Sunday, May 15, 2011

2011 Colfax Marathon

Pre Race:
At the starting line it was 37F and had just stopped raining. I wore my regular running shorts, tech-t, running hat, cotton hoddie and cotton socks. I received lots of great advice on clothing but in the end I couldn’t violate the most important rule in marathoning “don’t change anything on race day”. But I am going to buy some rain gear, so next time I will be prepared for anything.

Miles 0 - 6 “Relax we got a few miles ahead of us” (6mi @ 10:06 pace)
The first 6 miles were mostly dry with some light drizzle here and there. I started off slow and was boxed in by all the runners. I wasn’t about to go crazy like other people I saw weaving in and out of the traffic. Hey, we got 25 more miles I think you can make up for 1 mile of slow running. I was getting really warm debating on when I should toss the sweatshirt on the side of the road. Running in Denver is weird became its hilly but not big hills just short quick ones. Going up and down these little hills my quads didn’t feel right. Actually they didn’t feel right the last couple of days but I wrote it off as pre race jitters. My quads always get messed up as I cut back on the mileage. When I used to do the traditional taper (20 days) my quads would be useless at the start of the race. This year I have done a short taper (13 days) and that has helped a lot but not fixed the problem.

Miles 7 - 19 “Wet soggy and flirting with a DNF” (13 @ 9:53 pace)
By now the drizzle had become light rain but I was still feeling a little too warm. I ditched my sweat shirt at the Broncos stadium (9.5 miles). I didn’t realize at the moment but this was a huge mistake. At first running without the sweat shirt felt refreshing and my pace increased for the next few miles. I ran down a big hill around 14 and my quads felt terrible. Miles 15, 16 & 17 people keep saying just a little farther and then some downhill. I was like “please no more downhill”. Also during these miles my condition was deteriorating, I was getting really really cold. I remember at mile 18 I checked to see if my phone was still transmitting to run keeper and switching on the external battery, this was really hard because my fingers just didn’t want to move. At mile 19 I couldn’t open power gel with my hands, I had to use my teeth. I was seriously afraid that I going to have to duck out of the race just to warm up.

Miles 20 - 22 “Warming up, feels like I might be able to kick it in” (3 @ 10:11 pace)
I couldn’t remember if the course went back by the stadium. I figured that either way I was going to have to go find my sweatshirt. Luckily at mile 20 the course came pretty close and I only had to go off course (in the wrong direction) a few hundred feet to retrieve my sweatshirt. Around mile 20 it also stopped raining and was clear to the finish. I warmed up pretty quickly and my mood and pace improved. I finished mile 22 in 9:46, it had been 5 miles since my last one under 10:00. It felt like I had gotten my second wind and could finish the last few miles at a good pace. I was thinking that I could still get my medium goal of 4:22:00. But these feelings were short lived.

Miles 23 - Finish “The train has come of the tracks” (4.2 @ 11:31 pace)
After a 1 min walk break I was ready to start mile 23 with that same awesome feelings. But the first few steps into the run and my calf muscles nearly cramped up. I hate that feeling your muscles send out the second before they lock. Anyways I had some painful cramps last year and I wasn’t about to get one now. I changed my strategy to “forget about time, let’s just finish”. I think that when my quads are gone I must have changed my running form to one that is easier on them but really hard on my calf muscles. Nearly every step of the last 3 miles felt like it could have been the last before a huge cramp. The course went back through downtown Denver but this time I walked up every little hill. I ditched the sweatshirt again at mile 24(I was plenty warm for the last 2 miles). Even in this shape I was still passing a lot of people that must have been feeling worse. I was so happy to see the mile 25 marker, I wanted to sprint home but my legs would only allow 12 min pace. Crossing the finish line was a really good feeling and made it worth all the pain.

Post Race:
My official time was 4:28:03 my medium goal was 10 min pace (4:22:00). When I came through mile 22 at 3:39:39, I was 21 seconds under 10 min pace but after that I lost big chunks of time. This marathon was about 2 and half minutes slower than my last marathon. But I am really happy to have another marathon finished under 4:30:00.

I didn’t have any chaffing problems and only had got a 1 blister on one foot. The only thing sore today is my quads, everything else seems good. I am walking around normal today even on the stairs which is a day after first for me. I can remember the day after my first marathon every muscle seemed sore and my feet, ankles and knees were in bad shape too.

As every marathon I learned a lot and now I will adjust my training. 1 major problem I want to address is my quads, they didn’t feel right from the start. After 18 miles and a few small hills they were toast. In training I never have problems with my quads. I have successfully run many 18 & 20 mile runs without any quad problems and that’s usually just days after a tempo run. I am thinking that maybe over tapering is the issue not duration of the taper.

Here I am finishing, I am the one it the white shirt.

It’s amazing how quick your mood changes once you cross the finish line.

Finally some warmth, it only made it up to about 40F by the finish.

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