Rick and I ran the 2015 Disney Marathon last week. We ran most of the race together, staying under 8 minute pace for most of it. It is a fun course, and even though it’s flat, it’s challenging because of the quick turns in some of the parks so it’s kind of tough to maintain the pace. For example, at mile 19-ish, you’re running around a baseball diamond and have to go in and out of the narrow gate onto the field. Kind of tricky after 2+ hours of running. You’re also running over on ramps and long sections of highway, so there’s some opportunity to make up time if you plan ahead. One big benefit of this race is you get to see all of the parks for free! 🙂 If you are in one of the early corrals, half of your race will be in the dark, so if you are a “night runner”, this might work to your advantage.
Rick took off around mile 21 as I started to have a little pity party in the guise of “gathering myself for the final push”. Rick finished in 3:29 and I finished in 3:31. I think I was closing well in the final 2 miles after my little, um, episode, but still kind of bummed I wasn’t under 3:30. We purposely ran with watch-less because we thought we had the pace groups but the way the corrals were broken up, the 3:30 pace group was in the corral ahead of us. Our strategy was to run with the 3:30 group and see what happens, but because of the 2 minute gap between the start of each corrals, that approach wasn’t going to work, unless we were having a spectacularly strong second half and managed to catch the pace group (My fault for not reading about how the pace groups worked for that race).
I was pleased to run a fairly consistent race, compared to other races like Boston where I ran the first half like an idiot and basically “survived” the second half. I made a conscious effort to not get “uber joyous” (our term for getting overly excited early in the race and running too fast) and keep the first 13 around 1:45.
For this training cycle, we followed the Hanson’s Plan. I switched over to this plan for the Kiawah Island Marathon a couple of years ago for the second part of training, and I had a PR-ed by almost 10 minutes to run 3:26.
This plan was effective in terms of the physical preparation and the “running on tired legs” principle held true. I also completely agree with how the volume is distributed in this plan. However, I think the preparation that a couple of 22 milers gives your mind and body shouldn’t be neglected. But that’s just me. I would do this plan again, with some tweaks to allow a couple of 20+ milers just for mental prep. I think that’s what I did for Kiawah – suppose I should have kept a log 8-). Of course, we’d all love to find the time to get in the volume week to week that would warrant having the 22 mile long run be within the 25% of overall weekly mileage recommended in this plan.
The marathon is such an addictive distance and every time I finish one (this was our 6th), I find myself re-living the entire race figuring out what went well and what didn’t. I wave my fist at you, marathon!!! One of my goals before I die is to negative split this stupid distance. Maybe in the fall. Hope that’s not when I die, but I do want to do it soon.
Lastly: Running is a dangerous sport. Apologies for the graphic nature of the above photo. Official race photos to be published soon…