Monday, May 17, 2010

Cleveland Marathon Recap

I couldn't have asked for a better day. The temperature was about 50 at the start, sunny with just a bit of wind. My focus for this race was to improve on my time. In March, I ran my first marathon at a 10:39 pace. My strategy in that race was not very good; I started out way too fast and totally crashed at the end. For the past month, I have been practicing starting out slower and then picking up the pace towards the end (AKA negative splits). My goals for this race were: Miles 1-7 @ 10:20, Miles 8-20 @ 10:15, and Miles 21-26.2 @ 10:10.

Mile 1: 10:20, nice pace, felt really ready to go. We ran by the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame, Browns Stadium and then began to wander through the downtown area.

Mile 2: 10:16, feeling great, pace still very comfortable, ran by a giant Lebron James poster (sorry Cavs) and then headed across the river.

Mile 3: 10:16, a few seconds faster than planned, but figured it was close enough, this part of the course was a bit boring, kind of a rundown area of town, not unlike South Buffalo/Lackawanna. Also, noticed at this point that my GPS mileage was about .3 ahead of the course mileage markers.

Mile 4: 10:14, entered Tremont, it reminded me of the Elmwood area of Buffalo, a kind of artsy neighborhood.

Mile 5: 10:20, I noticed my pace quickening a bit, so I intentionally slowed down here. I also, felt the sudden and intense urge to pee. I was able to hold it the entire time in March, but I was doubting whether or not I'd be able to today. There was a decent amount of port-a-potties on the route, but the lines were long and I wasn't desperate enough to stop and wait.

Mile 6: 10:15, Running through what is called Ohio City, still a decent neighborhood (I think), but now I was totally distracted, realizing that I would have to pee. I briefly contemplated just going as I ran, but dismissed this thought and began to look for a nice secluded place, i.e. a hedgerow, dark alley, etc.

Mile 7: 10:18, Okay, I HAVE GOT TO GO!!! Must find a bathroom or bush. I spent most of this mile bargaining with myself; stop and go, lose some time, but feel comfortable vs. keep going and risk peeing all over myself.

Mile 8: 11:28, Ahhhh! Relief!!!! Here's how it went down...about halfway through this mile I saw a McDonalds. I saw a few people ducking in, but it didn't look like a line, so I ran in. No lines outside of the door! I went into the men's room and was immediately confused. Two women were in there waiting for the stall. Now I did a quick double take, just to make sure in my haste I hadn't picked the wrong door. Apparently the women's room was full and they didn't want to wait as long. I can't remember encountering a woman in the men's room since college. Three minutes later, I was back on the road.

Mile 9: 8:26, I picked the pace up here to make up for my bathroom time.

Mile 10: 9:39, still ahead of pace, I wanted to make sure I made up all of the time. My math skills aren't the best, so erred on the side of being too aggressive.

Mile 11: 10:17, actually a couple seconds slower here, but a decent climb up onto route 2, very similar to the skyway. It was weird running on the highway in the wrong direction.

Mile 12: 10:12, still on the highway, but descending now back into the downtown area. The half marathon runners, who were with us up to this point, split off for their finish into downtown. The roads suddenly got much more wide open.

Mile 13: 10:03, mostly downhill and my pace took advantage of this. I was still feeling great at this point endurance-wise. My knee was aching a bit, but very tolerable.

Mile 14-17: 10:13, 10:12, 10:12, 10:05, I found this section of the course to be the most mentally challenging. This was pretty much a straight shot along the waterfront heading generally east, but into a pretty decent wind. Even though it was along the shore, there wasn't much to look at. Also, hardly any spectators here.

Mile 18-20: 10:36, 10:08, 10:01. These three miles were ran through a pretty nice park with gardens representing several countries. I tried guessing the country by the flag before I could read the plaque. I wasn't very good at this. Not sure where that 10:36 came from, I just lost focus. I was definitely feeling the fatigue by mile 20, but felt as though I could definitely hold a 10:10 pace for the remainder of the race.

Mile 21: 10:04, really pleased with this split as we made the turn away from the park and headed back to the city. It was a bit of a mental game to see 98th Street, when I knew that the race ended at 6th Street. I readjusted my plan to run 10:05's for the last 5 miles, since I was feeling good.

Mile 22: 10:11, OH NO! WALL! It came much later than in the last race. I could feel the pace just slipping away from me and the harder I pushed the slower I seemed to move. I re-adjusted back to my original goal of 10:10.

Mile 23: 10:14, Crap...pace still slipping away from me. I was now in survival mode, trying to hold a 10:15.

Mile 24: 10:24, the 4:30 pace group passed me here. Double Crap!! I was on pace to be under 4:30 until now, so this was a bit demoralizing. I tried to stay about 100 ft behind them and keep up.

Mile 25: 10:27....grinding hard, VERY HARD! I began to do some interval running, run as fast as I can for .05 and then recover for .10, anything to keep my mind off of my failing body.

Mile 26: 10:19, with one mile to go, I gave it all I could. I caught back up with the 4:30 pace group and then passed them. Maybe I'd have a chance to break 4:30 after all. No mile marker at this mile which was annoying since every other mile was marked. I sprinted (well it felt like sprinting) the home stretch, crossed the line and kissed my patiently waiting wife. I just missed a sub 4:30, which is weird because I beat the 4:30 pacer, oh well.

Mileage: 26.2 (though my Garmin said 26.59)
Avg HR: 152

Other fun tid bits...

Most Disturbing Sign: "I get to watch my daughter's first time. (Is that weird?) Go Kristen" At first it was funny, but after you think about it for a minute it is kind of creepy.

Vertigo Bridge: early in the race we ran over a bridge and I thought I was lightheaded until I heard someone else say the same thing. We realized that the bridge we were running over was actually bouncing up and down.

Road Kill: More like hairpiece, that's right! A saw a trampled hairpiece on the road. Of course I stepped on it, I just had to. Now I can say I stepped on a head rug. Nice!

Cleveland's Obsession with Lebron: It is surely a once in a lifetime event when a city gets a superstar like James. It was obvious how horrible the Clevelanders felt about their premature exit in the playoffs. There were lots of signs about this, but my favorite said GO CAVS, but the CAVS was crossed out and replaced with Runners.

Useless Yet Inspirational Fact: Another sign that was creative simply stated "Chuck Norris never ran a Marathon." I never have (nor ever will) aspire to be like Chuck Norris, but it was an interesting perspective.

Runner I Know (Kind of): A colleague's son also ran this marathon. He was a bit faster (like 2 hrs and change). Oh, he came in 4th and won some cash. Nice!

On to my biggest issue remains my knee. It is pretty sore on the outside (probably IT Band issue, according to my PT.) My quads are also pretty shredded, but I feel much more recovered the day after than I did in March.

I shaved 8 minutes off of my last marathon time. At this rate, in about 14 marathons (or so) I will qualify for Boston. ( I can dream can't I?)

So, all in all a good experience. 2 down 998 to go....

1 comment:

  1. Congrats on the great race! I think you've inspired me to think about giving a full marathon a try next year (I think...). I'm glad you improved so much from your last big race. Thanks also for providing the funny commentary and observations --- yes, that "daughter" sign does sound creepy, and as far as I know, Chuck Norris doesn't run marathons because he runs 100 mile ultras straight up volcanos on his lunch hour. Anyway, congrats again on the great race!