Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Marine Corps Marathon

I ran the Marine Corps Marathon today. This was my third time at MCM and I've always fallen a little short of my expectations there for some reason. I'm not sure why. Maybe I build up expectations during the summer? Maybe I don't train effectively in the summer heat? Who knows. Anyway today was no different. My goal was to BQ (3:15:59, 7:28 min/mi), which I knew was a stretch based on my 1:33:27 half I ran 6 weeks ago. My marathon pace run (20 w/14 at MP) didn't really support it either, but I had some great long runs and interval sessions in the last few weeks that made me think I was in 3:15 shape.

The short story is that I held onto pace as long as I could even though my HRM and my senses told me it was going to cost me later. Then, I died on Hains Point like many a good man.

00:37:38 @ 5M, Pace 7:31, Predicted 03:17:04
-- hills early, I tried to be smart

01:37:57 @ Half, Pace 7:28, Predicted 03:15:45
-- at the half, I realized I had nothing in the bank, but I couldn't really go faster, so I just tried to run 7:27's as long as I could

01:52:05 @ 15M, Pace 7:28, Predicted 03:15:45

02:15:09 @ 18M, Pace 7:30, Predicted 03:16:38
-- 15 to 18 is hains point. Miles were 7:30, 7:31 (tailwind) and then 7:57 for mile 18 (headwind). A guy in a cow suit also passed me here, which was kind of demoralizing :-)

02:49:08 @ 22M, Pace 7:41, Predicted 03:21:26
-- I was bleeding fast and by 22 knew I had no chance, so I just wanted to finish and didn't really care about my time. Lots of thoughts in here like "Maybe I should race shorter distances for a while?"

03:27:34 @ Finish, Pace 7:54
-- I was done! One important note: I re-passed !#$#@% cow suit at mile 24. He had taken off his cow bell by then.

A little over 3 minutes slower than my PR in May. 29 minutes faster than last year's MCM, so that's something I suppose.

Despite the disappointing time, I had fun today. Mainly because I had my very own spectator! A childhood friend of mine (who's also a runner -- but *much* faster than me) was in town and came to see me. He couldn't have been a better spectator. He was at the start (didn't see him though), at Lincoln's left hand (Lincoln memorial) and then at his right hand -- saw him both times. Then (now this is a real friend), I unexpectedly saw him out on the 14th street bridge! (I thought he was going to be in Crystal City.)

A couple of notes on the new course: I don't like it. I felt like the stretch that replaced Rock Creek Parkway (under construction) was hillier, which delayed buying back time from Rosslyn hills. Also going past Iwo Jima and then having to double back sucks! Please, can I just make a left? You also go downhill on the out and have to go back up some ramp on the way back. You can look up at the runners ahead and know that you're going to have to get up there somehow. Geez.

I'm not sure what I'll do now. There's another marathon I like in four weeks that I did last year after MCM, but 1) I think I'm just not quite in shape to run a 3:15 right now; and 2) I feel like this race took more out of me than last year's. The early steep downhills did a number on my quads and both my calves cramped up in the last two miles (which was pretty uncomfortable!).

[Epilogue: I've signed up for the marathon in four weeks.]

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