Friday, December 2, 2011

Marathon mistakes

Rocket City1997AlabamaDNSITB band
Blue Angel 1998Florida3:49
Rocket City 1998Alabama3:49
Kiawah Island 1999South Carolina4:00 Calf strain
Dallas White Rock 2000Texas3:30
Kansas City 2000 Kansas DNF Achilles
Austin2001 Texas 3:23 left gels at start
Austin 2002 Texas 3:39 wore flats
Country Music 2003 Tennessee 3:33 heat and hills
Chicago 2003 Illinios 3:40 dehydration
Mid South 2004 Arkansas 3:37 dehydration
Rocket City 2004Alabama3:17Boston Qualifier
Boston 2005 Massachusetts 4:10 fueling
Flying Monkey 2008 Tennessee 3:50hills
Flying Pig 2009 Ohio 3:05 out to fast
Snickers 2011 Georgia DNF shoes
Greenway 2011 Tennessee 4:49 hills, cold

I've finished 15 marathons, started a couple and DNF'd (did not finish) and even had a couple of DNS (did not start). Looking back I've made lots of mistakes. Even when I ran my best marathon, I could have run smarter. For this sub 3:00 marathon attempt, I'm going to try and not make any of the same mistakes.

Going out to fast
Laid out the splits from my PR marathon at the Flying Pig. Even though this was a 12 minute PR, I didn't stick to the plan. Like most newbie marathon runners, I ran how I felt and the early miles felt great. It wasn't until the halfway point that I slowed down to planned marathon pace. To late at that point, because even though I thought I could pull off a sub 3:00 that day, I went out to fast for the first 6 miles for even that time. I gave up 2:30 in the back half of that race. Not my worst crash and burn, actually it was the closest to even splits of any of my marathons.

Trying something new on race day
Ugliest example of this was the Austin marathon. I decided racing flats would shave some extra seconds off my time. The final 6 miles of this marathon were torture. I could see the blood coming out of my flats with each foot strike. When I finished and took off my shoe, the one toe was a big bloody mess. Actually had a repeat of this at the Snickers marathon, not quite as dramatic, but a whole lot earlier in the race. Caused my second DNF.

Time in the bank doesn't work
Tried this strategy for most of my early marathons. Never did work. Goes back to the going out to fast.

Adjust for the conditions
I've only run a couple of marathons that were to warm for me to run at my potential. 60 degrees or warmer and I need to slow down. Sometimes, it just makes sense to not go for the fast time. I've accepted that a DNF or DNS is the smart choice on some occasions. The DNF at Kansas City really should have been a DNS. I finished Kiawah with a calf strain, that should have been a DNF.

I picked the Rocket City marathon for several reasons. It's a fast course. Mostly because it's pretty flat. One little rise at around 18 miles, but no real hills. Weather is usually cooler without much chance of a warm day, versus a spring marathon. It's a small field, no half marathoners to dodge or run around. It's close (2 hour drive), I'll be sleeping in my own bed. This is the 35th year, they know what they're doing. Nice to finish and go inside to eat and relax afterwards.


Denise said...

I'll be turning 49 on December 11th this year so am attempting an Ironman in June, before I turn 50. Good luck going sub 3 hours.

Lorenda said...

Hi, just stumbled on your blog. Don't rule out a warm day at Rocket City! I ran it a few years back and they were saying that it was the warmest it had ever been. It was in the high 60s, maybe even 70 by the time I finished (little over 4 hrs). I didn't even have to use gear check because no extra clothes were needed before the race. This was great for me; I travelled there from Michigan where I had run my 20 miler in a miserable freezing rain. It is a great marathon and I hope to do it again someday! Good luck!