Saturday, April 9, 2011

2011 Eisenhower Marathon Race Report

26.2 miles - 4:25:39 - 10:08 pace - 37 min PR.

Ready set go. Miles 0 - 6, 10:08 pace, 137 Avg HR.
At the start of the race it was a little warm with a light breeze. I felt great I had actually slept decent the night before. For these early miles I was just trying to keep my cool and not get caught up in all the excitement. My discipline paid off and I stuck to my schedule walking 1 min every mile. It’s hard to walk 1 mile into a marathon with everyone running past.

Into the wind. Miles 6 – 13.1, 10:09 pace, 147 Avg HR.
This was and an out and back course and when we came out of the park it was almost a straight shot to the turnaround. This entire section was run into a constant head wind. You can tell from my heart rate that I was working much harder to hold the same pace. Also this section was not flat like I thought it would be (there are hills in Kansas). One of the downsides to the run/walk strategy is that you have to run your own race. I couldn’t draft off someone going 10:00 min pace or my mile time would be up around 11 min. But other people certainly didn’t have any trouble speeding up to drafting off me. I didn’t let this get to me I just kept on going my only though was about getting to the turnaround. My knee problems were short lived they started and ended some time in this section.

Wind at my back, who turned off the AC? Miles 13.1 – 20, 9:59 pace, 159 Avg HR.
I assumed that once I turned around I would just fly with the tail wind. What I didn’t realize was that the temperature had climbed up into the 70’s and the wind was keeping me cool. My pace did increase but so did my heart rate. For a comparison 2 weeks ago I ran 20 miles in 3:07 at 138 Avg HR today I had to work much harder for 20 miles coming in at 3:21 with an Avg HR of 150. I hadn’t planned for the heat, hills or wind but I didn’t let it get to me I was focused on getting the job done.

Getting hot and tired. Miles 20 – 23, 9:49 pace, 176 Avg HR.
My mini goal for today was to arrive at 20 miles in good shape and in a decent time. I have heard from a lot of people that a marathon is can be split into two halves a 20 mile warm up followed by a 10K. I agree, the real test begins at 20 miles. We turned off the long straight out and back road and returned to the park. Now there is no wind at all and I am really starting to heat up (in case you wondering heat is my kryptonite). But my pace is steady and maybe starting to increase a little. I should also say that I am passing people in droves. This walking strategy is really paying off.

Dark times. Miles 23 – 25, 10:43 pace, 180 Avg HR.
Near the end of the journey through the park I start taking a turn for the worse. I feel terrible and like I’m dangerously close to the dreaded wall. My mind was clouded with thoughts of doubt and my legs felt like lead. My pulse has spiked, I actually saw it in the low 190’s. But I kept my cool (mentally not physically) I changed up my strategy and walked 1 min at the start and another at the half for both of these miles. Interesting thing was that I was still passing people during this time. Coming out of park we turned towards town and went over the last hill.

Finish! Miles 25 – 26.2, 9:43 pace, 184 Avg HR.
After coming over that hill I could see the town, more importantly I could see the steeple of a particular church. This was the church where the race started and finished. It was that exact moment I knew I was going to finish. My mood did a 180 and I felt refreshed and excited I was almost there. I resumed my normal pace and strategy and I finished strong. I passed so many people in that last mile it was nuts. I was so proud of myself and so happy it was just a great moment at that finish line.

Post Finish Analysis/Random Thoughts
The run walk strategy was great and I got to mile 20 in pretty good shape. After about 5 miles almost no one was passing me and I was doing all the chasing. The wind and heat really gook a lot out of me, I wonder how fast I would have run in better conditions. Looking over my heart rate stats after the race was a real eye opener. I was only running 10 min miles but the effort I was putting in was huge, my heart rate was over 180 the last 4 miles. I bet on fresh legs a 180 heart rate would get me 6:30 pace for 4 miles. Anyways I finished 4th out of 12 in my age group and beat my previous time by over 37 mins. I’m 30 lbs lighter than my last marathon but I think a bigger factor was is that mind was much stronger and more confident than previous marathons.

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