No, I did not break the elusive 4:00 marathon. I didn’t even try.
I’ve missed it by 2 minutes in 2019 (the Dopey), and 9 minutes at this race in 2020.
I did manage to beat last year’s disaster by a mere 6 minutes.
I came in almost exactly the same time i have at least twice before, when I was new to marathoning.
The difference is this time I didn’t fade from a 9 minute mile pace for the first 18 miles to 10-13 minutes and a lot of walking the last 5.
The goal was to run consistently from start to finish without any fade and I did that.
So it was an anemic, if not not strong marathon performance and the perfect setup for my next challenge.
Sailing along around mile 22:
Something happened to me after last year’s marathon.
It might have been related to the race or not, who knows.
Anyway I lost my aerobic endurance. I’d go out and run 2 or three miles and I’d be heaving for breath while my heart pounded and soared.
The doc said I was fine.
There’s a runner’s saying: if you can’t run fast, run long.
I was running long and also reasonably fast. At least for the 5k, 10k, and ½ marathons. Not bad paces for a middle aged, self trained duffer.
And I still hadn’t broken the 4 hour marathon.
So if I can’t run long and fast-ish, what can I do?
After a couple of months I hit on the idea of the structured run/walk, thanks to Klys (you remember Klys) who’s the expert in that area.
And it seemed to work as I’ve been running steadily and increased the weekly mileage slowly.
I switched to a running/heart rate watch to monitor my pulse and it’s only alarmed once or twice in 4 months.
And it’s not that I can’t run long. It’s that if I’m not able to challenge my personal records, I can run those distances any time - I dont need an official race.
And, and, if for now, my 4 hour marathon is not achievable, there is something else that is. Going even longer into ultra territory, because they’re slower.
Tthat means the 50k Keys ultramarathon that I ran in 2019.
I ran Saturday’s marathon as if it was the 50k to simulate if the 50k was still possible. And it is.
It’s “only” 5 miles more but because of the heat, it involves strategic walking and other logistics.
This is the finish. That face says I could go 5 more. Ok, maybe unhappily, but we’re not graded on that.
After my first (and only) 50k, I made a much better plan for the next time. 2020 was cancelled due to covid.
And last May, 2021, I was sorting all this heart rate stuff out so I never got to test whether I had it figured out.
This marathon more or less confirmed that I have a really good chance at the ambitious goal I have in mind.
Plus, by pushing my heart rate limits, I may find it really was just a transient thing and… well that’s for later.
Meanwhile, we’ve been busy and #thegreatpoolpondconversion goes on.
We’re working on posts for
- the solar distribution system
- bird feeders and the hoop house
- more seascaping in the pond
- field plans, including irrigation and more rototilling
- and possibly a constantly flooded hydroponic grow bed