Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Shamrock Marathon Race Report

Mary's results:
Mary ran a 1:58:30 in the half marathon, and looking at her Garmin data, she negative split the race, with the 2nd half going into a brisk headwind. She did very well!
Ryan's results:
Ryan ran with the 3:10 pace group and was right on track up to mile 17. He had a lot of cramping issues and finished in 3:29:05.
I know he will get that BQ soon!
John's race:
Started out a bit slow, mostly becuase of a 10 mph headwind for the first 5.6 miles. I ran mostly alone and could not find a steady runner with wide shoulders to draft. Everyone that started at my speed ended up slowing down by mile 2. I needed to pick up the pace relative to others. At 5.6 there was a sharp U-turn and I could count the number of runners ahead of me. Was in 79th place at that time, and a full minute behind perfect pace. Felt I was working pretty hard, yet really wanted to get some of that time back. I saw that there was a pretty good-sized pack of runners ahead of me, only about 25 seconds in front. Had the wind on my back now and put a target on their backs. Ran out a couple of faster miles (6:35 to 6:40) and caught up with the pack at mile 10.
There were 10 guys in the pack and I just hung in the back and listened. They were the "unofficial" 3:00 pace group. They got onto the boardwalk (actually it is concrete) and they were running pretty steady. It was nice to run with them and not worry about checking my watch. The pack hung together well through the half and our split was 1:30:15. These guys continued to run well, and with a bunch of 6:45 to 6:48 miles, we were back in business. Tough part is that we lost a few runners and were down to a pack of 6 at mile 18.1.
I was feeling good here and felt like the sub-3:00 was very possible. We made the turn at mile 19.1 and now had to run 7.1 miles into the wind to the finish.The course was well-protected for a while and I was able to stay steady. More runners fell off pace, there were only 3 of us left in the pack. Then we had direct sunshine and more wind. At mile 21.3 it hit me. My legs just would not move any faster. The idea of keeping up this crazy pace for 4 more miles in the wind and direct sunlight was killing me. I took a short walk break and managed 7:15 mile for mile 22.
Mile 23 had another walk break and a 7:32. The wheels had fallen off. Now it is time to salvage.Mile 24 pulled back a bit (no walking) and managed a 7:30. Two walk breaks on mile 25 resulted in a 7:59. Came back with a 7:37 for mile 26 and a 7:20 pace to the finish.
What did I learn from this?
I believe that treadmill running does not always translate to moving the body forward on planet Earth. Even though I had a pretty good training cycle, I did not have enough "real" running outdoors.
The push I made to catch up with the group (miles 6-10) came back and bit me big time. I have always found that if my HR goes over 170 (it averaged 172 on miles 10 and 11) for more than a mile in the first half of a marathon, it will result in lactate buildup (and very heavy legs) about 1 1/2 hours later. That is exactly when it hit me the hardest.
Yet, I really believe that if I would have held back on those miles, I would have only been able to run 3:01 - still short of goal.
So, I am satisfied in the effort I put out there. I gambled a bit, but really didn't lose too much. I know that someday again I'll be able to crack that mark again.
Oh yeah, official results:
36 / 2639 Overall
31 / 1600 Men
2 / 190 Men 45-49
P.S. Only 1 guy in the pack went sub-3. He was 35 years old and ran 2:58:34. The rest of the pack finished between 3:02 and 3:20. This is the grim reality of what really happens in the marathon.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Shamrock Marathon flash

Finished the Shamrock marathon in VA Beach in 3:03:22.
Was not what I wanted, but every race is a learning experience.
Wheels came off at mile 23 with a lot of muscle cramps.
Still satisfied as I think it was #35 Overall and 1st in M45-49. (The first 5 masters collect cash and not eligible for AG awards I guess).
I WILL post a more detailed race report after I get home.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Pre-Shamrock Preparations

Right now, we are waiting in line for some pizza in Virginia Beach, VA.
Tomorrow is the Shamrock marathon.
Mary is running the half, friend Ryan from MN is attempting a 3:10 BQ. I am attempting another sub 3.
I will try to flash some results on the blog here.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Rock 'n' Roll highlights

Famous last words:
"I'll post something here shortly after the race."
The race was on January 17, today is March 10. That's 45 days...I don't think that qualifies as shortly after the race. Sorry.
I just wanted to clear my conscience regarding that promise, so here are some thoughts about the P.F. Chang's Rock 'N' Roll Marathon.
Everyone was in good spirits on marathon morning. Mary and my sister Jojajogger were ready to go. Mary was going to attempt another BQ effort (sub 4:06), even though she had just run CIM only 6 weeks before. Jojajogger was going to run somewhere in the 5:00 range, yet didn't have a specific plan.
Expo the day before was very busy, as many runners stopped by the pacer booth to visit. There are so many that want to run a BQ or personal best and moods are high.
As I got into the start line corrals, all I had to do was hold the 3:40 sign up high and the runners flock to me. At the start, there were hundreds of runners keeping me in their sights. We were in the back of corral 2, and the 3:20, 3:30, 3:45 pacers were not around. Everybody keeps asking me where they are....I almost wanted to say "I think they are at the Porta-potty 3 blocks that way and take a left".
National anthem and then the start. Senator McCain was in the scaffolding above the start line and we ran underneath him as he gave his stiff trademark wave.
I had a plan and stuck quite close to it.
1st mile was in 8:30
We hit the 10K in 52:00 - 8 seconds in the bank.
Approached the half in 1:49:05 - 55 seconds in the bank.
Continued on to mile 20 in 2:47:08 - 41 seconds in the bank.
At mile 22, my parents were there and I handed the pace sign over to David, a strong young runner who visited with me quite a bit along the route.
I pulled over, gave Mom a birthday hug and kiss, and caught back up to the group. I talked David and a few of the stronger runners into keeping a strong pace and pull away from me as I was going to back down very slightly for miles 24, 25 and 26.
This is usually where what used to be hundreds of runners turns into just a few. I remember a young gal (I think her name was Robin). She was running right next to me for the whole time. I could tell she was a local AZ runner because she wore a stocking cap. She was working hard to hold pace with me, I could tell by her breathing. I just told her to stay in my back pocket and not give up. She stuck with me..all the way. I really could feel her pain - she was digging so deep to hang on. We got to the final turn and I told her to take it in to the finish. I slowed down a bit, so that she would get a nice photo. She crossed in 3:39:58.
I crossed in 3:40:03
After the finish, I worked my way through the finish line area (threw away the disposable timing band) and started running the course back, looking for Mary. Saw her around mile 25 and ran with her. She was a few minutes off her BQ pace, but looking good. We crossed the finish together and her finish time was 4:10:19. She will get her BQ soon, she just needs a better training cycle after a good recovery.
Again, I went through the finish area and got back on the course looking for Jojajogger. Saw her at mile 24.2 and ran with her. Wait a second, there was a guy handing out beer....downed one and then ran with her.
She was a couple minutes back from the 5:00 pace group, but was feeling good. She started to pick up the pace, and started to push for the sub-5:00 finish. I didn't think it would be possible, but she was moving very close to a 9:00/mile pace now, and passing lots of people.
She finished with a 4:59:24. That last mile was at least 2:00/mile faster than her entire pace. That's a strong finish!
In the end, I ran 32.2 miles on the course.
Overall, we had a great time in Phoenix. I'll be there again next year.