Sunday, October 26, 2014
Day 2,863: Marine Corps Marathon (PR)
ARLINGTON, Va. -- Same old cat.
Almost like a throwback to when I first started running in races, I ran in today's Marine Corps Marathon super-aggressively and nearly bonked out of the entire race. Yet I still made my goal of finishing in under four hours, setting my best race times in the marathon as well as the 30K and 20K distances.
It almost embarrasses me that after training to a metronome pace of 8:45/mile for 18 weeks that I would throw caution to the wind and run mile splits as low as 8:01 and 8:06 but the best I can say is that the faster pace felt natural to me and in the middle of the race I felt like if I could take a stab at a really good marathon finishing time then I should do it.
Ironically, today's race conditions mirrored the hot Indian summer conditions of four years ago when I came close to breaking four hours in the Bank of America Chicago Marathon but finished in 4:06:39.
In that race, I was holding my own but was forced to slow down after my calf muscles started to cramp up at Mile 20. In today's race, something similar happened in the warmer weather -- my calf muscles started to cramp up at Mile 19.
What was different was that I had run so aggressively in the middle of the race that even when I was forced to slow down I knew that I could run the last 7 miles of the race at a very slow 11 minute mile pace -- I didn't even run that slow in the Chicago Marathon -- and still break four hours.
I think the difference was the training. I ran 888.71 miles in 18 weeks under a training program that is nothing short of elite. I ran about 70 miles more for each minute that I ran over four hours in the Chicago Marathon.
I also did things that I wouldn't have done four years ago. In this race, I really embraced fueling and hydration. I ate pasta for three days going into the race (believe me I was sick of it by the third day) and wore a 70-ounce Camelbak hydration pack in the race and ate a GU gel every two miles on the course.
It's pretty surreal now that it's over that I did it. I do know that I don't want to run in a warm marathon, at least for right now, let alone another marathon so soon after this one. So I am thinking I will skip the Honolulu Marathon that I already signed up for -- the race that started a fitness kick that lasted an entire year.
Time: 8 a.m.
Temp: 59 degrees (increased to 70 during the race)
Gear: Technical T-shirt, short (Georgia Marathon, white), shorts, Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 31.