Bibbed Up and Ready to Go

Posted: March 29, 2013 in Pace and Racing
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Dear Joseph Marruchella,

We are looking forward to another great Cooper River Bridge Run! Your bib number is 646. Please be sure to print this email and bring it with you to the expo.

This will save you a lot of time and effort if you have this with you when you come to the expo.

If you have any questions please go to http://www.bridgerun.com.

Sincerely,

Cooper River Bridge Staff

Looks like we are just about ready to fly out East next week and see how close we are to being completely dialed-in and ready to race hard at the Cooper River Bridge Run.  This will be my second time running the event – and oddly enough, the second time running it coming off of injury.

The truly ironic part is that these are the only two injuries I have had since 2006.  Timing is everything they say in life and footraces.

The last couple of weeks I have seen some good signs when it comes to our running.  Last weekend’s 18:23 and top 3 finish at a small local race notwithstanding – I was happy to be able to bounce back and run a solid 12-miler less than 24 hours later.

This week we went back-to-back-to-back with runs of 9, 6 and 9 miles with a few quality sub 7:00 minute efforts sprinkled here and there.

I’m noticing the tone coming back in my quadriceps and the strength in my core.  We have also made it back to our most effective race weight of 136.5 lbs.  In a longer event like the marathon I like to race a little heavier at 138-138.5 lbs.  I have been down as low as 134.5 for summer 5K’s – but that has made me feel just a little bit lacking in the power department on climbs.  But 136.5 is where we have put together some of our top efforts.

Shamrock half-marathon, IBM uptown Classic, Shiner Half-Marathon, Lights of Love, Turkey Trot all PR races and all at our target race weight.

The race itself in Charleston is not one where people go to set a PR.  The course in a word is brutal.

Ravenel Bridge on Race Day

Ravenel Bridge on Race Day

Two miles flat, two miles across the Ravenel Bridge, then another 2 miles to close things out after some max effort climbing and a steep descent.

In addition to the course, there is a good chance that wind is going to be a factor being so high up above the Cooper River.  Lastly, being a 40,000 person point to point race – you have to deal with all of the same challenges that a large marathon would pose.  An early wake-up.  Commute to the finish area.  Park, walk to the school busses that will transport runners from downtown Charleston to Mt. Pleasant.

Aerial Shot of the start

Aerial Shot of the start

Once there, a long walk to the starting corrals, where runners will try to stay warmed-up, stretched, loose and ready to come blazing out onto the course.  Thankfully the 10K gives you a little bit more time to “settle in” than a 5K footrace affords.  But the truth is, you need to be locked into very near goal pace over the first mile in Charleston, as you have to take advantage of the flat miles before you reach the foot of the bridge.  The climb is something – well over a mile in length, with no pauses or breaks to reload.

The descent drops runners from the same height obviously, but at a much steeper grade – so as much as you would like to come flying down the other side, you have to be a bit more measured and careful as you will still have a full 2 miles to race once you come off of the bridge.  Like I said.  Brutal.

So success on Saturday is not going to be chasing our 10K PR of 37:30.  That is a fool’s errand.  Even on my fittest of fit days, there is no chance of running that time on that course.  Instead, we are looking for a top 25 AG Finish.  5% of Age Group Finishers are eligible for awards up to 25.  At the end of the day, I hope to be in the money.  Something around 39:30 should put us in the top 10-15 among male 45-49 year old finishers.

Sub 40 minutes would be a completely acceptable fall-back position if the wind, course or temperature throw us a bit of a curve on race morning.

Those conditions however will affect everyone equally – so again, age grouping is the goal going into Saturday.  This weekend we will run 8 miles on Saturday and somewhere around 12 or 13 on Sunday – then two short runs on Tuesday and Wednesday of next week before flying out to Charleston on Thursday, complete rest on Friday and we should be as ready as we are going to be come Saturday morning.

Another good test in front of us, then another back to back weeks of racing April 21 and 28 will place us in a pretty good position heading into May.

Training for Steamtown will begin in earnest on June 9th.  By then our long runs will be back in the 15-16 mile range on Sundays and we should be back to where our fitness level and training volume was prior to starting our Houston Marathon Cycle was last fall.  A lot of work remains just to get back to where we once were – but that is the nature of the sport.  You are either getting better or getting worse, nobody ever stays the same.

Here’s to another step in the right direction next weekend.  Bring it on Charleston.

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