Friday, May 29, 2015

Sunny Time in Lake Town

Sunny Sunday saw me dash along the shores of Lake Coeur D’Alene in the eponymously named town that sits along its northern edge.  Marathon 58 and state 32 swiftly passed satisfactorily, if not swimmingly in 4:02 - my fastest time since January 2014.

After three marathons (Waco, Little Rock and Louisville) that featured rain (at times downpours), a race where no outerwear featured provided a chance to fully enjoy being outdoors.  The Coeur D’Alene name - Heart of the Awl - refers to the French name applied to the local native American tribe.  According to the official CDA website - - the native name of the tribe is Schitsu-umsh.  That translates to “those who were found here” or “the discovered ones” and alternatively the tribe was known as the Old Ones.  The French Canadian trappers appellation refers to the CDA tribe’s excellent skill with mercantile works and their shrewdness in trading.  This is probably why the Schitsu-umsh were one of the wealthier groups in the northwest Americas.  They settled various villages long lake Coeur D’Alene and the surrounding rivers.  Today, just 2,000 number the population and they live off the revenue from a casino, tourism and government funds.

The race itself does very little (nothing) to actually refer to the native peoples.  This may not be a true fault of the race but rather a comment on the community in general which is now a thriving tourist destination with plenty of seasonal residents from most of the western states.  The town itself is compact and clean.  The city area by the lake - where the race transited before heading south along the eastern shore - is full of wide paths and small streets.  Quaint shops dot the streets and the residential areas looked pleasant.   70º degree weather and mostly clear skies I am sure contributed to this feeling.  The day before the race, I walked along the lake shore and small beach, populated by many, many families enjoying the fine weather.  Music played from various speakers and footballs and frisbees flied fleetly through the fresh air.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Running for the Roses

American Pharoah
American Lairdo

American Pharoah just blasted past two horses to win the 141st Kentucky Derby.  I would love to write that I did the same to win the 14th Kentucky Derby Festival Marathon the weekend before on April 25th.  However, I would need the field to be about 7 slow people in total rather than my fellow 1500 rain soaked runners.

Sparkling times in the 3:30s seemed to have fully slipped out of my grasp, and this race, thanks to a few longer bathroom stops was my slowest marathon ever at just under 4:45.  I’ve spent more time on a course but only for longer distances.  In fact, I completed two 50Ks (31 miles) faster!

So whilst state 31 got notched where ever one notches completed marathon states, I need to look at other qualities of my runs rather than purely completion time.

First, just finishing really needs to be goal one.  Determination and heart cannot be ignored when running 26.2 miles.  The distance and time both are too long to do it all on skill and physical ability.  Or perhaps more accurately stated, part of the skill needed is mental.  This is less about willing myself to keep running (usually) but more this is about running well.  Can I keep a good pace, my heart rate in a good zone and my mind clear?  Yes on this race at least!

The Mighty Ohio
So, second is setting a plan and trying to hit it.  When I go out running, I have a preconceived idea of how I will run.  Is the first half flat and the second half hilly?  Do I try to for negative splits (2nd half faster than the first)?  Do I want to pass lots of people at the end?  What is my time goal, and what is a stretch one?  In the end, I need to respect the conditions on the course.  So, with rain for the entire race (pretty much), I knew my time would be slower and yet also I would not overheat.  Everything is a trade off.  Had the day been hot or humid, the time would have been even slower.  But you do not want to bonk at mile 18 and not finish.  This is meant to be fun after all, and it is.