Thursday, July 08, 2010

Tulsa Time!

After planning to do so for a few weeks, I finally registered for the Williams Route 66 Marathon, to be held in Tulsa, Oklahoma, this November. This will be my third marathon, but my first outside Memphis. (Since the Memphis race takes place only 13 days after the Tulsa marathon, I’m not planning to run the full marathon here this year, though I am hoping to at least jog the Half Marathon.)

Why Tulsa?

My Dad lives there; running in this race gives me a nice excuse to go see him and my stepmom for a long weekend.

Do you know anything about the course?

The length—26.2 miles! Nah. From what I’ve read about it, the only relatively hilly sections come in the first 14 or 15 miles. The race ends with a several-mile out-and-back along the Arkansas River (which bisects the city), which, while perhaps not offering much in the way of scenic variety, should at least be nice and flat.

Do you have a goal finishing time?

Sure—3:15, which would qualify me for Boston. But since I’ve yet to even finish under 3:30, I’m really hoping to do at least that this time. In my first marathon, I was probably prepared to finish in about 3:30 to 3:35 but got greedy on race day—after 16 miles or so at the pace for 3:15, my legs completely wore out and I struggled to reach 3:42; last year, I ran at a 3:30 pace but experienced a leg cramp at the 22.5-mile mark and had to run/walk to the finish (at just under 3:39).

Any strategies for improving your time and experience from the first two?

First of all, I’m going to build in a little more speedwork into my marathon training. Hal Higdon’s Advanced training schedule does just that, substituting some focused speed- and hill-related running for a few of the “regular” runs. The actual total mileage should be about the same as in the Intermediate plan (which I followed last year).

Second, I’m going to go back to my less-is-more preference regarding clothing and such. Last year, I bought compression pants and also wore an IT band strap above both knees; the pants were fine, I suppose, but the strap on the left leg may have been the culprit for my cramping. This year, even if it’s cold outside, I’m planning to stick with regular running shorts, a single technical shirt (hopefully short-sleeved), familiar shoes and socks, a thermal headband to keep my ears warm (if needed), and light gloves (if needed).

Any other thoughts as you get ready to start your “official” training?

A couple of things. I think I’ll experiment more with hydration and energy/food options during the long runs. My wife has leant me her Camelbak, which I’ve already started using on longer runs in the heat. I also might give Gu (and similar products) a go, though I’d prefer to find something that more closely resembles actual food. Also, I'm going to try to get my weight down just a little lower than it was for the other two races--not too much lower, but just low enough to make a little less work for my joints and muscles (hence, the beer-post-to-running-post ratio may need to decrease!).


pucknation said...

Go with Gu Chomps. They rock my face!

David T said...

I'll check those out...I think I'd like something with that consistency better than straight-up Gu. I'll let you know what I think--thanks!