Tuesday, May 26, 2009

LA Marathon - 2:53

Coming into LA, I had run 155 miles 4 weeks before in 40 hours, a 10k 3 weeks before in 38:30, a 14 mile trail race 2 weeks before with a 1600 foot climb in 1:48, and then a weekend of some faster trail work the week before.. My reasoning for LA was that it was the most convenient (time and place) in my schedule to get a quick Boston Qualifier out of the way. I knew I could work on the food speed and other logistics and run a faster time later in the year, but I wanted to get one relatively successful marathon out of the way now just to clear up some doubt (and do some long "speedwork")

I carbo-loaded a bit, but mainly fat loaded since my body fat reading a few weeks after the 155 miler was 4.2 even with a lot of fatty eating. It turned out to be a good idea (throwing up at miles 14 and 22 and not losing too much energy).

At any rate here are the splits and data off my watch

avg HR: 168BPM
total calories: 2838
mile 1: 5:42
mile 2: 6:17
mile 3: 6:23
mile 4: 6:28
mile 5: 6:15
mile 6: 6:39
mile 7: 6:05
mile 8: 6:16
mile 9: 6:18
mile 10: 6:18
mile 11: 6:38
mile 12: 6:23
mile 13: 6:27
mile 14: 6:43
mile 15: 7:05
mile 16: 6:22
mile 17: 6:27
mile 18: 6:33
mile 19: 6:15
mile 20: 7:20
mile 21: 6:57
mile 22: 6:53
mile 23: 8:00
mile 24: 6:42
mile 25: 7:10
mile 26: 7:11
.2 : 1:37

Notes on the run:
My setup were NB 769's (moderate cushioning/stability trainer) moebens with 4 gu's and a few salt sticks, split shorts, and a white cotton hat with a gu in headband. The first half of the race was at a slight downhill, I tried to conserve and pace myself drinking more water and gatorade endurance than necessary, but still clipped off some decent early splits. Mile 11 was the first major hill, and I negotiated it pretty smoothly. I took a GU at mile 10 and then a salt stick at mile 12. I hit the half in 1:22 and was on pace for a 2:44. I believe my body absorbed some of the GU and electrolytes from of the salt stick, but after a few minutes knew it had enough. I had cramps all from mile 12-14 and then threw up during mile 15 three consecutive times (hurl, 2 steps, hurl, 2 steps, hurl, take off) which was quite a site for the spectators. Normally in society when someone throws up, the convulsions of bowels are so painful that the sit down for a bit and gather themselves. However ultra runners aren't normal people, and I received some cheers and applause for taking off like a cheetah after three deep vomits that emptied my system of water, gatorade and GU. Even more surprising was my split for that mile was 7:05 even with the time lost for vomiting. I decided I didn't need any salt sticks for the day.

I rolled through the middle hill in the race passing 3-4 guys (there weren't many other people around me to begin with), and felt good. Running trails makes "hills" in road races seem like a joke. Even after the race when friends said I could do better on a flatter course, I kind of wanted to disagree because LA seems about as flat as a pancake to me.

Coming down San Vicente and Wilshire, miles 17-19, I felt great and ran with my Mom following on the bike. It felt surreal since the last time I ran LA when I was 17, I hadn't hit wilshire until later in the day with much more crowds trying to get to the Salonpas pain relieve station, whereas this time I was nearly all alone and the salonpas people were still setting up.

The 30k split put me on pace for a 2:48, and I took a gu as my blood sugur started to drop at mile 19. I didn't want to trust the GU and the gatorade endurance again, but I didn't have much choice. The hills around mile 20 weren't too bad, but my stomach was still processing the GU and I had walked a bit to get in the water and gatorade smoothly. I came up a hill in Hancock Park and saw my good buddy Peter cheering like a maniac for me, and had to smile and pick my head up after I realized that he knew how well I was doing, and was psyched to see me so early in the race. I also saw a man in a dress staring blankly at me, but I remembered that the LA marathon commonly was a race where hallucinations were encouraged by crazy residents out around the 20 mile mark. I hadn't hit the wall hard enough to question whether a grown man was wearing a dress with a stoic look on my face. He was there sure enough.

I coasted out towards Olympic eager to get the race over as it was emminent I'd break 3:00. I met my dad at mile 22.5 and took a swig of accelerade before starting the last main stretch on Olympic. No more than 10 steps from drinking my trusty/familar ultra drink, I started to turn my head to try and keep the liquid down, once, twice, and without much warning, I was on all fours puking violently through my nose and mouth. I got up for a step, then dropped to all fours for another strong puke before getting up and jogging 100 yards to the next water station. Once again, the crowds were shocked to see me running after my little incident, and were eager to help give me any aid. I had decided though that I wasn't going to worry about fueling anymore with just over 4 miles to go, and just took some water to wash off and get moving. That mile was my slowest at the day at 8:00, but I still felt good and ran out of it.

I passed one runner, but then started to lose ground as the lack of electrolytes and water tolled on my body as I entered downtown LA. Jorge Pachecho was having a good day, and passed me casually at mile 25.5 and waved recognizing my moebeems. We talked after the race for a bit about WS100, and looked pretty comfortable relative to me. He wore nike's well cushioned vomero's and comfortably finished 50 seconds ahead of me. As I ran through downtown LA, I just keep my head down and gave a thumbs up as the announcer called out my name and hometown. I had hit a clear electrolyte deficit and it was a small victory to stay under 7:15 pace as I finished. I crossed the finish and felt pretty awful until I got two free cartoons of electrolyte coconut water and began to regain some fluidity in my motion.

Overall, it was a pretty good race coming off of the last few weeks of training/racing, but I'm confident I can run faster (2:40 maybe this fall) with a pair of flats, a better fueling plan, and some speedwork. I didn't wear injinjii's and suffered a deep blister on one pinky toe, and a sore arch, but everything else feels alright. Shadow of the Giants 50k this Saturday will be a bit slower, but I was planning on the race being at 5-6,000 ft. altitude, a small workout in itself rather than a competitive race.

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