Friday, September 21, 2012

2012 Rock n’ Roll Denver Marathon Race Report

3:26:55 – PR’d by 32 seconds
Really tough day
The significance of this race to me was huge

My Record at the Denver marathon
2009 – Full marathon: 5:19, First full marathon but painfully below expectations
2010 – Full marathon: DNF. My only DNF ever which really hurt and made me take an honest look at myself
2011 – Half marathon: 1:30, I did feel like I got some redemption with this fast half but still I felt like I need to get that solid marathon done.

Early on 0-10 10 miles in 1:17:40 (7:43 pace)
I came into this race with really high aspirations, I was thinking that I could run 3:15. I ran the first 2 miles in 15:03 with some very cranky Achilles. It was about mile 3 or 4 that I saw the 3:15 pacer run by (a friend of mine). After letting the idea of 3:15 go it wasn’t long before I was letting 3:20 go out the window as well. I just thought to myself “let go get a PR”. I slowed my pace to coincide with this new goal. I was really starting to get down on myself thinking that I had blown the whole race in the first few miles. Did I just mess up this race again? I kept setting small goals like “let’s get to 10 miles and see how we feel then” which really helped break this huge task into manageable pieces.

Middle Chuck 11-20 10 miles in 1:19:39 (7:58 pace)
Once I slowed down a bit my Achilles stopped complaining but my calf’s still felt off. It felt as if they could have seized at any moment. This course had a lot of rolling hills and each time on the up I felt as if I was about to go into the red for good but I always recovered just enough on the down hills. I could tell that I was riding the edge on my threshold the entire time. Heading towards mile 20 was my darkest time with miles 19 and 20 being my slowest of the race (8:11 and 8:12). I was really thinking that I had gone out to fast and now I was spiraling towards that dreaded wall. This race was different in one way, I had advertised much more than in the past. I knew that my family, friends, classmates, fellow lost it ‘ers and my cross country team were all pulling for me. It was my invisible cheering section. I couldn’t let everyone or myself down.

Last 10K in 49:36 (8:00 pace)
Mile 20 was about where let go of that pain threshold. That didn’t mean speeding up any but it did mean stopping my gradual slow down that had been going on since mile 3. Later looking back at my HR I could see this moment, up until mi 20 my HR was pretty constant increasing slowly from 150 to the high 160’s. After 20 my HR increased a lot every mile, during this time I felt out of breath like in a 5k. The end of the course had some really long straight that I could bare to look at (I got that far to go still) so I just put my head down and ran. I ran mile 26 in 7:57 with an average HR of 180, which was really good considering they tossed in a nasty hill during the last mile. I wouldn’t say it didn’t hurt but every one of my long runs was on tails with lots of hills so it could have felt worse. Somehow I did have a small kick and managed to run the last 0.2 in at 6:35 pace (all downhill).

Completing my original goal and looking back at 2009 vs 2012
The Denver marathon is very special to me for a couple of reasons. It’s quite literally in my backyard with the nearest section coming within a mile from my house. It’s also where I ran my first marathon in 5:19 which was really below my expectations. But most importantly it’s my anniversary of when I really started to pay attention to my health. The failure of the 2009 Denver marathon started the discussion with myself that I had a weight problem. The next year I lost 10 lbs but got a DNF which drove the point home, I joined lose it 3 days later. Without these failures I would probably still be in denial about my health. Every year at the Denver marathon I assess my goals and look back at my health progress. The year after my DNF (2011) I had lost another 30 lbs but had to settle for the half marathon because of business travel the week of the race. It’s been really frustrating not being successful on this course.

The weight loss was only half of my major goal that I set out to accomplish with the other being successful at the Denver marathon. Well I finally got my redemption this year and ran that same course as 3 years ago in 3:26:55 (the 40+ lbs. I lost along the way helped a bit). While running the course I kept drawing back on that 2009 experience. At mile 14 I was thinking “this is where I had to start walk last time”. At mile 19 “this is where you sat on the curb for 5 minutes”. As much as I hurt this weekend I knew that it was never worse than what I felt back in 2009.

So now I can finally say is all in one sentence:
In the last 3 years I have lost 42 lbs. and taken 1:52:00 off my marathon time.
This has been my goal for the last 3 years, 3 years is a long time.

This isn’t the end of the story, just a chapter. I still dream big and it’s time to set a new 3 year goal.

Here I am after I finished, only photo I have this year

And for the other data junkies out there

If you’re interested in reading the race reports from those failed previous years
2009 (5:19)
2010 (DNF)

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