Saturday, January 2, 2010

Reinventing Marathon Tempo Runs

You know you're ready when you cover ground effortlessly.  Both McMillan Elite's Brett Gotcher and Alvina Begay did just that this morning out on Lake Mary Road.  This was to be their last long tempo run (15 miles) before their ever-present marathon races.  Brett has his marathon debut on January 17th at the Houston Marathon.  Alvina gets 2010 started with a bang the same weekend at the Rock 'n' Roll Arizona Marathon in Phoenix.

I had the privilege of tagging along with these two and their coach Greg McMillan on this morning's jaunt.  It went down this:

Brett Gotcher switches from his trainers into his Adidas Adios.

Alvina Begay (left) and Trina Painter warm-up.

Greg picked me up this morning at my abode in downtown Flagstaff.  We drove to the 9am meeting place at J. W. Powell Blvd. and Lake Mary Road.  Alvina and Brett were already there.  We chit-chatted until Trina Painter arrived.  Trina (a McMillan Elite assistant coach and impressive runner to boot) will serve as Alvina's support crew during the tempo run.  I rode with Greg in his car and helped support Brett during his fifteen miles.

Coach Greg McMillan mans the wheel, both literally and figuratively.

Brett heads up Lake Mary Road in the early miles.  Yep, that's ice on the road up ahead!

Brett nears the half-marathon mark, still just as smooth as when he started.

After a few miles of warm up both Brett and Alvina were ready to go.  Without fan fare they blasted off on a fifteen mile point-to-point run down the wide shouldered Lake Mary Road, a undulating paved road that passes both Upper and Lower Lake Mary situated 7,000 feet above sea level.  Greg and I drove just behind Brett as he rolled along.  Emergency flashers a go-go and Pearl Jam on the radio.  I felt as if I was in a Flotrack video.  We took splits, handed him drinks every five kilometers and offered verbal encouragement.  Trina did the same for Alvina, who started a few minutes after Brett.

Brett takes fluids.  5K and 10K Gatorade.  15K and 20K Coke.

When all was said and done both runners had an excellent day!  Brett, who ran twenty-one miles yesterday, passed through the half-marathon mark in 1:07:30 and averaged 5:07/mile for the full fifteen.  This was his fastest fifteen mile tempo to date.  Alvina started her run with a few 6:30 miles then slowly put the hammer down and finished with a few sub 6:00 miles.  Smooth and consistent, both these runners seemed to get stronger as the distance increased.

The final mile: 4:52! 

...And he's done.
Greg might be more psyched than Brett?  Just touching him to make sure he's real.

Alvina digs in for the final 100 meters.

Greg, Trina and Alvina debrief. 

Personally, I was impressed and inspired.  Both the runners and coaches made this entire exercise look easy, almost run of the mill...well, I guess, in fact, it was just another day at the "office."  Nice work guys and gals!


Courtney said...

Really cool!

JC said...

Very cool report Ian! Makes me homesick for Flag. That was quite a run considering I don't remember any long flat road at lake Mary.

saschasdad said...

Great report on a couple elites hammering out a cool 15. Best wishes to both of them in a couple weeks.

It looks like you're settling in to Flag nicely, Ian.