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Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Is this thing on? Rock 'n' Roll USA Race Report

Well, I've taken to slacking on the blog thing, but I think writing race reports is a good way to at minimum learn and look back to see how I can improve for future races. Things have been pretty busy with training, grad school, and most importantly, family time making blogging the least of my priorities. On to the recap...

I got all of the logistical stuff out of the way (packet pickup) on Thursday so that left Friday with just work and no pressure to get anything done. Saturday, we got up about 10 minutes late due to a bit of an alarm snafu, but nothing major and we were out the door by 6 which was our goal.

We arrived at RFK about 6:45 with plenty of time to spare. As we walked towards the Armory to drop off our gear, we ran into our friend Brad who incidentally was also planning on pacing me. We hit the port-o-pots real quick, and then went to the Armory. There we saw a few others from our running crew and caught up with them for a few. We dropped our bags, completely lost Julie, and then decided to hit the bathrooms once again before the start. The lines took a bit and we had to jog to the start as to not miss it and get caught up with the masses. This was probably a good move to help get the juices flowing. What do you know...one towards the front, we saw Julie and a bunch of other friends. Then Chrissy, Brad, and I moved up towards the back of the first corral and after the National Anthem, we were soon off.

Mile one was pretty much as planned. Backing up a bit, I had a goal of sub 1:30. My previous PR is a 1:33:47 set in September at the Parks Half Marathon. I know I've been training well for this (and my tris coming up), but some of my fast paced workouts seemed a bit too labored to me. For the Rock n Roll, I wanted to go out at 7:10, 7, and then onto 6:50 pace for the remainder and hopefully have enough to make up the slower first couple miles in the last mile or two. Through the first four or five miles things were going well. At about the mile 4 point, there is a turn around and we saw Chrissy up ahead of us a bit. She was looking great, but I was worried we were so close (she wasn't "racing" per se, but looking to run strong and hopefully PR along the way - at least faster than her Parks PR). We then began to hit some decent hills and keeping pace began getting tougher. At the half way point I was only 2 seconds off of my goal so that was good - but unfortunately, that began to get higher. At mile 10, I hit my 10 mile PR at about 1:09:04. That's over two minutes faster than the 10 mile mark at Parks. I knew I was going to be close to getting my PR, but at this point, things began to get tough. I hit mile 11 on an uptick picking up a few precious seconds (even though my Garmin read significantly long for this portion), but I was now off by about 20 seconds or so. Mile 13 had a nice downhill and through some nice "encouragement" (taunting more like it) from Brad, I really picked it up on 13. Thankfully it was downhill and I let gravity do its job. As we approached the end of 13, we turned up towards the finish and the f'n course starts going uphill. I somehow dug deep enough to run a 6:21 pace over the final 1.13 miles (definitely more than .1 AFTER the 13 mile marker). I hit stop on my watch, only to see this...
I'm usually not quick on the trigger so I was pretty sure I'd manage to sneak under 1:30...which I ultimately did and finished with a new PR of 1:29:58!

Pacer/motivator/taunter Brad and me at the finish.

As far as nutrition during the race, I took water and Gatorade at all of the stops. I also grabbed a Gu around mile 8, but I just took a very small bit of that. My stomach just was not in the mood for it. I'm not sure I needed one, but I kind of wish I could have taken one in. I used EFS Liquid Shot at Chicago and I wanted one for this race, but couldn't get my hands on one before the race. But I plan to have it on hand for the next race and hope that makes a difference and helps me feel a bit better towards the end.

Once the race was over, Chrissy and some of our running crew were waiting at the end. Chrissy Rocked it once again, coming in with a 1:28:01 (man she's pissed at those 2 seconds!)!
Women's 35-39 First Place baby!
She wasn't going all out though since she's a month out from Boston, but she did manage to once again claim top honors in her age group (once a little bit of controversy clears up - I don't think men are supposed to be in the women's 35-39 age group, but I could be wrong...).

All in all, I'm very pleased with my results and according to McMillan, that puts me at a 3:09:44 marathon - BQ! Well, I'll still have to go out and actually run that fast, but it's nice to see that I should be able to do it!

2 months til Columbia and then another three til Eagleman!

The XMP Crew