Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Thinking About PV

With "race" day of my current marathon training schedule fast approaching, I have to make a decision as to where I actually want to run 26.2 miles. For some reason, the Palos Verdes Marathon keeps popping into my head.  PV has not hosted a full marathon since 2011. Their course was notorious for its rolling hills, but, when the event was still being held, I was new to running marathons and only considered flat or downhill trending courses.

Before PV dropped their 26.2 mile course, they had the second longest running annual marathon behind only Boston! I actually worked a water station for the PV race when I was in middle school. In those days, I had no idea I would ever consider running even a mile.  Running a marathon didn't even become a bucket list item for me until I completed my first half in 2007. Los Angeles became a bucket list marathon as soon as they announced the "Stadium to the Sea" course. When I completed Long Beach 2009 in well under 4 hours, I added both Boston and PV to my list (only adding the latter because the peninsula is my home). I checked LA off in 2010, but have yet to qualify for Boston. I considered attempting PV in 2012, but PV's organizers changed the course in 2011 (full became two laps of the half marathon course that starts and finishes near Terranea Resort).  Later that same year, a section of the previous course collapsed near Point Fermin, a stretch used both after the start and before the finish...and there were no plans to rebuild.  When the organizers dropped the full altogether in 2012, I figured the box by PV was one I could no longer check.

Since I ran the PV Half Marathon in 2008, I started looking for course maps or GPS data from runners who participated in the full that year. I couldn't find any publicly shared GPS data from runs on that day (other than my half marathon).  For awhile, the only course map I could find online was in an archived local newspaper article about the inaugural PV Marathon in 1967.  That particular point-to-point route would be interesting to try, but would also require permission to cross through the gated community of Rolling Hills.

Today, I finally found it thanks to the Internet Wayback Machine.

My biggest worry about attempting the full PV course as this year's not-a-race marathon is that its considerable elevation change may provide an excuse to just treat this as another long run.  Even during this particular training cycle, I have not had great experiences when longer runs have stayed on the hill.  I favored sticking to the beach for my longest runs to avoid anything that might discourage me from even attempting the goal.

Keep in mind, this will be my first truly solo effort to attempt the distance.  There will be no specators lining the course to cheer me on.  I won't be able to draft behind a competitor or match another's pace or reel in someone who appears to be struggling.  I may have to stop at intersections, yield to traffic both pedestrian and vehicular.  There is no carrot being dangled in front of me to even complete the course...no shirt, no finisher's medal, no post-run snacks.  Hunger will likely remain my biggest motivation...on a non-active day I don't like spacing meals by more than six hours.  I definitely have a five hour threshold for doing outdoor activities without  break.  Thus far, I have run all of my 26+ mile runs in under five...even when injured, sick, or just running for charity.

I won't feel like I have truly checked the PV Marathon off my bucket list unless I actually attempt to run the whole distance and do so within a total time in which I have completed actual races.

So...should I even attempt to run this course?

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