Yesterday was the Zoom! Yah! Yah! Indoor Marathon held in Northfield, MN and my 46th marathon state. The race itself was absolutely fantastic. Coach Dick and his whole family and crew were amazing, organizing such a fantastic race!
The race is held at St. Olaf College in Northfield, MN. Outside of the weather being completely intolerable to live in (I thought my toes fell off as soon as I got outside the airport) this campus is amazing. The architecture is gorgeous... I felt like I was in some sort of ice palace with old stone buildings surrounded by snow. The field house that held the track had a FULL climbing wall available for students and an overall pretty up to date gym facility. I was pretty impressed.
Northfield, itself, it pretty amazing too. The "downtown" is a couple of blocks of shops that have a very old saloon feel. It's such a cute little town with very friendly people. We stayed at the Archer Inn that has a tavern attached with live music at night.
The day before the race the organizers made the "course" (track) available for marathoners to test out for free for a few hours. It was great to get a chance to check out how the distance feels and get a feel for how it's all run. After the race we all met up for the packet pick-up then a FULL dinner at the St. Olaf College dining hall which is by FAR the MOST amazing college food I've ever tasted. It was hard not to dive into the bad pre-race foods even though they looked so good.
The limited time for packet pick-up and dinner was fantastic because it gave the 40+ marathoners and family/friends a chance to meet and greet which gave such a family feel to the whole race. That's not surprising since the race itself is run by a family. Coach Dick runs the race and his wife, Chris, is the coach of the XC team at St. Olaf who assist as the lap counters for the race. Their Daughter, Megan, was one of the runners and another daughter was spectating and cheering with her husband brand new baby. Dick had all of us stand up and did a little introduction and gave us directions then it was off to bed.
Shortly before the race we were introduced to our XC/Track member who would be counting our laps for us during the race then we were off. All of the counters had signs made with our names and they also gave us little name tags to pin to our backs so we could cheer each other on through the whole race. It also allowed for the spectators to cheer us on through the morning.
The race itself was exceptionally organized and the "change directions every 30 minutes went off really well.We couldn't have headphones so we could listen for oncoming runners, but they pipped in music that played through the whole field house.
The lap counters, race organizers, spectators, and even other runners made for the BEST spectators I've ever seen at a race. People are yelling your name throughout the ENTIRE race. And as you finish, the lap counters cheer your name for the entire last lap.
The race was going pretty well for me... felt pretty good and was going faster than I wanted to be (whats new, right?) and then we had a little emergency. A friend and fellow marathon maniac passed out and began to vomit and have what seemed like a seizure. All of the other maniacs stopped to try and help (not that we could do much) but fortunately there was actually a Dr running the race who stopped and helped SO much... thank you Dr. Bob! I stayed with them as long as I could then 2 other wonderful maniacs who were traveling with him went to the hospital and kept us updated.
By the time I began running again I had been passed by a few girls and honestly my heart just wasn't in it. I was very worried and just wanted to get the race over... and had 50 more laps to go! People have asked me if running in circles is bad... not until this point! With a goal in sight it's fantastic, but if your head isn't it in the laps go from passing by quick to feeling like each lap was a mile long. Unfortunately this is THE last MN marathon until Boston, so I had to finish or give up my goal of 50 in 50 by Boston... that was not going to happen!
With about a 10-15 min break, I managed to get in around a 3:51 so I have my sub-4 and I also got 3rd place woman. The best news was hearing that my friend was stable after being air lifted to a hospital in Minneapolis and was improving! I'm not saying anymore for privacy reasons for his family but I know he is a fighter and WILL be ok! Greg is one fantastic person, runner, and friend. He also has a running blog found here. Please keep him and his family in your prayers.
Indoor Marathons~ Lessons Learned
Since this is an arena most of us are very unfamiliar with, I thought I'd do a little section on how an indoor marathon is different from a normal marathon....
1) Distance! To measure the marathon distance, they use the shortest (inside) lane of the track but if you're passing people, you spend most of your time in the outer 2 lanes instead. So the race can be a lot longer than you expect. For example, this race was 150 laps total and 5.7 laps per mile on the inside lane, which is 26.32 miles (yes already well over 26.2) however... the middle lane is 5.5 laps per miles, which is 27.27 miles! If you're toward the faster half of the group, you would be running in the middle/outside lane most of the time and would be at the higher end of the 26.32 to 27.27 range!
2) Heat and Track Hack!! No matter what they do, there are 40 bodies running and more than that spectating... it's going to get hot! On top of that, you're susceptible to track hack. If you ever ran indoor track you know what I'm talking about... that cold/dry cough you get from running indoors during the cold winter. Going hot to cold or breathing in cold A/C while getting your body temp up will do this.
3) Drink More! You don't feel just how dry it is, like you do outside but it's actually harsher on the body than the heat, so drink more than you think you'll need! Fortunately, since you're indoors there are tables on every loop and available for drink/gu drops.
4) Cramping! There is a little more muscle cramping on this type of course because your legs are stiff from running in the same direction (30 minutes at a time) and not changing elevation. Hills allow for some of your muscles to get rest as the other make it up on up or downhills... with a flat course, you're keeping the same muscles in the same position for 26 miles. Also, with the increased heat and dryness you're more susceptible to cramping.
5) Music? Since there is a lot of passing, runners are unable to use headphones, but usually they pipe music in. If you're not used to hearing your own breathing, I suggest getting used to it by turning your headphones down during training runs.
6) Eyeing the competition! In most marathons, you don't know exactly where you stand against the front runners. You may know how many people are in front of you, but no idea if you're gaining on them. In these races you know EXACTLY where you stand and it's a whole new ball game.
7) Bathrooms! Port-a-john stops along a road are bad enough on time, but at a field house, you need to run all the way to the rest room so depending on how close the nearest resti is, you could seriously hurt your time with potty stops!
8) Control Freak! Most indoors marathons, assign lap counters, but if you're a control freak like me then you're constantly worrying that they missed one. Like this, you are less likely to zone out... and trust me, you do NOT want to think "only 130 more laps to go!"
WS 100 Training ~ Week 5!
This was the 5th week of WS training and the first week with a full marathon. I had to alter the "long runs" this weekend as I'll have to do to manage all my marathons. My long runs were supposed to be 18 miles and 10 miles, so a total of 28. Instead, I ran 4 on Saturday and 26.2 (possibly more.... see notes above) for a total of 30.2+. I thought, since it truly wasn't 2 long runs, I should add a few extra to make up for that.
Right now, my WS training is very important, 2nd only to FINISHING my last 5 states. So I'm trying to make a point to keep all my miles up, even if that means running the marathons a little slower, so I'm able to do more miles the day before and the day after. The was just the beginning... in a few months, I'll be expected to add miles after a marathon, then follow up the next day with another marathon!
|H-Hills WT-Weight Train SP- SpeedWork E-Endurance HR-Hill Repeats|
Ok that's enough for tonight. I was coming down with a cold and the cold weather, traveling, and running did not help the old immune system. Gotta rest up to kick this cold so I'll be set for THIS weekends marathons... Rock'n'Roll Arizona!!!!
"Run to Win" - Meb
Worried about getting injured? Need a boost in speed to hit a PR? Ask yourself... "Have I done my strength training today?!?"