08 December 2010

Words from the Sage

This is will be my best bit of running advice that I am sending out to all the fellow running bloggers who are training to run in a first marathon or hope to one day run in a marathon.  I learned this the hard way.  It was told to me by a seasoned runner, and I just up and ignored it.  Perhaps if I had been shown pictures of how things can turn out when good advice is ignored, I might have heeded it.  But words... yeah, words fell on deaf ears.

I am not an amazing runner.  I am just kind of average-ish, slow-ish.  When I was younger I was a little better than average-ish and more medium-ish in terms of speed.  Running was cross-training for my rowing.  Then I left my rowing town and didn't know what to do with myself.  I decided I needed to run a marathon, mostly because it sounded really hard (and I am all about taking on challenges... remember the name of the blog?)  and one can pretty much run anywhere.  So I hooked up with Team In Training and did the California International Marathon.  I had set out to do it in under 4 hours (9 min/mile pace)  and had no idea what to expect.

So here is the advice... and you know, honestly, this advice could kind of apply to life...

 Don't go out too fast... no matter how great it feels. 

If you have been training well for your first marathon, you have a good sense of your pace.  You kind of already know what is a realistic goal.  Then you just need to do the math and figure out what minutes per mile you'll need to be hitting to realize that goal.  Pay attention to this!

I am going to provide you with pictures of my first marathon so you can SEE the wisdom of this advice.  SEE IT.  You are probably going to laugh.  You will probably wince.  And you will probably be wondering "what the heck does that woman have on her hands?"  Socks.  And you will probably be wondering "didn't that massive, long braid drive her INSANE whipping around like that for 26.2 miles?"  Yes.

So here you go... XLMIC circa 1996... CIM... just a couple days more than 14 years ago (wow... I am getting old):

This is me looking pretty speedy and happy... at the halfway picture station, clipping along at 7:30/mile... yes, you read that correctly... 7:30... danger!  warning!  I was INSANE...

And then 13 miles later, I was totally paying that ol' piper... OMGosh... my then-fiancé came up to cheer me on and I was so nasty to him at the 25-mile mark... I kind of can't believe he still married me... I was in that Bataan Death March mindspace... hurtin' for certain...

and this is what it looked like...

THAT, my friends, is the visual of going out too fast.  I still did finish in under 4... 3:49 and something... but it was a miserable experience.

Incidentally, my second (and last) marathon was the same one a year later.  I went out at 8:45/mile and hit within 5 seconds of that per mile for the duration.  Only one potty break.  Finished in 3:53 and something.  And it was SO FUN!!!!  Wish I could find those pictures!

That's what it's all about, right?  

FUN.  :)


  1. LOVED the photos!! You are hardcore. You are an experienced great runner and I am going to take your advice!! Have a great weekend!

  2. First I want to say thanks for coming over my blog and for the nice comments...and second I am taking your advice for my half not always easy to start easy when the legs are fresh and rested.

  3. Thanks for sending me to this post. I did my calculating on Mcmillain and they are the ones that threw out the 4:02 time...I am going to figure out the splits and write them on my arm....thanks for the great advice!!! I don't want to crash and burn....


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