Loonies Midnight Marathon

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Sleep is Overrated…..Run 26.2 at Midnight

Instagram¬†<— link to me on Instagram! ūüôā ¬†follow if you Like ūüėÄ

it’s Wednesday – Saturday or…Friday night at Midnight is when this Loonies marathon is set to kick off and I’m pretty exhausted. ¬†I’ve got three bottles of water and I’m going to finish those while blogging here then head over to my brother’s house to help him rip out some shrubs or trees or something so he can get a new shed put in this weekend. ¬†I figure dehydration may be one reason for feeling so tired, hence the extra 3 bottles of water before I head back out into the sun.

I also have individual 20 oz bottles of Gatorade and have been drinking at least one of those every evening before bed along with double doses of vitamin packs each day to help make sure I’m topped off on electrolytes, minerals, vitamins and anything else that may be necessary for completing a marathon. ¬†That strategy seemed to work pretty well for my first marathon this year – about 66 days ago. ¬†This Saturday will be my third full in 70 days.

I’ve been working on my “About Me” page. ¬†Last year I thought I was going to whip myself in shape quickly enough to knock out a 4:22:00 or maybe even a sub 4 hour marathon by the end of the year. ¬†I wasn’t even close to that much less close to being able to complete a 26.2 mile distance but, I’ve been thinking about the past reality I had to work with.

Back in 1994 I took a running class at SIUE over the Summer.  It was a simple Mon, Wed, Fri class that met at 6 a.m. and it was only 3 months after that class when I completed my first marathon in about 4 hours and 30 minutes.  Not too shabby for a non-runner and only 3 months total training.

10 years later in 2004 I did not train AT ALL.  I went to the Spirit of St Louis Expo on a Friday and signed up for the marathon that was held that Sunday.  On Saturday, I went to a local park and jogged the 1.5 mile path and that was it.  Mentally, I just needed to see that I could cover some distance.

That marathon took me about 5 hours 42 minutes and that is the first marathon where I can actually look up my time online.

These days ….we’re adding about 2.5 hours to my first marathon time but, at least I’m covering the distance this year. ¬†I have no illusions about my speed.

On SmashRun.com Рand, click here if you want to join > http://smashrun.com/dukowitz/invite

That website ranks me in three categories:  Distance, Devotion & Speed.

for Devotion/Discipline/Dedication I am now ranking in the 85th percentile overall.

Devotion

I’m doing a run streak now for the month of July which is why I’m at 100% for the past 14 days but the other time periods keep increasing in value as well. ¬†So, theoretically, If I were to run 365 days straight I would be at 100% for all time periods but, as is, I’m still ranking in the 85th percentile which is the minimum for the Gold level which I just achieved yesterday.

Distance is another category – I rank Silver in this area with 74th percentile overall

Distance

My 7 and 30 day mileage is quite a bit lower than just last week, mainly because I’ve been cutting back on the mileage in anticipation of the upcoming marathon. ¬†at best I was showing 40 miles for 7 days and 106 for the past 30 days. ¬†Of course, after this Saturday those numbers will be inflated for a bit due to the extra 26.2 miles but …those miles will be retained considerably longer for the 90 and 180 time spans. ¬†Between the running streak and occasional twice a day runs I should be able to hit and hopefully maintain a good 100 miles per month worth of running.

Speed is my weak point.  My best rank here is at the 40th percentile for the 1 mile run and all other distances are single digit percentiles.

Speed

you know….I did analysis on the GO! St Louis Marathon and there was a hefty chunk of people that came in with times between 2:30 and 3 hours. ¬†I did like 2:51 so, within that group there’s no way i was in the 1 percentile with 99% people better. ¬†But, SmashRun is a fairly new website which is still in it’s beta stages and still developing. ¬†There are several thousands of people using it and I would guess that most of them are pretty serious runners which would be a lot different than the GO! half marathon which attracts a very large spectrum of running abilities. ¬†Still, the reality among serious runners does put me in single digit range for most distance ..well, all distances beyond a mile.

An ultimate goal of mine is to be able to finish in the top 50% of any race I enter. ¬†From the charts on Smashrun it looks like I need a mile time of about 8:14 to be at 50%. ¬†36 minutes and change is my best 5K time and I’m figuring by next year at this time I should be knocking at sub 30s door – maybe not all the way there but somewhere between 30 and 35 minutes for the 5K and hopefully closer to 30 than 35. ¬†That’s about as far as my vision takes me right now. ¬†Sort of focusing on the goals closer at hand and letting the rest works their way out in time.

Even though ranking 1 and 3% in the half and full might seem poor. ¬†I am well aware of the fact that I wasn’t even able to be on the list last year so I am proud that at least I can rank this year. ¬†ūüôā

1.5 bottles of water consumed – feeling full and waterlogged….

I’d be lying if i said i wasn’t nervous about this upcoming run. ¬†I suppose that is a bit typical. ¬†I should be able to do better than the last two full marathons. ¬†The BIG difference with this one coming up is that it starts at MIDNIGHT… ¬†that’s a pretty large deviation from the norm.

guess there’s only one way to find out what’s going to happen and that’s to do it.

I checked the driving mileage yesterday and we’re looking at a 5 hour 32 minute drive. ¬† I had 4 hours in my head but that’s only to Nashville.

I have two full days – or two full nights at a hotel in Tennessee but saw no other way. ¬†I’ll be checking into my hotel around 3 p.m. on Friday afternoon and the race starts at midnight. ¬†I had planned on sleeping or at least laying down as much as possible before the run however the packet pickup is from 8 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. Friday night. ¬†Kind of an oddball time frame. ¬†Running will range from midnight up until probably close to 7 a.m. for me and I don’t think it will be at all possible for me to check out Saturday morning at 11 a.m. and drive home so, I have the additional Saturday night hotel stay. ¬†I WILL be submitting my Marathon Maniac application after that Marathon and BEFORE going to bed. ¬†I never bothered bringing my laptop with to the Hatfield McCoy marathon but it will be with me for this final qualifying MM run ūüôā

After this Saturday’s full marathon I should be able to cut back on the running stress levels quite a bit and focus more on leveling up with the Half Fanatics with the ultimate goal of completing 30 half marathons in 30 different states in 365 days. ¬†We’ll see how close I can get to that.

There is a chance to pull off a double half marathon weekend in August with one half marathon either in Iowa or Wisconsin on a Saturday and another one in Minnesota on Sunday.   The next double half weekend chance could be in October with the Brooklyn half on Sat in New York and the Shades of Death half in New Jersey the following day.

Beyond that, in 2016, I’ve looked at a series of 3 half marathons in 3 days in 3 states – part of the Riverboat series of races promoted by MainlyMarathons which could knock out Louisiana, Arkansas and Mississippi.

Tennessee, Kentucky, Missouri and Illinois are four more races in that series but I’m already signed up for the Country Music marathon in Nashville next year and could always drop that to a half if I don’t have any other runs in that state and Paducah, Kentucky is literally only a couple hours from where I live and I know they have a run there and, if not, Louisville isn’t all that far either. ¬†Missouri & Illinois are already well covered.

Which reminds me – I’m also part of the 100 Half Marathon club which is a pretty cool little club. ¬†Membership is only $5 per year or $20 for a lifetime membership and there are a host of discount codes which can pay for the membership in a very short period of time. ¬†I know the MainlyMarathons group offers $10 off per race so, two races and I’ve got my money back and, I’m looking at 3 in April 2016.

The big tamale I’m looking at would be in May of 2016 –

7 halfs in 7 states in 7 days. ¬†I could cover every state NorthEast of NewYork in 6 days; from May 15th through May 20th and I’m already signed up for a run on 21st in Indiana.

My initial mapquest estimates puts the number of driving miles at 2,818 but …to see all those states …to run 7 half marathons in 7 days…. I’m salivating over the prospects ūüôā

Based on this year’s New England series, New York should be the last state in 2016 and that’s when I’ll drive back and do the Geist Half Marathon in Fisher, Indiana.

I kinda like the complex, the improbable.  I like the idea of improving to the point where I can run a half marathon every single day for 7 days straight.

We’ll see what happens.

I think. ¬†For right now, I just need to be patient and maintain what I’ve been doing. ¬†I’ve worked my way up to some respectable per month mileage and my devotion/discipline is already maxed out at 100%. ¬†Those are variables I have some control over – if not nearly total control, baring injury or something out of my control ūüôā

With those two aspects in place, The speed should take care of itself. plus …I do keep getting lighter every month and that’s certainly going to help as well.

One weigh-in for the last two months of May & June each included one weight in the 250s. ¬†which gave me an average weight of 248 for each month. ¬†For July here, it looks like every weigh-in will be in the 240s and we should end up with an average weight below 245. ¬†If my average is below 245 then I’ll achieve another goal set for this year which was to weigh in the low 240s.

As long as I keep on pace with the running I’ll also hit another goal of having another 100 mile month and….then I should hit my 5th and final goal of hitting 500 miles for the entire year some time in August and I’ll still have 4 months left to increase that number ūüôā

In the back of my mind, I would like to gently push my one hour pace up to 5 miles. ¬†Right now I’m hitting 4.25 miles per hour in training. ¬†I’d like to see 5 miles per hour in training. ¬†and god …what a difference there is between training times and racing times.

2.5 bottles of water consumed. ¬†I can’t say I feel any better at the moment – kinda full but probably going to be worth it in the long run. ¬†now…to grab a bottle of Gatorade and head out for some nifty yard work …(joy) ūüėÄ

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15th Annual GO! St Louis Half Marathon Review

Ever since I ran my first 10K in the Summer of ’94 then my first full marathon a few months later every downtown St Louis 1/2 marathon followed¬†essentially the same routes. ¬†This year was a welcomed¬†departure from the norm and turned this¬†course into one of my all time favorites.

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The course started from it’s usual location on Market Street but instead of starting out by heading South towards the Anheuser Busch brewery, it went East, straight towards the first of two bridges which were to be crossed. ¬†Shortly after the the first mile marker began the “race within a race” ¬†the 3.5 mile Bridge Run which had it’s own starting and finishing strips to time runners.

During the first mile this giant flag was hanging a little too low, and unless you were 4 ft tall or less, you were bound to run into it.

During the first mile this giant flag was hanging a little too low, and unless you were 4 ft tall or less, you were bound to run into it.

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A little low but at least it wasn’t hitting the ground.

With overcast skies at the beginning of the race we didn’t get to see the sunrise until the start of our first bridge, Eads Bridge which was had it’s initial construction way back in February of 1868 and first opened to the public on July 4th, 1874. ¬†I never realized how long this bridge was until running over the whole thing but the beautiful sunrise kept us all company.

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another view of the Eads bridge (picture via Wikipedia)

After exiting the Eads Bridge on the Illinois side of the river we made our way over to the Martin Luther King bridge via Collinsville Ave in East St Louis. ¬†I’m not sure how many runners realized this but, along the right side of the road we got to pass the Majestic Theatre. ¬†About 20 months ago, I did a little research and expose’ on the Majestic Theatre after taking a snapshot of the building from the highway and being curious about it. ¬†At a cost of $1 million the Majestic opened in 1928, had seating for over 1,800 people and a 3 tier balcony. ¬†Up until it closed it’s doors in 1960, it was known as the brightest spot in Illinois owing to an illuminated marquee which contained over 3,000 bulbs of various colors and a chasing border surrounded by neon lights.

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The run back into Missouri via the Martin Luther King (MLK) bridge offered some fantastic skyline views of the city of St Louis. ¬†If the GO! St Louis race directors keep this same route and you’ve never been to St Louis before, I would highly recommend this run as a great way to see the city for the first time.

St Louis skyline. Note the long stream of runners heading into the MLK Bridge

St Louis skyline. Note the long stream of runners on the right heading into the MLK Bridge

As we got closer to the MLK bridge the skyline, the gateway Arch and the Eads bridge we had crossed to get into Illinois provided some more nice views.  In the picture below, you may be able to notice the coast guard in the Mississippi river but there was also a helicopter overhead as well as a drone by the MLK bridge.

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After getting back into St Louis city, we quickly found ourselves at Miles 5 and 6 – the race was nearly half over. ¬†From mile 7 to about mile 12.5 was really cool. ¬†That 5.5 mile stretch was out and back to the Anheuser Busch brewery and it was enough distance that I was able to see my brother on his way to the finish around the 11 mile marker (his side of the road) ¬†It was really fun. ¬†The brewery had one of it’s signature clydesdales horses out for photo ops.

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After hitting mile 12 and turning back on Market St I kept looking for that 13 mile marker ….I think that marker should be about 40 feet tall and in neon lights personally….. after a couple more turns and going one block north it finally emerged.

This was a great race for me. ¬†I hit my sub 3 hr time goal last week at the LPHM and I was just looking to emulate that time but with less pain. ¬†Mission accomplished. ¬†This was one of the easiest half marathons I’d ever done. ¬†I had about 95% less pain then the week before and even shaved about 5 min 30 sec off my time from last week.

Out of the 6,253 half marathon runners, about 28% of them finished between 1 and 2 hours.  63% finished between 2 and 3 hours and the remaining 9% finished in greater than 3 hours and I was just fine being amongst the majority of runners.

A big hat’s off to my brother who was among the 28% who finished under 2 hours. ¬†His final time was 1 hour, 59 minutes and 45 seconds ūüôā

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Brother’s Scott & Troy ūüôā

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