7:39. Lather. Rinse. Repeat 25.2 Times.

Let's get started already!(photo courtesy Jeff Siner, the Charlotte Observer)


This is it.  4 days to go.  And since it’s taper week, I’m not running tonight.  Might as well squeeze in one more blog entry before the race.  Here are some random notes on what’s been happening.

On Weight:

I’ve dropped some weight since Richmond in hopes that shedding  pounds would help me run a little faster.  My Blue Ridge Relay teammate Bruce – see his comments here  – told me that each extra pound costs you 2 seconds a mile.  I weighed right at 170 pounds for Richmond and ran a 3:34:11, or about 8:10/mile pace.  2 days ago, I weighed in at 160.  Assuming that I don’t gain any weight by Sunday, that Bruce’s formula is correct, and that I’m at least the same fitness level as I was for Richmond, I should be able to run some 20 seconds per mile faster, or 7:50 pace.  Still not good enough. But…

On Race Time Predictors:

The Yasso theory states your average time for 10 x 800 meters, with 400 meters rest between each repeat, is a good predictor of your marathon time. My latest set of Yasso’s averaged out to about 3:16.  But, and this is a big but, what I’ve dubbed the Linz formula – Aaron Linz  told me that your Yasso time + 10 has always been more accurate for him – has me at a 3:26.  And the Linz formula was spot on for my Richmond race when my last Yasso workout times averaged to right at 3:25.

When inputting my Thunder Road half marathon time of 1:35:36 into The McMillan Race calculator , it predicts a marathon time of 3:21:37 for me, a tantalizingly close time to my BQ of 3:20:59.

If you average the 3 of these predictors – Yasso, Linz, and McMillan – you get 3:21.  Mull that over.

On Fueling:

I spent a lot of thought and tried a lot of fueling options before finally settling on my race day choice.  Laura filled my Christmas stocking with about 25 gels of various brands and flavors.  I did a lot of experimenting. 

While I really liked the respective flavors of the mint chocolate GU and the kiwi strawberry Accel gel, they were, as were many of the other gels, just too thick.  It took some pretty significant effort to get the gels out of their pouch and into my gullet.  Next.

I meant to try CarbBoom gels, the ones that will be provided at various stops along the Shamrock marathon course, but I procrastinated and waited too long to track them down.  I did email Chris, the manager of the University area Run For Your Life store (where I buy 90% of my running gear) and asked him if they carried CarbBoom.  They don’t.  I looked on the CarbBoom website for nearby stores that carry it.  The website listed Harris Teeter on Gilead Road in Huntersville.  I went there the other day, before my last long run and last chance to experiment, but they no longer carried CarbBoom either.  Too late to track it down now.

Enter the Powerbar gel.  I like the raspberry cream flavor, but no more than the mint chocolate GU or kiwi strawberry Accel.  The advantage of Powerbar?  Viscosity.  This gel is much closer to a pure liquid state, closer to say a thin syrup than a thick gel.  It comes out, and goes down, easily and quickly.  I tested it out on a longish run and things went well.  Winner.  I bought a half dozen of them to carry during the race. 

On the Week Leading Up To the Race:

I ran my last ‘hard’ run yesterday – a 2 mile warm-up, 5 miles at goal marathon pace, and a 2+ mile cool-down.  I was miffed early in the marathon pace portion as I couldn’t hit the splits.  But I do this all the time, forgetting that the Clark Creek trail goes uphill towards Mallard Creek/Prosperity Church road.  I ran a 7:41, a 7:55, and a 7:44 on the way out.  Anger.  Dismay.  How can I possibly drop 26 7:39’s in a row on Sunday if I can’t run 5 in a row on Tuesday? But on the way back, the next 2 miles, 7:19 and 7:25, felt much more comfortable.  Relief.  Calm.

Now only 2 short, easy runs stand between me and the big race on Sunday.

Final thoughts:

Believe me, I know how crazy this is going to sound, but I’m sharing anyway.  All week I’ve been trying to get in the right frame of my mind.  I walk around and whisper ‘7:39’ to myself.  I want to plant subliminal messages in my head, somehow trick my brain into forcing my legs to keep knocking out 7:39’s post mile 20, long after my body begs me to quit.  I know that I’m physically capable – I just need everything to go right at once and I need to somehow mentally prepare for the agony that invariably occurs in the bonk of the last 6 miles.  Maybe muttering 7:39 over and over like a mad man will do the trick.

I’m anxious.  I’m excited.  I’m ready to toe the line.  Let’s do this.

See you at the finish line.


One Response to “7:39. Lather. Rinse. Repeat 25.2 Times.”

  1. Aaron Says:

    Love the Linz formula! I think it actually is about 5-6 sec off and I do yassos with less rest as a full 400 is a truckload of rest. But your math all looks good except u need to get sub 3:20 🙂 u have done all u can so go have some fun! Should be a blast running there. Great last couple miles to inspire u to finish strong. Ya love the 7.39 chant. I have been burnin 6:10 into my brain for months… My Boston target splits. Can’t wait to see how it goes so I look forward to next weeks blog! Thx for sharing last minute thoughts. I freakin hate the last week before a marathon! Run already right 🙂 all good energy to channel towards the 2nd half of your marathon.

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