Not another Chicago Marathon post…

…per se. But instead, a link to an article that presents an interesting theory proposing low blood pressure, rather than heat-related illness and/or dehydration, was the likely culprit behind so many runner collapses earlier this month. The follow up article at the end of the one linked to is also worth reading.

I spent a few days visiting family in Eastern Iowa, where I was registered to race in a 5K breast cancer center fund raiser. The morning of the race, however, it was pouring buckets of rain. I was out there, warming up — the only runner warming up, in fact, which gave me a lot of hope of winning some cheap hardware — when they called the race due to lightning concerns. 10,700+ people registered for the three events (5K race, 5K walk, 1 mile fun run), and the turnout was good despite the weather. So it was a disappointment. But they raised a lot of money through registrations, so all’s well that ends well.

Now I’m laid up with a bad head cold. The woman behind me on the plane from Chicago to La Guardia was coughing and sneezing all the way, so I’m not surprised. I feel like warmed over dog food and my head feels as though it’s been filled with Kwik-Crete and cotton balls. This probably means I won’t be doing the Harry Chapin 10K race on Sunday as planned. That’s four races in a row that have been screwed up due to weather or illness. At least turkey trot season is coming up. Maybe it won’t be 80 degrees anymore by next month!

But there’s a silver lining. The day before I got sick, I managed to do a 16 miler at 8:40 pace / 76% heart rate. This is tremendous progress and has made me a true believer in the value of building a base of long, slow, low heart rate distance running. By way of comparison, the week I started base building four months ago, I ran a 9 miler at 10:36 pace / 75% heart rate under similar conditions. So I’m nearly two minutes faster these days. Maybe a 3:30 marathon is not such a pipe dream after all.

Up until very recently, I was doing most of my runs at 68-72% heart rate. Now I’m just doing that after the long runs and doing “easy” pace (75-80%) the rest of the time. So I won’t go into shock when my 18 week training program begins the first week of December. The date for the 2008 More Marathon has been chosen: April 6, the day after my 43rd birthday. So it looks like I’ll have to skip the copious libations and sugary treats until after the race.

I may kick my training off by running the Hot Chocolate 15K in Central Park to further assess progress and get a better sense of what my various training paces should be. Plus, who doesn’t like hot chocolate in December? (As long as it’s not 80 degrees out.)

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