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Race Result

Racer: Aaron Schwartzbard
Race: Washington DC Marathon
Date: Sunday, March 24, 2002
Location: Washington, DC
Race Type: Run - Marathon
Age Group: Male 20 - 24
Time: 2:44:35
Overall Place: 14 / 4309
Age Group Place: 4

Race Report:

Sunday was the inaugural running of the DC Marathon. I was planning on focusing on the Boston marathon as my key spring race. In preparation for Boston, I was putting in quite a few 60+ mile running weeks. I figured that at that volume, it would be okay to do a 26.2 mile training run three weeks out from the race. So I signed up for DC.

About a week and a half before the DC marathon, I started to get signals from my body that I needed to take a little break. I had a few options:

1. Ignore it, and risk injury (not appealing, seeing as how I've already "run" Boston once with an injury),
2. Start a five week taper for Boston (again, not very appealing),
3. Switch my priorities around, and do DC as my key race.

That last option was particularly appealing for a few other reasons:

* I could start working on my biking earlier,
* The Boston course is a tough course to run well,
* It's tough to run a good race after sitting on the ground in a freezing schoolyard for four hours,
* I would be stuck with crowds of people at Boston, whereas at DC, I'd be able to get out in front of the majority of the field.

So it was decided: DC would be my key race.

The morning was quite chilly, but it felt like it would be a good temperature for running. I spent the first couple miles trying to find my pace. My rule was that if I could hear myself breathing, I was running too hard. By mile five, there was a significant gap between anyone in front of or behind me. It stayed like that --- no one passed me and I didn't pass anyone --- through mile 13. At mile 10, I was told that I was in 22nd place. That didn't change until the half way point, when the guy who had been catching up to me surged to cross the timing mats ahead of me. For the next couple miles, he and I, as well as another guy who caught us from behind*, traded places. At mile 19, the course turns north, and heads uphill for two miles. In that climb, I dropped those two runners, and passed three others. The rest of the course was rather challenging, with many short, steep hills. I ended up passing a few more leaders, before hitting the wall at mile 24. After that, it became a real struggle. The course flattened out, but my mile splits continued to look like I was climbing hills. In the last mile, I started to get a bad side stitch, that slowed me quite a bit. In the end, I could see that I was going to make it across the line under 2:45, so I was quite pleased.

Afterward, I was feeling rather good. The 60+ mile weeks served me well. I pushed hard, but raced within myself. As a result, physically, I felt better after this race than I had after any other marathon I've run.

So here are the vital stats:

Time: 2:44:35
Average pace: 6:17 per mile
Overall place: 14th (out of about 4500)

And for the REAL numbers-oriented folks among you, here are the mile splits:
1 6:01
2 6:08
3 6:20
4 5:59
5 5:59
6 6:14
7 6:19
8 6:11
9 6:22
10 6:10
11 6:17
12 6:10
13 6:19
14 6:12
15 6:17
16 6:16
17 6:11
18 6:12
19 6:11
20 6:25
21 6:38
22 6:23
23 6:16
24 6:27
25 6:27
26 6:43
.2 1:21