Monday, November 14, 2011

Harrisburg Marathon Race Report

...or the alternative title: "Back to the Drawing Board"

Well, where to start?

The good:
-My hamstrings didn't cramp during the race
-The weather was nearly perfect (started in the upper 30's, finished in the low 50's)

-I ran under control for the first half (even through 20+ miles), and was on target for 3:10 through 23 miles

The bad:
-My next to last gel went down very slowly
-My final gel really wouldn't go down (and only took in half of it before tossing the gel pack into a garbage can along the course)
-That gel (and pretty much all other items I ingested that morning) got tossed out in three successive heaves about 100 meters apart around mile 24-ish along the riverfront
-While not cramping, my hamstrings were "letting me know they were there" from about mile 6 or 7 to the end. They just felt tight and never got loose (maybe this was a good thing and held me back on my pace, though)

Needless to say, I didn't hit my 3:10 goal.

After the gun went off, we departed city island and I tried to settle in to a 7:15/mile pace. I felt like I was crawling along, trying to NOT go out too fast. The result - 6:52. Ugh! Miles 2 and 3 were just over 7:00. I saw Beth and told her that I was trying to throw on the brakes. Finally, mile 4 and 5 were 7:18 and I was settling in.

As I saw Beth, it was back over to city island with miles 6 and 7 at 7:05's. After leaving city island, the mile 8 sign was missing, but miles 8 and 9 averaged out to 7:19 each. The next three miles were along the riverfront and were in the 7:0x's (with a little bit of a tailwind).

We then veered off the river and up towards the industrial park. I went through the half in just under 1:34. I was hoping for 1:35, but I wasn't all that far ahead of pace (and much more relaxed than the 1:28:30 in Pittsburgh). The least scenic part of the race was along the industrial road with the 18-wheelers. But then we went into the HACC campus (where I saw Beth 3 times) and was feeling great for miles 16 and 17.

Mile 18-20 took us through a park. This was the only hilly portion of the course. They were short, steep ups and downs. Things felt good and, after a 7:25 of a mostly up hill mile, mile 20 was 7:06.

Okay, 10k to go. Mile 21 was 7:35. The legs were starting to feel tired, but I wasn't too concerned. It didn't feel as bad as Pittsburgh. Also, I figured to just back off and fulfill my goal of jogging the whole race. If I didn't hit 3:10, so be it. Mile 22 was 7:42 and the thought, "that's fine" went through my head. Mile 23 slowed down to 8:08 as I'm attempting to put down my final gel.

It didn't go down too well. I forced down maybe a third of it. Then, I finally chucked it into a garbage can because I couldn't take anymore. I'm not sure if it happened before or after the 24-mile marker but I'm definitely sure of what happened. It felt like there was a direct hose from my stomach leading out of my mouth and someone turned the faucet on. With that taken care of in the riverfront park, I shuffled forward. However, after another 100 or so meters, a repeat of what had just happened.

Okay that has to be it, right? Mosey on down the road another 100 or so meters and somehow I hit the triple. How was there anything left in my stomach?

After all of that, the final three miles are 8:58, 11:38, and 11:48. Heck, I even picked up a cramp in my chest as I did the final 0.2 across the bridge (2:41 for the last 0.2).

So much for comfortably jogging into the finish line. Oh well. Final time 3:22:02. At least it was a couple seconds faster than Pittsburgh!

So, it's back to the drawing board. But, like Steve P reminded me on fb, I still got in some good training miles this summer and fall and will hopefully set me up for a solid training cycle for Pittsburgh in the spring. Also, Ben said it is just as much about the journey as the goal. So, onward we go!

Thanks so much to Beth for being the spectathlete extraordinaire all weekend!

So, some reflection to come and some adjustments for sure to get me to that sub-3:00 goal.

Thanks to everybody for the kind words!


Angel said...

I still think that it is pretty amazing what you and Beth do! Congrats on the marathon, Oscar!

Steve said...

I think our failures can help us stay hungry, and the marathon is great at that. I am glad you are keeping at it. Seeing you stay after it helps keep myself motivated too.

I know the tri people really help support each other, and runners do too.

Best of luck. I'll be following along.

Steve said...

Failure is a Bad term. I think anytime one gets a 26.2 under their belt it isn't a failure. I guess I meant to say when we don't hit our goals.


I am sure you know what I meant though. Good Luck next time, I have a feeling you will get it.

I am going back to one of my worst marathons in the spring. Illinois at U of I campus. I cramped at mile 16 both hammies, and basically crawled back in. Nailed the fall marathon though after that bad one.

Beth said...

So proud of you! Can't wait until that day when you run strong all the way to the finish. IT WILL HAPPEN! (and boy is it going to be awesome!)

Dawn said...

Great race report. You will get there no doubt! You have the best outlook and attitude I have ever known through disappointment.
You and Beth are surely made for each other!

runningyankee said...

still a great day out there. glad you can stay positive about the experience. you will get there!

Adventure Racing said...

Nice pics, it was a great race. Thanks for sharing, Congratulations for a great job well done and looking forward always.