Sunday, September 12, 2010
Race Day and a return to home to run my 3rd marathon this year. I am really quite addicted to this whole exercise thing, so needless to say I was quite excited to get this one going.
I struggled this week in coming up with a race strategy. In my first marathon in March, poor planning and unrealistic goals led to a less than stellar performance, though I did finish, which was the primary goal. In May, I was able to improve my time and had a much more sound and achievable set of goals.
This summer's training in prep for this marathon felt really solid. I was a bit worried that I peaked a couple of weeks too soon, but I felt really good going into this one. My previous best was 4:30, so I was initially shooting for a 4:15. However, my run times and shorter races, seemed to suggest that a sub-4 hr run would be reachable. All week long I hemmed and hawed about what to go after. Do I stick with the 4:15 goal or just go out and attack 4hrs? I finally settled on going after 4hrs. My plan was simple and similar to all of my training runs i.e. negative splits, Miles 1-7 @ 9:20, Miles 8-20 @ 9:00, Miles 21-26.2 8:50ish. So...how'd it go...read on!
First of all, a great day for running, 60 at the start overcast and a light drizzle. Almost perfect. The gun fired and we were off!
Mile 1-3: I had to pee! Yes, just like in Cleveland, within the 1st mile I get the intense sensation that I just have to go. In Cleveland I ducked into a McDonald's around mile 7. I knew there was a McDonalds right around the 3 mile marker, so I planned on that. It was perfect, no lines! Feeling "refreshed" I moved on. 9:16, 9:06, 9:00. Faster than I intended to start out, but felt good. East Ave is pretty much a downhill run, I wasn't breathing hard, so I just let it happen. I didn't lose anytime from my pee break either, so bonus!
Miles: 4-5: Still going downhill, and my feet kept turning over well, so I went with it. 8:43, 8:37. I attempted to slow myself down...
Miles: 6-10, I was able to slow down for a mile or so, but my legs kept moving strong and I was feeling great, so again I just went with it. No pain at all, and still down hill, except for one little rise onto the Erie Canal Bike Path. 9:02, 8:36, 8:45, 8:51, 8:46. During this section, I changed my plan, I was obviously ahead of pace and feeling great (at this point about 5 mins or so) so my target was to hit a pace of 8:45-9:00/mile.
Miles 11-20: On the bike path still. The path was mostly a dirt trail which I enjoyed. It was much easier on the legs and I was able to maintain my pacing well. I got a great surprise around 15.5. My wife was standing there cheering me on. I had anticipating just seeing her at the end, so this got my feet moving even faster and sure helped me keep focused. Around mile 19, my quad started feeling tight, but wasn't presenting a huge problem, so I pressed on. I also dipped below my new goal a few times, but again I just let it happen. 8:48, 8:32, 8:37, 8:49, 8:37, 8:31, 8:45, 8:44, 8:31, 8:36. During mile 20, I came up with a quick strategy for the last 10K. My thoughts were to to start at an 8:30 pace and drop :05 for each mile to the end.
Miles 21-26.2 or so: My quad was starting to burn pretty good now. I was also experiencing a tightening and tender right groin, but I pushed on. I found it harder to meet my pace. Mile 21: 8:27, :02 off my amended end game. No problem, keep going and hit 8:20. That was not to be, but I dropped Mile 22 to 8:26. Then the wheels, kinda came off. 23 @8:43, 24 @8:58 (saw my wife again here and trying to use that motivation) , 25 @9:12. I was clearly in survival mode now. Both quads burning, groin on fire and now cramping calves. It was painful, but throughout this I remained focused on the fact that I was sub 4hrs if I could just hold pace. Mile 26 finished at 8:54 and the last little bit at a 8:56/pace. The last .2 was quite painful, big calf cramps.
Mileage: 26.45 (with McDonalds detour)
Time/Pace: 3:52:08/8:46 (8:51 at 26.2)
Elevation Gain: 3235 ft
Avg HR/Max HR: 146/162
204/716 overall, 22/51 Age Group
One of the training goals I had throughout the summer was for negative splitting. I did the first half in 1:56:50 and the second half in 1:55:18, mission accomplished (barely). I'm thrilled with this finish and time, and only a bit disappointed with the slowdown in the final 10K. Had the race been any longer I might have been toast.
Special thanks to my wife, for being there and supportive, even though she didn't get much sleep. Also to my dad for coming out and NG (nice run!)
A couple days rest, then duathlon training beings, and Philly isn't too far off....