Thursday, December 3, 2015

A Tale of Two Marathons-Deja Vu Marathon Race Report aka. My Garmin Lied to Me

Wow I have a ton of mixed emotions about this race report, and I don't want to sound like a whiny bitch. I also don't want to leave out my race preparations....So where do I begin?

3:42:32 is my official time.  This is how fast I ran a marathon on Saturday.  I am very happy with my somewhat even-Steven splits.

But, I am so disappointed that I didn't break 3:40..

I'm going to post all of the data (Garmin, Strava, Race Raw Data).

Few Days Leading up to the Race
I began to add extra carbs to my meals on the Tuesday leading up to the race., I would eat a banana with my breakfast,and have an extra serving of rice at dinner. I also tried to remember to drink water. Work was a blur, and in my hurry I never printed up my trusty pace band that I created had created with Excel.

Thanksgiving Day
I went for my last shake out/dress rehearsal run, I felt well rested and I cranked out 4 miles at 8:15 average pace.  This run was a huge confidence booster.

My mother in law came to town to cook Thanksgiving dinner for our extended family... We don't eat Turkey or any other meat.....
For our meal that day, I made Vegetable Stew, Spanish Rice, and Homemade Tortillas...
I didn't take a picture on Thanksgiving, but it was  a very similar
veggie stew.
It was nice to have my mother-in-law in town to hang out with the kiddos.

Black Friday
We did some grocery shopping,  I tried to stay off of my feet for most of the day, and I laid out my final outfit choices.   I also read online articles about properly fueling during a marathon.  For dinner I had homemade pizza and hummus.

My husband also made me the famous beet juice.

We started juicing earlier this year, and now in the cooler months we are not juicing as much.  However, I read somewhere that beet juice helps with recovery and performance, I started incorporating it into my diet about once a week.
Beets, lemons, ginger, apples, and carrots
And to think I used to drink a lot of beer the night before a race. lol.  How times have changed....

Race Morning
I woke super early, and began to get prepared to race.   For breakfast I had a pumpkin oat hemp muffin, and two eggs at about 5:30 am.

An hour later I had a slice of white toast with  dark chocolate peanut butter with half of a banana.

 I also drank about half of a 20oz bottle of Strawberry Watermelon Gatorade.

My husband dropped me off at Sunset Park at 8:30am.   That gave me enough time to pick up my packet, use the bathroom, set up my aid station (a small igloo cooler), and stretch.  The weather was cold (42 degrees), but no wind.

I packed a small igloo cooler with two mini bottles of Gatorade, my Powerbar Energy Chews, and Powerbar Gels.  My plan was to carry what I would need for the first hour, and then swing by my cooler to pick up fuel as needed.

I lined up towards the middle, I started my music, and my Strava Mobile timer while the race director was giving us the final instructions.. I didn't want to fumble around with my phone at all during the race.  I wanted to just stick it in my waist pack and forget about it.  I had a great play list with a ton of songs,...

**For this race report I will be using my Garmin Splits**(While Racing this was what I was using to pace by)**
The gun went off, I started my Garmin, and it was go time...  My goal was to run steady, and try to  negative split the second half.
This was the race course.

The larger loop, was  the first lap of 1.48 miles
then we ran 25 laps around the smaller track.

This course also had a small hill about 200 meters long (you climbed 40 feet every mile, but the decent was also 40 feet).  So small rollers, but nothing crazy steep...  Because of the up and down nature I knew that my Garmin would fluctuate when running uphill/downhill....

We were sharing the course with the ultra runners, and other pedestrian traffic.  There were distance events for 1hr, 3hr, 6hr, and 12hr.  I figured the course would be a little crowded during the first hour, but that would keep me from going out too fast...
Mile 1- 8:16
Mile 2- 8:16
Mile 3- 8:15

Wow I couldn't believe that I was already on goal pace, and it felt pretty easy...

The aid station/time clock area, was kind of crowded during the first hour.  During mile 4 I swung by my cooler to pick up my half bottle of Gatorade that I had leftover from breakfast.  I also ate two Powerbar energy blast chews.  My plan was to eat and drink early to stave off the bonk. I also ditched my gloves around this time
Mile 4- 8:22

Mile 5- 8:10
Mile 6- 8:09

So I notice that I'm running with a dude.  We are pretty even paced.  We traded the lead several times, before I just started following him,

I ate two more energy chews around this time, and had a quick drink of water

Mile 7- 8:08

Mile 8 - 8:05
I opened up my first energy gel. It was a Powerbar Bluberry Acaci flavor, and it was actually pretty good.
Mile 9- 7:59
Mile 10-8:13  When I went through the aid station I stopped by my cooler to pick up another gel, and a zip lock baggie with the some more energy chews.  I keep playing hopscotch with this other runner.

Mile 11-8:05
Mile 12- 8:07

Mile 13-8:10
The guy that I'm running with stops to use the porta john.... In a way I'm happy that I no longer have to play hopscotch.  But, another part of me is worried that I will ease off the pace, or become bored without a rabbit to chase.

Mile 14 8:10

Mile 15-8:11

Are you kidding me? I'm still on goal pace....I feel good.  I grab a mini bottle of Gatorade out of my cooler to drink.  I carry it for a mile, but I only take one drink out of it.  I ended up tossing it into the dirt, because I didn't want to carry it anymore.  Around this time the race director tells me that I am on lap 14.  I'm thinking sweet only 10 more laps to go....

Mile 16-8:09
Mile 17- 8:05

It's the second going into the third hour of running, I'm wondering when I'm going to start to really hurt.  So far I have eaten six energy chews and two energy gels...I'm also trying to drink water every now and then.

Mile 18-8:11
Mile 19-8:22
My energy/mental game is starting to take a turn for the worse.... But, the greatest thing happened.. My husband hasn't shown up to any of my races in recent years, because someone has to watch our kids.... My husband surprised me by showing up for the last hour. Seeing him was like a shot of electricity (corny I know)

Mile 20- 7:56

My watch flashed 20 miles, and the time said 2:43:xx.  I'm thinking "Shit yeah, this is what I have been waiting for, let's race this last 10k baby. Only 6 more laps to go!!!"

Mile 21- 7:57

I ditched my arm warmers, and I stopped briefly to pick up my mini bottle of Gatorade that I threw on the ground.

Mile 22-8:19
Mile 23-8:11
During this time, the guy that I was running with earlier came flying by me. I didn't have the stones to try to go with him... I'm kicking myself for that.

Mile 24-8:14
I'm thinking that I have about two more laps to go, the race director tells me that I have three laps to go. huh?

Mile 25-8:14

Since I thought this was my last lap, I tried to open up as best as I could, but I'm getting tired. When I finish the lap, the race director tells me that I have one more lap to run. I wasn't going to argue with the race director and risk getting disqualified, I figured everything would get sorted out after the finish. I considered it a victory lap.

Mile 26-8:10
Mile 27-8:22
Mile .2- 1:32

Garmin Time: 3:42:28
Final Results
3:42:32  Official Time

So what ended up happening, and this is not any one's fault but, my own.  For some reason I thought the course was only 24 laps total, the course was actually 25 laps total.  There was chip timing each time I crossed the mat, so I know that the race organizers didn't not count my laps...

The frustrating part of all of this, was that I put too much faith in my Garmin to accurately pace me, and the loop course allowed my Garmin data to be skewed, and over estimate the course itself...

I can't even put into words how disappointing this feels...

I'm kicking myself for wearing my headphones, this was a fairly exciting day.  I liked most of my music, but there were times that I was so in the zone, that I didn't even hear my music.  I should have also been paying attention to the race clock, every time I passed it.

For transparency here is all of the data:

Strava Data

Raw data from the race timing company.
The first lap was 1.48 miles long and the rest of the
laps were 1.03 miles long.

After I finished. I was so happy to see my husband and kids at the finish line, but, I was so bummed, because I thought I was on pace to run a 3:35 marathon, and then you finish the race, to discover that you were a few minutes over!!!

I also found out that I was the 1st woman overall (it was a small race)
I really like the plaque and the medal.  The race shirt was also really nice too, it was a navy blue technical tee, with a light blue swirl on the back, that matches the finishers medal.

Final Thoughts
Overall I'm happy with how well I executed this marathon.  I didn't take off like a rocket, and flame out in the later miles...  There was never a bonk, or wall. It didn't feel hard until the last few miles, but that's a marathon for you.

I think I may have been asking for too much trying to PR on a lap course....This was a seven minute improvement from last year's marathon attempt so I will take the small victories when I can.
The one and only time, I will every be listed
on Marathon as a winner
of a marathon. :)

*** I actually purchased race photos, but I am still waiting for them to email me the digital links***
I didn't want to much time to pass before I finally post this race report.

As always thank you for reading!!


  1. Oh, dear! So sorry about that! A loop course is so confusing, for you AND technology. But hey, you WON a marathon! Congratulations!

  2. I know you have to be heartbroken with the technology fail, but seriously, you ran a really solid race. You splits are awesome. I hope with a little time to reflect, you'll see this race as a win and good experience rather than a Garmin fail.

    1. Thanks. For the 1st day or two , I didn't want to process it all. I was also really sad that my race came and went... You know that feeling of looking forward to something for so long, and then it's over....

      While I was racing I was having the time of my life. Really this was such a "fun" race.

      I will take my seven minute improvement from last year, and use it as a good bench mark for next year's goals :)

  3. Ah no, that is so frustrating to be thinking that you are hitting your goal and then later find out that you just missed it.

    But with that said huge congratulations on your win! And on your improvement from last year's marathon.

  4. You are so cute, even running a marathon! Amazingly strong race, and so well executed. Great job.

    1. Thank you! Even though I missed my goal, I'm really happy with how evenly paced this marathon was.

      I need to find a new race to put on the calendar for next year!

  5. A race win is a race win! Also you look totally cute in your race pics. I think it's great that your husband and kids saw you kick butt!

    1. Thank you Cindy! It was so cool to have him bring the kids out. They got to play at the park while I was running, and they got to see me finish.

  6. I read this report awhile back and didn't get a chance to comment.
    1. Like everyone else says, you are so stinking cute in your photos!!!
    2. I've had a similar experience before with a garmin, and that's why I've always keep my own splits in races now. SUCKS to learn it that way though.
    3. You had a FANTASTIC race. And good on you for recognizing that despite your technological frustrations.
    4. CONGRATS on the finish and the WIN!
    5. Looking forward to seeing what's next for you.
    6. Thanks for the honest race report.