Monday, February 25, 2008

Stake in the Ground

I've put a stake in the ground, and it's.. in Canada! Sure, there are lots of good marathons in the U.S. And there are reasons I didn't choose them. Not the least of which--and I know this will peg me as a wimp--the USATF ban on headphones. Sorry, unless someone promises to run every step of the way with me during the marathon, I'm not running alone AND without music. And I don't have enough time in a few short weeks to wean myself from this dependence.

Also, I really DO intend to qualify for Boston. Which means I have only a few months to train before summer is here (can't expect to race well in 75 degree weather), and I really do want the course elevation change to be reasonable. That pretty much eliminates most US races in May and June. So, in my way-too-many-hour search, I'd actually considered and passed on Ottawa. It isn't flat. But, Vince encouraged me to look at it again, and after careful consideration, I decided to go for it. I've now entered and booked my hotel for Ottawa, Ontario in Canada on May 25th (Memorial Day Weekend). That is now exactly 88 days away. You can be sure I am counting. It's written up on my white board, and adjusted daily.

You'll see the link out the right. It is not a flat course. In fact, the first section is a series of gently rolling hills, with elevation changes of 90' or less. Which has motivated me to spend more time on hills in general. Bonus: I live in a hilly rural area. One more reason to get off the treadmill and out on the roads. Of course, I'm wondering just HOW hilly are my roads. What does a 90' hill look like? Feel like? Sure, I know to what the incline on my treadmill translates. One percent is 52' per mile, two percent is 104' per mile, and so on. I always set it to at least one percent. And I know that two percent is hard and tiring.

This has all motivated me to FINALLY download the training software for my Garmin. It's about time I knew what my hills were like. So, today, I had an easy 4-miler, and I went to the right from my house--an area I know has a huge hill. A hill, in fact, two years ago, I could not run up. I now run up with ease, short steps, lifting me to the top. Not speedily, mind you, but no problem.

I've enjoyed this new "gadgety" toy more than you can imagine. I have so much fun looking at my runs in so many different ways. I'm only disappointed that I haven't done this before. If you have a Garmin, I recommend you take a look at your runs. It's pretty easy, and once you get the drivers installed, it works seamlessly every time.

So, here you can see my four mile run. And the nice, big hill, up and down at about 1.25 miles, and again that far from the end as I ran down. Total elevation change of nearly 150'.

Rock on. Ottawa never goes above 90'. I say, "Bring it."

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