Monday, November 17, 2008

San Antonio Marathon Race Report - Marathon #10

I love this finishing photo - you much click on the picture to see - has the family in the background - Susan - white hat and Ryan wearing my brown HighHopes hat, Kaylee is hidden by Mom. Combined with the time, the burst of excitement at finishing and knocking out sub2:40 and flying across the finishline. Love it! What a race - where to start - let's see - I was born..........a poor black child.............OK maybe that's not it (and who remembers "The Jerk" anyway).

For those who want to just skip it all and go to the results - Here You go. Results.

Brief version is I was 2nd for my age group but won the Master's race anyway on a technicality.

Guess I'll start with Saturday - we head out for the 3.5 hour drive around 10:30 am, my darling wife Susan, Kids Ryan and Kaylee and our dog Tyler (couldn't find a pet-sitter). After typical road stops we arrive at the Alamodome with a couple hours to spare to do my packet/bib-number pick-up. I leave the family in the SUV hoping for a quick pick-up - but with only a couple hours to spare - who am I kidding. I manage to navigate the crowds and get back to the family - they were definitely eager to get to the hotel. A volunteer made me feel pretty special as I traded a tear-off from my bib number for a T-Shirt with "Oh - my first Black bib - I think I'll save it" - now I understand there were only about a dozen of these bib's as they represented the Texas Showdown competition within the race. We get a ridiculously expensive hotel downtown for the extra perk of the family being able to walk to the finishline. Nice accommodations and almost worth the money - easy walk to the riverwalk and easy to find a restaurant for dinner - all was OK except for about 30 minutes of the alarms sounding and sounding and sounding in the middle of the night - man that thing was loud. Before and after the alarm it was a pretty good nights sleep.

Up 3 hrs early at 4:30 am to start my last carb-loading. Sometimes I like to do a little 5 minute jog at this time but the mid-30s persuaded me to skip this little ritual. Get my shower, Carbs and coffee, take the dog out for a little walk - then off to the shuttle for the ride to the Start. I get to the start line and all is OK - I'm ready to race - a few Pet Peeves about the race - but I'll keep those separate to not taint the race itself as the race itself was great.

The race - Perfect Weather - starts as a combined half and full marathon with dozens or so corrals holding nearly 25,000 runners that are released a couple corrals at a time. I'm in 1st corral so I'm released at the gun along with the elites.

Race strategy - 6:00-6:15 first mile then HR=164 thru mile 4, drop 1 bpm off the target per each 4 miles to the end - should give me even effort based on study of my previous races.

mile Split HR (per Garmin which typically runs 3-4 seconds fast per mile - can also be looked at on Motionbased if you prefer just the numbers without the rambles)

1 6:04 xxx I had targeted between 6:00 and 6:15 mile - I run with Chris Bittinger first mile as he's targeting 1:20 half which matches up with my 2:40 full target.

2 5:42 xxx Sam Rodreguiz runs by - I'd planned to run by HR at this point but because it was so cold - my heartrate monitor was still giving me bad data (I wasn't sweating enough to get a good connection) so I decided to stick with Sam - he tells me he's aiming for a 1:18 1/2 marathon so I figured 6 mpm pace could be a possibility today - I'd stick near him and give it a chance.

3 5:40 163 HRM is finally working - target at this point was 164 so it appears I'm at about the right pace - maybe a little slow - I end up passing Sam to stick to my target.

4 5:56 164 Right on target but I notice from mile splits I've got a fair amount of time banked already on a 6 mpm pace - the turbo-charge heat treatment run most definitely is working as I was ~20 seconds or so slower earlier in the week for this heartrate.

5 6:18 162 Target drops to 163 - An uphill on this mile - a very friendly and encouraging black bib eases by me as I slow on the uphill - seems to know me and it's bugging me that I can't place him.

6 5:48 159 Downhill I pass this black bib again - again he gives me encouraging words - I just say thanks and try to get back my speed back up to my HR target.

7 5:58 161 I notice I'm still banking time even though I'm not hitting my HR target so I kinda settle for 6 mpm splits as good enough and don't push the pace to get back on target - a hazard of seeing the time at each milemarker - without that info I think I would have pushed the pace harder to keep on target.

8 5:53 158 Target drops to 162 - but I'm not getting close to it - but still banking time or at least not using the time banked - so I don't push it.

9 5:55 160 Still not hitting target - but rolling with it - thinking about Anchorage Marathon where I backed off the 2nd 10k and was able to push harder on the final 10k so figuring I'm set up for a good final push with this energy reserve not pushing to the target (yes - I'm rationalizing running slower).

10 5:59 158 Exorcising demons was much more in this race than any other I've run - I just didn't seem to have the mojo/the hunger to really push it all out and kept having to battle thoughts of taking a walk break or turning off with the 1/2 marathoners. Although I wasn't getting on target - I count victory in not letting these thoughts slow me down.

11 6:05 157 Half marathoners have split off - I can now see who ahead of me is actually in MY race - much more spread out between runners.

12 5:59 158 Target drops to 161. Still not hitting my target - maintaining position in the race - occasionally getting passed and occasionally passing - but not really changing in position.

13 5:55 157 I don't realize at the time but I am able to maintain pace on these miles for less effort (lower heartrate) thru 20 because there is a slight decline and I think a slight tailwind.

14 6:02 157

15 5:55 158

16 6:02 157 Target drops to 160 Mental demon's seem to reverse - all of a sudden I feel all powerful - feel like sprinting but control that urge - perhaps that caffeine GU I took at Mile 15. I remember thinking this was where I eased off the gas at Houston Marathon - no feeling like doing that today.

17 6:07 156 I catch an Elite runner around here somewhere - I'm thinking he looks like a Kenyan - ok he was walk/jogging and holding his leg in apparent pain - recalling the Saturday night live joke I think to myself - "See John McCain - it is possible to beat a Kenyan in a race" :-).

18 5:55 158

19 6:05 158

20 6:08 158 Target drops to 159. 23rd place - Hit near the bottom of the gentle grade fall and come back for the final 10k back to the finish. Now I get the reverse of the benefit from 13 - now a gentle uphill, a couple rolling steeper hills, and a slight headwind - also temps into 50s instead of 30s,40s up to here might have caused slightly slower. I notice my 20 mile split is 2:00:41 - only 41 seconds to make up to get a 6 mpm pace - knowing I had banked some energy running a lower heartrates - it seems within reach. From here to the end I'm knocking out runners one by one.

21 6:10 157 I'm not getting the mile splits I want - now 51 seconds to make up - not going to happen in only 5 miles - start working out what is required to assure sub 2:40 - must hang on to that milestone at all costs.

22 6:12 158 Slipped a little more time - even giving up banked time on a 2:40 pace.

23 6:13 160 This mile I'm just struggling for a thought to embrace to get me to the next mile marker - for this one I chose Susan (My darling wife) to take me there - focuses in on the excitement she has at finishlines for me - works - gets me there staying on target - even a bit ahead of target on heartrate. Although I'm slipping on pace - not sure why.

24 6:17 161 19th place - Now I switch my inner voice cheerleader to my son Ryan - the cool acting but still very proud Ryan - come on Ryan - get me to 24 - he does - far ahead of my heartrate target - but I'm still loosing seconds.

25 6:13 162 Target drops to 158 - Now I switch my inner voice cheerleader to my daughter Kaylee - the rational, sometimes bratty (in a fun way) and never easily impressed - she gets me there - even stronger effort - but I'm still loosing more seconds.

26 6:12 163 Last mile - This one is mine - this is my race - no pulling back.

26.45 2:39 166 (5:53 pace) - 2 final turns to get to the finish - I come across a much slowed struggling elite woman - I kinda feel bad passing her but there was still a good amount of race left and I wanted to finish strong. Before the last turn there is a brutal uphill that is killing my legs but I'm pushing thru it with all I've got. Round the last corner and head for the finishline - scan the crowd for my cheering squad and finally see them just before the finishline - swoop in for high fives at full speed then cross the finishline - let out a big cheer for knocking out the 2:40 milestone -

Man that just felt so awesome!!

All the pre-race plans worked like a charm - fueling, hydrating, training, turbo-charge - all worked great. Race execution itself was a just little lacking as I let myself fall off target for much of the race - probably gave up a couple minutes but I didn't have the "fight for it" spirit to grab that last bit of potential I believe is available to me - that's OK - I knew pre-race I had started other races with more mojo and I was a bit untrusting of myself - but I didn't give-in - and finished the race strong - feeling very good about the effort I got out of myself. Still wondering who is that nice black bib. Need to figure out how to get that greater desire I had in earlier marathons with the better training I have now to really deliver it all.

That's about all I've got for now - thanks for reading - here's the Results. Thanks for reading - John. A little video with a few seconds of me at the end crossing the finish....


John Fenton said...

Great race and report, John. Enjoy the long and warm after-glow.

Sub-2:40 is my long-term dream goal as well. It's inspiring to see someone else get it.

kayry said...

Thanks John - loving the after-glow. Good luck in your Sub-2:40.

Old Man and mid pack runner said...

another great post. luv the mile by mile. congrats on the sub 2:40!

Gaslight ;-) said...

Ok, so how do you steal the photos?

Gaslight ;-) said...

oh, and great race~! :-)

kayry said...

Thanks Old Man!

kayry said...

That Photo cost me $35 bucks - and worth every penny....I've also got the finishing video coming for another $15 - I'll add that to the report when I get it.

kayry said...

Oh - and Thanks :-).

3:11:08 finisher 8 minute PR - 3rd place winner in your age group - heck of a race!!

btw - you gotta order this one:

Gaslight ;-) said...

I think I will, actually.
Other photo services charge an exorbitant amount for soft copies, so I've resorted to "borrowing" them (giving credit, of course).

Bill said...

John, nice meeting you the other night at the Strider holiday party. Once again congrats on your award, and we will seeing each other in the future!