Sunday, March 21, 2010

National Marathon: Long run and 10k race report

It didn't matter that I was just using this as a catered long run, I still didn't sleep well Friday night. I had nightmares about not getting to the race on time, torrential downpours and hurricane force winds, and forgetting my sneakers. Every time I woke up, I would be disappointed it wasn't 5 a.m. already.

This is probably because I seriously doubted my ability to not race a marathon. I had many points that I kept repeating in my head:
  • Elite runners use races as training runs and run them 40 minutes over their PR all the time. This is ok.
  • Last time I was on my feet for 4 hours running was in 2007, so this will be good practice for my 50k trail race in June.
  • When I signed up, I knew I would do this as a training run. I'm not giving up on anything.
  • This was capping off a week of over 9 hours of training, 38 miles of running, and nearly 100 miles of biking, running, and swimming combined. I shouldn't PR. And, I still plan on a full week of training. So, its pretty important that I'm able to run again by Wednesday.
Still, I went through the pre-race routine. And, as a bonus the start was six blocks from my house and we basically passed it during mile 12. So, to keep my pace even, I left my iPod at home and left out some food and water for when I stopped by my personal aid station. I decided that I would run 20 miles at a 9:00 pace, and then I could race the last 10k.

My Garmin wouldn't catch the satellites and I started tracking the run 4 minutes in. However, it still says I ran 26.3 miles, and I heard other marathoners complain that their Gamins said they ran over 27 minutes. So, I'll just use my unofficial Garmin time for splits... if you don't mind! :)

The weather was perfect for a half-marathon. It got a little too hot for the full, but the first 12 miles I ran with my friend Natalie. This was her first half-marathon and long distance race. She really rocked it out, we ran 8:30-9:00 pace. We rocked the downhills, took the uphills pretty strong, and she listened to her iPod while I chatted her ear off half the time. When I left her at mile 12, she was feeling pretty worn out, but still finished strong and picked people off in the last mile or so.

1- 9:13
2- 8:57
3- 8:40
4- 9:02
5- 9:13
6- 8:58
7- 9:03
8- 8:30
9- 9:50
10- 8:27
11- 8:43
12- 11:44

I stopped at home, and went all Tarahumara, downing some iskiate I'd made to test how I handled it mid run. I went to the bathroom, washed my face, took a few sips of water, grabbled my iPod and jumped right back in.

Once I had my music, my pace definitely jumped a little bit. This race had a LOT of water stations. I took one powerade at each, and once it started getting warm, two. I felt like the last 6 miles had one every mile, but its interesting to see that I walking for about 10-15 seconds never really affects my split times.

During mile 14, U & Ur Hand, by Pink came onto my iPod. This is my favorite fartlek song, but you don't do speed play in a marathon. Except, I told myself, this was a training run. And so, that's right. I fartleked during a marathon.

13- 8:22
14- 8:31
15- 8:27

My right achilles has been bugging me during long runs lately, so I think I had to stop and stretch maybe three times. The first, during mile 16.

16- 9:16
17- 8:33
18- 7:59
19- 9:47
20- 8:19

At 19 they had an aid station with bowls of pretzels, orange wedges, etc., which was AWESOME. And there were a whole bunch of runners standing around a table shoveling food in our mouths. I stuck around to re fuel and get ready for my 10k. I was running with the 9:00 pace group and all of a sudden, hit mile 20 and pulled this:

21- 7:37
22- 7:19
23- 7:29
24- 7:52 (Holy crap, rolling hills! I didn't expect these. My calf was irritated by the uphills so I had to take them a little slow, but I kept pushing on and targeting men to pick off)
25- 7:56
26- 6:49 (Where did this come from?!)
.33 in 2:19, a 7:05 pace.

I would look for men who were shirtless, wearing bright colors, or wearing red and just had fun earning this shirt that I got at the expo:

Only one got me, we were racing at one point and I didn't lose him until I was at a 6:00 pace, then in the last mile he pulled ahead and I just couldn't keep up. I was disappointed, but it happens, he looked very fit so... (grumble grumble)

After racing MCM, I was shaking uncontrollably for a good time after and was hardly coherent, I was so dead. But yesterday, I felt like I had just completed a long run, so mission accomplished.  I was energetic, and full of energy. I went out to the park when I got home to enjoy the sun and went to a movie. Today, I'm only slightly sore, and my legs feel very fresh.

I was worried after MCM that my ultra dreams were unrealistic. I was wiped out after 26.2 miles. But yesterday was really encouraging, because by taking it easy most of the race, I still had more to give. I learned the difference between racing and running, and now I feel even more proud of my MCM time. I definitely raced that and gave it my all.  I 'm feeling much more confident about my 50k in June.

I always underestimate what my body can do, I didn't even think I would be marathon-ready by mid-April, and here I did a great 26.3 training run and I feel fantastic. I still have no clue what my Boston goal should be, but I've got nearly a month to build on what I've done this weekend.