Thursday, October 21, 2010

10th Baltimore Marathon Race Report

An abject lesson in not trying something new for a race, even if it supposed to be a fun run.

This was my third time running Baltimore only this year it was an excessively long training run for Marine Corps. I went into the race this year planning on running around a 4:30 or a bit slower than my current marathon PR and my current easy/long training pace. Expecting it to be a long and possibly difficult but not really challenging run I planned to allow for up to a 4:25 finish (and a possibly PR). I had been calling this a fun run in my head for weeks to make sure I wasn't thinking in the back of my head that I was out to really push myself and dig in and compromise my MCM performance.

I was looking for the 4:30 pace group to make sure I wasn't going out too fast or maintaining an overly high pace. I was slightly late and behind at the start and crammed in around the edge of the field they pace group got off into the distance and disappeared. The first ~3.5 miles of the course is generally a slow easy climb it felt easy but I was bottled up instead of weaving and dodging I picked good gaps and took it easy. The weather was phenomenal a bit chilly at the start but once we were moving it was great if a bit windy. Around Druid Hill park/Mile 4 I started running with Debora? and Ken? they were both running their first marathons and it was good to chat.

Part of treating this as training and not a goal race was trying something new, clearly there are no downsides to this plan. I have been running with a Nathan HPL 20 and Hammer Perpetum previously and for all my other marathons I ran with a fuel belt and concentrated fuel. This time I decided to try a SPI belt and very concentrated fuel relying on the water stops for all my water. I was very consciously taking water at every aid station the SPI belt was a little bouncy in my lower back but not a problem. In the end this was a horrible failure.

Around mile 9 I started to feel a bit off and stopped putting in food but kept drinking water and taking endurolytes every hour. I just figured that I was taking too much fuel due to the concentration and I needed to dilute and let my stomach clear I wasn't sloshing but I just felt full. The discomfort continued to increase but otherwise I continued to feel fine. Around mile 12 we caught up with the 4:30 pace group and slowly passed them running a still very comfortable average at 10:07. Around mile 17 Ken paced himself back to us and around 17.5 I told them I needed to take a pit stop and would hopefully catch up over the next few miles. At the mile 18 water stop I had a frustrating bathroom visit producing nothing and wasted three minutes for the rest of the run I would have some occasional gas and feel a bit better for it.

On the way to the lake I called C- looking for moral support, she told me that this was only a training run for MCM and I could drop if I wanted and she would make it to the wedding early for posed pictures (all of which is what I needed to hear). I thought seriously about dropping or vomiting at the 3rd relay leg but recalled someone saying they could have jogged to the end faster than the bus which got stuck in traffic last year and decided to stick it out.

At Lake Motebello Aid I had 1/2 bananna and stopped to get some petroleum jelly for chafing, temps and wind resulted in lack of liquid sweat on skin and I think I lost some lube on my throw away pants. While I was getting extra lube I realized that medical might have an anti-gas, they had generic Maylox with simethicone which is exactly what I was looking for. Around the end of the lake I picked up someone's discarded shirt and put it on, feeling a little chilled I guess from the lower pace or in retrospect maybe dehydration. The last hills and the finish weren't much to mention I slowly began to feel a little better and chatted with and encouraged some runners but I was so in the hole for hydration and nutrition there wasn't any time to recover on the move.

After I collected my bag, drank my recoverite, tried to piss before heading to the car, saw an orange on the ground and decided I really wanted an orange, it was cold juicy and wonderful. I slowly made my way back to the car dumped a gallon of water over my head and scrubbed my pits to rinse off as I wasn't likely to have time to shower before the wedding started. As I was parking I saw the bride walking in and made my best speed changing into emergency clothes from the trunk. Wedding was great, good food and friends. I was tired but not ready to sleep when I got home. Up hydrating and chatting until about 1am with friends who were in town for the wedding. Didn't want to sleep until I had to urinate which took a glass of wine, two glasses of champagne, one beer, 100oz of water and almost 12 hours. Slept in late the next day it was wonderful.

Walked on Sunday and Monday to shake things out and now I feel fully recovered.

How this compares to last year:

Baltimore 5:20 (3rd Marathon, 2nd of 2009, with low grade fever), Space Coast 4:26:55 (4th Marathon, 3rd of 2009, PR) We will see if a horrible Baltimore always makes for a good next race.

Doing the math I took in all of ~300 Calories in the first 2 hours. I would normally do closer to 600. At MCM I'm going back to the Nathan and saying damn the extra ~4 lbs in water weight.

I'll see you next year at Baltimore, I managed to win an entry. Baltimore 2011 is goal race; I'll be the one going faster and finishing stronger than I have before.

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