Sunday, February 27, 2011

Cowtown Marathon 2011

So I ran a 3:46, which is a PR (personal record).  I should be happy, right?  I'd be happier if I didn't fall apart for the last five miles.  Still, its progress, and that's good. Here's my race report:

Paula and I drove into Dallas on Friday night to stay with her parents.  We spent Saturday picking up our packets, making our respective marathon mixes, and drinking plenty of water.  A pleasant pasta dinner with the family and a last minute check and we were ready for the morning.

I woke up at 4, ate some peanut butter toast, yogurt, a banana and some OJ.  We hit the bathroom and left at about 5:40.  Arriving around 6:10, we found an easy parking spot and walked to the starting line.

Paula and I recorded our thoughts on the race about 15 minutes from the start.  Here's mine:

As for the race itself . . . we started about 10 minutes late.  The weather was pleasant.  Overcast, humid and warm with a southerly wind.  The start was unsurprisingly crowded.  Initially, my plan was to hang with the 3:30 pacer.  I never saw him.  I did see the 3:35 pacer, who was rocking a 7:40-7:50min/mi pace (entirely too fast).  I was so focused on running at an 8 minute pace and staying with the pacer, that my heart rate got out of control.  I didn't understand why it was so high.

For the first few miles, I felt good.  I plugged in the latest podcast from Zen and the Art of Triathlon and just enjoyed the sights.  We made it out to the Stockyards, where I saw Paula's parents.  I gave them a drive-by hug and kept moving on. Again, I was feeling good, albeit with a high heart rate.  At mile 9 there was a long uphill, but nothing unmanageable.  I don't really remember much for the next few miles.  Once the half-marathoners split off, there was quite a lot of space to run in.  I settled in, passed the 3:35 pacer and felt good.  I clicked off a bunch of 8:00-8:10 miles.  I felt some soreness in my knees and hamstrings, but that's marathon running right?

Come mile 18-19, I just wanted to make it to mile 20.  I made it, but not much further.  My pace dropped off sharply.  I couldn't power my legs how I wanted to.  I'm pretty sure I walked a few aid stations and some sections before mile 24.  My mantra was just to keep my legs moving and make it to the next mile marker.  At mile 24, I was walking a bit more.  I couldn't get motivated to push it for the last two miles, mile, or .2 miles.  Oh well, I figured.  The 3:35 pacer long left me.  I saw the 3:40 pacer drift by.  At the finish, I followed the 3:45 pacer in.  After the race, I met up with the family.  It was great to have them out there in support.  Paula did great, improving her half-marathon time by 20 minutes! Awesome!  We went out and ate some food, cleaned up, and hopped in the car for the 3.5hr drive home. 

Overall, not a terrible showing, but I wanted to hit 3:40 at least.  I need to learn how to keep it together over the last few miles.  I figure it means paying closer attention to my heart rate and upping mileage during training, which shouldn't be a problem for next year.  Here is a video I shot with some other thoughts on the race: 

Up next, the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon on May 1, 2011.  

Until then, I'll savor the Cowtown experience.

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