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Tuesday, October 29, 2013

2013 Marine Corps Marathon Race Report - Marathon #9 in the Books!

So the 2013 Marine Corps Marathon has come and gone.  My last "big" race of the year so now it's time to back off a bit...just for a bit...and then head into triathlon training.

The weather was perfect for MCM this year.  Low 40s at the start and never got very warm up til the end.  Too bad we didn't have this weather three weeks ago at Wineglass.  But since Wineglass had been my focus, post Wineglass I only managed to squeeze in four runs total in the next 3 weeks.  Wow, that's pretty sad/lazy.  All said though, I'm pleased with my performance at MCM.  It was a MCM PR so I can't complain too much.  This was my fourth one and I've PR'd each (well maybe the first one doesn't count since it was my first marathon.

2013 MCM: 3:16:43

Pre-Race Up at 4:20, quick breakfast of Infinit Mud with EFS Liquid Shot and some coffee. Dressed, ready to go and out the door about 5. We once again went to the MCRRC Hospitality Suite at the Holiday Inn in Rosslyn (about a mile from the start). This is always key pre-Marine Corps Marathon. We can meet up with others in our running club and get all prepped and just leave our stuff there instead of worrying about checking our gear. We got there and parked by 6 (after a bit of a detour due to street closings, but nothing that delayed us too bad) and we were headed to the start by 7. I sipped on EFS with First Endurance Pre-Race as we headed to the start. Hit a porta-potty and made our way to the starting line with about 10 minutes to spare. With a couple minutes to go before the Howitzer, I took off the trash bag and last years Tyvek jacket, gave Chrissy a good luck kiss, and got ready to roll.
The gun went off at 8:00 so five minutes late, but no biggy. I was running with my buddy Brad and we were rolling along at about a 7:20 pace. Through the first three miles or so I wasn't feeling great and thought it had the potential to be a long day. But as we headed to mile 4 and towards the turn onto the Key Bridge, my breathing felt easier and I felt pretty good (the downhill definitely helps). The course was a bit different this year so it was nice to look forward to something new (from about 4.5 to 9.5 the course made it's way up the Rock Creek Parkway then back to the same course as the last few years for the remainder of the race). We headed through Georgetown (one of the best spots with great spectators...although it wasn't quite as busy this year) and soon after I got to see my girls and in-laws. Always a great sight! I kissed the girls and dropped my gloves and hat and I was back at it. Unfortunately at this point I knew I wouldn't see them again for another 12 miles. No worries, Brad and I kept rolling and we soon were on our way up Rock Creek. We run this on our Saturday long runs quite a bit, but from the paved path off the road. It's kind of funny how different it looks on the road. As we approached the turn around, I got my first glimpse of Chrissy as she was coming back down Rock Creek and she looked great (as usual). I was hoping she'd score the Master's win this year, but "only" got third with a 3:04 (not bad 3 weeks after a 3:02 at Wineglass). Finally to the turn around and heading back towards mile 8...um...where's mile 8? Maybe no sign...I'll hit it here (watch says 8.06 so that works). Another tenth of a mile down the road, FINALLY the mile 8 sign. Not sure what happened there (I think mile 19 was short so I wasn't too far off on my Garmin - .14 over 26.2 so not bad). Soon after we got a nice surprise - the family was out there again! Somewhere around 9.5-10 or so. So now I just had to get around Hains Point and I'd get to see them again.

Brad and I reached the halfway park just under 3:15 pace. I wasn't sure if I had a 3:15 in me or not, but I felt much better at this point than I did at the same point last year. Unfortunately soon after the halway mark, Brad started falling off. By the time we were out of Hains Point and towards the mall he had fallen back a bit. Soon after you leave Hains Point, there's an out and back section and I was hoping I'd catch Chrissy. Sure enough I did and gave her a yell. I made my way through the out and back and had her about 6.5 minutes ahead of me. She looked strong too.

I made my way to the mall knowing at about 17.5 I'd see the girls and in-laws again. Definitely helps with the motivation. And sure enough, right around 17.5 or so there they were. A few more high fives and knowing I'd get to see them in about 15 more minutes on the other side of the mall. The next two went quick and I remember seeing the family at the same point last year and feeling pretty bad. I felt much better Sunday and gave the girls another kiss for the last time I'd see them during the race. That helped keep me moving to my least favorite stretch of the race - the 14th St bridge and Crystal City. The crowds thin considerably at this point and the bridge is just really long. I worked my way through these two sections and this is when things just got tough. Miles 24 and 25 were just really hard for me. My calves were already feeling beat up and my hamstrings started flaring up feeling as though they could cramp at any point. I managed through them, dropping to about an 8 minute pace and with about 3/4 mile to go, a friend of ours we run with, Greg, came by and helped boost me to the finish. I picked up the pace, got to the "Hill" and got to the finish line. Not too long after I saw Chrissy waiting for me and was happy to hear how well she did.

Another Marine Corps Marathon in the books. Yeah, I'm sure we'll be back again next year (that is IF we make it in via the lottery).

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Marine Corps Marathon...AND BEYOND!

So Sunday brings us the Marine Corps Marathon.  My last big race of the year (I'm sure I'll some sort of Thanksgiving and/or Christmas themed race - maybe even Rehoboth Half Marathon, but currently I'm only signed up for MCM).  I've taken my recovery very seriously since Wineglass so I should be ready to go (ok, I've barely done anything...but I should at least be well rested!).  We'll see how the first half goes and adjust from there.  I'll either try to pick it up, or ratchet it back and enjoy some beverages along the back half with all the fans.  Hopefully I'll feel good and I can drop a bit from Wineglass, but that may be a bit too optimistic.

Once MCM is in the books, it looks like I've got to turn right around and begin 70.3 prep.  I'm tentatively scheduled to race Florida 70.3 in April.  Logistically it could be a good race to do since it's only about an hour from my dad's house.  I'd love to bring the family down and make it a nice long weekend (also happens to be on Spring Break), but with Boston the following week, I'm not sure my wife is crazy about the idea.  Maybe I'll just bring the kiddos...

I have some lofty goals for the race.  The first being to finally break the 5 hour mark.  I know I can do it.  I came close at Eagleman in 2012, but not so close at Raleigh this year.  A flat tire and hills just beat me up and I didn't get there.  If I put in the training, I know I can do this.  What's always been my problem though is I find excuses to NOT train.  The bottom line is I've been lazy.  Who knows what I could do if I fully committed myself and stopped slacking and got my workouts in.  It all comes to what I am willing to do.  I always say I'm going to do this or that, but the bottom line is, I NEVER come close to what I "plan" on doing (training wise).  Come race day, I race hard and get the most out of my conditioning and ability.  I definitely end up surprising people, but I usually end up wondering "what if."

Will 2014 be different?  Only time will tell.  I'll take a couple days off post MCM and then time to hit the trainer.

I'm also really hoping to be picked up by the Wattie Ink Elite Team.  I'm ready to Rock the W!  Following that crew of awesome athletes always gets me going.  If I'm able to get on the team, I really think they could have a huge impact on my success.

Here's to a good final couple months of 2013 and to Rocking the W in 2014!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Time flies when you're getting older... Wineglass Marathon (and other) Race Report

Well, two months and three races have passed since my last post.  A lot going on in my personal...rather professional life, but hopefully things are settled down a bit and stable for the foreseeable future.

Ok, a quick rundown of my races.

Super sprint triathlon - the Twinbrook Triathlon - second overall (ok, the competition was NOT fierce at all).  Race went fairly well, but man oh man, I could NOT get my wind following the swim.  I never settled down on the bike and by the time that I maybe got my breathing and heart rate in check, it was time to run.  I'll take second overall though...my first overall podium.  Wooo!  Oh yeah, my wife got first in the duathlon - her first duathlon.  Not too shabby!  If she ever takes on the multi sport world, she will be a force (I truly believe she could qualify for Kona in short order. She's THAT good).

Parks Half Marathon - 1:30:35.  I was ok with this.  Wish I would have gone sub 1:30, but it was what I had that day.  Oh well.  I was hot and never felt great throughout and I could hold 6:50 pace for the last few miles.  Live and learn....  Chrissy takes first in the Masters.  Once again, she freaking rocks!

Wineglass Marathon - 10/6/2013 - 3:13:45
Overall, I'm ok with this.  This does qualify me for Boston in 2015, but I'm not fully satisfied with the time.  I really thought I could go sub 3:10, but my excuse is it was much more hot and humid than I'd hoped.  Actually, the only excuse I have is not putting in more miles.  The weather was what it was and my training wasn't what it should have been.  That said, I dealt with the heat much better than some so I'm happy with that aspect.  I went through the first half marathon with about 20 seconds in the bank, unfortunately, I probably gave that back within the next three (I'll have to look at my splits, but after half, I really started fading).  Looks like by mile 19 I had lost all my banked time.  Oh well, what can you do?  Not much to say about the race.  I walked two water stops just to make sure I had enough in the tank to not walk any other portion of the race.  After about the stop around 24, I took it all the way in.  I managed to qualify with 1:15 to spare, but who knows if that will be enough in 2015.  In 2 weeks and a couple days, I'm doing Marine Corps...I haven't decided how to take that on yet.  Maybe try to get myself a few extra seconds...maybe try for sub 3:10...  I don't know.  I haven't run since Wineglass so lots of thinking to do (it could be ugly and a just get across the damn finish line type of race).  And to continue the trend, Chrissy takes 3rd overall at Wineglass.  Not too f'n bad for someone who is less than 6 months removed from a stress fracture. 

More to come...including at the very least a course PR at MCM!