Monday, May 15, 2006

Post-Mortem: Race of Champions Marathon

Total: 877.25
Avg: 48.75

Initial focus was to run a spring marathon after an absence of four years. Last marathon was the Around the Lake an evening/nighttime marathon setting the course record in 2:55:48 on a hot August day.

Training progressed through a typical New England Winter with ice, snow, rain, cold and darkness. This period included a monthly weekend work schedule that would compromise training and one out of State trip for a week.

At about eight weeks into it, after a 22 mile run, the right Achilles flared up requiring one week of rest\cross-training. After recovery and confidence started building preparations became more enjoyable and focused. My wife ran Boston which gave me the impetus to register for the Race of Champions seeing a completion would be possible. Boston also boosted my mental training and initiative to seek out better attention to a schedule.

Initial goals were aggressive and not realistic giving the preparations. A sub 6:00 minute pace was not in the works but still in mind. Finishing and possibly winning was the fallback goal.

New items that helped in doing many solo runs: tuning in with an MP3 player to Endurance Radio and the Boston Marathon audio recordings, heart-rate training and GPS (Garmin) tracking. Items gapped: very little stretching, almost no strength training, only one tune-up race and irrespective of diet considerations.

Trained primarily in New Balance model 766's, two pairs.

Best program following was from Advanced Marathoning during the last four weeks. This and the tune-up race were the necessary confidence builders.


Breakfast: Oatmeal, bagel w\jelly, water, multi-vitamin, tums and a banana

0700 Arrival at Mount Tom Ski House, cold, breezy around 45 degrees

0800 Start in the lodge gravel parking lot, ran in Adidas Rat Racers.

Run up the hill in the top five; try very hard to take it easy down the steep backside as to not wear out the quads so early on.

The access road leads you to a Reservoir that you loop 2 and 2/3 times on packed dirt\gravel. I fall into a pace with the previous four-time champion. Take the lead after one loop as the pace was slowing and really wanted to run 6:10’s. Mile 2 split was 12:39. I ditched my hat and gloves to my wife who supported me on these loops. Was passed during last loop by surprise as I was thinking the race was won already, foolish marathon thoughts so early on. Mile 5 split was 31:40 for a 6:28 average and I was wondering if I held it what would be the finish time. Kept repeating my mantra: Patience, Strength, Flow. This race does not start until mile 20!

By surprise was passed by another runner when exiting the woods around mile 10. I thought there were only two of us running strong, whatever happened to “the pack”? The pace fell off and I followed until he pulled over to the side of the road. For the next three miles I kept the leader in sight with the tracking bike over rolling hills through rural roads. The pace was consistently hard with a heart rate of around 88%. During this time I was chased by a vicious looking dog that prompted me to immediately pick up the pace and close the gap.

We ran together through the half-way point in 1:23:46 and kept pace, albeit much slower and conversational for the next four miles. Heart rate dropped to around 82-84%. The runner from before returned around mile 18 on the opposite side of the road and he kept pushing the pace. I encouraged my new racing buddy to stick with it to stay in the race, he fell off and I caught up with the other runner at the next water station. We ran together for the next couple of miles at around 86-88%. At mile 20, time 2:09, we began to increase the pace, at 21 he spent too much time at the water station and I pressed the pace to the finish. I tried to maintain a 91-93% heart rate to the finish over mostly flat with a gradual uphill. At the last turn before the ½ mile uphill I looked over my shoulder and to my surprise did not see any runners! I made the charge, or should I say struggle up the hill to the finish in a time of 2:52:25.

Finishing temperature was around 60 degrees and sunny. I did not track split times on my watch only heart rate. Average heart rate came out to 86% or 162. Took in three Powergels over the course of the race, vanilla and orange flavor. I had excellent support by my wife at the start, miles 4, 7, 9, and the finish.

1 comment:

  1. Nice race!

    Good luck as you work on lowering that marathon time.