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The Planned Marathon PR

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The Planned Marathon PR

Post  mountandog on Wed Dec 10, 2014 5:27 pm

Here's what you've all been waiting for, another overly long, self-indulgent race report.  But hey, you don't have to read it!!  lol!

So, this was my journey - 

Last spring Chelsea and I targeted CIM for our fall marathon.  We were looking for a fast course that was Olympic Trial legal with reliable weather.  CIM kept popping up.  A friend who had run 2:18 there in the past highly recommended it and it as it turns out he was considering it for his next qualifying attempt for 2016.  Hey sounds good.  Looks fast.  Good weather usually.  Late in the year.  Sign me up. 

But things don't always go according to Hoyle.  Chelsea finally diagnosed her issue - hip labrum - surgery - she's out.  But serendipity came into play.  My coach, had a stress fracture in his femur and had to drop out of Boston, so he was looking for a fall qualifier.  CIM was it.  I talked my usual running partner into it and now we were four.  Two guys going for sub 2:18 and two old guys going for sub 2:58.

Overall training went well.  The dog days of July and August were mostly building a base and thank God as I spent 10 of those days in the Atlanta area just toasting and sweating.  Hard workouts were at least somewhat infrequent then, but the runs were still killer.  Coach Brendan, decided I needed some new stimulus after running my last three marathons within 20 seconds of each other all between 3:00:36 and 3:00:48.  Ugh.  He focused more on intervals and strength training.  More MP and MP -10 to 15 sec.  He felt I'd done enough slow stuff.  Had some interesting workouts - one the "momeymaker" was a late cycle 18 miler with miles 10-14 @ 7:00 and then six half miles alternating between 6:35 and 7:10.  Nailed it and knew I was on the right track.

I did two trial races, the Detroit HM in October and the Thanksgiving Day Turkey Trot 10k.  In both races I set PRs without planning to.  I ran hard, but very controlled and had a lot left in me after both races.  The Thanksgiving run was a real confidence booster as it felt so easy and I was only in the middle of my taper.  But tapers are what tapers are.  I never felt that good again in the last 10 days.  I had another strong workout of 4x1 @ MP but I definitely felt more sluggish and fatigued, but also knew that that's not an unusual feeling for me and to trust my training.

The trip to Sacramento was uneventful.  I now discovered I like West Coast races.  Three time zones earlier.  It's easy to go to bed early and get up for the 4am wake-up when it 7am at home.
Normal race weekend activities ensued.  Dinners, a few beers, pasta, expo...........all normal.  Had a chance to visit some very elderly relatives in the Bay Area and met a second-cousin in-law and her family.  Broke up the weekend nicely.

There was a lot of debate between Brendan and me on what the race strategy should be.  He wanted me to go out in 1:28-1:29 and negative split.  The first half being harder than the second therefore even effort for the whole race.  I wanted to go out a bit quicker as I wanted to get to 2:55 and just wasn't confident that I could make up that much time in the second half.  I was going for a potentially final lifetime PR and I was willing to take a risk.  Go big or go home is often my philosophy.  So back and forth we went for a couple of weeks.  Finally I agreed to his more conservative 1:27:54 (although secretly I wanted to go 1:27:30) and I had a 2:54:45 final target but was expecting to come in something closer to 2:56-2:57.  My PR was 2:58:02 on the very downhill Ridge to Bridge in 2012 so nothing wrong with sub-2:58 on a more normal course.  Although I some confidence I could go faster, but certainly had no experience in making such a proclamation. The CIM Program lists the top 10 historical times for every age group.  Cool.  A sub 2:54 and I'd be #10 all-time.  There was some motivation and a little wishful thinking there.

Bus pick up was great, if somewhat unorganized as the buses came in on the wrong road and they had a zillion people crossing to get to them, the freeway was blocked and on and on.  But I didn't care.  Arrived with plenty of time.  As Tom said the porta johns were plenty.  Dropped our bag off and went to the starting line just behind the elites.  Wished Brendan and Clint good luck and got ready to go and then......crap.  I forgot my sunglasses in my drop bag.  With my prescription lenses so I can read my pace band and watch.  No time now.  So I was there with my buddy Wilm trying to reset my watch settings to different screens so I could read them.  We were running together so I told him it was now his responsibility to give me the targeted mile splits.  I will keep him on pace, but he has to be my eyes and read the pace band.  Then we were off.

Anyway - enough preamble (that was a book in itself) and on to the race.

For the race itself, there isn't a remarkable story to tell.  More or less felt great the whole way.  Went out a bit faster and hit the half at 1:27:28, right on my secret target.  Hit our targets most of the way.  But around mile 8 I felt some blisters coming on.  I had new flats and socks, but had tested them out a couple of times including the Turkey Trot and had run 10 miles in them with no issue.  But man, I could feel them coming on.  In the end I had a half dozen significant blisters on the sides and bottom of my toes.  Around 15 I started to feel my quads, but not like Boston.  CIM is somewhat downhill so I was expecting some quad pain, but it was more than I bargained for.  At 16.5 I said to Wilm, "right now we'd be turning left and heading up the overpass for the first of the Newton Hills".  He looked out in front of to nothing but flatness and commented that this looked a lot better.  Couldn't disagree with him.  CIM is definitely a course that allows you to get in a rhythm for the second half.  We just started clocking mile after mile of 6:35-6:40.  We kept each other in check when one of us would get going a bit too fast or too slow.  But that pace for that long was a new experience.  But we never panicked, knowing we could slip a few seconds here and there.  No pressure at that point. It's a nice feeling to know that there is nothing course wise in your way in the last 10 miles of a race.  Just you, your body and your mind.  We just got in that window and kept going.  After 25 Wilm started to pick it up but he's 8 years younger than me and physically stronger so I just couldn't keep up and he crossed 14 seconds ahead of me.  Nice guy, eh.  I closed with a 6:27 mile so that was all I could muster. I don't really have a faster gear, just good endurance.

For hydration I filled up a 24 oz water bottle and mixed it with 200 calories of HEED and milked that through mile 15.  Never felt particularly thirsty.  I'm not a big sweater and usually have some stomach issues so I decided to drink less on this run.  Got rid of the bottle and drank the course provided NUN the rest of the way and took 1 Stinger around mile 20 along with a caffeine tablet.  That was about it. Probably 400-500 calories and 40 oz of liquid.   I felt great at the end.  No stomach issues, no cramping, no medical tent, which is 50/50 for me.  In some ways I felt too good.  But my quads were definitely on the trashy side and my blisters were agony.

The crowd was a nice size, but not overwhelming which I like.  Yes Boston is awesome, but constant noise for 3 solid hours gets to me a little bit by the end.  I was in the first 300 runners so runner crowding wasn't an issue, but we were never alone by any stretch.  

In summary, it was a solid training cycle.  The best I've ever had with no significant issues.  The course was conducive to a fast time.  I had solid confidence going in, but the uncertainty of having never been there before.  I think I left a little bit out there on the course.  I felt too good at the end.  Although I couldn't have gone much faster in the last mile or two, I think I had a couple of seconds per mile overall had I managed that better, but we'll never know.  One of the mysteries of the marathon.  A little too fast and you're on the sidelines at mile 20.  Just what that pace is??  Different every time out.

So Brendan qualified with a 2:16:28.  Second American in only his third marathon.  

Clint dropped out at 20 after his quads seized but was on pace.  He felt he went out about 2 sec/mile too fast.  What a tight line these elites walk.  But he's optimistic for his next try next year somewhere.  He dropped out to save himself and get back to training without having trashed himself.  Different motivation for these guys, different strategies.

I ended up 2:53:52.  Very happy - but dang, 4th in my AG.  No lifetime top 10 (13th), no award (only top 3).  Just goes to show you it was a good day for running for others as well.

Mile   Planned   Actual
1       6:38       6:38
2       6:48       6:42
3       6:41       6:40
4       6:41       6:31
5       6:42       6:38
6       6:46       6:38
7       6:43       6:42
8       6:48       6:43
9       6:46       6:47
10     6:41       6:41
11     6:41       6:45
12     6:40       6:45
13     6:38       6:36
14     6:38       6:35
15     6:38       6:39
16     6:36       6:35
17     6:34       6:34
18     6:35       6:34
19     6:36       6:32
20     6:34       6:41
21     6:36       6:34
22     6:37       6:37
23     6:39       6:40
24     6:38       6:35
25     6:41       6:38
26     6:44       6:27
26.2   6:49      6:06 

So what's next?  I have no idea.  Do I have another PR in me?  Do I really want to train that hard again?  Not sure.  Right now, take a bit of a break, enjoy the holidays and jog some.
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Re: The Planned Marathon PR

Post  Tom H on Wed Dec 10, 2014 5:43 pm

Great race Michael!  Sounds like you had everything dialed in for this race and executed perfectly in each area.  Congrats on the significant PR!
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Re: The Planned Marathon PR

Post  Mike MacLellan on Wed Dec 10, 2014 7:50 pm

Dude, you're fast.  You came within a minute of my brother's PR, and he's almost 30yr your junior.  

That's all.
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Re: The Planned Marathon PR

Post  Mark B on Wed Dec 10, 2014 9:47 pm

Congratulations, Michael! I love the CIM course and ran my best race there, too. There's something about knowing the hills are behind you and the finish line is getting closer with every step.

What's next? I think you already know the answer to that one... Very Happy
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Re: The Planned Marathon PR

Post  Tim C on Wed Dec 10, 2014 10:18 pm

Sorry....  I'm your age....  and I just cannot fathom those mile splits....

Really, really impressive....   I'm hoping for a bunch of 8:50's next year at that same race

Well done - enjoy the Holidays!
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Re: The Planned Marathon PR

Post  nkrichards on Thu Dec 11, 2014 12:37 pm

WOW! That is impressive. Just think how many points that would have earned your team if we were still doing the competition we had going on Hal's site. Very Happy

Congrats!!!!!
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Re: The Planned Marathon PR

Post  mountandog on Thu Dec 11, 2014 10:21 pm

@Tom H wrote:Great race Michael!  Sounds like you had everything dialed in for this race and executed perfectly in each area.  Congrats on the significant PR!
Thanks Tom - let's make sure we meet up in Boston
@Mike MacLellan wrote:Dude, you're fast.  You came within a minute of my brother's PR, and he's almost 30yr your junior.  

That's all.
Like fine wine, some things are better with age - thanks Mike
@Mark B wrote:Congratulations, Michael! I love the CIM course and ran my best race there, too. There's something about knowing the hills are behind you and the finish line is getting closer with every step.

What's next? I think you already know the answer to that one... Very Happy
Honestly not sure what;s next.....go for a fast Boston, push a 5k, 10k or HM.....maybe 100 miler or Comrades (bucket list)...maybe start Triathlons -- always intrigued me.  Thanks Mark.
@Tim C wrote:Sorry....  I'm your age....  and I just cannot fathom those mile splits....

Really, really impressive....   I'm hoping for a bunch of 8:50's next year at that same race

Well done - enjoy the Holidays!
Thanks Tim.  Never thought I'd be here when I started this all 6 years ago jogging for 2 miles and felt like I was dying.  Never in my wildest dreams.  I thought this kind of time was dreamworld.  Couldn't relate, couldn't understand, but guess what.....
@nkrichards wrote:WOW!  That is impressive.  Just think how many points that would have earned your team if we were still doing the competition we had going on Hal's site. Very Happy

Congrats!!!!!
Thanks -- forgot all about that old challenge
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Re: The Planned Marathon PR

Post  Michele "1L" Keane on Fri Dec 12, 2014 5:25 pm

Congrats again, Michael.   I, too, am so very impressed as you Youngs make it all look way too easy.  See you in April, I assume?
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Re: The Planned Marathon PR

Post  fostever on Fri Dec 12, 2014 7:18 pm

Good Lord, you smashed it! Way to go Michael! So I guess I have no excuse as to upper limit training miles at 56.
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Re: The Planned Marathon PR

Post  fostever on Fri Dec 12, 2014 7:22 pm

Oh yeah, keep going and you may be getting a call from Running Times for an interview some day!
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Re: The Planned Marathon PR

Post  KBFitz on Sun Dec 14, 2014 10:51 am

Duuude!


It doesn't get much better than that.
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Re: The Planned Marathon PR

Post  Jerry on Fri Dec 26, 2014 3:16 pm

Running Running Job well done, big brother. I am truly happy for you, but can't accept you are the fastest in the family.
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Re: The Planned Marathon PR

Post  mountandog on Sun Dec 28, 2014 1:08 pm

@Jerry wrote:Running Running Job well done, big brother. I am truly happy for you, but can't accept you are the fastest in the family.
Well as you get older, maybe you can become just as fast  Very Happy
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