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Asheville Biltmore RR - or why I dislike marathons (Read 145 times)


Dad of a real runner

    I originally posted this in the general running board, but I'm reposting here because happylily "suggested" I do so!  And I would never want to disappoint Lily  Blush.

     

     

    Did I mention how much I dislike long runs?

    Oh yeah – here:  http://www.runningahead.com/forums/topic/1838f2f86d8b403ba7f02a6eac0534fe/0

     

    Well today’s long run was the Asheville Biltmore Marathon.  My third in 6 months, and a new PW.  Let’s get the whining out of the way, It was cold (25 with wind-chill in the single digits, it was windy – 9 to 15 mph, it was hilly, it was rough gravel trails.  It was the kind of marathon that makes me glad this will be my next to last EVER (got Boston next year – gotta do Boston).

     

    Here’s the short report:  4:15:58.  Walked thru all water stops, walked up Dam Hill (twice – lovely how they ran us over this hill not just once, but twice at miles 16 and 19 – [RD – you couldn’t find a way to extend the course on a flat area?]). Walked miles 24 and 25.  Finally found the mental strength to finish the last mile or so at a decent pace.  Finished 263 out of 1,004 who started, and 6thout of 26 in my age group.

     

    Long report:

    Knew I hadn’t put the training in for this one as much as the last two.  Already had my BQ and had signed up for this as the inaugural event.  Motivation was lacking but still thought I might get a old man PR.  Also though, what the hell, just get it over with.  (Note to self:  never go into a race with that mentality – too easy to slip).

     

    Race day started with a wake up at 4:25 (did I mention I hate marathons?).  Temp was 25 but was SUPPOSED to clime to low 30’s with sun.  As a last minute addition before we headed out the door I through a third shirt on, and my warm-up pants – figured I’d need them while waiting for the race to start.  Good thing - temp never got above 25 and wind chill was in the single digits.

     

    After waiting in traffic for about 30 minutes to get into the Biltmore Estate DW and I talked our way into a parking place over near the start/end point instead of having to park 5 miles away and take a shuttle.

     

    They had warming tents and space heaters set up at various points to help keep the cold off.  At about 10 minutes before the 7:00 AM start they announced a 15 minute delay because they were still trying to get everyone into the estate.

     

    I was hoping for a 3:40 pace group, but that person had the good sense to stay in bed.  The next group was a 3:50 and I thought I’d hang with them for awhile; which I did for the first mile.

     

    Mile 2 had an elevation gain of about 200 feet and the pace group fell back more than I wanted, so I kept the pace closer to goal (Big mistake #1) at 8:54.  Miles 3 and 4 were mostly downhill and I averaged about 8:00 for those.  Miles 5 and 6 had an elevation gain of 240 – and once again I held the pace at goal (Big mistake #2).  Some days you have it, and some days you don’t.  This was definitely a don’t.  By this point I knew I was in trouble.  At 6 miles in a marathon you should be getting warmed up.  My legs had a slight burn to them that I recognized as NOT GOOD.

     

    Miles 7 and 8 were down hill, but I could only take advantage of that on the first one, after that I was into survivor mode.

     

    Miles 9 and 10 were into the wind, and on a gravel trail that was difficult to run, especially with thin soled Green Silence shoes. (Did get to see DW at 10 and gave her a big smile).

     

    Miles 11 thru 15 were a series of ups and down, with 220 ft and then 120 ft gains.  Times slowed considerably to an average of 9:20.  I did hit the half at 1:57 but knew there was no way I could repeat that time for the second half.  14 thru 16 miles were also mostly into the wind which by now had picked up.  Water at the water stops had ice crystals and the orange slices were frozen.

     

    Miles 17 thru 21 was two loops with its center point as Dam Hill.  This little gem, run twice in the later stages of the race had about 120 foot elevation gain in less than a third of a mile.  Nice.  And the downhill portion was a rutted gravel road.  Double nice.  Average pace fell to over 10:00.

     

    At mile 21 we passed back over to the flat side of the course.  DW, DS and his friend were braving the cold to help cheer me on.  I stopped to let them know I would finish, but it would take a while.  I managed to run miles 22 and 23 which were with the wind, but as soon as I turned back into the wind all will to run went away.  Miles 24 and 25 were walked at a little over 30 minutes.  With only a little over a mile to go I decided that most of this slow down was mental, and picked the pace back up.  Also, there was a great survival instinct that kicked in, I didn’t want to be in this cold wind any longer than necessary.  I managed to run the last 1.2 in about 12:50 and finished with a PW of 4:15:58.

     

    Now, a little over 12 hours later as I easily go up and down steps, I realize that possibly a lot of my slow pace was mental, not physical.  In looking at my HR, it shows that I only exceeded the upper end of my marathon range on one occasion.  During my walking sessions I was below recovery mode.  Oh well, some of us were meant to run long distance, and some not.  I’ll count myself in the not group.


    Bad Ass

      I posted a comment on your General Running thread, but here it is:

       

      Sorry to hear the race didn't go well.  I feel like I hate marathons while doing them, but that fades out immediately after I cross the finish line and sign up for another.  Haha.

       

      I still think you did a good job.  Congrats on the finish.

      Damaris, Marathon Maniac, Ultra Runner

      Blog

      "The most powerful weapon on earth is the human soul on fire."

      happylily


        Thank you, Blue! hug

         

        Well heck, if Damaris can repeat her post, then so can I, right? Big grin

         

        Sounds to me like you didn't have the right conditions for this marathon. Both those within your control, and those outside of it. But running a marathon is never a waste, of that I am certain. So congratulations on your race, Blue! You still managed a very respectable time considering everything you stated. I really dislike cold and wind myself, they just kill the mood for me entirely. But if I remember well, didn't you run Quebec City last summer, then you ran another marathon shortly after that and you PRed? If that's correct, then I think you should do Ottawa with me at the end of May. I promise you a 3:45 on a nice flattish course and most likely beautiful weather. Smile

        PRs: Boston Marathon, 3:27, April 15th 2013

                Cornwall Half-Marathon, 1:35, April 27th 2013

        4 years racing, 14 marathons, 14 BQs     


        Dad of a real runner

          I posted a comment on your General Running thread, but here it is:

           

          Sorry to hear the race didn't go well.  I feel like I hate marathons while doing them, but that fades out immediately after I cross the finish line and sign up for another.  Haha.

           

          I still think you did a good job.  Congrats on the finish.

          Yeah, but you do soooo many.  That is truly amazing.


          Dad of a real runner

            Lily - this being an inaugural marathon, and no way to preview the course, it did have some surprizes.  They did list that much of the course would be on gravel roads and trails, but this was truly more of a trail marathon with a little bit of roads at the start.  Just based on that my goal at the start was over aggressive (and I usually over estimate my ability at this level anyway). 

             

            I don't think Ottawa is in the cards, but thanks for the invite.  DW says if we do another "destination" marathon it needs to be in Ireland or Scotland, and preferably it's a half so I'm not completely shot after. Big grin  Know anything about either of those locals?


            Anomalous

              Oh boy! You're the second person who has pretty much reported the same experience with this race. So sorry that it didn't turn out like you wanted it to, but Congratulations is still in order for finishing something so tough. Smile

              Half Fanatic  #3091  ~   Marathon debut: 11/16/13 Anthem Richmond Marathon

              "Run from what’s comfortable. Forget safety. Live where you fear to live. Destroy your reputation. Be notorious." - Rumi

              happylily


                Lily - this being an inaugural marathon, and no way to preview the course, it did have some surprizes.  They did list that much of the course would be on gravel roads and trails, but this was truly more of a trail marathon with a little bit of roads at the start.  Just based on that my goal at the start was over aggressive (and I usually over estimate my ability at this level anyway). 

                 

                I don't think Ottawa is in the cards, but thanks for the invite.  DW says if we do another "destination" marathon it needs to be in Ireland or Scotland, and preferably it's a half so I'm not completely shot after. Big grin  Know anything about either of those locals?

                 

                I haven't run in Ireland, but I've been there. Beautiful! Scotland? The Scots are weird and they eat haggis. That's all I know. Don't go there.Big grin

                PRs: Boston Marathon, 3:27, April 15th 2013

                        Cornwall Half-Marathon, 1:35, April 27th 2013

                4 years racing, 14 marathons, 14 BQs     

                  From the for what it's worth department, I'm no fan of marathons either.  I actually feel like I lose fitness with marathons.  Why?  Because I spend 2 weeks in taper and then a month or more recovering from the damn thing.  During that recovery, I'm not out there doing any speed work and I'm running reduced mileage.  I am probably 3 months post marathon before I feel like my fitness is back to where it was on race day.  I have one more goal in marathon running and that's to run sub 3:00.  If I do that, I'm certain I'll run some more marathons but I'm not at all certain I'll ever race one again.

                  Short term goal: 17:59 5K

                  Mid term goal:  2:54:59 marathon

                  Long term goal: To say I've been a runner half my life.  (I started running at age 45).


                  Dad of a real runner

                    Oh boy! You're the second person who has pretty much reported the same experience with this race. So sorry that it didn't turn out like you wanted it to, but Congratulations is still in order for finishing something so tough. Smile

                    Just checked out the elevation change on this one compared to my last two.

                    The Spinx Marathon in Greenville SC (which is where I got my BQ) was 1,060 and I suspect most of that was simply GPS variations over 26 miles since the course was mostly flat.

                    The Quebec City marathon was 1,333 and the Asheville marathon was 1,880.  Even allowing for random GPS error, that's still a lot of ups and downs.

                    Didn't look that bad from the elevation charts - a couple hundred feet here, a couple hundred feet there and it all starts to add up.

                     

                    Glad I did it, won't do it again.  Plenty of other challenges out there.


                    Dad of a real runner

                      From the for what it's worth department, I'm no fan of marathons either.  I actually feel like I lose fitness with marathons.  Why?  Because I spend 2 weeks in taper and then a month or more recovering from the damn thing.  During that recovery, I'm not out there doing any speed work and I'm running reduced mileage.  I am probably 3 months post marathon before I feel like my fitness is back to where it was on race day.  I have one more goal in marathon running and that's to run sub 3:00.  If I do that, I'm certain I'll run some more marathons but I'm not at all certain I'll ever race one again.

                      In my younger days I mainly went for the 10K, and 15K distances.  The marathon was "the challenge", especially with the dream of a BQ.  But I've never really enjoyed the distance, or the training involved.  I'd much rather run ladders at the track than a 16 miler on the weekend.

                      I thinking now of looking for some local halfs to run, and see if I can do some improvement there.

                      LRB


                      Dreamer

                        I don't think there are many who would have fared much better, distance runner or not in the cold and wind!

                         

                        Hills, gravel, frozen orange slices, single digit wind chill, hills again, frozen water, shit, it's any wonder you did not call it a day before the finish!

                         

                        1000+ registered for an inaugural event is pretty impressive.  Was the swag worth it at least?

                        "Training is not always fun, but it should always be rewarding."


                        Dad of a real runner

                          I don't think there are many who would have fared much better, distance runner or not in the cold and wind!

                           

                          Hills, gravel, frozen orange slices, single digit wind chill, hills again, frozen water, shit, it's any wonder you did not call it a day before the finish!

                           

                          1000+ registered for an inaugural event is pretty impressive.  Was the swag worth it at least?

                           

                          The race actually sold out several months ago at 1,300 but I think the cold weather kept many away.

                          Swag?  Not so much - OK long sleeve tech shirt with too many sponsors on the back, a nice blanket at the end to help warm you up, the "medal" was unique in that it is wood, but it could have included something with the Biltmore House on it, a pair of gloves with the Asheville Marathon emblem.  Food was standard fare - bananas, oranges, cliff bars, and bagels.  There was beer but only if you stuck around until after 12.  Here’s a picture:

                          Asheville Marathon Stuff

                           

                          Not sure what the age group awards were - they went three deep and I was sixth.

                           

                          And yes, if I wasn't too damn stubborn I would have called it quits at the 21 mile mark - that was only about a half mile from my car.  But DW and DS were both there - had to at least finish.


                          Bad Ass

                            RnR has a race in Dublin.  Not sure if it's the marathon.  Now go!

                             

                            Lily - this being an inaugural marathon, and no way to preview the course, it did have some surprizes.  They did list that much of the course would be on gravel roads and trails, but this was truly more of a trail marathon with a little bit of roads at the start.  Just based on that my goal at the start was over aggressive (and I usually over estimate my ability at this level anyway). 

                             

                            I don't think Ottawa is in the cards, but thanks for the invite.  DW says if we do another "destination" marathon it needs to be in Ireland or Scotland, and preferably it's a half so I'm not completely shot after. Big grin  Know anything about either of those locals?

                            Damaris, Marathon Maniac, Ultra Runner

                            Blog

                            "The most powerful weapon on earth is the human soul on fire."


                            Dad of a real runner

                              RnR has a race in Dublin.  Not sure if it's the marathon.  Now go!

                               

                              Dublin has a full at the end of October.  Had about 12K finishers last year.  winning time was 2:11 - not too bad.  They also have a HM at the end of September.

                               

                              I just looked up Edinburgh - there is a RnR half there middle of April.  Can't go this year - will be in Boston to watch my DS, and can't go next year - will be running Boston myself (woo hoo) but talk about your long range plans - 2015 here I go.

                               

                              There is also the Edinburgh Marathon Festival at the end of May, which includes a Marathon and a HM.  Looks like the full is sold out (20K or so) but the half is still open.  Maybe next year.  (sigh).

                               

                              So many choices, so little time.


                              Bad Ass

                                Who are you and what have you done with bluesky?

                                My job here is done.  Off to the next victim....Big grin

                                Damaris, Marathon Maniac, Ultra Runner

                                Blog

                                "The most powerful weapon on earth is the human soul on fire."

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