Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Race Report: The Silicon Valley Marathon

Okay, I struggled.  I never felt in a grove or relaxed.  Yet, I finished.  I thought I would come in between 3:59:59 and 4:20.  I really wanted to have a sub 4 (or very close to 4:00). I did not get that time.  :(  It is disappointing, but I still finished with a solid time (for me) of 4:16:08, within my target range.  The good thing is that I completed the marathon with no sign of significant injury.  My knee held up even if I was very sore.  The thing is that I know I could do better.  I know I was trained for a better time, but it was tough out there for me on Sunday.  So on to the details:

I have to start with the excuses.  Yes, I have them.  Saturday just did not go good for me.  I felt like crap during the day (a sore throat and light headed).  I was able to rest some in the late afternoon and started to feel better.  I tried to stay relaxed at night.  I went to bed about 10:45 pm (I was a bit nervous and could not fall asleep sooner).  Then, about 12:45pm, I am awoken by my dog!

My dog, Jake, sleeps on the bed with us.  On Friday night his face swelled up significantly.  I was out at a pasta party.  My wife (Jill) left me a message that she was rushing Jake to the vet because his face was about three times its normal size.  When Jake gets home his face is still swollen.  The vet says he must have been bit by a Bee or spider and had a reaction.  She gave him some medication and he should be fine.  We watch him throughout Sat. and his face continues to go back to normal.  By night time we don't think much about it.  He seems okay.

Then at 12:45pm he is freaking out.  Jumping all over and off the bed.  I get up and let him outside in case he has to go pee or poop.  I checked him out when he came back in.  Everything seems okay.  I go back to bed.  Then, within an hour he is again jumping on and off the bed.  He moves from one part of the bed to the next.  This goes on until about 3am (after multiple times of us telling him to stop and settle down).  At 3am, Jill puts him outside.  Within a half an hour we hear him banging against the door.  So we try again to put him in the bed room.  His crazy actions continue until about 4am, when Jill gets up and takes him to the living room to sleep on the couch with him so that I can get some sleep before I have to wake up a 5am.

So that's my vent.  The short story is that I got a crappy night sleep the night before after feeling like crap in the day.  But, I knew I still had to focus on being positive.  I told myself that I got a solid night's sleep the two prior nights so I was okay.  I'm not sure how much of an effect the bad night sleep had on my performance.  I do love my dog so much that I was not really upset with him . . . I think he had a right to be a little freaked out.

Here is Jake:

So on to the race details.

I arrived early (about 6:15 am).  My wife works in an office near the start line.  Which is great because I have an entire indoor restroom to myself.  :)  We made our way to the start line in plenty of time.

It was still dark when the race started.  I had a salt tablet before the gun.  My plan was to run a 9:00-9:05 min a mile pace the first half and then try to either keep the pace or pick it up in the second half.  I had my best running friend, Garmin, with me to help me keep pace.  As always I seem to want to start out very fast.  But, I just kept checking my avg. pace with Garmin and adjusted my speed accordingly.

Miles 1-3 were basically just trying to find the right pace.  I ran 8:48 the first mile, but then ran exactly a 9:00 pace for miles 2 and 3.  So I was doing okay.  Following the plan.  Yet, I did not feel in a grove. My legs felt tired.  Yet, I was confident that things would fall into place.

During mile 3 and 4, I thought back to last year when my knee pain developed.  When I first started training in March, I was very uncertain that my left knee would hold up.  I was thankful that my knee felt okay and I was getting through the spot of the injury last year.

My mile 4 was a little off pace at 9:15.  I think this is when my stomach first started bothering me (yes, another excuse).  I was not having major stomach cramps, but I felt like one could come on any second.  I tired to take deep breathes.  I thought about using one of the pot-a-potty's but I pushed through because I wanted to stay on pace.  I ran miles 5-9 around a 9 min pace.  Things seemed to be going okay, but I still had not found a good grove.  It was more of a struggle to maintain the pace than it should have been.  Miles 10-12 were just a fight to keep pace and hold off the stomach cramps.  I could tell this was going to be a hard run.  I was already beginning to doubt whether I could keep the pace.

My goal was to get to mile 15 before stopping to use the restroom.  But, before the halfway point I saw an empty port a potty.  I was still at a 9 min a mile pace but I knew that now was the time to use it.  As a result my mile 13 was my worst mile of the first half (10:02).  To complicate matters, I lost half of the string that is used to tie my shorts.  I had one long half and the other half was out of sight.  I tired for a couple of seconds to dig it out, but I just gave up and used my water belt to hold up my shorts.  I had the vision of the shorts falling off, but thankfully that never occurred.  Here I come nearing the halfway point:

So the first half was tough.  I was still on pace for a sub 4, if I could run the same speed in the second half.  I got to 13.1 about 1:58.  However, I struggled from the get go of the second half.  My mile 14 was at 10:30 and my mile 15 was at 9:54.  Just like that I was off pace. Then, mile 16 I ran in 11:28.  I remember taking Powerbar Gel after mile 15.  Maybe, I should have taken it early (I had taken powerbar Gel after mile 5 and 10).

I did pick it up and have a good mile 17 at 8:43 and a solid mile 18 at 9:16.  Here are some pictures between miles 15 and 18:

Miles 19-26, however, were just tough.  I never could not find a good grove and never really felt relaxed.  Maybe, I tried to put too much pressure on myself.  My legs were very sore and it felt hot. So what I tired to do was to run from one mile marker to the next with a walk when I reached the mile marker (generally about .1 or .2 of a mile walk).  Maybe, I should have just focused on walking ofr 30 seconds at a time and then run to the next mile marker.  My walks were too long.  But, I was sore and exhausted. 

Generally I would see the same people during these miles.  I would pass them when I run and they would pass me when I walked.  I had a short walk break before mile 25 and then ran the rest of the way.  I was tried and exhausted but I pushed myself to make sure I finished within my target range.  I was disappointed that I would not have a sub-4, but I was also happy that I was finishing my second marathon with a PR! (easy to do due to the injury last time).  Here I come at mile 26:

And, here I come to finish the marathon:

I take a slight moment to remember my dad by pointing up.

In the end, it was a tough day for me.  I am disappointed with my time.  Yet, I am happy that I completed my second marathon.  This time without (I think) an injury.  My knees, legs and feet are still sore, but I think they will be okay.  I also know that I can do better.  I so badly want to go out there and run it on Sunday again (if it were possible) and do better.  So I know I have realistic goals in front of me.  I really can't wait for my next marathon because I know the experience of this one will help me.  And, I do understand that I'm relatively new to running and I will learn how to improve maintain a pace for 26.2 miles.  Here are some post-run photos:

Me after the finish:

Jill and me, with the baby to come:

Some of my running group members:

Here are my splits:

Mile Time

1 08:48.9

2 09:00.2

3 09:00.6

4 09:15.2

5 08:59.0

6 09:03.4

7 08:47.2

8 08:55.4

9 08:56.8

10 09:10.1

11 09:04.0

12 09:07.8

13 10:02.2

14 10:30.7

15 09:54.7

16 11:28.8

17 08:43.1

18 9:13

19 10:07.8

20 11:21.5

21 10:04.1

22 11:36.1

23 11:06.7

24 10:52.2

25 10:57.2

26 09:44.9

0.2 forgot to stop Garmin


Mark said...

Great report! Congrats on the PR!! Neat finishing photo.

Meg Runs said...

Sorry about your race but you did finish despite the dog's face, little rest and possibly not being well! Congrats on your baby to be and I really liked your finish photo, very moving.
Keep training. You'll get over this one and be ready for another soon, chin up!

Suzy said...

Congrats on your race!! Your dog is too cute, but was a bit of a pain the night before your race. Sounds like you are looking to run more marathons in 2010!