Over the last few months my training has been more consistent and I have focused a lot more on recovery. A week ago I quit on a hill repeat workout and my total distance that day was 1.1 miles. The soreness in my calf made it ludicrous to attempt to complete the workout. The tweaks I was feeling dictated my race strategy for this one, aka Billy Badass. I decided to run hard with good form and hope I did not burn out to badly in the end and just see what happens.
Garmin 910XT (setting only on the time – no other windows b/c i did not want to scare myself with the pacing)
Oakley Zero Glasses
Pearl Izumi Sun Sleeves
iPod Shuffle (Current Fav Song: “We are Young” by FUN)
Asics Shorts (picked these b/c they have extra storage for the gels – and they matched my grey attire)
Green Layer Tech Tee (Altra Zero Drop/PRSFit Racing Team) – yes…grey…It’s the only place I try to match
Drymax HyperThin Socks
Altra Instinct (Review)
Gels – Hammer (easy to consume and can take w/ little or no water), GU (Vanilla Bean)/ Clif Shots (Citrus) – these were back up Gels – carried them b/c they have caffeine, I expected to bonk b/c of my race strategy thus I expected them to come in handy
Electrolytes – Gatorade/ H2O at Aid Stations / Salt Stick Caps
This race is a point to point race with an early start time for the marathoners (5:30 AM). The field was also small, 1,825 finishers, which made setting a good pace from the start easy since you were not rubbing elbows for the first few miles. I arrived at the finish line at 3:45 AM in order to drop off my car and then be shuttled to the start line. I was probably a tad early but I wanted to make sure that I did not end up on a late shuttle and that I gave myself enough time to use the bathroom and loosen up before the effort.
Miles 1 – 13.1
I ran with the 3:45 pace group for the first 4 miles. I knew I was not going to be able to hold that pace but I figured that I would “bank” time and hope. Disclosure: I made beginners “mistake” and wore new shoes on race day. This was a conscious decision and I do not regret it. I know that every list of do not do’s says “nothing new on race day.” I have been running in Altra Running shoes for months and I trust in their products (Instinct Review) so I was not worried about the performance or feel of the shoes.
All that being said the only thing I forgot to account is lacing. On the trails I prefer very loosely fitting shoes and on the road I tighten them up. Most runners make no distinction for the terrain but I am weird therefore I do. I stopped 3 or 4 times in the first 8 miles to readjust. The final stop I saw the 4:00 pace group running by as I fiddled with my laces. I panicked slightly and decided to just go trail mode on my laces. I loosened them up for the last time and ran that pace group down. The timing for that little chase could not have been more perfect. There was a gradual downhill that let me catch and pass while not exerting too much effort. By the half mary mark I recovered my place in the field right around the 3:50 pace just ahead of the 3:55 pacers.
Miles 13.1 – 25
The second half of this marathon was a gradual realization I could hold on rather than burn out. Since the running illness got me I tend not to run 8-ish pace after the 12 mile mark. You can imagine my surprise that the miles kept ticking and the pace alerts kept telling me otherwise. I did not feel overexertion and I kept my form relatively quiet with legs tired but turning over.
Mile 20 the garmin shows I was slightly under 3 hours. If I had it in me to run a 10k in under an hour I would break 4. At this point I decided to go for it. All day I had been exchanging position with another runner. I will call her IW (IronWoman) because she had Ironman gear on. Due to the rolling course I caught her on slight downhill stretches and then she would pull away on slight up hills. The furthest she got away from me was about 300 yards. I settled into a rhythm matching her pace after we left the Santa Ana River bike trail around mile 21. I arrived at the mile 23 water station and saw she had stopped and was hydrating. I felt good and decided to try and just get some time on her so blew by. I did not have a chance to turn and peek when I felt her off my right shoulder. I could feel her drafting off me then subsequently I would draft off her when she pulled ahead. IW and I kept changing places in the last few miles and were passing runners as we went. For those familiar with cycling we were pretty much running an echelon. I would move ahead and she got off my shoulder slightly to a side. Whenever I dropped the pace she would pick it up and I would draft of her shoulder. We must have passed a few dozen runners during this stretch.
Mile 25 – 26.2
How well was the echelon/drafting working? Mile 24 – 8:50, mile 25 – 8:27, mile 26 – 8:16, .2 – 6:17 pace. When I made the left turn off the street into the fairgrounds I accelerated. She picked it right up and was not giving me a thing. I gave a second burst and broke free from IW and passed another male runner with about 40 yards to go. IW and I had worked so hard together and against each other to run people down I thought it would be weak sauce not to give it 110%. All of a sudden the guy I just passed suddenly passed me back with 30 yards to go. I heard the announcer saying something to the effect of now we have a race. He was maybe a yard ahead of me I went into chase mode and just left it all out there. I got up to a 5:03 pace and beat him by about 30 feet.
Right when I finished I turned around to cheer for him and congratulate him on the effort. He smiled at me saying “that was fun” and gave a high five. I thanked him for the boost at the end and he gave me a bro hug. A sweaty gross one but I am not leaving a runner hanging especially not after the effort we just threw down. I also found IW and thanked her for the pick up at mile 24. I let her know I was chasing her for a while. She said she knew since we were changing places all day and thanked me for pushing her along. I let her know I appreciated pace setting. (IW actually beat me by 00:00:03 because of the difference with the gun time-she earned it for sure)
15 Minute PR with an Official Time of 3:50:03. Those Garmin’s sure are accurate.
Overall: 372 / 1848
Male: 285 / 1140
M 25-29: 32/129