

In terms of going for a PR I really wouldn't discount the near home course advantage of running Phoenix again. You did mention the course wasn't terribly exciting.

I think we often sub-consciously under-rate the importance of knowing the course, not having to travel very far, being able to sleep in a familiar bed etc etc versus the course and weather profile.

Sasha Pachev said...

The downhill courses in the marathon have been accepted for a Trials qualifier forever. There is a good reason. Also, when a race director asks you what your PR is to see what privileges to give you, he hardly ever cares about the elevation profile. That is just life.
At the Trials they may add 3 minutes or so to your dowhnhill time and seed you lower, but they will still cover your expenses if you broke 2:20 in St. George, and would not even let you in if you ran 2:23 on a course with net uphill.