Dress Rehearsal

The taper is a curious time. You run at easy or recovery pace much of the time, and any speed work is not too challenging. It can be a little dispiriting. Easy is the new normal, and marathon pace appears dauntingly fast.

This morning was the dress rehearsal. I wore the clothes planned for Sunday, right down to the sunglasses perched on my head. I needed to check that that they would stay up there, for a race that starts in the dark. The assignment: 7 miles, of which two would be run at marathon pace. The ankles have been a bit twinge-y this week, the usual taper nonsense, and I could feel them a bit during the warmup miles. In order to run the SFM course in 3:20 I need to pace at about 7:30 on the flat to make up for the hills. I’ve been worrying about this, since some of my MP practice runs have not gone too well.  Is it too fast, or is the problem between my ears?

I got up to perceived marathon pace and hit the lap button. It felt a little awkward but OK, about how a marathon normally feels in the first mile. The in-race warmup. Can’t do that in a 5K! Posture good, stride OK, maybe kick up the heels some more, keep it smooth…

After half a mile I reached the trail by the beach. There was a stiff headwind. There’s my excuse for being a little off-pace for this first mile. No, wait. This is marathon pace, It’s not that hard. maintain this! I glanced at the Garmin for the first time. 7:15 pace so far. Wow, faster than I thought. Take it easy.. When the Garmin beeped the mile I turned around and headed the other way, trying to relax. Running into the wind had been quite cold, this was much nicer. I was getting into the groove and feeling a whole lot more cheerful. Can I do this for 26.2 miles? Maybe I can.

First mile: 7:19, second 7:18. So not very good as a pacing exercise, but a grade-A confidence booster. Now if I can just restrain myself from running the early miles too fast this thing looks a lot more feasable than it did yesterday. I suppose that’s what a dress rehearsal is really for. Checking out the clothing is secondary. The sunglasses did stay put, though.

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11 Responses to “Dress Rehearsal”


  1. 1 Loraine McVey July 22, 2009 at 4:13 pm

    just curious about the garmin Jim as I think you’ve said before you don’t use it in races. Is that just for 5k or marathons? Although it’s all a bit academic now, I had been wondering about tracking pacing, thinking of post-it notes, wrist bands. Do you garmin for that? If so, are you in ‘average pace’ mode …? The moment to moment garmin check can be all over the place, can vary wildly and can be very distracting. What’s yer trick?

  2. 2 Jim E July 22, 2009 at 5:41 pm

    Ah, good question.
    My rule up to now has been: No Garmin in races, unless there are no mile markers. I used it at Tahoe for that reason. I find the lap-pace reading much more stable than the instant pace reading, but you also have to look at the lap-distance down in the corner to see how far into th lap you are.

    I’d rather not have to think about all that when racing, but it’s occurred to me that I might just be stubborn. I could easily set up the custom display to simulate my stopwatch. Then I can pace by old-fashioned split-checking but can peek at pace if necessary. If I can’t upgrade to wave one, where the 3:20 pace group is, I’ll probably do that.

    As for pace bands, I have trouble reading them. I didn’t carry one for for Big Sur because it was a pace-by-feel kind of course. At CIM, I memorized my splits for an 8:00 pace. 7:30 is even easier to memorize, but I wont actually hit that. My real target is 7:38. Not gonna memorize that! So I’ll write my splits on my arm in big numbers. Should have tried that today, come to think of it.

  3. 3 Flo July 22, 2009 at 6:08 pm

    Woohoo Jim!! I’ve been thinking about you this week, wondering what you’re up to. Sounds like a great dress rehearsal, I think you are A-OK Good To Go! Have a wonderful last few days as a tapering fool and may this weekend be magic for you. I’ll be rooting for you bigtime. Is there live tracking? I’d love to track you.

  4. 5 Loraine McVey July 23, 2009 at 9:48 am

    Thanks for the pace/garmin tips. Nothing like having the numbers right there on your arm – I’ve never tried that! I’ll probably be tracking a few runners live then either from home or if well enough, (and if Dan will part with his iphone for a few hours) from SF. So step on it, sounds like team Jim will be watching you! Have the best race yet!

  5. 6 Flo July 23, 2009 at 11:03 am

    Can’t wait!! Thanks, Jim.

  6. 7 Flo July 24, 2009 at 2:33 pm

    Just sending you some pre-race “go get ’em” vibes. You’re drinking a lot, right? What’s the latest weather?

  7. 8 Jim E July 24, 2009 at 3:08 pm

    Flo – I put down my water bottle to type this. The forecast has changed to “foggy” which is unsurprising. Most mornings are foggy right now. Probably won’t need those sunglasses after all. I’ve been to the expo already, didn’t get a wave upgrade (boo). Some confusion over the wave 2 start time. On the website, it’s 5:31, on the back of my bib, it’s 5:32. Not sure which is better, but not under my control, so won’t fret. I’ve been playing with a spreadsheet to come up with the splits to write on my arm. I ended up with 7:37.5 which is semi-neat, split-wise:

    7:37, 15:15, 22:52, 30:30, 38:07, 45:45, 53:22, 1:01:00
    Hour 2 like hour 1 but with a minute added on, and so on.
    Almost memorizeable, but I’ll write it anyway.

    Go get-em? I wasn’t going to, but I will now! 😀

  8. 9 Flo July 24, 2009 at 4:53 pm

    Foggy sounds wild and mysterious, can’t imagine what that’ll be like to run through. Glad you’re guzzling the liquids already and that you’ve got your splits are in order. I’m getting all nervous and excited on your behalf, probably more than you, now that you’ve done it a few times. 🙂 Kick Some S.F. Ass, Jim!!

  9. 10 Loraine McVey July 26, 2009 at 7:15 am

    A virtual message for Jim – I know you are otherwise engaged running right now with the business of running. 2:33 at 20 miles Jim, pheweeeeeeee!!! Tracking you online, looking good, sending you positive vibes and cheers. GO JIM!!

    • 11 jime2 July 26, 2009 at 5:07 pm

      Yes, I was a little busy there for a while. Thanks for the GO. I ran a pretty aggressive first half, and things got a bit saggy later on. Full report to follow.


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Race PRs

5K20:43 (LMJS 6/28/09
10K43:44
12K54:36 (Across Bay 3/21/10)
15K1:09:51 (LMJS 19/27/09)
Half1:31:28 (Kaiser 2012
Marathon 3;13:14 (CIM '11)

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