Yesterday was Brit’s due day. Not overly bummed that Margot Faye didn’t arrive on 911, but we’re on pins and needles. All I can do to pass the time is run. October 10th will be my first marathon as a grandfather, assuming I can get to where I need to be. I’ve worked my way up to running ten miles comfortably and I’m making progress learning how to best run over-weight, which is, wait for it, slow. Really, really, slow.

Speed is relative of course but my legs naturally fall into a nine and a half minute pace after they’ve warmed up. Problem is, I can’t sustain that pace for much more than ten kilometers. Running slower than your legs want to naturally go is harder than you might think. My cadence has been steady, regardless of distance, just over 170 strides per minute. Cadence is more of a cyclist term. Runners will instead refer to “pace” or “roll”, as in “I rolled past him.” But cadence is still a thing for runners, just as it is for cyclists.

If you’re running, as opposed to walking, then you’re very likely maintaining a cadence between 170 and 180 strides per minute, regardless of speed. If you’re running slower, say over a ten minute pace, then your cadence might be between 160 and 170, but for the most part, speed is determined by stride length while maintaining the same cadence. That might not be intuitive, but that’s how it works.

I’m finding it hard to run an eleven minute pace, I’ve been in the ten minute range. In the marathon itself though, I’ll simply line up behind the 5-hour pace sign. That will give me an 11:30 pace. If I feel good half way, I might run ahead of the pace sign at the Boulder Res. If I’m disciplined though, I’ll wait until about twenty miles, which is the start of a three mile down-slope segment. Slopes are noticeable at altitude.

I ran ten miles yesterday and was feeling strong enough to attempt twelve by running six miles before turning around. This part of my trail is actually a loop, or a lollipop as they say because it’s a five mile stick with a two mile loop. Problem was that the loop began an upslope. Gentle enough that you wouldn’t notice it at sea-level, but at a mile-high in elevation, it raced my heart up ten beats over my max rate for one and a half miles. I couldn’t recover by slowing down, which I did. It didn’t begin to drop again until the return where the slope began to drop.

The Boulder Marathon course will have a few tough slopes like that. Some that I would even call hills, although nothing terribly steep. It’s good to know that my heart rate will recover, I just have to hang in there and wait for the other side of the hill.

It occurs to me that I’m blogging more because of this marathon. Because I’m nervous. And that makes me think of what Brit is going through right now. She’s been pinging our family chat regularly with updates. She’s understandably nervous. My marathon is trivial compared to her life event. I recall how I felt decades ago. The anxiety was unlike anything I’ve ever gone through since. But then that baby is born and all is perfect.

That day is coming any minute now. The Rose Medical Center’s Covid rules are father +1, so Eric and Karen can be in the hospital. I’ll be a mile down the street in a Cherry Creek hotel. So excited to meet Margot Faye.