Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Marathon Scouting Report

So I allegedly have a blog. I guess I should post something from time to time.

This whole routine of wakeup, walk dog, drive to school, run, teach, coach, drive home, dinner, odds & ends, sleep is just about over. The marathon is Sunday. Track season is in its final weeks. Whew!

Our boys and girls teams both made it to the district team finals. That's a fun event because it recognizes a true "team" where it's dual meet scoring between the teams. Not like invitational scoring where a few outstanding individuals get 10 pts each for first and win the 'team' championship. We're going up against my alma mater, so it should be fun to compete against the old coaches.

Okay on to the marathon scouting report for Sunday.

***Spoiler alert*** If you're interested in winning some FREE granola from
Nuts About Granola, go to Beth's blog and predict my time BEFORE reading on. Otherwise, that's kind of cheating.

And, prior to going into any of the details, I want to say this marathon preparation has already been a HUGE success. I went into it wanting to make a difference beyond just running faster than last time and I feel like I have accomplished that.

First of all, Beth was asked to be the team dietitian for the Alzheimer's Association Alz-Stars. I went with her to a meeting and ended up signing up to be a fundraiser. Through the awesome generosity of nearly 50 individuals, somehow they decided to give a total of $1,830 to the Alzheimer's Association on my behalf. I am truly grateful and speechless for all that giving. What a difference you have made. I'll be thinking of you and your family members when things get tough out on the race course. If you're one of those amazing people, THANK YOU!! If not, you can still help and donate

Secondly, I wanted to help others get involved with the marathon weekend and I had two main groups I was involved with. First of all, from my high school I teach at, there are two others doing the full, 5 more doing the half, and a couple on relays. I've been an 'advisor' to them throughout the process (don't know if you can really call it a coach).

The other group is through one of the colleges I went to, Elizabethtown College. It's located out by the Harrisburg/Lancaster area, so there aren't a lot of alums here in the Pittsburgh area. However, our alumni group thought it would be neat to organize for the marathon either running or volunteering. Through this, we have 2 people running the full, 2 running the half, 2 relay teams (10 people), and 5 or so people volunteering on race morning. It's so exciting to see so many people get involved. Some are even from outside the area and just coming in to Pittsburgh for the weekend.

So, before the gun goes off on Sunday to start the race, it is certainly a success (and part of the reason I haven't gotten around to blogging much trying to keep all of this organized). However, it is still the ultimate priority of mine this weekend to redeem myself from the
ill-advised greedy start and paying for it the last 5 miles Philadelphia Marathon.

My training has gone well. I have followed my plan throughout--especially the mid-week long runs. With that said, I'm feeling confident that I have put myself in a position to crack the 3:00 barrier. How will it turn out? We'll find out Sunday. One thing I do know is that I will NOT be going through the half in 1:23:11 like I did in Philly. The goal is to click off that 6:45-6:50-ish pace and come through at 1:29:29 or so. Then, as I get to around mile 20 I will assess things. The best advice I've heard is that the marathon doesn't start until mile 20. Keep it under wraps until then!

I have checked out the course on several long runs and have seen the entire course (except for this little 1-mile part out by the West-End Bridge) twice. I know what to expect and just have to execute the plan. I didn't take my camera on my long runs on the course but, through the use of Google's StreetView, I'll highlight some of the key parts of the course for me.

Miles 1-5 are about getting into the rhythm. After mile 6, you go on to the West End Bridge. I don't really drive over it too often, but loved taking in the view of Heinz Field and downtown during my training runs. I figured I'd do it then because it's all business on race day. Not time for sight-seeing!

After that uncharted 1-mile rectangle past the West-End Bridge, you proceed along Carson Street on the South Side. I again liked looking back towards downtown and admiring the skyline.

Mile 10 is at the end of the South Side, you cross the Birmingham Bridge and then work your way to the only true "uphill" of the course into Oakland. I tried to capture it with this shot. You can see the Cathedral of Learning on Pitt's campus in the background. Just run towards that up the hill.

Then, it's through Oakland, Shadyside, East Liberty (a little scary) and then back into Shadyside. Around mile 22, you're at the Bloomfield Bridge and this is where it could get exciting on Sunday. I could feel the anticipation brewing on my long runs when I got to this point. It's pretty much downhill and flat from here on in to the finish.

You continue down Liberty Avenue towards the Strip District. As you go past mile 23, you can see downtown in the distance and know you're getting close!

After going back through the Strip District (and I can imagine a lot of people lining the streets), you cut through downtown back to 6th street. Make a right onto 6th street and head towards the Clemente Bridge and PNC Park. Less than a mile when you can see PNC Park!

Once over the bridge, hang a left around Left Field of PNC Park onto General Robinson St and it's a straightaway to the finish as you're running towards Heinz Field!

That's how I'm hoping it plays out on race day. We shall see. Thank you for all of the well-wishes I've gotten already. If you're interested in tracking people in the marathon, they have set that up here. You have to set up a username and password, but then you can have the splits every time we cross over mats (every 5 or 10 miles?) emailed, tweeted, texted, facebook-ed to you.

Time to get some rest for the big weekend coming up! Good luck to all racing in this weekend!


Steve said...

Good Luck!! training, teaching, coaching, etc... It will be quite an accomplishment. :)

Beth said...

Sooooo excited for you!! It's going to be really fun to watch you cross that line, goal achieved. But even before the start you've made a huge difference with the funds raised and the athletes coached! YAHOOOO!! :)

m said...

Good Luck Oscar! Have a great race!