Final Countdown and Pacing


Workout – oh my taper.  I think I will enjoy it this week.  Last week was still too far away from the marathon to enjoy a taperlicous, exercise easy week.  This week – bring on the taper.  embrace it.  welcome it.  love it.  On Saturday I did 30 minutes each on the elliptical and stairclimber, totalling 10 miles.  The crazy non long run is a thing of the past, I hope.  Rest Sunday.  Today, easy elliptical, 30 minutes, 4 miles.  easy 10 minutes on stairmaster.  lots of stretching.  I tested out item #2 from my Lululemon shopping last week.  

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Speed short.  I wonder if they will make me faster.  This is the item that originally sucked me into Lululemon, hardcore.  When I was pacing my hubs for his 100 mile Ultra marathon last summer, I saw a few women wearing these adorable little shorts.  because I’m a follower, and running is all about being fashionable, I had to know where they were from.  I love my running skirts, but the shorts looked awesome.  I asked the woman, and she spoke the words that have changed my workout wardrobe.  for the better.  Lululemon.  I went to the store last summer, and didn’t end up buying the shorts because there were so many other treats that I wanted.  I satisfied my speed short craving and got them last week.  short shorts.  just like my short skirt.  love them.



I hope everyone had a fantastic Easter weekend.  I hosted 23 people for Easter.  In my home.  With no oven.  THAT is the way to do a holiday.  Everyone bring the food to mama.  I’ll cut up some fruit for a salad and buy a cheesecake.  Fantastic.  and we had quite the spread.  It was a brunch themed/turned dinner themed/all sorts of different food themed meal.  all over the place.  all delish.

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D man and I ended the day with a little Unbreakable.  My husband is running the Leadville 100 mile endurance race this summer.  He has done the VT100 mile race three times, and the 50 mile ultra twice.  The goal is to finish under 24 hours to get the coveted belt buckle.  it’s about the size of my thumb.  ok, maybe a little bigger, but not the size of Texas big.  Third time’s a charm – he got the buckle this last summer.  so proud.  Jeannie, over at Reclaiming Jeannie, whose husband does these crazy races and actually places in them, recommended this movie to me.  Like a good little wifey, I bought this movie a couple months ago for the hubs to enjoy.  I hadn’t seen it yet.  until last night.  WOW.  Unbreakable is unbelievable.  It chronicles the top 4 male runners who ran Western States 100 miler in 2010.   

The winner, Geoff Roes, finished in 15 hours and 7 minutes.  insane.  fastest anyone has every run that race.  Of course I figured out the pace – that’s a 9 minute mile.  for 100 miles.  19,000 feet elevation gain.  running through snow.  8 minutes behind Geoff Roes was Anton Krupicka.  In training, he would run 150-200 miles a week.  he has three masters degrees and is working on his PhD in something that I need a PhD to pronounce.  no big deal.  I could run 200 miles a week.  if I really wanted to try and kill myself.

Movie = 2 thumbs up.  I am planning on running (I’m registering the second the registration opens on May 25th.  it’s in my calendar) the VT 50 ultra this fall.  That will allow me to run the VT100 next summer.  crazy girl.  but how many marathons can you run before needing something new?  this will be something new.  I don’t imagine myself ever doing triathlons.  unless I want to drown.

Let’s focus on the race at hand for a moment.  or a few moments.  or all week.  this will likely be the first of a few posts chronicling my journey through another round of pre-race anxiety.  enjoy the ride.


As I have said, pacing properly is a skill that I am lacking.  big time.  In case you don’t believe me, I am going to show you what I mean.  you have to promise me one thing –  don’t laugh at the computer when you see what you are about to see.  me showing you this is akin to one of those dreams you have where you forgot to put on an important piece of clothing (like your shirt or your pants, minor details of dressing) on your way to an interview, or the grocery store.  or walking into high school.  tell me I’m not the only one that has had that dream?  I’m making myself vulnerable to my horrendously embarrassing pacing disorder.  I can’t do it.  Therein lies some of the pre-race anxiety about a marathon.  How do I pace correctly, what is my plan, and how do I learn how to pace without stalking the garmin?  The answer will follow….first the evidence of pace-itis (from my November 2011 marathon, 4 weeks after my October 2011 marathon)

Miles 1-13

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There she is – that blazing mile 7 at 6:19 pace.  was I being chased by a wild mountain lion?  what is the reasoning behind that???  Surely that did not help stave off my end of marathon fatigue and utter misery.  It contributed magnificently to my awesome positive split race, however.  I’m good at that.

Miles 14 – 26.2

Mile 14 is when my left IT band decided to kick in and my left leg decided it didn’t want to be part of the race anymore.  really bad.  intermittent leg buckling going on for the next 8 miles.  not cool.  hence, further pace destruction went down.  it’s almost comical to me.  as long as it doesn’t happen again this weekend.  and we fall into the 7 minute miles.  never to gain the speed back again.  and then come the 8’s.  oh boy.  painful to look at.  definitely not comical.  this is an example of what not to do in a race.  Don’t ever ask me to pace you to a PR.  Miles 14-23 were the worst knee pain I’ve ever had.  2nd female passed me at mile 22.  by mile 24 I was just shot.  until someone told me at mile 26 that 3rd female was about 10 second behind me and I booked it. 

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This is where races are great for learning about yourself.  and your running.  and the pretty rough display of pacing abilities.  My October marathon last fall was equally disastrous with the pacing, holding 8 minute miles for the last few.  I really don’t want that to happen again.  This race coming up is the first race I have ever done speedwork for.  I am hopeful that it pays off.

My goal is not to have negative splits (you the second half of the race is faster than the first), but to have even pacing all the way through.  It would be great to not have positive splits, unless my half marathon time is insanely fast.  then I will take a positive split (second half of race is slower than first half).

There was an article recently in Runner’s World about pacing and how it can be tough to ‘get it’.  It takes practice.  Runners rely so heavily on the gps watch.  totally guilty of that.

You can read the whole article HERE.

Here’s the gist of it –

Run without your watch sometimes to learn the “feel” of your own pace.

Another ARTICLE talks about negative vs positive splits (negative splits are old news and even pacing is the new thing), how your mental state going into a race can effect your pace, and how to save your race if you get off your pace.  probably all things I should learn and study and know like the back of my hand.  but my garmin does all the work for me.  so I probably won’t learn any of it.  ever.

My Plan

I could probably tell you what pace will result in what marathon time from a 2:55 to a 3:10.  I go pace crazy.  I’m going to rely heavily on my garmin (garmin gods please be in my favor and let it work properly the whole time.  thanks) and I’m going to stick to my 6:50 pace through the half way point and take it from there.  If I feel good, I will pick it up and pray the last 10K treats me well. 


There’s the pacing plan.  Lots of rest will be going down this week.  Lots of icing.  Lots of stretching.  Lots of praying.  I have one run planned on Wednesday and I guess I should probably do the so called ‘shake out’ run on Friday.  whoohoo.  4 days.


Do you rely on your watch for pacing?  Are you good at pacing without a watch?

How was your Easter weekend?? 

Did anyone race or have any great runs?


About msfitrunner

I am a 29 year old stay at home, hardworking mom to my three little loves! My oldest little darling is 5, little sis is 4 and baby brother is almost 2. I have been married to my Mr. Wonderful for almost 7 years (ahhh!). My faith and my family is my rock, and I have a newfound LOVE for running. Maybe it's more of a necessity at this point - to maintain household peace and my own sanity, but whatever it is, it's working for me and I'm loving the racing. The vegan world has been calling my name, so I am testing out those waters as well! That's a tough one with three little picky eaters at home, but I am having fun coming up with new recipes and trying out new things. Follow along as I chronicle this crazy running life, and ALL the craziness that goes with it!

13 responses »

  1. Dang girl a 6:19 mile 7 in a marathon??? What do you have for breakfast premarathon? I think I need to get me some of whatever you’re having!

    Pacing is a tough thing to learn, and I’m certainly no genius at it, but the races I’ve ran where my splits were most consistent and I felt the best…I wasn’t even paying attention to my watch. Letting the watch tell me how to feel is exactly what over zealous folks like myself need to avoid. Run from the heart and your legs will follow, and that sounds completely and utterly useless as advice but I SWEAR IT WORKS!

    And yes those lulu shorts will make you speedier! (is that even a word??) Can’t believe this is race week for you!!!

    • You are so right about letting the watch tell me how I feel. I’m going to try to not look at the garmin every two seconds during this race, but it will be tough! Mostly because I’m afraid I will go too fast in the beginning and burn out in the end. It’s a tough balance!
      I will try to ‘run from my heart’ – good advice:)

  2. Your legs are so beautifully defined!! Do you do strength training in addition to cardio? Good job tapering…I can’t wait to hear how the race goes…I’m sure you’ll do fantastic!

  3. I am definitely getting better at running by feel and not by my watch; it is a work in progress though. I want to start mapping out a run and then leaving the watch at home but it is so addictive to know my pace at any given moment. Good luck for Gansett; I am sure you are going to kill it!!

    • Before the Garmin, I would map out my runs before I went and run by feel. I need to get more in the habit of doing that! Thanks for the well wishes – I need them!!:-)

  4. Thanks for the shout-out! I would LOVE, LOVE, LOVE to do VT 50/100 at some point. The 100 was my favorite of all of Kevin’s races to crew. Speaking of crew – how much of Leadville are you pacing? You should talk to Kevin – he has paced twice there & he can give you the breakdown mile by mile of what to expect. We still haven’t watched Unbreakable…Kevin wants to wait until he is back in training (I think Leadville 2013) otherwise he gets too bummed out that he’s not doing those races right now. I’m waiting until we get our new treadmill for some workout inspiration. The pacing stuff is interesting. Back in my day I was definitely a fan of the even split — so much easier to plan for. Is the whole fan going to watch Gansett?

    • I’m excited to get into the ultra running. Davey, on the other hand, is not so excited for me to be in his territory;-)
      It actually doesn’t look like I will be pacing him at Leadville. The details of getting us all out there and getting the kids covered was too much. He is going to go out and his friends will support him. That’s the plan at this moment, anyway!
      I hope your running is going well and I hope you are feeling better!

    • I was going to say, it might inspire you to stay away! 😉 No, it is definitely something I want to do. And I have NO idea how to train for something like that. My husband entered the lottery for WS this year and didn’t get in. He was bummed, but he’s doing Leadville. You should definitely watch unbreakable, if you can get your hands on it:)

  5. I definitely rely on my Garmin for pacing. I’m still working on getting used to a “faster” time. My usual race times are around 8:00 or 8:15, but I have gotten a little faster since last year, so I have to keep myself from freaking out when I see 7:30 or something. I always fear that if I maintain that pace I’ll lose a lot of steam at the end, but I recently ran a 10 mile race with a pretty even pace of 7:38. Hopefully I’ll continue to get faster and I can say (one day) that that’s a warmup pace :D.
    Good luck with the even pacing for the marathon! Sounds like a great plan!

    • That’s so exciting to see the faster times come up on the watch, and then to run a race at a faster pace! Stick with it, and you WILL make that your comfortable pace. That’s what happens with running:)


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