Saturday, January 21, 2012

Race Strategy....

How important is it, really?

Obviously I think it is good to have some racing experience under your belt but we all start somewhere, with out first race at a new distance. Recently I was reminiscing about my 70.3. I finished in 7 hours and 8 minutes. Could I have done better? Probably not. Not during that race. BUT, it was my first time racing that distance. It was unknown. I had no idea what I was getting into. With that race under my belt and some, ok A LOT of lessons learned my next 70.3 will not be so disasterous. And by disastrous I mean the run wont be so disastrous.

During my reminiscing I also fondly reflected on my first marathon. Oh my first....I will always cherish that 4 hours and 9 minutes. Everything about it was magical. Looking back now I know I could have gone sub 4 hours BUT it was new. My first! I was afraid of what was to come. I was scared of The Wall. Scared of mile 21, 22 and every mile after that. It was new, uncharted territory. I was conservative.

I've been thinking about my Race Strategy for Big Sur. It's not a new distance at all, but it is a tough course. The toughest marathon course I will have done to date. I think. Portland topped out at 150 feet elevation gain, OKC marathon had an overpass...Vegas full, I don't really remember a hill. Seattle AMICA 1/2 marathon had an elevation gain topping out at 200 feet. Mercer Island 13.1 might come the closest to being the hardest course but still that one only has a top gain of 250 feet. I know I have done some tough, tough courses while living in the PNW but....

I have been to Big Sur, actually lived in Monterey for a couple of years. I know Highway 1 well and the hills and the terrain of the course. It is hilly. I pulled up the elevation this morning so that I could see exactly what I am in for.

It actually doesn't look too terrible. Miles 1-5.5 are gravy...downhill. Mile 5.5 to 9 only slightly concerning with a bit of a climb. But then I see mile 10-12....

I think there must be a bus from miles 10 to 12. Right?
Um? Is this legal? A 600 foot climb in two miles? It looks like I might need a pulley of sorts to haul me up. I guess I thought, overall it would be straight up for 26.2 miles. As The Hubs so lovingly, supportively, and univitedly pointed out "That's not hard. You start at 300 feet and end at 100 feet. It's all downhill."

Yeah. Ok.

So miles 10-12 are just unmentionable. Then, the last half of the course just looks like chaos. The first 9 miles are all normal then it goes into some sort of desperate tailspin of craziness.....Clear Good vs. Evil going on here.

So it's technically not straight up for 26.2 miles but it is a "moderately difficult" course. I should be able to make the 6 hour race cut off. Right? Yes. I think so.

J-Ninja and I have been talking strategy for this race and, as of now, have decided it is a destination experience race. We'll take our time, enjoy the scenery, snap some pictures, enjoy the bands and shoot for a 5 hour finish, 5:30 tops.

But what about all our killer training? We don't want it to go to waist, now do we? Nope. So it only makes since to use Big Sur as a training run...yes, you read that right. A training run. But what in the world do you need to run 26.2 miles in training for?

Well, for a 50k of course.

We have been searching for a 50k to do a few weeks after Big Sur and found one in South Carolina. The idea is that we will be going fairly easy at Big Sur, leaving us able to continue training, or at least able to cover the distance, about a month later.

A 50k is 31.06 miles, so what is another 4.8 miles anyway? Truth is, I have no idea...this is new, unchartered territory. It's fun to do something new, to have a new challenge hanging in front of me!

What are your plans for a NEW race???


  1. Oh this made me smile! I can hardly wait to watch this training! Woo hoo! You go girl!

  2. Oooh, I'm stalking a 50K (first) myself....

    Love those "firsts" :)

    Happy training!

  3. although Big Sur is a hard marathon, its gorgeous. My friend Elizabeth ran it last year, her recap for the marathon is here:

    if it gives you any indication of what to expect :)

    Happy training!

  4. Have fun at Big Sur, and good luck with the 50k! Crazy lady!

  5. Girl you got this!!!!!!! I will now start sending you Safeway cookies without guilt. :)

  6. Never done it, but from what I've heard about Big Sur I think it's a good plan to do it as a exerience rather than racing it.

    Most of my races this year are NEW because they're new locations/courses for me even though they're typical distances. Actually, I take that back... I'm doing a 30k which is also a new distance for me. Hmmm, gotta start training for that!

  7. *Just* 4.8 miles more, eh? Seeing as though I have yet to run a marathon, that idea of "just" a little more seems crazy.

    But you're right. And you'll be able to say you did an ultra marathon, right? A >>>50K<<<
    Only 5 more miles, but it sounds so much more badass. Thats the metric system for ya!

  8. Thanks for this post. The Rock and Roll Portland Half course and elevation chart were unveiled this week, and it has me freaked out. Now that I've seen this, I feel calm again.

    You, my dear, are a rock star.

  9. My friend and I are eyeing the Yemmassee, SC 'Filthy 5K'... I've never done one of these mud runs, but it looks like SO much fun! We're shooting for the end of April if her trainer 'okays' her. ;)

  10. Great post. In the next 2 years I want to do a Warrior Dash. I think that would be awesome!

  11. A lady at work is hoping to PR and go sub-2 on the MI Half. I was like 'Oh, I heard that course is hilly. LOL'.

  12. Good luck at Big Sur and on training for a 50K. That is so amazing! I can't wait to hear about your race and follow your training - you are a true inspiration!!


You're pretty much awesome!!


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