Thursday, September 6, 2012

What to say about a road marathon?

Kilometer 23: When everything was good. High-five with Kristen.
Photo: Jordan Maas

  Just finished my first road marathon. I'd been wanting to run the DF marathon for years and finally got it done.  What to say about a marathon?
 A first it felt way too easy. 
And then it felt just right.
And then someone snuck lead into my legs and I couldn't keep up with my pace goals.  

  I felt I had done solid preparation to run 3:59 and change. 5:40 kilometers. 28:20 5ks. Should be able to run those one right after another until the cows come home....  Which is correct if the cows come home around 25k and really start showing up in force at 31k.
  A four hour marathon is not fast; it's not remarkable. It's like shooting an honest 99 for 18 holes. With practice, most can do it. Some could do it without practice. A four+ hour marathon is pedestrian. Perhaps that's why Paul Ryan shaved over an hour of his time. Sub-3 hours is something. Like shooting an honest 68 at a tough course. Anyway, I digress....

My four hour plan slowly started to unravel around kilometer 24. My 5:35's turned to 5:45's, 5:44s.....  And it only got worse. Anyone who runs marathons knows that most people slow down in the last 10k, but I really believed I had chosen a reasonable pace that could be held for the duration. Nope.
  I ran the first half in 1:59, the second half in about 2:11. 4:10:52 was the official chip time.
  I had been obsessed with the watch early in the race, but finally had to stop looking at it.  
  My first races I ran without a watch; I need to go back to that. The garmin is a fine training device and I love the data, but I hate being tied to a watch during a race. Run on effort. Maybe cover the watch and look at the data later.
  A road marathon is a strange beast: for me it started out feeling way too easy, but by the end it felt harder than anything I have run. This past August I ran the Rover Marathon up over the mountain pass from Mexico City to Cuernavaca, which took me nearly 1.5 hours longer than this race, but it was somehow easier.
  I enjoyed the race. Jordan and Kristen came out and cheered me on, which helped a lot. Tania supported me on the course and the girls made posters. Even when I felt my sub-four slip away, I didn't stop enjoying the race. I usually end races with something in the tank, but I had nothing at the end. My last two kilometers were my slowest. 

Kilometer 35ish....the slow down. Trying to be ok with that.
Photo: Jordan Maas

My goals were to run 3:59, finish, not get injured. Two out of three ain't bad.

My training may not have paid off with the time I wanted, but it certainly helped in one area: I feel great. I took Monday off, ran easy on Tuesday, maybe 5k. And then a steady 7k Wednesday morning. Heading to Cerrro de San Miguel to make a long overdue run up and down the mountain. And I'm heading out right now to run before "Back to School" night begins.

  I will probably return to the road marathon one day, but not for a while. At least a year, I'd say. Maybe longer.

 For now I've got a couple great races coming up in the mountains and I'm really looking forward to them. And then, make the next step and find a 50 miler......

 Back to the hills, back to the trails.....

Sept 30: 33k Camino Largo y Sinuoso.

October 20: UTMX 40K

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