|A view of East Grand Traverse Bay from the marathon course
From the volunteers to the spectators to the Moomers ice cream at the finish, everything was well run. But the highlight is the course itself. For almost the entire 26.2 miles, the course follows the roads along the eastern shore of the Old Mission Peninsula. The route gives runners sweeping views of the blue waters of East Grand Traverse Bay.
|Cherry blossoms along the course
|If you have to run 26.2 miles, might as well enjoy the view.
|Another view from the course
Before this marathon, my fastest marathon was a 4:21:18 in Lansing last year. I had trained for my previous marathons using popular training plans that rely on shorter, easy runs during the week and one long run on the weekend, including two or three runs of 20 miles. In each of my previous marathons, I fell well short of breaking four hours and didn't have the ability to finish the races without walking some.
This time around, I went with the Hansons Marathon Method. I chose their method for four reasons: 1) The Hansons-Brooks Project has trained Olympians (including Desi Linden) and other elite marathoners for years; 2) I have read and heard a ton of good reviews of their plan; 3) I used their half-marathon plan (which is very similar to their marathon plan) and saw marked improvement; and 4) The Hansons-Brooks athletes live and train in Michigan.
The Hansons Method focuses on harder workouts and longer distances during the week and long runs on the weekend that are never longer than 16 miles. The point is to create "cumulative fatigue" during the week, so the weekend long run simulates the last 12 to 16 miles of the marathon, unlike other plans, which simulate the first 12 to 20 miles.
I didn't hit my A goal of 8:00 minutes per mile, but I did take nearly 40 minutes off my personal best and met my B goal by going under 8:30 minutes per mile. I probably would have had a better shot of hitting my A goal if I ran a more consistent and conservative pace for the first half. At 16.2 miles, I was at a 7:54 pace, but I crashed hard with about 5 miles left because of my pace.
|With 0.2 miles left, the crowd picked me up.
After I ate my ice cream and got more carbs into my system, I felt satisfied that I broke four hours and crushed my previous personal best. I don't know if I'll run another marathon. I might stick to half marathons. But if I do run another, it will be hard to pick a better one than the Bayshore Marathon.
|Struggling to stand, but satisfied