Monday, October 13, 2008

Valley Harvest Marathon Race Report (Steve Gets Hit By A Car)

First of all, if anyone is familiar with the Valley Harvest Marathon, this isn't the same race as run in the past. For 2008, the race was run on a completely different course. While more picturesque, it was a much more difficult race this year with some tough hills.

Mile 1 - 6:50
Mile 2 - 7:10
Mile 3 - 6:53
Mile 4 - 6:59
Mile 5 - 7:02
Mile 6 - 7:06
Mile 7 - 7:12
Mile 8 - 6:59
Mile 9 - 7:39
Mile 10 - 7:04
Mile 11 - 7:09
Mile 12 - 7:06
Mile 13 - 7:01
Mile 14 - 6:59
Mile 15 - 6:59
Mile 16 - 7:24
Mile 17 - 7:10
Mile 18 - 7:23
Mile 19 - 7:26
Mile 20 - 7:18
Mile 21 - 7:17
Mile 22 - 7:56
Mile 23 - 7:40
Mile 24 - 7:46
Mile 25 - 8:44
Mile 26 - 8:55

I had planned on running at 7:15 pace all the way through, but got caught up in the day - you couldn't ask for better weather and set out at too aggressive a pace. Not to much to report in the first 14 miles, I felt strong and was running great - just too fast.

Right around mile 15 payback for ignoring my plan began to occur as I began to feel quite nauseous. I fought the urge to purge from mile 15 to around mile 20. Just as I was getting things back under control we hit a long hill that simply took all of the starch out of me. Feeling fresh, it probably would not have been too big a deal, but having just finished 19 miles at too aggressive a pace, it turned out to be killer.

From here on in I was in survival mode, just trying to keep one foot in front of the other and focus on form. At this stage, I also borrowed a mantra from my 5 year old son Simon who at a kids race this summer started spontaneously calling out "I'm Tough, I'm Tough". I thought of this and started to do the same. Around mile 24 I took a walking break for a few hundred yards as my legs were cramping big time. I repeated this in an uphill on mile 25 as I was pretty much shot now. Heading into the home stretch in mile 26 is when things truly got interesting. I was running along and came to an intersection where a driver pulled up, looked in the opposite direction and then gunned the car without looking for oncoming runners (at a point when I was in the middle of the aforementioned intersection). I happened to see the car coming out of the corner of my eye and straight-armed the bonnet of the car. The impact propelled me in a 360 degree spin such that I ended up landing on my feet in the same direction as I was originally going. This is not a recommended maneuver to be attempted 25 1/2 miles into a marathon. I looked back to see the car speed away, so I continued on my way toward the finish line.

I had been hoping for a 3:10 and fell a little short at 3:13:56 (which is still a PB and BQ for me). That said, I learned some valuable lessons about sticking to the pre-race plan and not getting caught up in the moment. I also learned that no matter how great the pain during the race, it all feels worth it when it is all said and done.

I have some pain in my shoulder right now from the impact of the car driving my arm up into my shoulder joint, but it appears to be muscular so I am pretty much fine. In some ways I am impressed that I could pull off the defensive move I did giving how I was feeling at that time. Anyway, that is a sketch of how the Valley Harvest Marathon went for me.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

I'm In

It wasn't a wise race, however, I did qualify for Boston with a 3:13:56. Full report to come later. In the meantime, here is a pic of me about to cross the finish line.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Start your engines

Well it is just a few more days until the race and I am feeling pretty good. I am still fighting a nagging cold, hopefully, it will keep at bay. I am not getting enough sleep, but will have to make a concerted effort to get more sleep tonight and tomorrow night.

I have really tapered this time around. I last ran on Tuesday morning (6 X 400's) and am looking at running a 3 miler (1 mile warm-up and 2 miles at marathon pace) tomorrow morning in my last run prior to the race. I am itching to get the event on and am feeling a bit like a caged tiger at the moment - hopefully, this is a good sign.

One thing I will have to watch is to start out under control as I have had a history of breaking out too fast and abandoning my plan. This means keeping myself somewhere 7:15 and 7:25 min / mile to start. I have 3 goals in mind for the race. My minor goal would be to simply qualify for Boston - at my age that is a 3:20. My medium goal would be to go sub 3:10. This is a time that would qualify me regardless of age and is my true target. I have also created a stretch goal, however, that one I am keeping to myself as I don't want to put undue pressure on myself. Stay tuned post-race - I will share it if I make it.

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