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Saturday, March 16, 2013

Rock n Roll, USA 3.16.2013 - Race Report


Here is my race report for the Rock n Roll, USA Marathon on March 16, 2013.

The short version
This was my second marathon.  My first was almost exactly one year before and I finished that one with an official time of 4:29:54.  My goal for this one was sub 3:55.  I finished in 3:54:51.

The long version
Training for this race went very well. I'm learing more and more about myself and what my limitations are.  I am an injury prone runner that is learning that I can't push too hard when it comes to pace improvements.  Patience and progressing in small increments is the way for me.  For the most part I stayed true to that thought in this training until about 2 weeks before race time.  Without going into exhaustive detail, I started pushing too hard and I ended up injuring my right Achilles tendon. It wasn't a show stopper but I had to spend the last week of my training on the couch instead of tapering. Another lesson learned.  Actually, the same lesson learned again.

I didn't run at all the week of the race until the morning before when I got out for a four mile shake out run.  Race day arrived at last and I drove down to the city. The plan was for my wife and one of my daughters to take Metro down later and meet me at the finish and we would drive back together.  The alarm went off at four and I got up and took care of all the pre-race stuff. A little coffee to get things moving, I put four coats of New Skin on my nipples to guard against chafing. I can't recommend that enough for guys that have chafing issues but don't want to shave their chest in order to get band-aid's to stick.  The drive to the race was uneventful. I parked my car and grabbed my energy gel's and other supplies and put them in my belt. I decided not to check a bag so I didn't have to deal with the drop off and pick-up later.

A short walk to the Metro and 15 minutes later I was at the start.  The port-a-john lines were long but I had a half hour to kill.  I chatted with a few people in line about other races and all the usual runner stuff to keep from being focused on my nerves too much.

Once done with that I found the 3:55 pacer and talked to him for a few about his strategy.  He said he wanted to bank "a few seconds" in the first 3 miles by going out at 8:50 and then run even splits after that. After that mission was accomplished I jogged around for a couple minutes to warm up and then it was time for the first coral to start.  I ditched my warm-up clothes that I bought from Goodwill and fell in with my group.  A few minutes later, off we went.

Miles 1-3.
The pacer was a little off here.  It felt like he went out much faster than advertised.  By the time we got to the two mile mark I was kind of pissed and I had decided to let him go. All of a sudden at mile three I passed him. I was pretty confused by that and I decided to just keep going.





 Miles 4-7.
I tried my best to keep even splits. My GPS was still pretty close to the mile markers but I just focused on my time, the pace band and the mile markers.  My splits were pretty close. I was still a little ahead but I wasn't gaining or losing time so I just kept at it.  Then I hit the hill at mile 6.  That thing was really steep and a lot of people started walking.  I slowed way down and expected the pacer to pass me but he didn't.  At mile 7 I used my first energy gel.
Miles 8-13.
Getting up the hill without losing too much time was a real confidence booster.  There was a nice downhill stretch and then the course leveled out for the most part for a while. I just tried to focus on keeping on pace.  Somewhere around mile 12 I caught up with a couple other runners that had "3:55" tags on their backs that had ventured out on their own.  We talked for a little bit and it seemed like we were on the verge of deciding to run the rest of the race together when all of a sudden the 3:55 pacer caught us.

Miles 13-18.
The three of us fell in with the pacer and the (8-12) runners that were with him.  I honestly don't remember a lot about this part of the race.  I just focused on staying with the group and keeping an eye on my pace band. According to my pace band we fell about 45 seconds behind but the pacer kept saying that we were right on.  I don't think he had a pace band and was doing the math in his head.  I thought about pushing out on my own again but I was starting to struggle a bit with some pain in my hip and lower back so I just hung on.




 Miles 19-20.
The big thing I remember clearly about this part of the race is listening to the pacer talk with someone else that was asking if we were on pace when we hit the 20 mile mark.  He said "Yep, we've got it easy. We just hit 3 hours on my watch so all we have to do is hit 9 minute miles from here and we'll come in a minute under."  When the lady responded "but then we have to run another .2" I said "Which means we are a minute behind" and I picked up my pace.  The pacer came with me and everyone else followed.

Miles 21-25.
I was able to hold the (slightly) faster pace until about the mile 24 mark and I really started to struggle.  We made up the lost time (which was actually only 45 seconds) but I was pretty fried and my legs were trashed.  The group left me at a water station somewhere in mile 22. I don't drink gatorade when I run because of GI issues but I use energy gels instead.  I have to drink a lot of water with the gel in order to keep my stomach calm and that is just too hard to do without slowing down a lot.  When I got to the 24 mile marker the pace group was long gone and I all but decided to give up on sub 3:55 and be happy with going sub 4:00.  Mile 25 was really slow.




Miles 25-26.2.
I checked my time when I got to the 25 mile mark and realized that if I picked my pace back up I for the last 1.2 miles I might be able to still hit my goal despite the lost time.  I mustered every bit of determination I could and went for it.  The last mile was just a blur of pain in my hip and feet (I don't remember when the blisters came) but I hung on as best I could and crossed the finish line with 9 seconds to spare.


 




Splits are from my watch. I decided to keep the auto lap on because I didn't want to deal with remembering to hit the button, worry about hitting the wrong button, etc...


TypeDistance DurationTotal DurationPace


1 Interval 1 mi 8:53.23 8:53.23 8:54
2 Interval 1 mi 8:38.98 17:32.21 8:39
3 Interval 1 mi 8:33.06 26:05.27 8:34
4 Interval 1 mi 8:39.05 34:44.32 8:40
5 Interval 1 mi 8:55.22 43:39.54 8:56
6 Interval 1 mi 8:50.58 52:30.12 8:51
7 Interval 1 mi 9:20.85 1:01:50.97 9:21
8 Interval 1 mi 8:57.27 1:10:48.24 8:58
9 Interval 1 mi 8:46.35 1:19:34.59 8:47
10 Interval 1 mi 8:58.86 1:28:33.45 8:59
11 Interval 1 mi 8:08.70 1:36:42.15 8:09
12 Interval 1 mi 9:00.69 1:45:42.84 9:01
13 Interval 1 mi 9:04.95 1:54:47.79 9:05
14 Interval 1 mi 8:52.19 2:03:39.98 8:53
15 Interval 1 mi 7:41.78 2:11:21.76 7:42
16 Interval 1 mi 9:38.55 2:21:00.31 9:39
17 Interval 1 mi 9:14.25 2:30:14.56 9:15
18 Interval 1 mi 8:58.79 2:39:13.35 8:59
19 Interval 1 mi 9:07.94 2:48:21.29 9:08
20 Interval 1 mi 8:59.21 2:57:20.50 9:00
21 Interval 1 mi 8:38.99 3:05:59.49 8:39
22 Interval 1 mi 8:47.20 3:14:46.69 8:48
23 Interval 1 mi 8:45.08 3:23:31.77 8:46
24 Interval 1 mi 8:52.31 3:32:24.08 8:53
25 Interval 1 mi 9:09.04 3:41:33.12 9:10
26 Interval 1 mi 8:32.54 3:50:05.66 8:33
27 Interval 0.58 mi 4:48.31 3:54:53.97 8:18

ETA - The times for miles 15 and 16 are way off.  There was a long tunnel in the middle of all that and the GPS didn't like it.  If you take the average of the two it should come out pretty close.

ETA Again - I actually found the pacer after the race.  They finished it in 3:54:09.

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