Monday, September 1, 2014

August Scorecard

When I didn’t have a race on the first weekend of August, I felt lazy.  I finished the month with four marathons, but only because there were five weekends.  By contrast, July had only four weekends, but I ran six marathons.

I didn’t have any weekends with more than one race, and none of the races had unusually difficult courses, so I had high hopes that I could run fast times in all four of them.  Here’s how I did.

On August 9th, I ran the Paavo Nurmi Marathon in 3:39:32.  Last year, I ran it in 3:28:58, so I knew 3:30 was doable.  This year, it was hotter.  I didn’t drink enough in the early miles and the combination of heat and dehydration wore me down.  Still, I was disappointed with my time.

On August 17th, I ran the Rockies Marathon in 3:08:46.  This was a very fast course, descending 4,500 feet.  I took advantage to run my fastest time in two years.  I also won my age group.

On August 23rd, I ran the Wausau Marathon in 3:54:50.  It was 69 degrees with 100% humidity, and I completely fell apart in the second half.  Still, I took second in my age group, which says something about how tough the conditions were.

On August 30th, I ran the Marquette Marathon in 3:26:16.  This was another fast course.  It was raining, and I was feeling tired, but I pushed myself hard and took third in my age group.

As I mentioned in another post, I often view 3:30 as the dividing line between good races and disappointing ones.  I recognize that that’s not always a realistic goal.  Some courses are unusually difficult and sometimes I do races on consecutive days.  This month, I went into every race with hopes of breaking 3:30.  Two were faster, and two were slower.

It’s worth noting that I struggled with hot and/or humid conditions in the two races that were slower.  It’s also worth noting that my two faster races were on downhill courses.  I placed in my age group in three of the four races, but I don’t like to use age as an excuse for slowing down.

The tiebreaker was the Rockies Marathon.  I was especially happy with that race, because my time not only qualified me for corral B at the Comrades Marathon, but will probably also put me in the first wave at the Boston Marathon.  I also showed improvement running downhill, which used to be one of my weaknesses.

Overall, it was a good month, but only marginally.  September will be more challenging.  I have six races, but in four of them, I’ll be hard-pressed to break four hours.

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