Category Archives: marathon

Rock ‘n’ Roll USA Marathon

Start time: 3/17/12, 8:00am
Location: Washington DC
Distance: 26.2 miles
Finish time: 5:17:33
Average pace: 12:07min/mile
Total Miles For March: 58 miles
Total Miles For 2012: 246 miles
Current Shoes: 42 miles

(I”ve been putting this race report off, because of a slightly unresolved issue indirectly connected to the race. But the longer I put this off, the greater chance that I will never get around to actually writing it.)

After training for most of the winter, my running the Rock ‘n’ Roll USA Marathon here in DC almost got derailed entirely thanks to an ill-timed sinus infection. I got the all-clear from my doctor to run it, though, even though I still had four days of antibiotics to go.

Rock ‘n’ Roll bought what used to be the National Marathon and Half Marathon, which had started back in 2006 (and replaced the short-lived, one-time-only DC Marathon). From 2006 through 2011, I ran all but one of the National’s half marathons, skipping 2010 only because some friends and I had gone down to Virginia Beach that same weekend to tackle the Shamrock Half Marathon. The National had been showing increasing signs of being in over their heads as the race grew, though, with outright incompetence on some aspects. So although it meant a much more expensive race when Rock ‘n’ Roll took it over, I looked forward to seeing how they’d handle the race administration. And, it seemed like a good a time as any to tackle a full marathon again, since my last had been in January 2010 as part of the Walt Disney World Goofy Marathon and a Half Challenge.

First, the actual putting on the race part? Excellent. Well marked mile points (unlike last year’s race, where the first marker was at mile 9), lots of race support, a much better starting line situation, easier packet pick up… you name it, they handled it quite well. Worth the extra money.

As for my running of the racef? Well, there were some good parts and some not-so-good parts. I ran the first 21 miles with my good friend Ben, and doing that was a real joy. I’ve had a lot of marathons where I ran the majority or all of the race by myself, and I’d forgotten how nice it is to have someone else to keep you going. Charlie, Andy, Peter, and Joey all came out to cheer, and that was also greatly appreciated. I also got to see my co-worker Holly in our starting corral. So, all good stuff.

On the down side, the temperature spiked while I was out there from below 50 to over 70, and just like the Florence Marathon, that spells disaster for me. I end up slightly dehydrating no matter how well I’ve been hydrating before and during the event, and when you’re cramping and feeling lousy it’s not going to be a good race. For me, that started around the halfway point, but I put on a brave face and tried to push through. Around mile 19, though, I knew the back half of the race was going to be difficult, and told Ben that since he was feeling strong to please feel free to ditch me at any point. He decided that at mile 21 he was going to pick up his pace a bit, and did just that (and had a strong finish, hurrah!).

I actually ended up walking all the way to mile 23; I felt horrible, not just physically but mentally. My stomach was upset (a combo of forgetting to bring something solid to balance out the gels… hey, it’s been over 2 years since my last marathon… and the antibiotics), I was discouraged, and my “running” with a minute walk break at the mile markers was barely faster than my speed walking. I did focus on another guy walking in the distance that looked quite fit, and managed to get most of the way up to him by mile 23. From that point I shifted over to a “run 5 minutes, walk 1 minute” pace, and that was a huge improvement, getting me moving at a much better clip that I’d been for about five miles. Still, a huge relief to finish. None the less, not counting Disney (where we stopped for photos twenty times and had run a half marathon the day before) it was much, much slower than my previous two races. A little disappointing, although it was under some adverse circumstances that were ultimately out of my control.

I’d also been having some shin pain on my right leg leading up to the race; I’d figured it was just a shin splint but right now we’re doing some tests to make sure it’s not anything else. So in the two weeks since the race I’ve run exactly nothing at all. There are quite a few possibilities, and some tests I’m having done today are hopefully ruling out the bad ones. I’ll hopefully know more later in the week. Fingers crossed for just a lopsided shin splint (since they normally come in pairs), but we shall see.

NYC Marathon

New York City Marathon
Start time: 11/1/09, 10:00am
Location: Staten Island, Brooklyn, Queens, The Bronx, Manhattan
Distance: 26.2 miles
Average pace: 11:08min/mile
Total Miles For November: 26 miles
Total Miles For 2009: 732 miles

Still need to write this one up, but my log book has entries since then that which need to be entered, so… a placeholder.

Outer Banks Marathon

Outer Banks Marathon

Start time: 11/11/07, 7:20am

Location: Outer Banks, North Carolina

Distance: 26.2 miles

Finishing time: 4:29:06

Average pace: 10:16min/mile

I’ve joked in the past that with every marathon I learn something new, and that I’m really sick of having to keep learning things! But true to form, I learned an important lesson in this year’s marathon, even as I think I approached my race the smartest yet. The idea was to use the “10/10/10” approach; miles 1-10 at a 10min/mile, miles 11-20 at a 9min/mile, and then (if I was feeling it) the last 10k (miles 21-26.2) at an 8:30min/mile. This would have been absolutely perfect on a completely flat course. What I didn’t take into account, though, was the elevation profile for the Outer Banks Marathon.

The first ten miles were fantastic. I ran the first mile with Butch and Chris, which was a real joy, and I felt a tiny bit bad when I left them towards the end of that mile but they had a different pace plan (and were also doing a run/walk, which I wasn’t) so when they stopped to stretch I took it as a sign to keep going. Running through woods, along the water, and then around the Wright Brothers Monument? Fantastic. I felt bad for anyone who ran the half marathon if only because they missed all of this amazing scenery, the best part of the course by far.

Miles 11-13 run through the Nags Head Woods Nature Preserve; the first two miles on a packed dirt road, the third mile on a narrow off-road trail, and all three of these miles are extremely hilly. I should have shifted my planned paces around a bit to compensate for this; planning on not pushing here and expending the strength elsewhere. (As crazy as that section was, though, I must admit that I really liked it. It was gorgeous.) As it is, looking at my splits below, you can see a huge dip on speed for that off-road mile in particular. Additionally, miles 14-19 are at a slight uphill grade and along a highway, which is less than fun and also sapped my strength more than I’d have imagined.

Of course, some things you can’t compensate for. Around mile 14.5, a car tried to pull out onto the course and only stopped when I screamed at it—all of about a foot and a half from me. Shaken, I continued on, but a minute later my right calf seized up and never really let go. Now I’m not saying that me having tensed up from the near-miss from the car made the calf tense up, but I do think that it contributed. I stretched as best I could for a solid minute and then continued on. I must admit I was sad that my parents, Suzanne, and Charlie never saw me up until that point in the race because I was definitely not looking my best from that moment on!

I pushed on as best I could, stretching a tiny bit every mile or two, and starting at mile 20 taking little 30-second walk-breaks because my knees were starting to ache as well. When I started the 25th mile, I was aching so much that I just had to walk the vast majority of it. I couldn’t even face the “just 2.2 more miles!” that I kept telling myself, finally making a deal that when I finished mile 25, I would start running again and not stop until I was done. And sure enough, that’s what happened. I didn’t get the sub-4:22 finish I was hoping for (I’m fairly convinced if it hadn’t been for the calf problem I would’ve hit that), but I did the best I could, and this was the first marathon for which I didn’t enter it with a run/walk plan.

Next year? I’m going to tackle my race the same way, but will pay more attention to the course map when doing so; if necessary I’ll shift some of the planned paces around to better compensate for what’s ahead. Little by little, I’m getting there.

A mile-by-mile breakdown in terms of pace.

A week later…

Start time: 11/26/05, 9:00am
Location: Firenze Marathon
Distance: 26.2 miles
Finishing time: 4:46:48
Run:Walk ratio: 6:1 through mile 20, then… not so much
Average pace: 10:57min/mile

I unfortunately don’t have lots of mile splits like last year, thanks to the GPS having a minor fit somewhere along the way (apparently I ran a 25.5 mile marathon), which probably was in no small part thanks to narrow windy alleys and streets winding through parts of Florence. I do, however, have some splits available.

Distance Segment Time Segment Pace Overall Time Overall Pace
5K 30:39 9:53 30:39 9:53
10K 30:27 9:49 1:01:06 9:51
15K 30:57 9:59 1:32:03 9:53
13.1mi 37:28 9:52 2:09:31 9:53
25K 25:40 10:42 2:35:11 10:00
30K 35:22 11:25 3:10:33 10:13
35K 39:25 12:43 3:49:58 10:35
40K 39:38 12:47 4:29:36 10:51
26.2mi 17:12 12:44 4:46:48 10:57

Between 15K and 13.1mi is a 3.8 mile segment.
Between 13.1mi and 25K is a 2.4 mile segment
Between 40K and 26.2mi is a 1.35 mile segment

It should be a surprise to no one at all that it was around the 25K mark that Susan and I fell behind Tod and Dana. It is always interesting to see where some places where I felt I was still decreasing in speed was in fact consistent) if slow, essentially everything past the 30K mark (or 18.64 miles). Ah well, it’s always good to know where everything went wrong, as well as where one was pretty darn on the ball. There’s a lot I need to work on for next year. But hey, still a PR. So that’s definitely something. But it is frustrating to look at, say, my 20-miler from earlier this year and know that I did the entire thing at a solid 10min/mile pace that I could’ve done even faster towards the end of if necessary!