Friday, February 09, 2007

2007 Pacific Shoreline Marathon

I hope life has been treating you all well out there! I seem to constantly be in the mode where I'm trying to cram 30 hours of activity into a 24 hour day...can you relate!?
I thought I'd better turn the lights back on in my blog before its too late!

Sorry, reeling a bit from catching a Wendy's ad with a muzak version of "Blister In The Sun" by the femmes...oh the horror!! Don't you all remember wearing out your tape deck playing that femmes album!?! ok...maybe not but that ain't right!

Sooo, I ran a marathon last weekend. I'm really glad that it's a done deal at this point, I was really getting antsy in the last few days leading up to the marathon. Did I hit my goal? No. But it was a PR and noone likes to hear anyone whine about a PR so I'll try to keep that to a minimum. But may I whine a little? No really is that cool? Ok, thanks. Based on my workouts in the last month leading up to the race, I thought I would have no problem running a sub 3:05. I did all the distance, I was running 8 - 10 mile runs in the 6:40 range, shorter stuff faster and a 7 minute pace felt pretty comfortable. I even told one of my friends, half-kidding, that if I didn't break 3:05, I would quit running.

*Yes, I am an idiot* and of course, I love running too much to ever quit!

Race day I woke up early and downed two Ensure drinks and a banana to get in some solid calories before the race. The legs were feeling pretty good. I ran a two miler the day before at a 6:50 pace just to loosen them up a bit and my goal was to run right around a 7 min pace for the marathon. This is small marathon field (965) so I lined up right at the front. I ended up running into a buddy and his friend that were running the race so chatted a bit before the start. Once the gun went off, I was immediately buried by the 1-200 people that chose to hit the gate running a sub 6:15 pace...NUTS! One thing I noticed right from the start was that a sub 7 pace felt like work today. Not a good sign when you have 25.5 more miles to go! I had some magic workouts in the last month where 6:40 pace felt really comfortable and at mile 1, running a 6:50 did NOT feel "comfortable". I dialed it back slightly and just focused on staying smooth through the early miles. One thing that was pretty funny early on is that I was running right at, or slightly under, a 7 min pace in the first 4-5 miles and I didn't catch the 3:10 pace group until around mile 4!! I rolled up to the group and took a spot check and there were some guys clearly running too hard. The pace leader was just cruising but probably not a good thing to run the legs off a group that should be running closer to 7:15's rather then the sub 7 pace he was maintaining...OUCH! I hung with them until they slowed a bit and pushed on.

Miles 5 through 14 were pretty uneventful, It was nice to see Deb and my sister out on the course giving me a shout early on here. I focused on running right around a 7 pace and was pretty much on track. I think I went throught mile 13 in around 1:32 and was feeling good. I was staying hydrated and was taking in one gel an hour in addition to my malto drink (I carried a bottle).

The marathon went south for me right around mile 14. Up to this point, the full marathoners were pretty much running alone but we merged back onto PCH with the back of the pack 1/2 marathoners at this point and I had a hard time maintaining my focus and pace. It was a major energy suck for me. I respect everyone that toes the line for any race but this course was set-up horribly dumping marathoners into a shared course where, due to the wave and later start, 1/2 marathoners were running / walking at a much slower pace. The majority of these runners were oblivious to the marathoners trying to run along the shoulder of the course since they took up the entire road due to their numbers (over SEVEN THOUSAND 1/2'ers). They were definitely in party mode and it really put me in a crap mindset for a few miles. I think I ended up stiff-arming 4-5 people who just walked right in front of me between mile 14-17 so glad I was able to stay on my feet each time.

**Again, nothing against the runners since they were out there doing their thing and I totally respect that. The greedy organizers either need to change the course or cut the 1/2 field in HALF to make things more manageable out there. ok off my soapbox**

The course turns inland and a bit hilly at the mile 16-17 point. I'm really glad I put in some seriously hilly runs with Steven at Hagg Lake during the marathon build-up. The hills weren't a problem. We finally split off from the 1/2 marathoners at this point for a 3 mile loop thru Central Park for miles 18-21. This portion of the course was AWESOME! The course was lined with kids who were manning the aid stations as well as the directionals on the course and they were providing some serious vocal support. It's always welcome at this point in a marathon. My legs felt great. I am usually running scared beyond mile 19 waiting for the familiar twinges in my calves as they start cramping but nothing this time. It was getting seriously hot at this point also. I am used to training in Oregon with temps in the 40's-50's so was a shock to the system as the temps were getting up in the high 70's at this point. Miles 18-21 were 7:06 / 7:08 / 8:09* / 6:47. *I'm thinking the markers were off for 20-21 but I didn't drop off pace too much in this later stage of the race. Mile 22 includes a monster hill...ok maybe not a monster but at mile 22 pretty darn tough. I ended up walking the hill last year but ran right up the hill and limited the damage in mile 22 to a 7:31. The remaining miles were pretty much a blur. I realized I wasn't going to go sub 3:05 but was very glad to finish, regardless of time. I ended up finishing in 3:07. Check out these strange splits..who does a 5.6 or 20.5 mile split?? It has me running 5 minute miles between 20.5 - 22.5. I don't think so!!

Race Splits
5.6 Mile: 38:29 Pace: 6:53
14 Mile: 1:39:57 Pace: 7:09
20.5 Mile: 2:29:34 Pace: 7:18
22.5 Mile: 2:39:49 Pace: 7:07
Finish: 3:07:39 Pace: 7:10

Overall I'm happy with my time. It was difficult with such a small field where you can't jump in with a group running a similar pace to help push each other in the latter stages of the marathon. I was pretty much alone from mile 17 forward. I seriously think I had the fitness to go a bit faster but just not my day and the course logistics were horrible. To add insult to injury, I placed 7/99 in my age group and the awards were 5 deep. I missed the awards by 1:23..aaaaaah!!!! Based on the experience this year, I'll probably find another course to run next year. The good news is that I definitely feel that my running has hit another level so I plan to maintain that momentum as I dust off the bike and swim gear and start a more balanced training regimen for the 07 tri season.

Also want to thank Steven and Deb (love that girl) for giving me a serious attitude adjustment about my bitching after the race.....they are both right. No one wants to hear someone whine about a PR. Regardless of what is thrown at you race day..regardless of how you feel, give it a 100% and be THANKFUL for the opportunity. We are all blessed to be able to push our truly is an amazing thing.

It's all about chasing PR's this year. It felt really good to edit the Race PR's on the blog FINALLY. I'm hoping I can edit that a few more times this year! ;-) To that end, I should have some Bike Pjorn to post in the next week or so once I get "her" ready! ;-)

Aaaah, new year and endless possibilities.....I am loving life people!!



Blogger Spokane Al said...

Congratulations on a solid race with some less that ideal logistics. The 1/2 marathoners probably wondered what was going as well when all of a sudden these lean racing machines begin to overtake them.

9:43 PM  
Blogger Habeela said...

Wow! 3:07? You'll totally get that 3:05 the next time around, I'm sure! And with that attitude you'll be ripping 07 wide open!

2:11 PM  
Blogger Donald said...

First of all ... yes, that Femmes tape was capital-A Awesome.

Now to your race - excellent work, sir. Take a PR any day you can get it. I know what you mean about smaller races being tougher, because Big Sur is the same way. If you went to a faster course/larger race like Cal International, you'd be a lot closer to 3 hours, I'm sure.

Finally, I posted my splits you asked for on an updated post. Couldn't find your direct e-mail address, sorry.

4:05 PM  
Blogger robtherunner said...

Congrats on the PR Mike! I could tell during your training that your running certainly seemed to be a lot faster than your marathon PR was at the time. I am glad to see that the work paid off and no doubt that you will lower that PR real soon. Next time choose a bigger race with better logistics. What about Portland?

7:55 PM  
Blogger IMmike said...

A PR in February is never that bad. It is disappointing not to hit a goal though.

Hope you're giving yourself a break before IM training starts up again,

9:15 PM  
Blogger Jason The Running Man said...

congrats on the run. I can't wait to those paces! If ever!:)

1:38 PM  
Blogger Cliff said...

Yes, no one like to hear a whining race report.

Good stuff.

I sometimes think the reason why the logistics are so bad b/c the organizers feel that 'hey we are doing a marathon, why don't we get more ppl into the race by adding a half marathon and have them all run the same course'.

If u are gunning for time, i can see how piss off u are for ppl who almost feel like they are liberately walking in front of u.

U are very consistent with your pace. Congrats.

Quite running? ha..get real :)

7:29 AM  
Blogger Steven said...

I know I've already told you this...but nice job on the PR.

Any race where you run a PR is a good race! Especially a marathon!

Keep it rolling for Boston and hopefully we can get another Hagg Lake Dreaded Double in before our respective springtime marathons.

Then it's all Ironman Canada, all the time dude!

10:02 AM  
Blogger olga said...

No, you can't whine...ok, a little is allowed:) Congrats on a PR! Next time pick Newport (coming soon, don't delay!) and sneak under 3!

11:30 AM  
Blogger Jessi said...

Wow, when I check out Hagg Lake with you guys remind me NOT to go for a run with you. Nice job on the race and PR!

1:17 PM  
Blogger Chad said...


Congrats on the PR - in February, no less.

Keep it rolling.

10:26 AM  
Blogger Rachel said...

Congrats on your race. You did great. And PR'ed so obviously the training paid off.

That said, obviously, you're disappointed b/c you thought you could do better based on your training. Assuming your training and taper went according to plan and that this was an A race, you probably showed up on race day well-rested, excited and ready to go. Everyone has their off days, and it's unfortunate your off day was on this race day.

But why did this happen? I'm wondering if you peaked early and then hit the race on your decline. I've been reading a lot of articles lately about early peaks. Athletes can't maintain top fitness for more than about 3-6 weeks before hitting a natural plateau and then decline, which is why we do the periodization. You mention having stellar runs leading up to the marathon. This sounds like you were peaking at that point, unfortunately, and not on race day. From what I've read, it seems that the Olympic athletes try to hold off on their killer workouts until right before the taper. They hold back a lot and go easy a lot until the very end. At that point, they push 100%. Could it be you pushed too early? Just a thought.

Congrats, by the way. You did absolutely awesome.

6:47 PM  

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