Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Rock n Roll Marathon Race Report

The following is a summary of my race day for the Rock n Roll Marathon in San Diego, June 1, 2008.

As I had been mentioning over the past few weeks, I had not been getting the rest I needed, but I was putting in some good quality speed sessions during the taper period. This helped me to build my confidence come race day. I decided I was aiming for a 3:15 and if I was able to manage, I'd try to beat 3:14:19, which was my current 2nd fastest race to date. The goal was to head out at approximately 7:26 per mile and adjust at the half way point and/or mile 20 as my body allowed. Andy and I were starting together and planned on doing the race together to the end.

I woke up at 4:00 am and had my normal N-Large Weight Gainer shake with 8 oz skim milk. As I was tired, I also drank a cup of tea on my way to the race. I picked up Andy and on our way to the race Andy said he wanted to start out a bit quicker and bank some time. I wasn't too keen on the idea, but figured if I was running with him the whole time he could push (or pull) me to the end.

Along with the other 20,000 other people out there, I waited about 30 minutes in a line for a port-a-potty and by the time I got back to where the group was meeting, people were starting to head to their corrals. When Andy got back, we headed into corral number 1 and were ready to go. As we were waiting for the race to start, we saw a dude with a chick tattoo on his lower back. It was pretty funny looking.

Right from the gun we were running faster than goal pace. (see split times below) I felt fine for the first few miles but then started feeling like it was a bit fast and that I wasn't sure I could keep the pace the entire time. Even though there were hills, we were 55 seconds ahead of pace after the first file miles and I was feeling a bit tired. I was wanting to slow down a bit, but Andy want to keep the pace up. I decided I would just stay mentally focused and push myself the entire time. The rest of the way through downtown was pretty uneventful. We started going up hill a bit and our times started to slow a bit to right around goal race pace. As we started heading up the bigger incline going up 163, I started to feel better. Our pace kept up pretty good while going up hill. We slowed a bit as the hill got steep, but were still easily passing people. I've heard a lot of people say in the past that you should break a race up into 3 segments to help you focus. You do 2 10 milers and then a 10k. At this point, we just finished the first 10 miler and I was feeling a bit better. I told myself to stayed focused for the next 10 and we would pick up the pace around 18 or so if I was feeling good.

We now fly down the 163 hill and head around the corner by Fashion Valley Mall. This is where I planned on meeting my wife. Andy was only expecting to see Wendy as his wife and son were only going to make it to the finish line. Little did Andy know that my wife and his wife talked and planned on both being at the mall. Here's a couple pix of us seeing them and the surprise on his face.

That gave both of us an energy boost over the next mile. By the time we hit the half way point, I was feeling tired again. Around this time, another running friend, Denise caught up to us and ran with us a few miles. She said she had been trying to catch us since down town being right behind us the entire time. She just had her first child 8 months ago and was on pace for a sub 3:15 race. Incredible! We found out that her fastest RnR was right around mine. My prior course PR was 3:26 and hers was 3:27.

As we headed towards Mission Bay, I felt the pace drop a bit and picked it up at a water station. Denise fell behind a bit at the water stop and we didn't see her again until the end. Our pace was staying fairly consistent between low to mid 7:20s per mile. I was feeling more and more tired as we were going. We were still on pace for a 3:13 race and if we could pick it up, we could easily do at least 3:12. I could feel my mind start to go, but would force myself to pay attention saying the 2nd 10 miler was almost over. I was taking 2 water cups at every station and got most of it down nearly every time. I took a 150 calorie Cranksports goo pack every 45 minutes for needed energy.

Around mile 19 I decided we should pick it up a bit and try to drive down that finishing time. I knew we were less than an hour from the finish and just had to push myself a bit more for a little while. The next four miles were faster, but the 3rd mile really hurt me. Throughout the run Andy kept asking how I felt and I was giving him the updates that I've been writing here. After this third mile, I said "I'm tired. That one hurt."

We are now into the last 10 K of the race and going through the most boring part of the course. It's definitely the most mentally challenging as there are a few rollers and the heat is start to come up as the sun is coming out. I felt myself getting really hot and my mind was fading fast. I took my shirt off as I had been dumping water over my head and the shirt was not drying that fast. It was a bit heavy and annoying. I carried it for a bit, but it started getting heavy in my hands. It was my favorite race shirt and definitely the most expensive one I had. Notice the past tense. After a brief struggle in my head, it hit the trash can. Now, I hardly ever take my shirt off while running. Why? Not sure. But it is definitely a sign of duress.

We did the little loop on Friars and go the 2nd to last incline of the race. I wasn't able to get my legs moving and my HR was spiking as my pace dropped. It was getting tough. I was trying to force myself to just move. Andy obviously could tell I was struggling as he mentions that we are about done. We get up the hill and get our pace back to goal pace. We then head make the right turn on Pacific and head over the bridge. Again, I struggled up this last "hill". Andy gives encouragement again as I ask him if this is our last hill. Fortunately, he says yes.

By this time we have three miles left and I'm struggling. I hear Andy continuing to offer words of motivation as we continue to slow down. As we head through water stops, I buying everything they are selling in the water aisle. A couple cups go in my mouth a few cups go over my head. We now turn right and run in front of MCRD. I'm in worse shape. I can't focus. I can't make myself do anything other than keep running. I want to walk so bad, but know that I can't. Internally, I was able to tell myself that even if I slow a bit and run, it will be way faster than walking. We keeping going and turn left into MCRD. This sucks! Then Andy said the best thing. Only 1200 meters to go. That's less than 3 laps around the track. Even though I wasn't able to get myself going faster, it did help me me get to the end. He's now saying stuff about every 5-10 seconds trying to get me to pick up the speed and get moving. I see the banner at the end and still can't push myself any faster. Almost there. I see Wendy on the right snapping photos. Ok, almost done. I am finally able to push harder. I see the clock and see that 3:14:19 is quickly approaching. That forced me to kick it into high gear. Andy says, "there ya go" and we fly to the finish line. I believe we crossed at the exact time of my last race. I knew we started a couple seconds later than the race clock so I knew I just got my 2nd fastest marathon time. I feebly raise my hands for the victory. If you go to nbcsandiego, you can see us crossing the finish line. Drag the scroll bar until the clock time is right around our finish time.

All in all, I was happy with the performance, but there are a few outstanding questions. I will analyze the race performance in another blog in the next week or two. I want to thank Andy for all his help. Running a 3:14 was easy for him. At any point he could have easily picked it up and qualified for Boston. I'm confident that my finishing time would have been slower without his help. Thanks for all the help.

My finishing time of 3:14:14 was a course PR by 12 minutes. Last year I finish in 3:26, which was a 12 minute PR from when I ran it in 2003. Does that mean 3:02 next year?!? Umm, I think not. I finished in 249th position out of 16,731 finishers.

Congrats to all those Marc Fitters out there that did the race. Everyone did great. I don't envy anyone that was out there longer then I was. The temperatures definitely rose after I was done. It's must have made things tough. Special kudos go out to Dano for finishing in 3:41 having just completed Boston 6 weeks ago and competing the race while being sick. Very impressive (or maybe that's not the right word :-) ).

I'll touch more on this in my race analysis in another blog, but I usually get sick after most of my races. I usually have cramps and I'm nauseous. After this race, I felt good. I didn't feel like eating, but I felt good. As I was ready to leave, I opened up one of those 90 calorie snack packs and had 1 little piece of chip. That started the downfall and I felt like crap the next few hours. I got home and layed on the floor curled up in a ball in front of the fan. Fun times. I finally started feeling better and was able to east a little something 4 hours after the race. More on that later.

Here's a snapshot of the elevation, our pacing and my HR from the race.

Here are a link to some other race photos Wendy took.

Mile Summaries
  1. 7:19.75, 156 bpm
  2. 7:22.75, 165 bpm
  3. 7:20.45, 163 bpm
  4. 6:57.80, 159 bpm
  5. 7:18.48, 162 bpm
  6. 7:28.87, 166 bpm
  7. 7:29.20, 167 bpm
  8. 7:29,25, 170 bpm
  9. 7:26.48, 169 bpm
  10. 7:41.44, 169 bpm
  11. 6:57.19, 159 bpm
  12. 7:21.46, 170 bpm
  13. 7:23.62, 162 bpm
  14. 7:25.30, 167 bpm
  15. 7:20.13, 167 bpm
  16. 7:23.45, 172 bpm
  17. 7:26.14, 171 bpm
  18. 7:22.35, 172 bpm
  19. 7:19.68, 174 bpm
  20. 7:22.67, 173 bpm
  21. 7:15.89, 175 bpm
  22. 7:19.77, 177 bpm
  23. 7:36.25, 179 bpm
  24. 7:39.03, 178 bpm
  25. 7:44.99, 178 bpm
  26. 7:50.35, 181 bpm
  27. 26.2 - 1:34.70 (7:01), 183 bpm
That's the end of the race report. As I'm trying to keep myself from falling off the wagon since training starts back up in less than 2 week, here's my food journal for the day. Not the worst eating day in the world, but far from the best. I convinced myself to eats less at Taco Bell today. So even though it was bad, it wasn't as bad as it could have been. There's definitely 1 or 2 bad days coming in the near future as there are some frozen pizzas with my name on them.

Food Journal

  • 2 Chocolate Chip Pop-Tarts
  • Crackln Oat Bran Cereal
  • Taco Bell (Big Taste Taco, Cheesy Double Beef Burrito, Cheesy Bean and Rice Burrito)
  • Einstein Bros Bagels Chocolate Chip Cookie
  • Pork Chips, Brown Rice, Green Beans
  • Chips and Salso
  • 97 oz Water
  • 52 oz Coffee
  • 12 oz Diet Dr. Pepper
  • 12 oz Skim Milk
  • 2 Sam Adams Lights

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