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Race Result

Racer: Dan Frost
Race: Marine Corps Marathon
Date: Sunday, October 31, 2004
Location: Arlington, VA
Race Type: Run - Marathon
Age Group: Male 35 - 39
Time: 3:49:40
Comment: A story about race strategy

Race Report:

29th Annual Marine Corps Marathon
Washington DC - Sunny 78F - West wind 18mph

I echo the congratulations to/from Holly & Rob, expressed in their race reports. This year's MCM was a great event to watch, but a little tougher if you were doing the actual running!

My MCM experience turned out to be painful, but I willingly took a risk that led me to a long and less-than-pleasant afternoon.

The MCM wasn't in my season plans until some Navy friends invited me to run in their "group", and if our "group" was lucky enough to win entry via the lottery, then the Navy would pick up the tab for the entry fee.

I raced Kona 15 days earlier, and the only running that I did between crossing the finish line on Alii Drive and crossing the start line at Arlington Cemetary was the 1.5-mile jog from my apartment to the Iwo Jima memorial on race morning.

My strategy for the MCM was simple...run strong from the git-go and keep it up until the legs couldn't take it anymore. I came back from Hawaii thinking that if I could've done anything different there, it would have been taking a more aggressive strategy on the bike ride instead of saving energy for the run. So, I figured for the MCM that I'd just let it all hang out and see if an aggressive strategy would work.

Things were looking well early...I was on pace to match my 3:20 PR, but I was "working" hard to do so. I was still doing well approaching Capitol Hill, but starting to feel the wheels on the cart were started to vibrate a bit. The mile atop Capitol Hill was my first mile above PR pace, and when the legs started giving out coming down Independence Ave., I knew that I was cooked for good.

I split 1:34 at half-way, but 2:15 in serious leg pain coming home. I lived and died by my agressive race plan. Even so, that was still good enough to finish in the top 10% overall and get my name in the Washington Post. Of course, my name is quite a few columns over from the name of the guy that I met before the race that has an uncanny resemblance to Rob.

I did learn two valuable lessons yesterday:

(1) My strategy in Hawaii was right on...I wasn't too conservative on the bike.

(2) It is very difficult to get anything swiftly past Congress.