Tuesday, November 11, 2008

I Ran to Work & Philly Marathon Thoughts

I had been thinking about running to work for a long time.  I have been able to ride my bike to work since school started on September 2nd.  I have driven my car only seven times since then.  I decided to do this run to work because my last few runs have felt really great.  I feel in better cardio shape than I have in about a year and a half.  My legs are feeling unbelievably strong, as evidenced by my riding my Dawes SST single speed.  It is really great to feel the fitness from the two activities of running and cycling coming together - I remember that feeling from back when I was a fairly serious triathlete, about 1985-95.

I felt a bit of pressure to get to work fast, since I left only about 10 minutes earlier than when I ride my bike.  I figured it would take me about an hour to cover the 7 miles, thinking I might take some walk breaks.  I have done this run before, to work and back, on a weekend leading up to some long race last year, for a regular nonstop long run, so I had some experience with the timing.  I didn't take any walk breaks today.  It only took me 53:49 = 7:42/mile.  Pretty good, considering my backpack, though packed light, was annoying me.

It was a cool but sunny run.  Tech long sleeve, last year's NYC Marathon shirt, polypro gloves and tight sweatpants did it just fine.  Ms. Click beeped at me and Mr. Dobson yelled "Go Mr. G!" from the window of his car when he passed me.  I gave him a double fist pump, even though I didn't know it was him until I saw him inside later on.  A couple of other teachers saw me and asked how my ride was.  I told them I ran in today.  Of course they said I am crazy.  Maybe I am, in a good crazy way.  I didn't tell my family I was running in today, because I didn't want them to think I was getting nuttier about this commute-as-workout thing.  But if I do qualify for Boston, I will be doing it more often December-March.  That might be the best way to deal with inclement weather this winter - on days when biking would be dangerous or really too cold.  Plus, it will be a great offset to all the days of running I miss due to skiing.

One of the main reasons I ran to work today is because I  needed to get in a long day today, since it is getting close to the Philly Marathon, and I certainly don't have enough long runs behind me.  I figured two seven mile runs in one day will be a good long day.  It isn't exactly a 20 miler, but it is something.  I have no 20 milers at all leading up to this marathon.  The last time I ran anything close to that was 30K for the Escarpment Trail Run in the end of July, during the days of the broken toe.  I have a bunch of long-ish days, but usually spread over two workouts.  I feel fitter than I have for the last two years going into the NYC marathon, because of cross-training on the bike.  Hopfully a taper next week will be enough to run at least a Boston qualifier.  In 1983 I ran 2:41 at the Philly Marathon.  I am fairly sure the course was different than it is today.  So 25 years later I am hoping to run a 3:30 or better.  That averages to exactly 8 minutes per mile.  Using the MacMillan race predictor calculator with my 1:32 Newport-Liberty Waterfront Half-Marathon time, it predicts a 3:14.  That is a good sign.  I am in a lot better shape today than I was for that race.  Using my most recent race, 32:29 at the USATF-NJ 8K XC, it predicts 3:12!  That was XC & barefoot - but don't get too excited, because it was a shorter race.  Predictions must be more accurate when the predictor-race distance approaches the actual race distance.

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