Thursday, October 29, 2015

While I was Away

Haven't posted much because until recently haven't run much.  Having more or less successfully completed 9 months of exercise physiology and major changes to my gait and stride I can now run pain free.  The weird thing is that I can't both maintain correct posture, gait and stride and my breathing all at the same time.  So its kind of a best 3 out of 4 at any one time.

I'm at the very end of the walk run rehab portion of my recovery where I tend to walk a bit every 12-15 minutes which isn't a lot different before I saw the doc in early 2015 after lumbering through a painful and not that fun New Orleans half-marathon with Matt Sag.

Three nice things to report running wise.  About a month ago, I finished the Chicago half in just under my lousy New Orleans but pain free, running better, and enjoying it more.

Second, I took advantage of a heavy domestic travel schedule and I ran in Little Rock, Providence, New Orleans, and Chicago all in a 12 day period! My main take away from this is that Little Rock has its River Run half right and man is Providence hilly.  Also fun to rerun the last half of the New Orleans actually enjoying it compared to January.

Finally, best wishes to Matt Sag who is running NYC this weekend for his third marathon in the past 7 weeks.  Truly inspired and crazy even by the standards of this esteemed blog.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Race Report -- Hudson Mohawk Marathon

Sunday, October 11, I ran my last marathon of my early 50s -- the Hudson Mohawk Marathon, from Schenectady to Albany along the Mohawk and Hudson Rivers.  I picked it for one set of reasons, and enjoyed it for an entirely different set.  The original concept was that a whole bunch of us from the South Brooklyn Running Club would go and use the race to try to qualify for Boston.  The race is small.  The course is pretty flat and net downhill.  What's not to like.  As we got closer to race date, however, the phalanx dwindled due to injuries and other health concerns.  By the time the race rolled around, it was just me and F.   Oh well, the few, the proud.

As I have detailed earlier, I'd been wrestling with various goals -- BQ, PR, 4 hours. . .  Quite frankly any of those would count as a success, but the question was which one to aim for.  Boston qualifying was the original idea.  In 2012 I ran 3:42 -- a freakish outlier and PR.  The qualifying standard for me for 2017 is 3:40.  That seemed vaguely within reach.  That is, until the qualifying standard for 2016 was announced to be 2:30 under the stated standard.  There's a big difference between a two minute PR and a 5 minute PR.  That knocked the wind out of my sails, along with the fact that I simply did not feel quite as fit as I was in 2012.

That said, I made a plan (in conjunction with my guru M).  Go out at a stead 8:20 pace (3:40), and if there's gas at 20, light the afterburners -- Hah!!  There were two flaws in this plan, and I knew them. It assumed: (1) that 8:20 was a conservative, rather than aggressive pace; and (2) that I have ever, ever, ever, in my life, run negative splits in a Marathon.  Oh well, go big or go home, right??

So that's what I did.  After a cold wait for the start, I lined up with the 3:40 pace group, and headed out.   While at the time, I thought (due to Garmin peculiarities) that we had gone out a bit fast, careful review of the data showed stead 8:15-8:20 miles from the start.  I felt good, comfortable, the weather was cooperating.  The course was spectacular -- first country roads, then the shores of the Mohawk River on a perfect fall day.  I hit the half marathon right on schedule -- 1:49.30 and held pace, mostly (okay, assuming 8 minute miles for the last 10K), through 20 (2:49.40) miles. Without going into the details, though, I slowed a little bit at 18-19, over a tough part of the course, gunned it to get back on pace at 20, and then blew up big.

It wasn't an injury blow up. I just ran out of gas.  My legs just wouldn't go anymore.  My heart rate dropped, and I lost my mojo.  I was okay doing the survival shuffle, but not much more.  I stopped to pee, I chatted with the other broken souls, and gutted it out.  End result, 3:55 and a bit.  Gotta say, that surprised me.  Out of defeat, a pretty nice victory.  Sub-4 hours, 9 minutes faster than last year, and in what I usually think of as my happy zone.  The vast majority of my marathons have been in the zone of 3:50-3:55, with the plurality in the vicinity of 3:54-3:55.  I am so _not_ complaining with that result.

Another one for the books!