Yes, a nice long 23. Well maybe not all nice, but it was definitely long. I woke up early and drove to my old house in West Allis by 5:30AM. Got the garmin synched up and off I was running by myself. It was very humid out and even some fog in low areas. It was in the upper 60's already and the sun had not peeked out. Not a cloud in the sky. Beautiful weather . . . unless you are planning on running 23 miles.
I started out slow. I averaged 9:03 for the first 5 miles. No sun yet. After 5, I picked up the pace some and started to get into my rhythm. The next 5 miles averaged 8:39. The sun finally popped out at mile 7 and the temps instantly rise. I got to just after mile 10 and got to the parking lot of Fox River Sanctuary and after a minute, found Mike right after he drove in. I said I was going to keep going and he could catch up to me (He is a 3 hour marathoner). A few steps later I heard the loud blast of a train that is on the tracks I need to cross in about 1/3 of a mile. I pick it up and get to the tracks before the train but see it down the tracks less than 1/4 mile down coming toward me. It is going slow as it is going through the town but now I wonder if Mike will make it. I look back but I had entered a wooded bike trail area and could not see him. I keep going.
The train catches me and is very loud and suddenly Mike catches me. He beat the train by a mere 100 feet. We chat a bit and I keep up the good pace. It is hot now. The sun is beating down and the trail offer not much shade as we are running mostly west. At least the sun is not in out faces. Mike usually runs much faster but he is running slow with me for the day. We do the next 5 miles at an average of 8:56. Still good but the legs are beginning to feel it. We have also begun the climb up the railroad grade hills. It is about 3 or so miles and up around 250 feet. This is from Mile 14 to 17.
I am beginning to fade now. Miles 16 to 19 average average 9:24 but at least after the trail levels of, i do get a mile in at 8:54, my last sub 9 minute mile. We finally leave the trail at mile 19, take a small walk break and prepare ourselves for the killer hills now coming. We turn onto Hwy C and go up and down for a mile but only climb about 80 feet. The looms GOVERNMENT HILL RD. Even the name suggests problems. We take a short break just before is and my legs are mosty dead but I tell myself to run all the way up until the tower. Government Hill Rd is only 0.4 miles long but climbs up 180 feet. And the sun is directly in our faces with no breeze. AARRGGHH. Once at the top, we start a grass trail that still rises another 30 feet over 0.35 miles. That is a total of 210 feet over 3/4 of a mile. I think I averaged 10:24 pace for the hill, surprisingly faster that I thought I would. I do believe I mentioned in earlier post that this run simulated tired legs of a marathon and my legs are dead.
We get to the tower and now climb up it. This is an observation tower so we can't go past it without climbing it, right?!?! No chance at running up, close to crawling but it is a walk. We stay for about 30 seconds lookout out at the highest point in Waukesha County. Beautiful views of lakes and landscapes of all sorts. Farms, Neighborhoods, many lakes, school, etc. I take a longer break once down the tower and compose myself for the final 2 miles. No, we are not done yet!!!
We drop 275 feet over the next mile and a quarter but the legs are toast. We take an extra long break just before we leave the park. Less than a mile to go and again I say I will run to the end. I go and see the final hill looming in the distance with a 1/4 mile to the finish. Up 50 feet. We finish and I am done for. Exhausted in my legs. The stomach isn't feeling too good either. I really wanted to finish this in a sub 4 hour marathon pace. Without the heat (it rose to the mid 80's by the end) and the hills, this would mean I am right on track for a good marathon time this fall. 4 hour marathon pace is 9:09 per mile. My finish average pace (minus the tower climb as I don't cover any distance during that) was 9:15. I am pleased but not fully. While I could have run/walked 3.2 more miles, there is no way I could have done it faster than maybe 11:30 pace. This would have put me at 4:09. But I did run 50 miles this week so as I write this, I get more pleased as time goes on.
I really want to break 4 hours this fall and I really think I am on track to actually run about a 3:45. I am giving myself 2 chances this fall. Oct 10 in Ashland, WI, at the Whistle Stop Marathon. No real hills up in this race and a net drop of something like 500 or 600 feet. Then 4 weeks later a The Indianapolis Monumental Marathon, I don't know what this course is like. I am hoping for cool weather, I like it almost cold. 40's are great with no wind. Wind is my enemy. I will take what I get though as all of us do. My best race in recent times was a cold one like I suggested but I have run the Chicago Meltdown Marathon as well and still finished.
Hey, please let me know what type of weather you like best for a race. I am curious what others like. Maybe you like it hot or maybe cold like me. Maybe you like drizzle or maybe sun. Maybe you like a breeze and maybe calm. We are all different.