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.

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