More Marathon, Half Marathon course changes

[Edited 4/22]

The More Marathon, site of my first and third full marathons, takes place this Sunday in Central Park.

The good news is: NYRR seems to have taken some steps to reduce the crowd clog issue, at least for the first lap — I predict the usual chaos once the full marathoners hit the half marathon crowd on their second loop. They’ve also tried to simplify what was a complicated course: two outside loops, then three inside loops, then a fourth that rounds the bottom of the park. Just try to keep that straight when you’re already “loopy” from a lack of glycogen.

The bad news is: Marathoners now have to run four full outside loops of the park — hitting the hills at the north and south end four times. Killer course. I know because I did one training run there that featured four times around and it was quite an effort. Moreover (*cough*), even faster runners in future events can probably kiss their chances of breaking the course record (2:45:35) goodbye now too. [Or maybe not, as becomes clear in this press release.]

I’m somewhat tempted to do my 20 miler in the park on Sunday, to soak up the racing vibe and relive some pleasant memories. But that would probably be insane. What’s worse: Doing battle with vicious geese and idiots on bikes up here, or running alongside [7,000] 9,600 runners and walkers down there? [The following is a poor attempt at humor] At least I could score some free water, probably. Hmm.

Another “magical” run, powered by inspiration

In early January I had what I described as a “magical” run — a mid-length run that felt effortless, yet featured faster and faster running. I had another one today, just over three months later. I went out with the intention of doing a progression run, and to try to average 8:00 over the whole run by starting off at 20% slower than Mpace (8:20ish) and finishing up at 10% slower (7:40ish).

I was mostly going by heart rate today. I figured I’d keep it around 73% in the beginning and then max out at 84% at the end. As it turns out, I did end up running quite a bit faster than 7:40 for the final miles. This would explain the average pace of 7:47 — that was a surprise when I got home and looked at the splits.

I am pleased.

I spent the first few miles thinking through a work problem. Once I came up with enough ideas to mollify my various bosses, I let my mind drift. What did I think about? I thought about Colleen De Reuck and Elva Dryer. While I know the women’s race in Boston this year was ridiculously slow, verging on offensively slow, I still felt such a thrill seeing those two (De Reuck at 45 and Dryer at a “no spring chicken either” 37) leading the pack for about two thirds of the race.

We all need heroes to inspire us, and De Reuck especially, one year my senior, yet running at a level that I can only dream of,* was very much in my thoughts this morning.

*De Reuck came in 8th overall, Dryer 12th.