Sunday, February 6, 2011

8 mile easy run, a rough morning for all...but one

I got in 8 easy miles this morning. I was able to pick up the pace a little bit half way but the first 4 were SLOW recovery miles. The run was my Rancho Vista Loop in just under 66 minutes.

The big news was Surf City Marathon this morning, and I eagerly awaited the news of my running friends results. As the news came in I realized it was a rough day out there. The conditions were nearly perfect (cool and foggy) but it just wasn't the right day I guess. It started with 3 DNS (Did not start).
Me you know.
Ron with a calf strain.
Zac with IT Band Friction Syndrome.

The rest were able to at least start the race.
Clay realized early on that it wasn't a good day. He was ill yesterday and dealt with early fatigue and cramping causing him to drop out.
Chuck and Lauren finished but about 10 minutes slower than planned (3:55) with Lauren struggling in the second half. It was still a PR for Lauren on her second marathon attempt.
Dale also struggled to maintain goal pace and came in about 10 minutes slower than he had hoped but still grabbed a BQ (Boston Qualifier) 3:27.
The bright star for the day was David who ran a 10 minute PR and BQ finishing in 3:35. This was also 10 minutes faster than his time at CIM 2 months ago! Congratulations David!

Hearing all these stories reminds me how tough the marathon can be even when well prepared. It also makes me appreciate the two sub 3 hour marathons that I have been able to run. Those two days were truly "stars aligned days." That's not to say that they were easy, but for some reason on that day I was able to push through the soreness and fatigue and finish strong, or strong enough.

Clay is a sub 3:30 marathoner, he just hasn't had "the right stuff" on race day. He could go out there in two weeks and run close to that on the aqueduct. I truly believe that.

Dale was in shape to run 3:15, he has put in the work, and has half marathon times to predict it, but today was not the day for one reason or another.

Ron set himself up with his training for a better marathon time on his second attempt at the distance but couldn't make it to the starting line healthy.

Lauren is Boston qualifier material, but again she wasn't today.

Part of the challenge of training for a marathon is the balance of training volume and intensity, to become as fit as possible and allow you to make it to the starting line healthy and ready. It is a tough thing to do as shown today. Even when you have put in all the work and are not injured you can get sick, have bad racing conditions, or just plain don't have it that day. Performing to your maximum ability is the biggest challenge with road racing of any distance. All your time proves is how good you were on that day (February 6th, 2011). Those PRs are those great days where everything was clicking and they stick with you forever. "What's your marathon PR?" What's your best 5k time?" When runners get together we ask each other these questions all the time. We tend to leave out the fact that the PR was set 10 years ago, like my 5k track PR. But I will always be a sub 3 hour marathoner, and I tell you what, I will never take those "stars aligned" days for granted. The last one of those "days" I came close to was last April in Charlotesville when I PR'd at the 10 mile distance in 62:01, and even that day wasn't perfect as I dealt with some achilles tendonitis. They don't happen very often, but that is one of the reasons I keep pounding the pavement, in hopes of experiencing one of those days again.

The great thing about running is, "There's always next time." We'll train harder and smarter, and race more efficiently.

See you next time!

By the way, I found a great new hill for hill repeats! The one right outside Dale's front door!


ecarson said...

Great post. Man you just captured the reality of the marathon. You just do not know. The great news is that there are other battles to fight. I have had such a day.

Ron said...

What about chuck? Injuries are a part of any athletic event. I'm just bummed it happened to me so close to race day. Great post. I'm waiting for a stars align type day.

Karl Stutelberg said...

Chuck was pacing Lauren, so it was a glorified long run for him. He looked pretty good that evening. He is running LA and OC this spring!

Chuck said...

The results from this years Surf City Marathon is exactly why I enjoy the marathon. It is such an unpredictable event. Based on the way that everyone was running back in early January I thought that Dale was a lock to break 3:20, Clay 3:35 and Lauren 3:45. The one person that I had my doubts about getting his Boston qualifier was David. Go figure! I was very confident at 21 miles that Lauren would break 3:45. She had just over 50 minutes to run 5.2 miles. Up to that point her slowest mile was a 9:07 and that included stopping to drink water. The 21st mile was run in 8:46. I knew from our many training runs that she likes to finish strong. I just never saw that wall coming!

This coming LA Marathon will be my 60th marathon. No matter what the outcome it will be another fun challenge on March 20th!

Dale Lister said...

excellent commentary Karl. Thanks....
And yes, I live on a pretty good hill. You can come over and we can run up it any time you like!