Monday, May 7, 2012

2012 OC Marathon Race Report

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)
Headsweats Visor
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

Race Start
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
Time: 3:50:03


Neon Blonde Runner said...

Congrats on your PR race!!

I thought it was a pretty tough course, but that's because I have a dumb fear of hills and my scale is off.

I also was drafting with some folks and I think it made a difference, there definitely was a headwind of sorts.

Alejandro Mares said...

Thank you, I also read your race report, you are crazy speedy, great job.
About the hills, ever since I got into running the ultras I see hills differently and living in so cal anything away from the beach you are going upwards.
Thanks for reading, I will have to put you in my blogroll to find out if you do Boston.

RaceGrader said...

Love your race report. And we would love to see them posted on! Thanks!!