Thursday, October 11, 2007

Getting all technical and making predictions. . .

Whew, I got it done!

Here is the USTAF map and elevation of my monster run yesterday.

I took the roads off because I am paranoid. It could all be in my mind but yesterday a man in a black pick up truck passed me 3 times in the span of 4 miles. Sure he may have been lost but it seems I only notice men driving slowly past and looking at me--never women. But that is probably because the women asked for directions and know where they are going. At any rate, if I see the same car 2 times in less than 20 minutes I pull out my phone. I know that isn't a huge threat but I do call someone and give a description of the car/person so that if I go missing there will be clues.

Like I said, I'm paranoid.

But for those from the area to get an idea of the scope I started from an area close to Hwy 92 and ran out to the Lower Roswell Road area and then looped back.

Please note elevation chart.

This course was the most forgiving of the 3 24+ milers I mapped out when planning my run. Honestly, I am not really sure exactly what this chart is telling me but it looks like lots of rolling hills and few steep climbs and some nice downhills--at least that is how I remember it going. Not certain what the total climb of 1668 ft is referring to--the whole course? Or the total elevation change: 3,363 ft. Thoughts? Like maps, I'm not so good at reading charts either.

Okay, let's look at Chickamauga's elevation chart for comparison.
Can anyone by looking at these two charts tell me which course seems harder? Are they similar? It looks to me like Chickamauga is more forgiving but it could be that how the elevation is shown is deceiving. It does look like from the data that I have that I had greater elevation changes in my run. Is that right? Thoughts? Opinions?

Are you wondering why I am so preoccupied with the details of this particular run and not the others?

It is because the 24 miler is the bench mark run of my marathon training plan--and yes, I am using "plan" loosely. It is pretty much my "dress rehersal." I test out my nutrition--yesterday was 2 Expresso Love Gu's (these are the best!) and one vanilla Gu and about 50 ounces of water. For the race I will probably do 4 Gu's. I might use some electrolyte drink but they tend to give me dry mouth and make me want more water than I need.

The 24 miler is also important because the past marathons I have trained for the 24 miler generally tells me what I will do in the full 26 of the race. For example, for my first marathon I ran a 25 miler a month out. I finished it in 4 hours and 20 something minutes. I ended up running the Atlanta full in 4 hours and 8 minutes. For the OBX marathon I ran a 24 + training run in 3 hours and 45 minutes. I ran the full at OBX in 3 hours and 42 minutes a month later. I do think had it not been pouring rain I might have been faster. I can't recall if I did 24 miler for GA ING but I don't think I did.

So I am cautiously optimistic about what yesterday's 24+ miler is telling me. I finished in 3 hours and 36 minutes. An 8:48 pace. This time is of course minus the 3 times I stopped to refill my water bottle, have a GU, go potty and buy sunscreen. I always subtract the pit stop time since in a race I won't have to stop nor will have to stop at street lights. Experience has shown me that my time actually spent running is what really matters. And, for what it is worth, I think all the stopping makes it harder to get started. Just feels easier to keep going. But since I don't have a sag wagon or aid stations in training I kinda have to stop.

I should also say that yesterday was pretty much-- for me-- about as perfect weather as I could hope for--60's, breezy and sunny. This run was at least 20 degrees cooler than my other 20+ milers. Only thing better would have been if it had been overcast. Ever with the picky, I know. Anyway, experience has also shown me that I always get to have a perfect weather day for my 24 miler. Unfortunately experience also tells me that I always have horrible weather for my marathon.

So knowing all this and adding up my helter skelter training methodology I come up with a predicted marathon time of 3:35 for me. But we'll see how the rest of the training goes. I still have 30 days until the race for things to go from good to bad or from good to better.

Thoughts? Opinions? Advice?

Oh, one final post script: A big ole congatulations shout out to my buddy Joe at the Big Peach Running Company. He was the 4th American at the Chicago marathon. And get this, it was his first marathon. 2:29--very impressive.


  1. Well, as a woman, I would say pulling out your phone is a wise decision and definitely NOT paranoid. I call it running smart.

    As far as the map goes, except for the big hill at the beginning and the dip in the middle, I would say Chickamauga is flatter than your training run.

    I thoroughly enjoyed my run last night too. This cooler weather is awesome. I just hope it starts raining again soon so I don't have to move in search of water.

    Holy smokes, Joe is incredibly fast. Kudos!!

  2. I agree with Smart running and NOT being paranoid. I get followed as well. Why do they have to so creepy?

    Congrats Joe!


  3. You are so incredibly fast!!! Sounds like you're going to have a marathon PR for sure!

  4. Yay Joe! Does that mean he qualified for the Olympic trials?

    I think Wes is right about the hills. If you went up Lower Roswell, that is a big darn hill. Unlikely to get that in your marathon.

    Good for you on your run! : )

  5. Wes

    Joe is fast. And very nice. He answers all of my annoying questions with great patience.

    I am loving this weather. It makes me feel skinny--because the heat made me feel like I was hauling 80 extra pounds around with me.

    Don't even get me started on how much we need water. Remember, we have a landscacping company. We are so poor.

  6. Uhm Stick when are you going to unveil this super secret blog of yours?

    And serisouly, men stalk you all the time. You're hot. You have been voted prettiest and best personality. Bitch.

    So I miss you. We need to hang--especially now that we are no longer Pookie's maids. Kisses.

  7. Danielle!

    You are now my favorite commentor. Steph has long held the honors but flatter me like that and you'll give her a run for her commentor award.

    I sure hope I have a marathon PR but whatever. So long has I keep BQing so that when I can finally afford to go I'll still beable to run it. I just want to have a great race. And a PR would be nice too.

  8. Steph
    No he did't qualify. He needed sub 2:22 But I have on word from Steve that around the 20th mile when he knew he wouldn't hit his time and was some what releived as he really didn't want to have run another one of these things in 27 days. The trials are packed with some serious talent. I am excited to see how it all goes down. I am hearting Brian Sell. But there are someother underdogs that I hope rock it up. At any rate I have no doubt that Joe, if he sticks with it will have no problem getting sub 2:22.

    I actually went down lower Roswell but Robinson and Old Canton were a little soul crushing. Old Canton makes me cry. It is like forever hills--I always underestimate it because it just doesn't look that bad.

    And you know. I am just glad that there will be no Peachtree in this race.

  9. As the others have said, always err on the side of safety.

    So this is a great run you did. Usually the total climb refers to a sum of all the little and big hills that you did. Any time you're going uphill you're adding to this number. Total elevation change refers, I believe, to the total up and down... note that this number is more than twice the up because the end altitude was a little lower than the start. No matter how you look at it, there were some good hills on your run!

    Comparing the two charts is tricky because the Chichamauga one crunches everything down. But let's look at the two big climbs at Chic. They're about 300 feet tall (from 750ft to 1100ft and from 500ft to 750ft). Compare that to the run you did yesterday where the biggest climbs seem to go from 900ft to 1100ft (200 feet tall). The climbs yesterday were longer and less steep. The climbs at Chic appear to be steep and sudden.

    It'd be a lot more valuable to look at the rest of the Chic course though. One option is to go to and build the Chic course on your own (tedious). But once you do you can click the link on the left for a Large Elevation and see what you've got. Sorry, hate to give out homework :)

    Sounds like you're running some great splits. You were faster on your 24 miler than I was on my long run on Wednesday.

    Great to see you back from the cold/flu/whatever you had (I still have nightmares where I get what you had!)

  10. Joe
    You are definitely a man that understand charts and diagrams.

    Aside to all--You guys should check out his blog. (in side bar JoeReger)Talk about charts, diagrams and data collecting!--

    Glad you came along. I was thinking the Chick chart was deceiving since it was presenting the data differently. The short and sweet/steep hills are much better than the long slow ones where I am like is this a hill? Why I am I so slow? Is there something wrong with gravity?

    I appreciate the input and advice and will be attending to my homework presently.

    Yeah, and I was only faster because all I do is run not swim for an hour and bike for 6. You and me both know you can blow me away any ole time you feel like it.

    I am having nightmares about it coming back! Like I said, stay healthy. I wouldn't wish the soul crushing sinus infection on anyone. Well maybe the first doctor I saw who wouldn't give me antibiotics.