Actually, I started my year with the Disney Half on 1/6/07. I ran the Mississippi Blues Marathon on 1/5/08... so I managed 65 marathons and ultras in one year.
I PRed at the marathon distance twice. I ran my first 3 50ks ever and my first (and perhaps only, heh) 50 miler.
A "double" is what I call a weekend where I run two races of marathon distance or longer. In 2007, I ran 14 doubles. I also ran one triple (3 in 3 days), and the elusive quadzilla (4 in 4 days). Quadzilla was cool because the 4th race was my fastest of that weekend. Then again, the first three races utilized very hard courses... the third day was also icy..., and the course for the 4th race was a simple, flat out-and-back. One other person, Maniac Brian, completed the Quadzilla in 2007. As far as I know, we were it.
One goal I had for this year was breaking 4 hours in both races of a double... or, for a weekend where the first race was an ultra, breaking 4 in the second race. I was able to do this in 9 of those 14 doubles.
Towards the end of the year, I also managed two "negative split" doubles - weekends where I broke 4 in both races AND ran the second race faster than the first race.
I did this in November at the Seattle Ghost (3:37) and the regular Seattle Marathon (3:36). I did it again the following weekend at Death Valley (3:48) and Las Vegas (3:40). 4 marathons in 9 days... two negative split doubles.
I ran 11 marathons in one month. September: two doubles, one triple, and the quadzilla.
Of the 64, 6 were ultras. Of the remaining 58 marathons...
- I beat 3:40 7 times.
- I beat 3:45 (inclusive) 9 times.
- I beat 3:50 (inclusive) 18 times.
- I beat 4:00 (inclusive) 36 times.
I'm very happy with beating 3:40 7 times. True, I did NOT beat 3:40 51 times. But 3:30-3:40 was the top end for my level of fitness in 2007... and I got there quite a few times. I'd rather run 7 races in that range while doing 64 total than only attempting one or two marathons during the year. Perhaps I could have run a 3:15-3:20 by only doing one or two. And perhaps the weather would have been bad that day, or I would have been sick, or... who knows? I liked running 64. And beating 3:40 7 times made me feel good. So did my 4:04 at Bataan :-). So did helping the guy at Disney on my way to a 4:40. So did my 5:38 at Mid Mountain because I didn't die. And I beat 5 at Volcano. Every day is different.
That said, there were a few races where I absolutely should have beaten four and did not. Most of these were at the beginning of the year when I wasn't in the shape I wanted to be in: Carlsbad (4:01), Pacific Shoreline (4:04), and Cowtown (also 4:04 in 50 mph wind). There was also my craptacular 4:40 at Disney BUT part of that time was spent helping a poor soul to first aid.
The two races where I PRed were Palos Verdes (3:36, which I'd hit again twice later in the year) and San Juan Island (3:34). Both of these are considered hilly, difficult courses. Aside from these races, I was most proud of these:
- Bataan. I ran a 4:04 on a very challenging course.
- Bayshore. I ran a 3:39 and served as the totally unofficial pace group leader for some gals who needed 3:40 to qualify for Boston. Check my picture here.
- Air Force. I ran a 3:44, but my time was unimportant. I ditched the pink in favor of a shirt honoring my dad.
- Seattle. I ran a 3:36 (within 90 seconds of my PR) on the second day of a double and banished my Seattle Marathon demons.
I had to skip various races throughout the year. Real-life has a habit of asserting itself at odd times, like when one of my dogs ate his leash in February. I had to skip my first double so I could take care of him. I made the right choice. I skipped several local races throughout the year because I was lazy :-). Ok, really, I was exhausted. It's hard to run this much. So sometimes, I didn't get up. I had to skip Richmond because I was deathly ill. And then I packed it in early in December.
70 would have been doable, I suppose. But really? 65 (or 64 for strictly 2007) is pretty cool. Combined with the 36 I ran in 2006, and I managed 100 marathons and ultras in two years.
How about 2008? I'll write up some goals in my next post.