Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Predict My Illinois Marathon Finish

I was pleased with my Clinton Lake: Predict My Finish blog post and replies. It got me thinking about what is possible, what is likely, and what I might need to be afraid of...or not. And I exceeded my expectations and predictions! In just over a week I have another race. Let's take a look at my first road marathon in 13 years: the Illinois Marathon on April 26th. Yes, it's been THAT long since I ran a ROAD marathon.

The fact that I haven't run a road marathon since 2001 (Chicago) says something about me. I don't like road races. I particularly don't like road marathons. Too much pounding on the streets. Trails may be difficult, but they generally don't beat you up with repetitive stress. Since the Illinois Marathon is in Champaign-Urbana, only 10 miles from home, I figured I'd give it a try. Way back around Thanksgiving, I thought this might be my Boston Qualifier attempt. That isn't going to happen. With the brutal winter weather, my training was pathetic. I've only recently gotten reasonable weekly miles and a couple of long runs. Still woefully unprepared, but I'm going to start...and finish...this marathon.

So, what might be my finish time at the Illinois Marathon?

Here are a couple of scenarios (from best to worst):

1. The weather cooperates and I run the hell out of this race! My "best effort" for this road marathon would likely be around a 3:45 finish. Not great, but OK. I would be extremely happy with this time. I give myself a 20% chance of achieving this goal. If I had another month to train, I'd think this was an "easy" goal. Not today.

2. Finish around 3:59...just breaking the 4-hour barrier. This is most likely. I think I can average 9:00 miles. I'd estimate this is about 50% likely. Sounds easy, but I'm not sure.

3. If things don't go well, I'll get discouraged and I'll probably end up with a 4:30 finish. About 20% chance of this outcome. I would really be disappointed with this kind of finish.

4. I "thoroughly" enjoy the day, chat with volunteers, including the buffalo aid station, and walk-jog the entire route. Finish with a time around 5:00. Well, maybe I sprint to the end and beat the 5-hour clock. Let's call it 4:59. About a 5% chance. This is not my plan and I think I can avoid the aid station temptations.

5. Did not finish (DNF). Fairly unlikely, but it's possible. I could push too hard and get injured. It could be a miserable day and I give up. 5% chance of this outcome.

Any thoughts from you, my loyal and dedicated readers and friends? How will this race play out? Will I knock off ultra/marathon #91?


ed said...

That's a pretty bold move to go from trails to roads so quickly -- I hope you have enough road miles in for a smooth transition!

I believe you'll be around #1 (and close to your 2 lap Clinton Lake time theory).

Good Luck.

Chris said...

I think so too Ed. Jeff Riddle thinks I'll run slower. Clinton showed me I have the stamina, maybe not the speed yet. Roads worry me...a lot! I do very little road running.

jeff said...

Kenyans run dirt roads all the time and dirt tracks. Then they run even faster on a road, so you not running on roads should make no difference if you've trained on grass/dirt paths/trails.

jeff (with that, maybe I'll change my prediction to 4:01, but only if the temps are less than 60 degrees)

Chris said...

OK, Jeff I now have renewed optimism. Maybe I'll BQ on this marathon!!! Is that Kenyan stuff true? Just call me the white Kenyan!