Monday, November 2, 2009

Road to Hope Marathon - Hamilton - Nov 1/09

I did my second ever Road Marathon on Sunday. After 7 Ultras this summer I figured I had the distance thing figured out and have been working on adding some speed. My goal was a 3:30 finish!

Race day weather was about as good as you can get , light breeze and about 4C and cloudy and the expected high was 9C. These conditions were similar to Vulture Bait two weeks before and the Toad a month earlier. I was dressed in shorts , compression shirt , long sleeve tech T as well as my shell.

Race kit pickup was at Confederation Park on Lake Ont. We were bussed to a high school where the race started. Had about an hours wait before the race began. I sat and took it easy contemplating what I was about to do.

The race started at 08:15 , it took a half minute or so to hit the timing mat and there was allot of traffic making it difficult to nail the 4:55 pace . Things thinned out over the next few Ks and I was able to pick it up and then set the cruise control. By 8K I met up with the 3:30 pace Bunny. I was getting a little tired of checking my Garmin so settled into a pack of 20 or so running with the Bunny. I had never done this before and it was a really cool experience running in a group. We were into a light breeze but the group was so tight only the front runners were feeling it. 45 minutes in I did my first Gel . After 10K I was really starting to settled into the pace and the running with the group. 90 minutes in I gelled again , I had consumed one water bottle of heed and was feeling amazing. I really felt strong and was thinking about passing the Bunny but my goal was a 3:30 finish and there was allot of Ks ahead. So I stuck with the group , the running felt effortless ... breathing was relaxed, heart rate was good and I was a comfortable temperature. We passed the half way point a minute or two a head of schedule. At around 22K we headed down the escarpment on what seemed like and endless downhill. At the beginning of the descent I had a small stitch that came and went but I was feeling a bit of pressure in the bowl. The Bunny used the downhill to bank a little time. Passing the 24K mark one of the runners in the pack yelled out " we just did a 4:36 Km" . At that moment my day began to fall apart! At 25K my legs turned to stone , I couldn't believe it . My first though was that they were cold but this didn't happen in the two Ultras ran in similar conditions. Suddenly I was falling off pace , the legs were getting heavier and the Bunny was off in the distance and I was being passed like I was standing still. I ran the 27th and 28th K a minute off my planned pace. At 29K I stopped at a porta potty , tried to relive myself but nothing happened. Stopped again at another porta potty at 31.5 K and this time things were moving, what was going out had the same consistency as what was going in....I knew the day was over this point. I was pretty sure that the gels, heed and water I had been consuming were not being processed. This was definitely the hardest I have ever hit the wall, it felt more like the wall fell on me! I managed to run the next couple of Ks around a 6 minute pace but things were getting worse and I started walking at 34.2K. Over the last 7 K I walked 9 times for a total distance of about 2.65 km , when I did managed to pick it up the most I could do was a 6:00 pace.

So I finished in just under 4 hours with a chip time of 3:58:15 456 out of 813 finishers. The folks finishing around 3:30 placed in the top 200 so I watched 250 people pass me in the final 16K ... not fun!

So , what happened? I ran the first 42.2 of Vulture Bait 50K at a 6:00 pace ( I subscribe to a 1 minute difference between road and trail ) . Maybe the Toad 50K , Vulture Bait 50K and then Road to Hope was too much in 4 weeks! The weekend between the Vulture Bait and the Road to Hope I did a 10K park path ( almost trial) in 44:50. I pretty sure that it was all due to tummy trouble. I didn't exactly do my usual day before the race diet. 20 hours before I ran I had lunch at a popular burger place .... the meal that feels like a lump in the stomach after you eat it! At the time I though I may regret my choice and boy was I ever correct.

In spite of my problems I was an great day to be running. Coming in the last 4 K along Lake Ontario the Sun was shinning , it was 10C and there was so many people out cheering us on. A local school set up a cheering station and there was a live band! The course was amazingly flat with the exception of a long gentle downhill when you drop down the escarpment. If you are looking for a PB or a BQ this is the place. I really look forward to doing this one again next year!

So my "distance season" is over for this year. I wont be doing any Ultras or Marathons until April of 2010. I am going to keep my mileage up , 200-300K /month with a weekly long run. I am going to do heart rate and strength training through the end of 2009 then in January I am going to reintroduce the tempo runs. As winter gives way to spring I am going to stretch the long runs out to 40K.


Nature Girl said...

Oh man! My heeart jus dropped as I was reading that! You started off strong! Well, still an AWESOME finish!

Congrats on a great year Ron!

Nature Girl said...
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