Sunday, January 14, 2007

Marathon Number 21

Zoom! Yah! Yah! Indoor Marathon at St. Olaf College in Northfield , MN. Time 3:44:12, pace 8:33. I was aiming for a time of 3:45, so this was on the nose . Or more like on the hoof. I’m a happy marathoner. The last two or three laps were difficult; I was extremely tired and was listing to the left so badly that the race director was a little concerned, he later told me. I would have walked a little, but was determined to make that 3:45 time and couldn’t afford to.

150 laps on a track about 4 runners wide doesn’t sound like a lot of fun. But I was pleasantly surprised; it’s both a race and a social event. I passed or was passed by every other runner, many times, and got to know them a little. We joked and encouraged each other, maybe even teased a bit, and to be honest I didn’t miss the open road with its changing scenery. I got to pass by Sweet Pea and my Lovely Bride every few laps, so we felt each others’ presence throughout the race. There were some minor problems with timing, but those were easily resolved.

The larger question: Is an indoor marathon more difficult than a road race, or is it easier? The indoor race is perfectly flat with no wind, and in this case a perfect temperature. I ran comfortably in a singlet and shorts. On the other hand, we did turn 600 individual 90-degree corners, plus several 180-degree turnarounds designed to give runners a change in direction. The track itself was a little softer than a road, but not a lot. Corners seemed fairly sharp, but not so sharp as to require a marathoner to slow down. Occasionally it was necessary to slow briefly for a little jam-up of people, but that was infrequent, and I have experienced MUCH more of that in big road races.

Coming off a 3:36 PR at TCM and a hilly 3:48 at NYC, I (arrogantly?) expected to be able to finish this in 3:45 without much pain at the end. So it seemed a little harder than a road race. Lovely Bride and Sweet Pea think so too, and I know of others who thought it was harder. I suppose it’s the corners.

More (boring) details tomorrow. I’m HONGRY and I need a beer.

4 comments:

Audrey said...

This is very weird-but kind of cool. Yeah!

Dori said...

Congratulations, Don! You finished, and under your goal time. I think marathons are plain hard regardless of the course. I don't think I'd ever try an indoor marathon, though. Rest up--you've earned it. :-)

Zeke said...

Nice job, Don!!!

Danielle said...

Congrats on the finish under your goal time. I saw that race and thought hmm...might be interesting to attempt. Nothing like knowing what your running conditions will be like. I've done a 20 miler indoors on a 6 laps to a mile track, guess it wouldn't be much different...