Running The Gauntlet: Three Races In Three Weeks

This is a big week for me.

Rye on Mount Lafayette | Finishing the NH4KActually, it’s a big three weeks. First, I completed New Hampshire’s list of 4,000 foot mountains on Saturday. Mts Lincoln and Lafayette were number 47 and 48, all done while carrying a small child most of the way, and there will be a trip report on that later.

This hike was a day after I ran 9 miles in preparation for the Applefest Half Marathon in Hollis, NH, taking on the famous hills on Wheeler Road. But the biggest challenge was the next day, Sunday morning. I was scheduled to go out and run 20 miles.

Can I do that the day after a 9 mile hike that gained 3,200′ while carrying 60 lbs much of the way? Is that physically allowed?

20.33 mi Run on Sep 16, 2012 9:03 AMYes.

I ran the 20 miles in just over 3 hours – a 9 minute mile pace. It’s actually not my best for a 20 miler. I did better during training runs for Boston and in the Eastern States 20-Miler in March (2:48 time/8:25 pace). But the day after a big hike (and all of the 4,000 footers are big), I’ll take it!

So what’s coming up? Originally, it was the Maine Marathon. That was it. I want to go for a time under four hours, and I think I can get there. My best half is 1:41:22, and I figure if I double that and add 25% to the second half, it will be 1:41:22 + 1:41:22 + 25:22 = 3:48:06. Given decent weather, there’s my goal time. This isn’t POA, btw, it’s based on my half & half splits in Boston (roughly 2:05 + 2:33 = 4:38), and that weather was BRUTAL.

But that was before my colleague at work decided to enter a half marathon, the aforementioned Applefest. That’s on October 6, and the course is known for its nearly two-mile-long hill section on Wheeler Road, coming between miles 9 and 11. In the first mile, it rises 200′, more than any hill in any race I’ve done yet. He signed me up, and it’s 6 days after the Maine. So there’s an interesting challenge.

But that’s not all, when I heard about the Salem Wicked Half Marathon on Sept 22, I knew I had to enter. It’s 8 days before the Maine Marathon, and I’ve already decided to go for a two-week taper, so it kinda sorta fits in with my plan. I figured “Why not?” The course is fun, with some hills, especially in the Marblehead section, and the weather looks to be perfect.

So, to recap:

Sounds insane, doesn’t it? Well, I’ve trained, hiked, walked, carried, stretched, hydrated, weighed, carb-loaded, conditioned, timed, paced, calculated and generally wrapped myself around this notion that I can run these three races in three weeks. Two years ago this would have been out of the question. Now it’s just a question waiting to be answered.

Time to go answer it.


2 thoughts on “Running The Gauntlet: Three Races In Three Weeks

  1. I am constantly in awe of the challenges that you set for yourself. You’ve always been one to reach for what you want & can usually make it happen, so I have no doubt that barring any unforeseen catastrophe, you’ll emerge on the other side of this challenge with another victory … well, three actually! 🙂

    The Salem Wicked — I toyed with the idea of working toward that one earlier this summer, but being a newbie to the whole running thing, I couldn’t get my feet planted firmly beneath me & enough training under my belt to make it seem like it would be the right decision. And besides, I think there is something in my head saying “but don’t you want the PHM to be your FIRST half?” It does sound like a very cool race …… though I do wonder why Salem doesn’t run that one in October? I have it in my ‘tickle file’ for next year though (well, maybe — if my plan goes well, I’ll be doing a half on Labor Day – will I be ready enough to do two in three weeks?)

    The Applefest marathon looks cool too — I’d never heard of it before, despite my looking up races. I must not be looking in the right place.

    Congratulations on the mountain climbing goal as well! I’ve been telling Ali of your adventures & she is JEALOUS! She, being a Girl Scout, is more the nature type — loves camping, loves the outdoors, and wants to be able to follow in a few of your footsteps. I don’t know how you find the time to do all that you do!! (BTW — She really wants to meet you – she thinks you’re like the coolest dad ever!)

    What you’ve been able to accomplish in a year is flat out amazing. I have no doubt you’ll accomplish finishing all three events with flying colors.

    • I sure hope it works out! Thank you. It’s interesting to me that I’ve been running through this heel pain for more than a year (it caused me to limp in the first mile of Sunday’s run and you can see my struggle to deal with it on the pace graph). But since then it hasn’t been an issue. Weird. I’ve decided it’s not a muscle or tendon issue and is probably an irritated bone, like that ankle knob that doesn’t like ski boots.

      I hope Rye is in GS, though I know we won’t be involved in BSA. Self-centered, I know, but One, it’s because of principles and two, it’s because I’d kinda like to go on backcountry trips without the whistles-and-clipboards. Rye will probably love it but ConMan is not such a joiner (I know from experience that tossing a non-joiner into a joiner situation does not magically transform him into one).

      I think you’re right to make PHM the first big race. I was wondering if you’ve thought about your goal time – the formula above is probably reasonable.

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