Saturday, October 15, 2016

Race Preview: Folsom Blues Breakout Half Marathon

My big goal race for the end of this year is Cal International Marathon in Sacramento. I like to race a half marathon 4-5 weeks out from a goal marathon just as a tune-up and a way to get a realistic sense of where my fitness is, and in terms of non-trail races that I could easily drive to, Folsom Blues Breakout was the one that fit the bill best in terms of timing. (Some others I considered were Grape Stomp, Cloverdale Harvest, Two Cities, and Run with the Jets.)

At first, my thought process was that I should find the fastest, most time-favorable course possible so that I could get a reasonably accurate idea of my fitness. In retrospect, though, it makes more sense to run your tune-up races on courses as similar to your goal race as possible, and (although I didn't realize it when I signed up), it's looking like FBB will probably end up being a good choice on that count.

Also, funnily enough, FBB starts mere steps from the CIM starting line on Folsom-Auburn Road and very briefly follows the same course. From what I've been able to suss out from the internet, it begins with a very short uphill (I'm pretty sure I know the one from CIM) followed by a screaming fast downhill that lasts about 2 miles. For the most part people seem to describe the rest as gentle but noticeable rollers (hello, CIM!) and one sort of annoying uphill at the tail end. Which all makes me think that whatever time I manage to whip out, it should be a pretty fair indicator of what I can expect to do at CIM.

Speaking of what I can expect, let us turn to the wisdom of Ye Olde Race Tyme Predyctionne Calculatorse.

I had a really fantastic 10K race in early September, running just 17 seconds off my all-time PR. Based on that, the interwebz predict.....

Runner's World:



Marathon Guide:

Chicago Endurance:

(Did you have any idea there were so many online race time predictors? I thought this was great fun.)

So, it seems like maybe I'm not *completely* crazy to think that if I have a good day, I could run a sub-1:40 (especially given that I'll be 6-7 weeks further along in training than at the 10K). I feel like it will probably come down to 1) smart race tactics/not doing anything stupid & 2) getting enough sleep & rest next week so that I'm not running on completely exhausted legs. (There is a time for that, but I don't really want it to be this particular race.)

Historically I have not put a lot of stock in race prediction calculators when it comes to predicting my marathon times, as sub-1:40 half marathons have for me tended to correlate with marathons anywhere from 3:35 (PR) to 3:55. On the other hand, if I don't get injured again & am able to complete my entire training plan, I will have run way, WAY more miles than in any previous marathon cycle. So perhaps there is hope. :)

Your experience with race time calculators? What say you? To be trusted?

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