Marathon Race Report

on Sunday, October 14, 2007 at 8:21 PM

So I headed out to do a marathon this morning. Well short story is I finished in 3:23:55. Long story is as follows...

As I mentioned in my post this morning, my right calf was really sore this morning. There was this tender point that really hurt if I put any pressure on it or tried to stretch it. Wasn't looking good. I arrived at the start area just as the half marathoners were starting. This year they started an hour before the full marathoners did which I didn't quite understand the reason for, but as it turned out, this was great because by the time I arrived at the finish line, most of the halfers had left and I was able to get a massage without having to wait in line. Cool.

As this was going to most likely be a training run, I did a whole bunch of new things which I haven't done before on marathon day. I ran with my HR monitor. I carried a bunch of salt pills that I was going to try in a race setting for the first time and I carried a bottle of gatorade for the first half of the race. Normally i carry a bottle of water that is a quarter filled just so that I can bypass the first water stop but wanted to see if I could carry a bottle of gatorade with me. I drank about half of the bottle about 5 minutes before the race started and would take a mouthful of gatorade anytime my mouth started to feel dry. I also bought a couple of caffeine laced PowerGels at the expo. I had read somewhere that caffeine helps the body burn fat a higher rate so I thought if I caffeined up during the race, it would help avoid the wall.

So plan was to go out at Boston pace or 7:15 /mile or 4:30 /km. I looked around for a 3:10 pace bunny but couldn't find any. I noticed one girl who I recognized from Scotiabank who had lined up near Yumke and I with the 3:10 pace bunny at Scotiabank. She ended up blowing by me at around the 38 km mark last time. I thought of maybe trying to follow her, but I didn't know what time she was going for, so I ended up pacing myself. Race starts and a miss the first km marker. They were calling out splits at the 1 mile mark and I passed that at 6:45. Crap, too fast. I slow down a bit and pass the 2km mark at 8:28 for a 4:14 average.

1km ??
2km 8:28 (6:49 mile pace)

3km 4:13 (6:47)
4km 4:48 (4:48)
5km 4:25 (7:07)

So km 3 through 5 look all crazy, but there's a good reason. the 3rd km is downhill and the fourth km is a big uphill. Km 5 is slightly downhill. You can see from the elevation profile in my HR monitor graph below. I'd say these splits are about right.

KM Lap Time Pace
6 04:25.0 07:06.5
7 04:32.9 07:19.2
8 04:25.7 07:07.6
9 04:31.4 07:16.8
10 04:38.3 07:27.9
11 04:31.6 07:17.1

I'd also say that kms 7 through 10 are perfect for pace. km 8 was slightly downhill and km 10 was slightly uphill. I hit the 10km mark at 44:19 which was about 35 s slower than I did last time. I'm feeling pretty good. Calf is feeling fine.

KM Lap Time Pace
12 04:22.7 07:02.8
13 04:07.3 06:38.0
14 04:29.3 07:13.4
15 04:17.4 06:54.2
16 04:21.2 07:00.4
17 04:28.6 07:12.3

Km 12 through 17 are now the decent through hell with an 80 to 90m elevation drop over 6 km. I was worried about this part of the course trashing my quads since I haven't done any hill work at all other than the long run I did last week. As expected all of these km were faster than the target pace. I was able to glide down these hills and pick up some pace. Km 14 was on a bit of a flat portion so that split was actually right on target. Quads felt fine afterwards.

KM Lap Time Pace
18 04:32.3 07:18.2
19 04:32.1 07:17.9
20 04:34.2 07:21.3
21 04:38.9 07:28.8
22 04:28.3 07:11.8

Km 18 through 22 were basically on target. Km 21 is a bit of an uphill so that km was a bit slow. I hit the half marathon point at 1:33:36 which is 16 seconds slower than I did 2 weeks ago, but considering that this was mostly a result of the elevation drop rather than me going out too fast, I was pretty happy with the time.

KM Lap Time Pace
23 04:33.4 07:20.0
24 04:35.1 07:22.7
25 04:43.3 07:35.9
26 04:49.9 07:46.5
27 04:49.7 07:46.2
28 04:41.3 07:32.7
29 04:44.3 07:37.5
30 04:52.9 07:51.4

Starting at about the 22km mark. The course then joined the waterfront trail for an out and back portion. This is the exact same trial that I did most of my long runs on and I was quite familiar with. At around the 23km mark, I passed by Yumke who was out cheering. I almost didn't recognize him. I've only seen him with running gear on so he looked different when dressed normally. Km 23 through 30 were running west into a bit of a head wind. With my 2 minutes or so of banked time, I thought it might be best to give some of that time back now in the hopes that coming back the wind would be at my back and it would leave me with a bit more in the tank at the end to avoid the dreaded "wall". I tried to keep my HR below 170 for these km so that I wouldn't be entering into lactate threshold territory. All these km were slower than the desired pace. By the time I hit the 30km mark, I only had 18 seconds of banked time left. There would be no margin for error. The course then does a small loop and then heads back.

KM Lap Time Pace
31 04:55.3 07:55.2
32 04:49.8 07:46.4
33 04:54.5 07:54.0
34 05:14.3 08:25.8
36 10:59.2 08:50.4
37 06:08.5 09:53.0

Part of km 31 was on a bit of a gravel trail, and when I rejoined the paved trail, the wind was still in my face! I fought through a couple of km, hoping that at some point the wind would die down. I then passed the 20 mile marker and then the 33km mark. At this point I checked my pace band and saw that I was now 51 seconds behind where I should be for a BQ time. I considered dropping out at this point, but decided to just to do long run and recovery pace to the finish line. I missed the 35 km marker. I lost about 30-40s stopping to pee during km 37 so that's why that's a bit slow.

KM Lap Time Pace
38 05:30.6 08:52.0
39 05:24.6 08:42.4
41 13:08.3 10:34.3
42 06:26.7 10:22.3
42.2 00:51 06:48.0

So km 38 and 39 continues at recovery pace. I passed by Yumke again and he took a couple of pictures of me. Thanks!

Originals by Yumke.
It was also at this point where that same girl who I had seen at the start and who blew by me 2 weeks ago, proceeded to blow by me again. I had thoughts of giving chase since I had a little left in the tank, but in the end decided it was a bad idea.

I missed the 40 km marker but it was at some point shortly before where the 40km marker would be that I walked through a water station. A woman just in front of me started walking and rather than plow into the back of her, I did so also. It worked out good though cause I ended up drinking thee cups of gatorade and 2 cups of water. I then started to run again but ended up walking a bit more cause I could sense my quads were going to start cramping, plus this part of the course is a slight uphill (who designs these courses with uphills right at the end??). I started running again shortly after the 41 km mark and then turned on the jets for the final 200m. Finish time of 3:23:55.

I was able to get a massage right after I finished since the finish area was quite empty with the halfers all pretty much gone. Boy that felt good. I ate some food and hung around a bit to wait for a co-worker of mine to finish who was also doing the full. I had to take the subway back to the start line to get my car and walking down all those damned stairs to get to the subway sucked big time.

Anyhow, I like the new course and prefer it to the Scotiabank one I did 2 weeks ago. Even though the other one is called the "waterfront" marathon. This course is just as much a "waterfront" marathon now and in fact is probably more of a "waterfront" one since you run on a trail right by the lake as opposed to on a road that is some distance away from the water.

I kinda liked running with my HR monitor. If I had bothered to heed the HR monitor at the start, I probably could have avoided the fast start. It also allows me to track the elevation changes and cross-reference it to pace. It was actually a pretty good idea for me to carry the gatorade during the first half. Most of the water stations were handing out water in these little dixie cups. I didn't get a chance to try out the salt pills, mostly because of the water issues. The directions say you're supposed to take 12-16 oz of water for each pill you take. There was no way I could get that amount of water from those puny dixie cups they were using unless I stopped and grabbed 3 or 4 of them.

Here's my HR graph with the nasty elevation drop. Also notice the hill at the end.

It does kinda match the one on their website.

So I wouldn't recommend the 2 marathon in 2 weeks thing. Interesting to do once just for the sake of saying that I did it, but I probably won't do it ever again. Though the calf held up okay, I was definitely not fully recovered. I guess it also didn't help that I've been doing nothing but short recovery runs for most of these past 2 weeks.

So that's it for now. Will reflect a bit more before deciding what to do next. Thanks for reading.


Anonymous said...

awesome blog. congrats!

yumke said...

Good job, Fran. It was incredible you were able to put in two good marathons at decent pace two weeks apart.

Audrey said...

wow :) 2 marathons in 2 weeks is definitely something. :) i am sending rest and recovery vibes your way!!

L*I*S*A said...

I know it may not be what you wanted, but you still did an incredible job!


Stephen said...

Two in a row ! You look strong and happy in your race photos. Man you're fast!
Great Job Francis!!

Yu only lost 30-40 secs at the porta potties? even pee fast!

Besides a long and deserving rest, what's next buddy?

jen said...

Wow, I missed your post saying you were going to do this, so a big surprise for me!! :) Sounds like you actually had a really good race and ran very smart. You got to test out some stuff on the marathon course that you normaly wouldn't - and you got to see how the two races compare. Great job completing this incredible 2-marathon challenge. Pretty crazy. Now rest up and let us know when you're going to get that BQ. :)

Cuckoo said...

That's awesome Fran, great job! I can't imagine doing 2 marathons that close together, and not only did you do it but you maintained a fantastic pace throughout the race. Congrats!

Quinto Sol said...

That was a really good time, even while you switched to recovery pace at the end... come to CIM; I am sure we can both BQ :-)

AddictedToEndorphins said...

That's all i can say. You ran that 2 weeks after the other one! You're amazing! Keep it up. You've got that BQ in you! I know it

Bob said...

Good job Fran, that BQ will come. I am amazed how you are so laid back about it. Now take some time and let your body recover.

jellypepper said...

Well I'm behind in the news. Two marathons in two weeks? You are one tough cookie.
So, now kick up your feet and R-E-S-T! you certainly deserve it before you start chasing BQ again :)

Sonia said...

Wow 2 in 2 weeks! You're an animal. You maintain a more than decent speed! A speed I only dream about... ;-)

Perry said...

That time is amazing considering you just did a marathon 2 weeks ago. Great work. At some point you'll have to rest if you want to get faster though.

Keep up the great work.

Ryan said...

I'm a bit behind and just catching up. WOW, two in 2 weeks. What a courageous performance and a very remarkable time! I did two in three weeks, and I thought that was difficult.

I, like you, need to reflect a bit here and figure out my next move.