|Get my vote for Running Short of the Year|
I was under-trained, that much is certain. I managed to run pretty regularly during weekdays for the last few months but I missed some crucial long runs, including the last two, so it's not like I was expecting to PR. In fact, it sort of played into my race strategy in a way. This year is all about two things: Participating in a triathlon and training for the Goofy Challenge. Part of my strategy for the latter, is to train to the point where running a Half Marathon becomes a "normal" thing. Well, as normal as running a Half could be. In other words, I want to be able to run a Half, taking it easy and not feel like a bag of soreness the next day. So, with the lack of long runs, taking it easy was sort of a given in this case. A PR was not even in the discussion for this race. I figured that if I finished somewhere around 3 hours, it would be great and still over 20 minutes less than my first Half Marathon.
|Had to wear this the entire weekend|
|Come to Puerto Rico|
The start time was 5am, which meant a 3am wake up for me. Not pleasant but this ensured I finished before the Sun and the brutal heat the island is known for, was in full strength. The downside, especially for the visitors from abroad, is that you run most of the race in the dark which kind of negates the whole "Run in Paradise" tag line of the race. By the final 2 miles of the race though, it's bright enough to get some breathtaking vistas of Old San Juan and the Atlantic Ocean. Awesome stuff.
|Flat Frank, and now that I notice... my wife's bra.|
After sorting the bathroom issues we lined up, the anthems were sung and we were off. I quickly settled into a pace that I felt was comfortable. After a few miles, I realized that I was going a bit fast. Not Philly Marathon fast but still fast enough. I tried to adjust my pace but I have realized that when I use the Galloway Method, slowing down the running interval is an issue for me. It's just instinct I guess. You are walking and when that alert goes off to run you just take off. Then, since you are "fresher" than you would be if you were just running and since you figure you are gonna walk in a bit, you just keep running fast. I really, really have to work on that as I increase my mileage.
For 10 miles, it was all well and good. For a moment, I was thinking "maybe I can pull a sub-3 in my home turf. That would be so great!" It was around this time that the elites running the marathon passed me at a speed that I still can't believe is possible to sustain for 26.2 miles. I was supposed to take my second gel at mile ten but there was not an aid station close to take water to wash it down so I did not take it. Then at mile 11, the wheels came off in pretty spectacular fashion. After seeing 13's on my Garmin most of the way, mile 11 showed a 14. I knew what was coming next. Even though it has happened before, I'm still surprised at how sudden it actually happens. One moment you are doing fine then "pufff!" your legs simply don't want to run anymore. By the time I reached the next station I was walking way more than I was running. By the final mile I managed to run all the way to the finish but the damage was done. 3 hours and three minutes... I didn't come in last but it felt like I did.
That final stretch to the finish was brutal. Pardon my french but I was pissed. Very pissed. I feel better now that I have calmed a bit after sitting down to analyze the positives of the whole race, which were several, but it still stings.
I was aiming to run the race "in around 3 hours" which I did. So what's my problem? I wasn't aiming for a PR and I wasn't supposed to go sub-3 on this one so what gives? What pisses me off is my inability to execute my racing strategy.
Still, I'm not gonna leave out the positives. The fact that I can run for 10 miles no problem at this pace, even with training issues, is a testament to progress. This is the guy who could barely run a mile and a half after all..