I am remiss in updating our IR's about my latest marathon adventure. It happened, ironically enough, the same weekend as Katy's 5K, which is one reason I didn't report it. Your first 5K is a Big Deal, and means a lot, and you don't need some yahoo saying "I did a marathon" while you are rightly pointing out how cool it is that you've done your first 5K. Firsts count a lot.
But I also didn't report it because it was a meh race for me. I ran it in about 4:20, which is almost identical to the time for my very first marathon. Which makes it about my 3rd slowest marathon ever. The thing is, the course was flat, the weather was good (it did snow a bit the night before, but it wasn't all that cold really), and the circumstances were ok. I just wasn't trained very well. Which is weird, cause I did do four 20 mile runs, which is pretty good, and had a decent base. The thing of it is that none of them were very fast, and I didn't push speed at all during my whole training time. Whenever I'd go out feeling a bit tired, I'd slow down. Logical, but if you just keep running slower and slower, guess what? You end up running slower! Such was the case for me.
So now I'm training for marathon #8, which will be in October. I'm going to try a few different things this time. One is, lots more hills. It's not that there were a lot of hills in the last race, there were just about none, but running hills strengthens your legs a lot, and that helps your speed. So every run since then has been on one of the hillier routes that I have. The other is that I'm thinking of doing one treadmill run a week to do some actual speed work. I've never done much speed work at all in marathon training but the one time I did I had a dramatic improvement in my time (it wasn't just the speed work, but I bet it helped). I'll post about the rationale for that later.
So wish me luck as I train through the hot months (blech).