Monday, October 20, 2008

About Time

I decided after the marathon that I was going to wait some time to write the report because my opinion of the race was somewhat jaded immediately afterwards and my review of it would have been somewhat skewed.

Short version:

Race went generally well, at 16km foot started hurting due to timing chip, fell of pace at 26km. At 36k was just trying to hold on to the finish which I finally did in 3:12:44, good enough for 4th in my age group.

Before beginning my detailed race report, I would like to congratulate a few people who ran this past weekend:

Sean Brown: running in his 6th marathon and setting a huge PB (3:30:35)

Winston Guo: Finishing his first Marathon (3:22:34)

Erin Prosk: Finishing her first marathon (3:29:42, 4th in her age group)

Doug Giles: (3:09:52)

Rachel Kiers: (3:09:30)

Luke Lavallee: Unfortunately only made it 26km, his knee started hurting resulting in having to quit the race.

Long, Detailed Version:

Race morning is always a time I hate, wake up extra early to try and force feed yourself food you don't really want to be eating in the first place but know that you have to. Eating before a triathlon is bad enough, but at least you are eating before swimming and then a bike ride, plenty of time to properly digest before the run. The marathon on the other hand offers no easy transition into the morning. 

I decided to go with my typical two Cliff Bars, worked and fueled me well enough for half irons, it should do well enough for a marathon.

The race was at 8:30 AM, I decided it would be wise to wake up at 6. I'm quite jealous of my brother race morning, Luke was also running, however, he seems to have an iron stomach race morning. I started eating at about 6:05 and finished forcing the two Cliff Bars down by 6:34 I remember seeing on the clock. Luke woke up at 7:15 and was done eating two Cliff Bars and a bowl of pasta by 7:30.

The race was roughly 2km from the hotel, not too far, but further than we wanted to walk race morning. We went down to the lobby to look into a cab, but didn't need it, a driver that went by the name of Dominic offered to drive us. Man was Dominic a character, he asks us if we mind him playing some music on the way, Luke and I agree to it, and so he PUMPS UP THE TUNES! Hard Gangster rap at 7:45 in the morning is a little much.

Here is an example of the introduction into one of the songs:

"What do you say to someone with two black eyes?
-Nothing, you've already told him twice!"

Dominic, despite being from Victoria, I'm not sure knew his way around. He drove us a roundabout route towards the race start, after warning him that the roads would be closed off all along the course he got confused and started driving us in the wrong directions. At this point, Luke and I decided it was best to walk from there. Dominic got us 1/2 of the way. Not to bad and we still had plenty of time. 

Dropped off our stuff, went to the bathroom and then quickly lined up for the race. It was a little chilly race morning, but I decided to go with only small dollar store gloves and no arm warmers. 

Positioning myself near the front, I had 2 minutes to stretch and get ready for the race. I was about 3 rows back from the front, I think this was among the best I could have asked for seeing as how the first two rows were the pro seeded runners.

Off goes the gun, right on time. It felt really weird running a marathon, I'm used to running 5-10k races where your first km is always freakishly fast, in this situation, we took it out fast, but at the same time still really controlled, first km in 3:56

The first 5km were pretty fast, it was really hard to keep my pace slow and not race. Reaching 5k I looked down and saw that I had run in 20:05. Pretty good considering running on pace would have put me at 21:20. This is the point in the race however that I started thinking to myself how much running I still had to do. 37.2k to go, ugh!

Running through the next 5 k were pretty good. I came to realize that I was really fast on the flats and descents, however, any uphill part really slowed me down. When I list the km pacing later on, you'll see the inconsistency in my pacing, this is all due to small inclines in the route. Anyways, rounded of 10k at a steady 41:16.

Up to 15k there were no real problems, the only issue was that I was running more of a 4:05 pace instead of a 4:16-17 as I had planned so between km 10-15 people who ran a freakishly steady pace started to catch up to me as I slowed down to 4:15.

km 16 is where problems started to kick in, I made a rookie mistake. Having never really done a long road race before I laced the timing chip into my shoe. The problem that aroused from this was the timing chip caused bunching of my laces and I kept getting a pressure point on my right foot. This started hurting quite a bit at km 16 and persisted until the end of the race. It hurt enough that I went from being 1:50 faster than pace at 15k to being only 4 seconds faster than pace by 21.1km. I actually stopped to loosen my shoe and try and fix the timing chip at 20k.

I was able to battle the pain in my foot holding steady 4:16km until km 26 when the pain really started to set in at which point my pace really started to soar. 

At km 34 Rachel Kiers caught up to me, and we chatted for a while, she was still running strong. For those of you who don't remember, she also raced against me at Shawnigan Lake and Vancouver half iron. I tried running 1km with her, however, the 4:45 min/km pace was too much for me at that time. My right foot was just crushed. Looking at my watch I knew that my new target time was now 3:10, but that would be slim.
Finally after 42.2km I crossed the finish line in an agonizing 3:12:44. Generally I'm pretty happy with this. I know that had I been more conservative I could have gone probably closer to 3:05 but that was never the intention, I wanted to take a crack at 3 hours. I sacrificed the good to go for the great and ended up with Just Ok for my standard.

The worst part of this race was being at 35km and hating life in general and knowing deep down that I would do this again because I knew that had I properly trained 3 hours would be easily attainable. 

My recovery from the race was pretty good, I was barely moving the days following the race, muscles were feeling pretty good, however, my feet and knees hurt a lot, the tendons around me knees were really tight, and my feet felt like they had been beaten with a hammer. I guess thats to be expected after running 42.2km. After all, the first guy to run a marathon finished and then died, so just finishing is a testament to my body.

Funny story from the marathon though. There was a runner who was doing a charity run for the Canadian Comedian Association or something like that, and anyways, he ran the entire marathon juggling. Where this becomes unfortunate was that this juggler had a personal marathon (non juggling) of around 2:30 (really fast), so juggling he slowed down to roughly a 3:10 pace. This meant that he ran the WHOLE race either just in front or just behind me. Every corner that had spectators instead of having people read my race number and see my name and yell "way to go Vince!", I just got, "Hey looks, its the JUGGLER!"

I thought I had beat him at 33km when he dropped a ball and I passed him (I swear I didn't kick it), but then at 38k he passed me, I tried to respond but legs just weren't giving any, so I got beat by the juggler.

Anyways, here are my paces for the race. I only have the first 29km because the watch I forgot had a limited amount of lap times.

1km   3:56
2km  3:51
3km  4:15
4km  3:56
5km  4:05    [20:05]
6km  4:15
7km  4:18
8km  4:04
9km  4:26 (uphill and aid station)
10km 4:05   [41:16]
11km 4:23
12km 4:24
13km 4:13
14km 4:21
15km 3:57
16km 4:21
17km 4:34 (Ankle pain really kicks in)
18km 4:24
19km 4:14
20km 4:32
21.1km 5:04 [1:29:54 NEW PB!]
22km 3:35 (Only 0.9km)
23km 4:25
24km 4:16
25km 4:25
26km 4:41  (Last km ran with average being on 3 hour pace, no longer able to hold fast pace with foot pain)
27km 4:41
28km 4:54
29km 4:58

42.2km 3:12:44

This means I averaged 4:16 for the first 26km and then slowed down to 5:04 for the last 16.2k. This is really something I need to work on for the next race, hopefully I can avoid the foot pain, but to be perfectly honest, had it not been my ankle, something else would have hurt.

My biggest mistake other than the timing chip was lack of preparation. My longest run prior to the marathon was 28km and I really think I payed for that. I was able to run strong thru to the finish which I would have liked to have done, so when I run one again, I will really be more strict with my training and plan out a regime that will involve a longer run.

Anyways, hopefully I didn't bore everyone. If you felt reading about this was long, you should have tried running it.

Here is a finish photo, do I look happy?


don said...

Great race report.
Congratulations on your smokin' hot time in the marathon.

Kevin said...

Congrats again. Going out at a 3:00 pace was a pretty bold move, so it's impressive that you managed to hold it for as long as you did. The two marathons I've done, I ran conservatively in the first half and had to speed up to hit my time goals. The next time I run one I'm just going to go for broke and see what happens

Tanis said...

You're a champ Vince! And I actually read your entire entry! I particularly enjoyed how you took a moment before you began to give shout outs to all your homies who ran with you that day. Good guy.

Jackie said...

Congratulations, marathoner!!! Fantastic time despite the hiccups - and frankly just finishing is an accomplishment, 42.2km is a freaking long way!

elspeth said...

I like how a girl was the fastest in that race.
If you don't go under 3:00 by the time I do my first marathon, I will beat you! Granted, this will be in a very long time. So you've got time.