Saturday, May 14, 2011

18-mile Training Run--Vancouver

Did an 18-mile training run in preparation for the Vancouver USA Marathon coming up June 19.  After coming off of a spectacular performance at the Eugene Half-Marathon where I smashed my half-marathon PR by 9 minutes and accomplished a life-long goal of finishing 13.1 miles in under 2 hours, I am setting my sights on the Vancouver USA Marathon and the 4 hour mark.  I know it won't be easy to keep the pace necessary for that long of a distance.

Today's weather was pretty warm and it didn't affect me until about mile 8 or so.  But the route for today's run would be the first 13 miles of the VUM which so happens to be also the most boring.  Heading from Esther Short Park and out Mill Plain towards Vancouver Lake and Frenchman's Bar on the Columbia.  From the sounds of it, you'd think it would be scenic, but to the contrary.  You pass by the Port of Vancouver which is rather industrial and the scene is generally flat with not much to look at.  The lake is off in the distance and a person is left with his mind and his thoughts pretty much.

At mile 2 another runner overtook me.  An older man wearing running shorts that looked like the american flag, with stars and stripes and everything.  He was also wearing a Survivor Sunday Indoor Triathlon shirt from the 2010 event.  I just so happened to be wearing the same shirt from 2009 which was neon yellow.  We chatted it up for about 4 minutes or so.  He is also doing the VUM and expects to finish in 3:30.  Ironically, his name is Mike, too.

There were several folks out this direction riding their bikes.  Looked like a cycling or triathlon coach had his folks doing some laps for training.  This is a good place to do bike training since it is generally low traffic and is flat.  Plus an out and back is about 14 miles.

I made it into the Frenchman's Bar after about an hour and it was mile 7.  I took a short break to catch my breath.  Beautiful setting, little wind, nice and warm.  I should bring the kids here this summer.  They'd love the beach and the sand and the play structure.

My training plan had me doing 9:30 for the first 5 miles and then 9:00 for the next 9.  I did ok with the 9:30 part and most of the way, I kept it at 9:00 or better.  But when I got to mile 9 I had to go up an overpass and chose to walk up most of it. I was getting pretty tired.

For nutrition I had 2 bottles of G2 and 2 bottles of EnduroMax.  I am trying out the EM to see if it is any better.  I also had 4 gels for the day.  Plus EnduroLyte caps, tylenol and flintstone vitamins. I wasn't leaving anything to chance today.  18 miles is a long way.  That is when the wheels start to fall off for most people.

I made it back to the truck at mile 14.4.  I refilled my bottles and headed out for a few more miles, but this part would be on the more scenic routes around downtown, the Columbia River and Ft. Vancouver.

Such a gorgeous day.  The section at Ft. Vancouver was my favorite.  Beautiful green grass, the kind of grass you love to run through, or roll down a hill or just lie in and look up at the clouds.  The trees were in bloom, the flowers were in bloom.  Everything spoke of late spring.  Officer's Row was especially beautiful with the 19th century houses.  I got a chill of excitement as I ran through here thinking how great it will be to run through here on race day.

I finished at Mile 18.2 in 2:52 and shortly thereafter Wendy arrived to go to the Saturday Market.  A fantastic run.  Pretty challenging in some spots.  But if I am going to make the 4 hour mark, I need to do a bit better than this.  I'll have to keep up with the training and the speed work.  Wish me luck!

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