Sunday, May 3, 2009

Race Report: 2009 NJ Marathon

The official results are not up yet, but according to my Garmin, I legged a 3:14:23 marathon. Good enough to qualify for Boston. WOOHOO! Here's how my day went...

Woke up at about 5:40AM to get ready, get dressed. Thankfully, my friend and my wife agreed to drop me off when I had originally planned on driving. Pre-race morning was cool and wet, with sporadic light rain. Left the house with the following ammunition:
  • small bottle of water with 20 pinches of salt - easier for salt intake than salt packets
  • 6 Roctane Gu gels - 4x the sodium than other gels
  • 2 emergency energy table samples (did not use)
As I noted in my previous blogs, I needed to hydrate more intelligently and take in more salt to have a chance at Boston, thus the salty water and the Roctane Gu.

Was dropped off at the hotel for baggage check where I met up with Ansky. After I dropped off my bags, I made my way outside the hotel to the starting line on the boardwalk, but halfway there, I was told that the start was delayed 15 minutes. A shuttle bus took its load towards the wrong town. I headed out 15 minutes later, and was told it was delayed another 15 minutes.

The race finally started at 8AM. I made a decision to start in the pack instead of being towards the front. It would force me to start off slower. It was much slower than I wanted - 8:49. Crap. Too much traffic and weaving. Needed to speed up some, but not too much yet. My plan was to settle into the race pace after about 10k, which was anything sub 7:20. I also knew with my slow start and anticipating a slower last few miles, that I would have to run a few miles at around 7:00. The following is my mental breakdown of the race. Complete splits are here.
  • Miles 1-5: Go easy, letting my legs, body and mind ease into the pace. This part of the race was very enjoyable as I enjoyed the camaraderie around me and the sights. As the race started, there was a light drizzle.

  • Miles 6-10: Start to pick up pace and get into the race at sub 7:20. I averaged this set at about 7:17. At this point, I was thinking I could keep this up forever. I was feeling pretty good, but experience has taught me that won't last in a marathon.

  • Miles 11-15: Pushed my pace a little faster but stayed comfortable. Fastest mile in this set was m14 @ 6:57 followed by m15 @ 7:01. It looks like I did about a 7:07 average in this set. Obviously, I was still feeling pretty solid.

  • Miles 16-20: Around mile 18-20 is when I typically start worrying about the wall, but I was hoping my game plan of taking in lots of salt and a little more fluid than before would help me through. I was especially more mindful of it since miles 13-17 averaged about 7:03. Around this section I remember thinking, "RUN STUPID." Run as if I had no idea about my past shortcomings trying to qualify for Boston. So I did. Managed to average about 7:06 in this block, with 6:59 being my fastest. Also felt blisters under my right foot from the moisture, which at this point had become a light steady rain.

  • Miles 20-25: In my mind, I was going to qualify for Boston TODAY. I was surprisingly still feeling pretty sprite, until I hit mile 22. The splits reflect that. "Pain be damned and screw the blisters " I thought. I just tried to keep the same effort as my legs felt heavier. After the feel good energy left, it was all grit. The same effort was now giving me 7:25 miles. Mile 25 was 7:42! Legs were stiffening and signaling cramps if I continued much longer.

  • 1.2 miles: That stretch along the boardwalk was taking forever! Was I going to qualify for Boston? Oh yeah baby. My stop watch read 3:14:23 as I crossed the finish. As soon as I stopped running, I felt my legs stiffen up bad, making walking harder than running. But alas, pain never felt so good. I was glad to finally have reach a goal that had eluded me for years.
More thoughts coming tomorrow. It's time for bed.


Perry said...

Congratulations! I've been trying to qualify for years and just haven't made it. Your story has re-inspired me.

Perry, 44
Just Your Average Joggler

rocknrod said...

Congratulation. Great inspiration. Good luck in boston.

scholarsretreat365 said...

Congratulations!!! Great run!

Run stupid is strong advice as a focus thought when trying to overcome the doubts seeded by the brain. Be gone, brain! I normally love you, but it's time for you to disappear!

DailyRunner said...

Appreciate the congrats, guys. Thanks. This was definitely the "stupidest" race I've run, and it felt really good :-)

Perry, how do you keep your eye on the road??

Sean said...

Congrats - I'm targeting a fall marathon to run my 3:15:59 qualifying time. I like your salt strategy as I struggle with cramping all of my previous marathons.

DailyRunner said...

Sean, let me know how it works for you. I sweat quite a bit and didn't want cramping to be an excuse any more. said...

Im really interested in your salt intake. Normally, I assume that my pre-race meal of energy bars, gels and chews get the sodium level up enough. That and the awful gatorade endurance formula they serve (puke). But it sounds like you really piled it on and looks like you PR'd with no ill effects... which means I have to definitely look into it some more. Thanks for the tip.

brooklynrunning said...

Sodium intake is very important I have discovered. I cramped up bad in last years NY marathon, starting at about mile 18. I struggled through it and finished in 3:25. This year my goal is Boston qualify, in which I need sub 3:15.

I sweat a lot and lose about 4lbs/hr in the heat. Marathon should be in the 50s, so less sweat loss. I'm not sure what the sodium content of my sweat is, its different for everyone.

Tomorrow I am experimenting with Succeed S Caps which have 341mg of sodium per. I will take 1 30 min before race. During race I will consume 6 cubes of Margarita Shot Bloks by Clif Bar. Maragarita has 3x sodium of other flavors (210mg per 3 cubes)

Margarita worked well for me in the 18mi tune up last weekend.

One important thing I learned is to get your sodium in pre race and during. If you wait until cramps hit, it is too late...