White Rock Race Report (Read 347 times)

    I've been lurking on these forums a long time, but I've never posted. I ran my first marathon (White Rock) yesterday, and since I'd found so many others' race reports valuable, I thought I'd post mine FWIW.


    Here's the Garmin upload:



    This race turned out much better than what I consider the best-case scenario, especially since it was pouring rain for most of the race. Before the race, I was thinking a 3:50 was possible if everything went right, but I was reluctant to even try to find the 3:50 pace group out of concern that I'd tire out too quickly in the beginning of the race. 

    I got about 5 hours of sleep the night before the race, and about 4 hours the the night before that, so I didn't have great expectations. I thought I was going to fall asleep in the parking lot. The 40 degree temps I was glad for, but the heavy rain all night and continuing through the morning was giving me serious doubts about how fun this would be. I'm glad I showed up.

    This is the biggest race I've ever been to, with about 20,000 registered. I think about 15,000 actually finished either the half or full. I bet a lot of folks just stayed home. Though I expected rain, I hadn't really done much to prepare for it, except put my iPod in a baggie inside my shorts. Luckily, they gave out disposable ponchos, which I was glad for. By the beginning of the race, the rain had stopped, though.

    I didn't really have enough time to properly stretch and warm up, after having to hurry all over the park to drop my bag off, pick up a poncho, and head towards the corrals. I stretched my feet, calves, and hips a little. I was most worried about my hips and IT band since I inexplicably had pain outside my knee as soon as I cut my mileage down to get ready for the race. As it turned out in the end, I wound up having no knee pain (maybe the IT band strap really worked?), but my left arch was stinging pretty badly until about mile 9. 

    I had to get help climbing over a fence to get into my corral. I was in A-1, so pretty far towards the front. I felt bad for the faster runners who were stuck in the back and would have to run around me. I wanted to be sure and try to run negative splits, so I had planned to take the first 9 miles no better than 9:00 pace, then just see how I felt during the downhill and flat sections leading up to mile 20. This I figured was conservative enough to give me confidence, since 9:00 is something like my easy pace.

    During miles 1 through 3, everybody in the world was passing me. I had to really concentrate on not trying to just keep up with the pack. I kept reminding myself that a bunch of these people passing me (especially the ones who looked like they never ran) were probably going to peter out after about 6 miles. I tried to keep my HR around 165. I'm not religious about HR, but it helps me psychologically to monitor and know I can keep it at that level for a long time.

    Through mile 6, I was still getting passed a lot, and my foot pain was getting worse. I just tried to stretch it a little while running and make sure I wasn't overstriding. Miles 5-9 were a slow steady climb, and I just tried to stay steady and fight the urge to go faster up the hill. I usually feel a little looser and faster after about 10 miles.

    By the time mile 9 came, I realized I had forgotten about my foot. It felt 100%. I was starting to really feel good as the downhill section through mile 12 started. I just let it carry me a little without trying to run it too hard. By mile 13, I felt like I was settled in to a really good pace, and it came easily. I finished the first half only about 30 seconds slower than my half marathon attempt (although that race was a disaster). Once I got to White Rock Lake, I could really feel the wind a lot stronger, though it wasn't that bad, just more noticeable.

    After mile 15, I started to focus on being ready for the Dolly Parton hills, which start at around 20 miles, and I've heard a lot of bad stories about. I took extra fuel and tried to hold back my pace some so I'd be rested and ready for them. The crowds had sort of thinned out along White Rock Lake, maybe because it's hard to park and get to during the race? 

    There was a slight downhill right before mile 20 where I really tried to rest and ready myself for the hills. Just as I started mile 20, I saw my wife and waved at her. I was feeling really good going into mile 21, and there was really only a slight incline. I took the Clif Shot gu at 20.5, and the slight incline continued. A lot of people were starting to walk right here, though. During mile 21, the real Dolly Partons started, but they didn't really seem to be all that steep. The worst of it really seemed to be over by 21.5 miles or so. The rest of the climb to the top at 22.2 or so was fairly gradual. Of course I did run most of the race conservatively in preparation for those hills, but still, they just didn't seem that bad at all. I didn't ever hit "the wall" during this race, but I could see how if you did hit it at mile 20, then those hills would be pretty tough.

    After mile 22, the rest of the race is downhill, and I wasn't afraid to let myself go a little faster. The rain was really coming down hard now, and I was re-soaked. I had to long jump a few puddles in intersections. I really couldn't believe how many walkers I was seeing now. They had 22 miles down and the hills are over with, so it seems like they would at least want to try and run the home stretch. My rank info from mile 20 and the end shows that I passed about 260 people in the last 10k. It felt like a lot more though, because the course joined back up with the half marathon course, and there were a lot of stragglers on that race.

    The last mile was a blur, but I remember having to run around a lot of walkers. I hadn't looked at my overall time on my Garmin during the race, and I hadn't paid close attention to my splits, so when I approached the finish line and saw 3:45-something on the clock, I was ecstatic. I knew my chip time would beat 3:45, which is way better than I had allowed myself to think was possible. 

    I was of course pretty tired and sore at the end. And very, very cold. I shivered so badly I couldn't even speak to the photographer. My hands were so cold I fumbled for 5 minutes trying to untie my shoes so I could change into some dry clothes. I can't believe how great this race went compared to how terrible I thought it was going to go.

    Distance MAR

    Clock Time 3:46:08

    Chip Time 3:44:15

    Overall Place 709 / 4544

    Gender Place 586 / 2819

    Division Place 71 / 309

    Tot Div 4544

    Tot Gend 2819

    Tot Ag 309

    5K Rank 1695

    5K Time 28:32

    10K Rank 1760

    10K Time 56:49

    Half Rank 1273

    Half Time 1:56:16

    20 Mile Rank 970

    20 Mile Time 2:53:07

    Final 10K Rank 709

    Final 10K Time 3:44:15

    Total Pace 8:34/M



      Great report and great run Cliff.

      It really was miserable weather.

      My first marathon too and I was out there nearly an hour longer. Smile

      Race report here: http://www.runningahead.com/groups/hmt/forum/Post/59c6688ea14142879e2f50305117b723#focus


      Well done on getting round and great first post - keep 'em coming ... on both accounts.

      2013 Goals
      1) Break 1:50 in a HM (PR 1:52:19)
      2) Break 4:00 in a Marathon (PR 4:20:39)

      Fast is better than long

        Great job on your first. Incredible self control to hold the pace early. Thanks for the report.

        2017 Goals: Give up goals; they're stoopid


        Give a man a fire and he'll be warm the rest of the night;
        Set a man afire and he'll be warm the rest of his life.

        What in the Jehu?