I ended up having a great week but for different reasons that I would have thought. One of my son-in-laws was registered to run the Columbus Half Marathon on Saturday, but a death in his family had him fly out west to attend the funeral and spend some time with his family. He asked his sister-in-law, my daughter Rachel, who lives close to Columbus, if there was anyone that she knew who would want to use the registration. After several unsuccessful calls and a comment from her husband, she decided that she would take the registration and run it herself. She has been running and is in great shape, but she has not specifically been training for a half. I believe her longest run lately has been somewhere in the 4-6 mile range. Normally when training for a half, you would at least work up to 10-12 miles on your long runs.
I caught wind of this as part of a Facebook conversation. I thought I might have some good suggestions for her from what I have learned in my couple of years of training, but at the same time, I struggle with getting better and I am not that fast. But I have read, trained and seen what others have done so I thought I had an idea of how she could pull this off.
When I called, she was very open to my suggestions. I asked how fast she could run a mile and how some of here recent runs have gone. I was impressed by her running speed distances so I knew she had a shot at being successful. So I went to Jeff Galloway's site, plugged in her mile rate and it calculated that she could run a 10 minute mile during a half. I then looked up what her run/walk ratio should be and it turned out to be 3 minutes of running and 1 minute of walking.
Like I said she was very open to the idea. I told her to start at the back of the pack, keep to the side so when she stopped and walked that she would be out of the way. I also told her to not go out too fast. It is better to be a bit slow at first and if you still have extra energy at the end, to finish strong. I told her how I do my nutrition during a longer run.
She did great! She followed my advice to the letter and she finished at about 2:11 which was about 20 minutes better than her previous half. She was exited and now knows that she can do well at the longer distances with the training she is now doing. I was very happy myself. I was glad to be a part of her great race!
So now you know where Coach BGoody fits in. What about the bandit? In racing jargon a bandit is someone who runs in a race without paying. Guess who became an unintentional bandit on Saturday? Your's truly. Let me explain. I was scheduled for my last long run which was a 14 miler. As I explained before, it is good to not only practice your nutrition and pace during your long run, but anything you can do to simulate the course is of great benefit as well. All three of my half marathons as well as the upcoming Ogden Marathon are downhill races. To get used to the pounding, it is good to run a lot of downhill to get ready for what is coming. A good standby for me is to get dropped of up Provo Canyon somewhere and run down to home. I had a good route all planned out to go down South Fork and then catch the trail down from Vivian Park. I woke my son up and we drove up the canyon but found that South Fork was closed due to the Provo City Marathon. I knew the race was Saturday, but forgot that the route started up South Fork. Runners were just pouring down the road! I decided to just start running from Vivian Park where the top of the Provo River Trail is and run down, but that meant running with the half and full marathon runners. Holy cow! The trail was so crowded with runners that I had to carefully merge onto the trail. I tried to keep out of people's way and didn't take any water/sports drinks at the stops. I had my own water and after a couple of miles the crowd thinned out as the faster runners got ahead. So here I am both the bandit and the coach!
I had to readjust my route after I got out of the canyon. I parted ways with the runners when they funneled them all onto the road as I stayed on the trail. As I paralleled the runners before turning and heading west. I saw an older runner plugging along. He couldn't even stand up straight. It was inspiring to see him just keep on going despite an ailment that would be an excuse for most of us to throw in the towel. It was about this time that my daughter texted me and said she had about 1.5 miles left to go and was going strong. It gave me a surge of strength and I got a little teary eyed knowing how happy she was going to be crossing that finish line.
|You'll have to squint really hard to see the older runner up ahead.|
Long post, I know, but one last story. As I was running along I saw two young runners with shirts on that said, "We're expecting.... and expecting to finish." I couldn't help but catch up to them and tell them that I had one daughter who just had a baby, another who is expecting twins and a daughter who was running a half marathon in Columbus. There were smiles all around!
Hang in there and I will too!