Monday, November 14, 2016

Rock N Roll Marathon 2016 Race Report-26.2 with a negative split.

I didn't go sub 3:40 last night, but I'm okay with it.   I ran 3:44:40, which technically is a BQ time, but I may not have enough of a cushion to actually gain an entry to the 2018 race. I'm very happy that I executed a true negative split marathon.   Hydration and nutrition were a big factor in this race.

I will do my best to capture last night's events, details, feelings, etc.

Pre-Race (Day of)
Racing in the afternoon has its issues.  I'm a morning person, and the weather would have been much cooler if the race would have started in the morning.  Here's what I ate

Breakfast 6:30am
Everything bagel with a slice of American cheese
Two eggs over medium cooked in cooking spray
(I didn't have any coffee, more on that later)

Snack 9:30am

Lunch 11:00am
A bowl of macaroni with cheese and Spanish rice mixed together

After lunch, I laid down with my daughter for her midday nap and I slept for about 45 minutes and tossed and turned for another 45 minutes.

Snack 2:30pm
Banana  I ate this in the car on the way to the Monorail station on the Las Vegas strip.  My Father in Law was very nice and gave me a ride to and from the Monorail station.  The traffic is always insane on the strip, and even more so when the marathon happens.

Pre-race Gel and an electrolyte capsule  at 3:30pm
My gel had a little bit of caffeine and it woke me up,  I didn't drink my morning coffee because I wanted to save all of the caffeine buzz for the race.

During the day I drank about two liters of water, a beet juice soda, a glass of Diet Dr. Pepper (after my nap) and a few ounces of fruit punch Gatorade.

Before the race, I met up with my friend Jenn( she was running the half) and it was nice to hang out with her, and her other friend Cari, who had flown in from Minnesota.  Cari was also running the marathon.  We made it to the starting line village with just enough time to drop our gear, use the port- a-potties, and to hop into the corrals.
Pre-race photo

My Jenny

The daytime high in Las Vegas was 77 degrees. But, the sun goes down around 4:45pm, and the temperatures dropped into the low 70's. The sun wasn't beating down on us, but I don't ever remember feeling cold or chilly.

We started in corral 4, and I told myself to be patient.    My strategy was to hold back, and run even.
The first mile was congested, then we flipped a u-turn, and started heading up the Las Vegas strip. My calves and feet were a little tight, and honestly, the first hour of the race was  the hardest.  I kept doubting that I would be able to pick up the pace during the later miles. 8:30 pace didn't feel hard, but it didn't feel easy peasy either.  At mile 4 I started eating my energy chews.  Two chews every two miles. I also took three more salt capsules during the race.  The energy chews I used were Honey Stinger Cherry Cola and Pink Lemonade, For the salt tabs I used Gu Roctane Electrolyte capsules.

The wind beneath my wings

I sweat out a lot of salt, and these tablets helped.
I ate one before the race, one at 45 minutes, another
at 1:40, and my last one around 2:45ish
I also made a point to grab a cup of fluid at every single aid station.

During the early miles, my Garmin bounced all over the place. It would appear that I was running 9:30 pace (what?!), and then my Garmin would drop down to 7:25 pace (oh shit, slow down). It messed with my head, but the early miles were fairly even
Mile 1- 9:24 ( This mile was on a slight incline, and it was crowded)
Mile 2- 8:31
Mile 3- 8:31
Mile 4- 8:32
Mile 5- 8:30
Mile 6- 8:35

After the first hour, I decided to start with the caffeinated energy chews. This was the best decision ever!!!  The caffeine woke me up, and I started to feel more confident, as each mile ticked by and they were still pretty even.

Mile 7- 8:28
Mile 8- 8:29
Mile 9- 8:25
Mile 10- 8:25
Mile 11- 8:47
Mile 12- 8:30

Due to construction on one of our major freeways, the RNRLV marathon course was changed,  The competitor group decided to keep the race close to downtown area and close to the strip.  The competitor group got really creative with our marathon course.  There were so many out and backs, and turning loops.  But, I didn't let that bug me, and I did my best to master the 180 degree flip turn while running.

Mile 13-8:21
Mile 14-8:36
Mile 15-8:32

I had created a playlist, that would start out slow, and gradually build, and at mile 15 I was greeted by a song that reminded me of my daughter when she was a baby.  I became very emotional, and it lit a fire under my butt.  And with 11 miles to go, I decided to start picking up the pace.  The course took us through a large parking lot warehouse area.  But, it was done up in black lights, neon lights, and with techno music.  It was pretty neat, but I had to be careful with my footing too.  During this section, I crashed into another runner at a water station.
Mile 16-8:35
Mile 17-8:27
Mile 18-8:08

We begin to start heading back towards the downtown area.  I'm worried that I'm going to crash and burn eventually.
Mile 19-8:06
Mile 20-8:16
Mile 21-8:19
Mile 22-8:25
After a few more out and back sections we are now on the Las Vegas strip, and heading into another parking lot/rave area....

 I start counting down 4 miles 35 minutes to go etc.
Mile 23-8:27
Mile 24-8:33

We head up a slight uphill grade during this mile.... My pace starts to fall, but I'm fighting as hard as I can. Then we end up back on Las Vegas Blvd.  And this is where I start to feel some redemption.  In 2014 I ran/walked the last few miles, with horrible calf cramps.  This year, I was charging down the straightaway to the finish
Mile 25- 8:48
Mile 26- 8:33
.4- 3:29 = 8:10 pace

Garmin/Strava Time  3:44:46 for 26.4 miles

Official Race Stats

FWIW I hit the half way mark at 1:53:01, and I ran the second half in 1:51:39.  I managed to negative split by a little less than 90 seconds.  It was a very satisfying feeling to be running strong towards the end.

Vegas Baby!

I will say that I'm a little bummed for not going sub 3:40. But, I'm not super upset.  This year I am juggling school, work, and family responsibilities in addition to marathon training.   Plus the weather was a factor.   When I got home I was wide awake from all of the caffeine.  In addition to the energy chews, I also had another caffeinated gel at mile 20.  I ended up going to sleep a little after midnight, and today I am exhausted.

Overall I am really happy with how the race went.

Thank you for reading.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Race Week is Here- A Summary of this training cycle, and racing goals

When I first signed up for this marathon, I never imagined that I would have to worry about the heat... I thought I would be worried about the wind, and not being used to the cold.  However, this is going to be the daytime high on Sunday.

The sun goes down at 4:30pm, so the temperatures will drop some.  But, for the most part
it will still be nice and warm, during the evening. but, at least the sun won't be beating down upon us, and it won't be windy. 

I'm trying not to spaz too much about the heat... I've trained in much hotter weather over the summer. I plan on drinking  a crap ton of water all week long, and I'm also going to bring salt capsules with me in addition to my energy gels and chews.

 Summary of this training cycle
This year I hired a local coach to help me train smartly.  Last year, I fell just shy of going under 3:40.  And I felt a little beat up toward the end of that training cycle... My dream of running dreams is to run a sub 3:30 marathon, but I have been running marathons for a long time, and I'm getting older... I may have to let this dream go... I have to realize that I need to run smart.   This 14 week training cycle went by so fast.  Going back to school has made me worry less about blogging, and running in general.   I looked forward to my workouts as a form of stress relief.   I will say that I ran most of mileage at recovery or easy pace.  I'm worried that I'm not as fast as I used to be. But, I'm going into this race pretty healthy.  I do have a minor Plantar Facitis issue in my right foot, but I don't feel it when I run. (weird, I know).  

I also stopped doing my two a day runs in the Summer.  This was hard for me to let go. Last year, I would split my mileage up on some days, by running a few miles in the morning and then running a few more miles at lunchtime. I did my best to follow my training program to a tee.   It was great to have a coach just tell me how far, how fast, and when to run.

My highest mileage weeks topped out at 45.2 Miles, however, I did have one 7 day stretch (the weeks overlapped) where I ran 57 miles.  There were no 20 milers, this cycle.  My longest run topped out at 19 miles.  My coach was very specific about paces and quality running over quantity running.  There were strides, strides, and then  more strides.  At least once or twice a week I did strides.  That was foreign to me. I used to only do strides before races, and before intense speedwork.  Now I look forward to them.  I belive they have kept my creaky right hip from acting up this season.

Milage by the numbers.
I wanted to compare my milage from last year's training cycle.

In 2015- I followed Hal Higdon's Intermediate II plan and I created my own speed workouts

July- 124 -Approx 31.5 miles per week
August 137 -Approx 32 miles per week
September- 190- Approx 44 miles per week
October- 179. Approx 40 miles per week.
November 111- Approx 37 miles per week (these miles were prior to the marathon)

July- 121 -Approx 29 miles per week
August 159 -Approx 36 miles per week
September- 162- Approx 38 miles per week
October- 170. Approx 39 miles per week.
November 35- About 25 miles per week (I'm tapering now)

I didn't run as much in September & October compared to 2015, but I started doing my long runs in August, and each week had a long run of at least 14 miles.   Last year I had three 20 mile runs, but I would alternate between high mileage 45-50 mile weeks, followed by a lower mileage 30-35 mile week.  So while I didn't do a 20 miler, I still had to run long at least once a week.  My speedwork focused on goal paced running, and some workouts were faster than goal pace.  My favorite workouts were 10-mile runs with 2 x 3 miles at goal pace.

Race Goals
 During my initial time trial, my coach estimated that I would be able to possibly to run 3:38 marathon.    That will be my A goal.  My other goal is also run a negative split marathon. Strava (my favorite running app is offering a back half challenge for its premium subscribers.  If you negative split a fall marathon and post it on Strava, you will win a free pair of New Balance Shoes!  Talk about incentive.

I did mention earlier that I'm getting old,  Next year's Boston Marathon has already been filled, so my time for this race (if I qualify) will earn an entry to the 2018 race.  I turn 40 years old in April of 2018.  So, by timing and or luck, I move up into a different age qualifying standard.  Instead of having to run a 3:40 I will need to run sub 3:45 with a few minutes of cushion. I just realized this earlier today, and I feel somewhat relieved that I have five additional minutes to qualify....   So here's my goals

A-Goal 3:38
B- Goal  3:39:59
C-Goal sub 3:45- I ran the RNRLV marathon in 2014, and I had a shitty race.  I overdressed and I ended up crashing and burning during the second half. I finished in 3:49:xx... I think I have a much better endurance base than I did back then.I really want to run a solid race, and avenge that course.

I plan on hitting 8:45 for the first mile because the start is nuts!  Then for miles 2-15 I will try to hit 8:20-8:25 pace, for miles 16-26.2 I plan to run 8:15-8:20 pace.  If I feel really good I'm going to try to hit 8:00 for the last mile or two.... 

I can't wait to race.

Thank you for reading.

See you on the other side.