twofriendsmarathonEven though Steamboat is four months out, I’ve already strategerized how I plan to run the course.  While this run begins downhill, the first 10K has two substantial hills.  Both look to be about 100 feet in elevation gain.  The first of the two ends higher than the start.  I haven’t found any detailed course descriptions so I’m relying on the low res elevation chart I posted on my previous blog.  I plan to run this section slow and likely with my buddies.  I’ll need them to agree to start slow too but that shouldn’t be difficult.  I believe it’s important to avoid starting out too fast on an otherwise fast course.  This pic is from a previous Steamboat Springs Marathon.

That second hill ends somewhere between 5 and 6 miles.  This is where I’ll take stock of my situational metrics.  Legs heavy or not?  Breathing under control?  Core feel strong?  Am I tired of running with these guys?  Assuming I get the responses I expect to those questions, I’ll unwind.  This looks to be a strong opportunity to PR in a marathon.  That makes it worthwhile to get in shape for.  I’m not where I want to be right now.  I couldn’t run a marathon at any speed today.  But if I can find the time to increase my distance again, this season appears promising.

I got in ten miles yesterday but felt tired and ran extremely slow.  I saw Kelly returning from his run and he looked to be running stronger than me.  Not sure how far he went but I had only run two miles at that point.  Right about where I should have begun to loosen up but I never did.  It was one of those long, slow runs.  That’s okay, at least I got in the miles.  Back to Steamboat.

Assuming I’m in shape and feeling good, I’ll accelerate after that second hill, around the 10K mark.  Experience suggests I could hold that pace for the next 10K but given this course’s continuous elevation drop, my hope is that I can continue for the next 20K.  Even if I dramatically slow down for the final 10K, which I always do, I might have locked in a nice finishing time if I run strong enough in the middle of the course.  Some hills do return to the last segment, but the elevation drop continues as well.  I’ll trust gravity to get me across the finish line.