||Sunday, November 21, 2004
||Run - Marathon
||Male 35 - 39
||213 / 6202
|Age Group Place:
||39 / 735
||good race....sub-3 on the 6 try....
Went up to Philly on Friday night with the wife and kids. It took us about 5 hours to get there in rush hour which was no fun.
Got up on Saturday morning and went for a short jog with my wife and my youngest. We jogged up to the start/finish line. Jogged up the steps to the Philadelphia Museum of Art where Rocky has done during his training. We spent the rest of the day site-seeing the city, watching the Ironman coverage and eating. I always preview every course I race on. I was not able to for this one which was a bit of a concern.
Woke-up 2-hours prior to race start. Ate a bit. Used the bathroom several times. (I think I ate too much pizza the night before because I had to use the bathroom more times than usual). I wanted to minimize the amount of stuff I had to drop at sweat check in so I put on my short, singlet, tights, sweat shirt, and racing flats and left for the starting line. About 400 yards from the hotel, my feet did not feel right in my racing shoes so I turned around and went back to get my training shoes on. This was probably the best decision I made all day. I love my Asics DS Trainers with my Soft Sol insoles. I had just gotten the latest addition in the mail a few weeks ago and was able to run in them for a couple of key work outs with no issue. They are a bit heavier than my racing shoes but they feel like slippers and I had not gotten any blisters from their newness. I knew they would be ready.
I got to the starting area with about 45 minutes to spare and needed to hit the porto-potties again. The lines were about 60 minutes long so it didnít seem to hopeful. I did my pre-race prep in line. Vaseline to all friction points, pre-race drink, gel, listen to radio, stretch a bit. With 20 minutes to gun time I started to strip my sweats. With 10 minutes to go I left the line and headed for the woods with about 500 other people. Got to the staring line in time for the national anthem.
I seeded myself in between the 6 and 7 minute/mile signs. There were sure a lot of people ahead of me that were planning on going faster.
Ok time for goal and plan:
My one and only goal was sub-3 hours. This was my 6-th attempt at doing so. I had naively thought I could go sub-3 on my first marathon almost 3 years ago and failed terribly. I learned a lot from that race and the other 4 since then. This was the race I was going to do it.
Maintain a pace of about 6:40-6:50 for as long as I can at a heart rate of 155-160. This should be comfortable based on my training. Time goals were to hit the 9 mile mark at 1 hour and the 18 mile mark at 2 hours and then just hang on and see how much below 3 hours I could get.
It started like any other. I crossed the start line about 37 seconds after the horn went off. I took the first mile easy. I stayed to the right and let people drop back rather than fight to get in front of them. My family and I had a plan of where they would see me. Just before the first mile I was suppose to see them on the right. Well I happened to notice them on the left and had to get to the other side for the high fives. We hit the first mile just around 7 minutes and I heard a bunch of people surprised with the pace they had gone out at for the first mile. I just had to laugh a bit because I knew it would be a long day for some. I spent the first few miles just comfortably running off to the side of the road trying to stay out of trouble. Around mile 4 I knew that my missed pre-race visit to the Porto-potties was going to be an issue. I figured I should bite the bullet and deal with it then so I would not need to have to deal with it later. I saw but missed the pit stop at mile 4 but spotted it with enough time to make my move coming into mile 5. The stop cost me about 45 seconds according to my heart rate dip but was probably a wise move for the long run.
I saw the family again around mile 7. This time on the pre-arranged side of the road. The next 8 miles were pretty uneventful. I managed to tag along with a small group of guys that were pacing a woman to sub-3 so I decided to just hang with them and see how that went. As long as it was comfortable for me and the pace was right I would stay with them otherwise I would drop them or they would drop me.
The third and final meeting spot for the family and I was to be outside the 14 mile mark so they could hand me a bottle of Infinit (a new drink I have been tryng for a few months) and an Accelerade gel flask refill. The 14 mile mark went by so I started looking. The 15 mile mark went by and so did 16. Well, I guess no refills today. It turned out that the family was enjoying Belgian waffles and had miss calculated when I would be going by mile 14. I took inventory of my gel flask on board and found I had about 1.5 servings left out of the 6 I started with. Seems a bit lean for the last 8 miles of a marathon but I guess I would deal. (they were not handing out gels at aid stations. Only water, Gatorade, bananas, and energy bars). Right around mile 18 my quads starting cramping a bit so I popped some salt tablets.
Coming into the town where the last turn around was just after mile 20 things began to get very difficult. It became very hard to stay with my little group I had been hanging with. I began to bump into this one guy and he seemed to be getting irritated by that. I need a 44:10 for the last 10k to get back home in under 3 hours. I was wondering if I had it in me to do that. I managed to hang with the pack for another 2 miles. Mile 21 was a bit down hill with lots of crowds. We knocked off a 6:32. And it hurt. I never thought I could go that fast after 20 sub-7 minute miles in a row. After mile 22 I eased up a bit and let my group get a few yard gap on me. I closed the gap again in mile 23 to only be dropped again soon after. The last 3 miles hurt a lot. It took a lot of talking to myself to get through it. I reminded myself that I spent a lot of time training for this day. That I had just spent the last 2.5 hours getting myself into this position so I shouldnít blow it. That I did not want to have to tell myself and others that I ran a 3:00:10 or something else so close to 3 hours but a bit over. I would regret not pushing a little harder. At every mile mark I had to recalculate the pace I would need to finish just under 3 but I wasnít sure I could do it until about that last half mile that I would actually achieve it. It hurt so bad. My quads were like bricks. The brain kept saying stop. I was pumping my arms as fast as I could but it didnít seem like I was going very fast. A guy from Naples Florida came running by who was trying to get everyone excited about going under three hours. I thank him for that because he gave me the final boost I needed to get there. I managed to hang with him and pass a few other people trying to motivate everyone we passed. It worked about 25% of the time. Most just wanted to finish at that point. I hit the line at 2:58:44. Twelve minutes faster than my previous best time. I stumble a bit when I had to stop my watch while jogging over the timing mats and was just happy to finish. I saw my family in the grand stands. My wife was going crazy and jumping up and down and screaming (and embarrassing the kids a bit). She was more excited about my result than me at the time. It was just good to stop.
The weather was almost perfect for me. Overcast and a bit on the cool side. This has worked in my favor in the past. My nutrition never seems to work when itís more than 75 F for the long races. I end up dehydrated and puking after the race.
I had 2-4 oz. of water every aid station (~1-2 miles apart). Gatorade every other aid station. A sip of gel every two miles. Two salt tablets at mile 18 and three more at mile 21. Total calories take in = ~600. Total burned based on polar HRM = 3050. I probably could have used that gel flask I missed at mile 15. I also ended up popping a few Ibuprofen at around mile 14 few preventative measures.
I didnít hang out at all after the race. I got my checked bag. We walked back to the hotel as a cool down. I spent about 10 minutes in the shower. We checked out by noon. We grabbed a around of Philly Cheese Steaks and headed out of town about 1.5 hours after I crossed the finish line.
After being able to think about my accomplishment for a few days, I feel pretty good. I had a great race to end a not so great season (two aborted IMs this summer). I think I can actually go a bit faster at this distance. Maybe around 2:50 (~6:30/mile average). Of course it may take another 3 years and 6 attempts to get thereÖ..
Marathon, by the numbers... (using Aaronís format)
9 miles: 1:01:22
13.1 miles: 1:29:48
18 miles: 2:02:12
26.2 miles: 2:58:44
Minute/mile average: 6:50.5
Range in mile splits: 41 seconds (taking out mile 5)
Average HR: 160 bmp
1 7:03 140
2 6:29 158
3 6:38 157
4 6:47 157
5 7:36 155 (Had to hit the toilet for ~45 sec)
6 6:36 157
7 6:44 158
8 6:47 161
9 6:43 159
10 7:03 160 (up hill)
11 6:43 158
12 6:41 156 (down hill)
13 6:38 159
14 6:50 159
15 6:39 161
16 6:45 162
17 6:51 162
18 6:40 165
19 6:52 165
20 6:46 165
21 6:32 162 (not sure what I was thinking)
22 6:50 166
23 6:52 166
24 7:10 165
25 7:09 165
26 6:57 168
26.2 2:58:44 168