Running with the sub-3s: redux (Read 386 times)


Interval Junkie --Nobby

    Damn that was fun.  You know, there is a lot of logistical hassle, conditions aren't ideal for a PR and it is damn expensive -- but it is worth every penny to do it at least once.

     

    The sub-3s got a room at the Ritz, a short walk across Battery Park to the ferry.  We were going to pile 4 in our room, but Barry bailed with a "cough" on Wednesday.  It's a shame, Barry is a gifted and incredibly fast runner.  He could probably put a mid-2:30s race together if he could just find that marathoner's heart.  He got big cramps on his first marathon and had to walk off at 18 -- been gunshy since.  So, it was three in the room: Deric (2:58PR), Steve (2:57PR) and me (3:08.48 PR).  Rick (2:54PR) came up with his family.  Because of some nonsense about fire-codes the cot-option wasn't available so one of us had to sleep on the floor on a "feather bed" [read: quilt].  I drew the short straw.  It wasn't bad.

     

    Here were our goals:

    • Deric - has an ITB issue.  So his training was basically to run the 20miler every other week . . . and that was it.  He was just going to enjoy the course and not get passed by me.
    • Steve - trained but never did a speed workout.  He didn't feel that well prepared.  He's in good shape generally, but wasn't in racing shape.  So he thought a 3:05 was a good goal.  He was going to follow the pace group.
    • Rick - did the same training I did, but he looks like a mountain goat on the hills.  He is also able to consistently run with the pack of faster guy on long runs, but runs with me on speed workouts.  He wasn't sure if it was a PR day, but if he felt good, he was going to go for it.  Why the fuck not.

    I had my 3:03:30 plan.  Made  pace-band.  Fended off assaults on my first-mile plan from the group.

     

    At the starting village it was damn cold.  They wouldn't let us bring blankets, so I bought some Tyvek rip-off pants for $10 (pun intended).  They actually worked pretty well, but for 3hrs exposed to 37F(?), not much was going to keep us warm.  I ate a salt-bagel in the morning and a powerbar.  Forgot my yogurt so in the village I ate another bagel and powerbar.  I think I went to pee about 8 times because of the shivering.

     

    I don't understand the "top bridge" peeing on the lower bridge idea.  At the starting line the two roads are side-by-side with one elevated higher than the other.  I always assumed there was grating on the upper-deck, which would cause a problem.  Timing of the last piss and shedding the last bit of encumbering warmth was pretty much all I thought about for the final 30mins before the gun.  About 3mins before the gun I drank a pre-race Gatorade thing.

     

    Being in wave 1 the crowd really wasn't that bad.  The first mile was a bit rough.  It was hard to get a pace going because there were lots of people ostensibly with my goal, who were passing me quickly.  The basketball dribbling guy (2 balls) was even in my corral.  I had to pass him, though I really was tempted to boot one of the balls.  The wind on the bridge was more significant than the incline.  Hardly noticed the incline.  But the cross-wind made it difficult to judge pace and effort.  Also, I had lots of pent-up energy.  At 6am, when we boarded the ferry, I was ready to just race.  Had to wait 3hrs and 40mins.  Steve joked that we could have run the course in the time we waited to run the course.

     

    So, my Garmin couldn't get a good read on pace . . . at least that's what I thought.  Because it was saying crazy stuff.  But then the first mile marker surprised me and I looked down to see 7:34.  Oh, well, there goes Coach's plan.  The second mile was supposed to be 7:00 or even 6:50.  But being down hill, with the crazy cross-wind 6:33 felt like being patient.  Surely the next mile I could hit my 7:10 goal pace.  Nope: 6:55.  At this point I stopped looking at my watch at all.

     

    The weather was perfect: 40F at the start or something, overcast skies . . . and 15mph winds (gusting to 20mph) from the North (head-wind for 20miles).  But to be honest, all through Brooklyn and Queens, I barely noticed.  It was windy, but wasn't that demoralizing wind.  Instead, I think it was the windy that slowly drains your batteries but you don't feel it -- if you aren't completely in tune with "effort" vs "pace".

     

    Brooklyn is weird.  There aren't many hills, but the whole place is one slow incline.  It seemed like we were just always going up.  It didn't feel hard or anything.  It just wasn't the flat I was expecting.  I felt good.  And I kept hitting splits around 6:53, at which point I started thinking about 3:01, since 6:53 splits would get me there.

     

    Around mile 9 my stomach started to slosh a bit, so I laid off the juice.  Steve came up behind me and grabbed a full cheek in one hand.  I almost elbowed him in the nose out of shock.  He looked good.  Real good.  Pop in his stride.  I was started to have a few doubts about my pace decisions.  Got a few weird cramps in my stomach.  Steve said, "I feel like tearing it up.  I'm just going for it."   He pushed past me at a confident pace.

     

    This is when I ended up running next to Superman.  I hate running with people who have names.  I had to hear it for the next mile.  The stomach cramp got a bit worse and a hill around this time put me off pace (7:04).  I did some diaphragm breathing to sort out the cramp.  It was right around here I saw one of my training partners, Kenny, on the side-lines.  He drove up to NYC just to see a bunch of us.

     

    After sorting out my stomach, I thought I was still in pretty good shape at a pretty damn good pace.  But my mid-race fantasy about 3:01 popped when I got passed by the 3:05 pace-group leader.  WTF.  Either my math was pretty awful (which it is when I'm running, and even sometimes when I'm not), or that guy was banking.   I don't think he was much behind me at the half:  1:31:04.

     

    The first time I really noticed the wind was on the Queensborough Bridge.  I purposely slowed down.  I think I started the bridge at 6:40 pace (after a quarter mile into the mile) and hit the split at 7:14.  This was part of the original plan.  But it wasn't part of my new 3:01 plan.  But the down-hill was supposed to rock a 6:50.  Instead another 7:15 showed up on my watch.  Still, I was feeling good.

     

    Mile 17-20 the wind was significant.  Not demoralizing.  But I couldn't hide from it.  I'm 6'3" -- I found 2 taller guys to use as shields, but they were erratic runners.  I couldn't tuck in behind them.  They weaved or slowed.  But I was still feeling strong.  Not "I'm going to own this," strong, but I still felt like pushing.  I popped my 3rd gu at mile 18, right after the free-powerbar gu that I ignored, only to find out that I'd dropped my 4th gu on the course somewhere.  Shit.

     

    During mile 20 went over another bridge into the Bronx and the wind was even stronger.  I faltered because I was fucking done with this damn wind.  7:23.  But after getting off the bridge, I felt better and tried to pick it up over the next mile: 6:58.

     

    Again, all this time I wasn't looking at my watch.  I was just going by feel.  And I felt good.  At 20, at 22 still good.   I didn't notice I was slowing (7:03, 7:06).  At mile 22-23 the wind must have changed directions -- it wasn't still supposed to be in my face.  The wind is an asshole.  I took shelter in the park.

     

    I hit 24 and dodging another wobbling runner tweaked my left knee.  I slowed and kept trying to do diagnostics on the sharp pain.  Okay, another quarter mile and if this doesn't go away, I might stop.  I focused on form to make sure my weight directly over the knee.  It vanished, only to come back a half-mile later.  But then receded again. (7:32).

     

    I no longer felt good.  But I knew I could muscle out the rest of the race.  In Philly I was just "hanging on".  This time I was still pushing -- I just wasn't going fast (7:12).  I was still picking off runners left and right.  I think I got passed by one guy in the last 3miles.

     

    Then around mile 25.5 I saw Rick ahead of me.  Oh, did that pick me up.  I thought: I can do this, I can pick off Rick.  --you know, it's pretty cool that in a race of 47,000 people, it still felt like a small race because I saw 2 or 3 friends on the course-- I focused on his fanny-pack and just started chipping away at his lead.  I passed him at 25.8 yelling back, "Come'on, buddy.  Let's GO!"  And I thought for sure he'd be right on my tail to pass me at the end.

     

    I just gave everything I had.  My legs felt "strong" for this part of the race.  My form wasn't crazy.  I never thought I wouldn't make it.  Though, before seeing the last 300yard marker, I thought there's no way I can keep this up.  6:49 pace for the final 1.2 miles.

     

    Final time: 3:04.01. (4:47 second PR)

     

    So, didn't hit my goal, but I'm really damn proud of the result.  This is the second race I ran by feel (other was a 5k).  In Philly I was a slave to my watch.  This race I might have glanced down at a few splits, but I didn't look at my pace-band.  I felt like I knew what I had in me to give to the road.  I don't know if I "flipped the switch", but I definitely wasn't just "hanging on".  My pace says otherwise, of course.  I had a great time.

     

    • Steve - 3:00.50 - had a monster race.  He did flip the switch.  Incredible run.
    • Rick - 3:04:42 - went for it.  Blew up.  He was happy he made the bid.
    • Deric - 3:11:07 - Steve passed him at mile 22. ITB issue crippled him in the last few miles.  Still rolled in with a BQ.  

    My favorite part of this race was running it with these guys.  And NYC was great.  I'm not really one who pays attention to crowds -- I loved the peace of the QBB.  But the course is fun run.  It feels really fair.  And it eggs you on to run your heart out.

    2014 Goals:  sub-3 Marathon ("Congrats! It's tough to race with poop in the mind" --Wing)

    Current Status 03/17: Drinking beer and eating crap -- all the things I couldn't do before the marathon


    I'm back!

      Wow. Congratulations, and great report!

       

      I may just have to go back and do NY again one of these years.

       

      I can't imagine ever pacing for 3:01, though. That's just...wrong.

        Congratulations - you're so ready for sub-3.

          Great race. Really well executed on a course and on a day that was not all that fast.

          Runners run.

            Congratulations - you're so ready for sub-3.

             

            Agreed. Another cycle and the right day/race and you should be there.

            Come all you no-hopers, you jokers and rogues
            We're on the road to nowhere, let's find out where it goes

              Congrats! I enjoyed reading that.

               

                Outstanding!

                 

                Great result and great report.  Thanks!

                2014 Goals

                Weight - 200 lbs (currently 211)

                2000 miles?

                Work on stretching and flexibility an stay healthy for Boston 2014 (have a BQ -9:00 time)

                Marathon - 3:10 

                HM 1:29:59

                10k - 40:00

                5k - 19:00

                 

                  Great report really enjoyed that.

                   

                  Make sure when the next training cycle begins you get another thread going redux:v2 or something like that. Loved following along.

                    Great job stadjak! As others have said, you are really close to that sub-3 now.

                     

                    Thanks for writing a great race report.

                     

                    --

                    Nashville, TN

                     

                      Great report, reminded of the effort to maintain focus with the wind in your face on this mornings run. Congrats on your run.

                        Congrats stadjak! Great conclusion to all the tough workouts you did in preparation for this.

                          I was just going by feel... ...This is the second race I ran by feel (other was a 5k).  In Philly I was a slave to my watch.  This race I might have glanced down at a few splits, but I didn't look at my pace-band.  I felt like I knew what I had in me to give to the road.

                           

                          Congrats!  That's the way to do it!

                           

                           

                          But I knew I could muscle out the rest of the race.  In Philly I was just "hanging on".  This time I was still pushing -- I just wasn't going fast (7:12).  I was still picking off runners left and right.  I think I got passed by one guy in the last 3miles...

                           

                          ...I don't know if I "flipped the switch", but I definitely wasn't just "hanging on".

                           

                          I think you did flip it.  As Jeff mentioned, "flipping the switch" is not just picking up the pace.  Sometimes it's maintaining a pace or dying less.  You were still pushing; you weren't just "hanging on".  Runners at around 3:00 probably have some idea of what they are doing and understand how to pace a marathon.  The fact that you were picking off plenty of those runners is evidence that you had flipped it.

                          There was a point in my life when I ran. Now, I just run.

                           

                          Well, fuckers

                          He still stands

                           

                          The Diary of a Once-ran.


                          Interval Junkie --Nobby

                            Thanks guys.

                             

                            I wanted to recap the thread by doing a little retrospective for myself.  This is mostly to focus my mind and so I don't forget this stuff next time.

                             

                            • My training wasn't nearly as heavy as last Fall.  And I wasn't tired all the time (non-running tired)
                              • had lots of aqua running, which I think did a good job of healing a small injury without cutting too much into fitness
                              • started the season with really low miles (9mpw), and where a 3mile 'easy' run was very hard to complete.
                              • had quite a few "failures" that apparently were not indicative of fitness.  Several were possibly due to the heat.  One was due to three 20milers on consecutive weekends
                              • Last season all miles were singles (~75mpw). This time mostly doubles (~65mpw)
                            • Though the slow start, training ramped up fast pretty fast
                              • If the pool miles are considered (I still wonder about this) I peaked at 75mpw w/o over-training
                              • Surprisingly speed came back quickly and in bursts.  One week 5K effort was 6:30 pace, the next 6:00 pace
                            • Hill work
                              • Coach put in a lot of hills.  Many of my slow track workouts were caused by hills.
                              • I suck at hills.
                              • I need to do more hills.
                            • Taper
                              • Doing the last 20miler 4 weeks out was a good idea
                              • Doing the last tempo 4 weeks out was an incredible confidence builder and just what I needed
                              • Keeping weight down worked well
                              • Carbo-loading every single day for 2 weeks worked great
                              • Running overdressed for 2 weeks was miserable -- not sure it had any effect other than giving an excuse for poor Taper "performances"
                              • 8 White rice fish balls the day before the race was perfect
                              • Felt bursting with energy on the line of raceday
                            • Race
                              • Testing the caffeine blackberry gu two weeks before and deciding not to do caffeine on race day was a good move (nothing new)
                              • Noticing foot instability (and lots of ankle effort to maintain) in "race" shoes on the last tempo run, I raced in my heavy training shoes: this was  a great idea.
                              • 2 salt-bagels & 2 powerbars pairs before the race (T-4hrs and T-45min) and a Gatorade Pre-Race on the line worked well
                              • 3 gu during the race is one short
                              • Hammer Perpetuem might not be different than Gatorade, but avoids the sickly sweet taste
                              • Duct-tape + water bottle is the way to go (toss if you need to)
                              • Instead of drinking all your water-bottle then refill or water-stop, interleave your bottle + water stops: drink when you want the whole race long w/o a costly refill
                              • If possible, run by feel -- keep a paceband for backup; ignore Garmin paces

                            2014 Goals:  sub-3 Marathon ("Congrats! It's tough to race with poop in the mind" --Wing)

                            Current Status 03/17: Drinking beer and eating crap -- all the things I couldn't do before the marathon

                              Thanks for sharing all this. Certainly a few things in there that I found unconventional or at least would not have learned from other sources. Among other things, I found these interesting: The two weeks of carbo loading, and the heavier shoes working very well.

                              "If you have the fire, run..." -John Climacus


                              I'm back!

                                Thanks for sharing all this. Certainly a few things in there that I found unconventional or at least would not have learned from other sources. Among other things, I found these interesting: The two weeks of carbo loading, and the heavier shoes working very well.

                                 

                                "Unconventional" is one word for that.