3:10:50…

That sounds like rock and/or roll. ~ Reverend Lovejoy

The Rock -n- Roll Denver marathon was a blast. Going in, I knew I hadn’t fully prepared for a fast marathon so was a bit unsure about how I would perform. Bounced back and forth about what time to target and, in the end, settled on running with the 3:15 group and then playing the finish by ear. Turns out, that was a decent, albeit conservative, plan.

Jammed down to Denver early on Sunday to swing by Caleb and Sierra’s place. Sierra had graciously offered to take Caleb and me to the start so we wouldn’t have to deal with the parking mess which is Downtown Denver. Caleb was teed up for a fast 1/2 marathon and yoinked a 1:32 or so. It was chilly at the start but not too terrible and I warmed up a bit on the grass in front of the capitol building before finally settling into corral #1 minutes before the start. After a poorly rendered version of the National Anthem (seriously, learn the words if you are going to get up in front of thousands of people and sing), we were escorted to the start line and were off.

The 3:15 group was paced by Mike, a 2:20 marathoner from Ohio so cruising us around at a 3:15 pace was not going to cause him any troubles. We started out slowly… just letting the group warm up during the first mile then slowly picked up the pace. By about mile 4, I needed to pee really badly and rolled off the front of the group to give myself enough padding to catch back up once done with my pit stop. I timed it perfectly and was able to rejoin the group around mile 5 as we entered City Park.

At this point, we were back on the 3:15 target pace and I was feeling fine. Pretty much zero effort to this point as we did a couple laps in the park through mile 8 or so. We exited the park, did a convoluted out/back on 17th then headed over to Cheesman for a quick lap around this iconic Denver park.

Upon exiting Cheesman, I was still feeling solid and decided to pick up the pace a bit and see what I could do. I rolled off the front of the 3:15 group around mile 12 and picked up the pace a bit as I crossed the half-way mark in 1:36:20 (or so). I pushed the pace through mile 15 where I started catching runners targeting 3:10. By the time we entered Washington Park and mile 17, I’d caught and settled in with a small group of people running at about a 3:09 finish pace.

This group thinned out considerably to two of us as we exited Wash Park (mile 20). At this point, I was still feeling like I could hold our 7:00 pace and we were staying right on target for a sub 3:10 finish. We headed north up Logan then turned onto 1st at which point I started to struggle to keep the pace. Based on our numbers, we should have had a decent buffer at this point and I lost contact with my fellow runner as we turned onto 5th and my leg speed began to fall off considerably. Miles 23 to the finish were less than awesome as I tried to hold on for a 3:10 finish. By mile 24, I knew that wasn’t going to be an option any longer so I just cruised in. Rach ran along with me for about the last mile, which was thoroughly kickass and I crossed the finish line with a new PR of 3:11:50.

Though I would have loved to uncork a sub 3:10, I was extremely excited about this finish time. It qualified me for Boston (which, unfortunately filled up in 8 hours), beat my previous PR by 12+ minutes, and put me in sniffing distance of running a sub 3-hour race in the future. Given that I didn’t really even train much for this event and quickly made the transition from dirt to road, I am very pleased with my performance and what this bodes for future races. I finished 89th overall (out of 2894 participants) and 8th in my age group. Not. Too. Shabby.

~stubert.

Prep…

Prior planning prevents piss-poor performance. ~ Anon

Well, with a week to go before the Denver Marathon, I have one more medium-long run planned (today, 12M) then I’ll just get my taper on for the remainder of the week. I am guessing I could really use a couple more weeks to prep for this puppy but I suspect the RD won’t be willing to push the start date back for me so I’ll just make due with what I have.

Bought a pair of Brooks Green Silence flats to try out. I ran in them last week and am taking them out again today. Initial tests were quite positive so I am excited to see how I like them during the longer efforts. Scott Jurek used these during his record-breaking 24-hour event this past summer, in case you were wondering.

Work has been steady (read: hectic) this week but I managed to get in all my runs. Rach and I even got to go to the Met in HD performance of Das Rheingold yesterday, which was gorgeous on a whole host of levels.

I am off to Boulder to get my run in. Have a great Sunday.

~stubert.

Nuts…

I remember when, I remember I remember when I lost my mind ~ Gnarls Barkley

This week was crazy nuts. Tons of work to get done. So I signed up to run the Golden Gate Canyon 1/2 Marathon this Sunday and then pulled the trigger on the Denver Marathon on October 17th. Yes, there is something wrong with me.

I also ran with Caleb twice (tempo run last Saturday and then 800 repeats on Tuesday) and hooked up with the Denver Trail Runners group on Thursday which was pretty awesome. Those guys are fast. Hoping this will tee me up well for the Denver race and get me moving in the right direction to try for a sub-3-hour marathon in the near future.

I’ll let you know how tomorrow goes. Hoping to get in under 2-hours which would be a PR for that course.

~stubert.

Marathons really hurt…

But Grandpa, what about my asthma? ~ Spaulding Smails

First of all, marathons on pavement are just brutal (as far as I know) and the Denver Marathon was no exception. Now that I have that off my chest, here is a full on race report for all you race report lovin’ fools out there.

I am a little too wrecked to provide a Citizen Kane-style non-linear story line right now so we’ll just do this the old fashioned way. Work for you guys?

Get up, stand up…

The alarm clock is a wonderful creature. Even though mine has been replaced by my iPhone (another wonderful creature), I have to give some shouts to the little fella that helps a brotha get up at 4:00 in the a.m. So up, eat, drink and out the door to downtown Denver.

I parked at GroundFloor Media Global Headquarters to save the hassle of trying to find parking closer to the event. Changed into my garb (no dolphin shorts, thank you very much) and then walked the three blocks over to the 16th Street Mall to catch the early morning shuttle up to the Capit0l area. Did you know that the johns at the Bus Station don’t have doors? True story. So now you know that. Which is nice.

So the official marathon information claimed that shuttles would be running as early as 5:00 but apparently, they were sadly mistaken. So I got an unscheduled warm up by walking the length of the Mall. Not a big deal, probably a mile and a half or two miles.

Got to the event with plenty of time to spare. Watered the bushes in front of the Capitol building (just call me Groundskeeper Stu) then went to get into position with the rest of the wacky people. The corral was completely full by the time I got there but fortunately, the event is chip timed so you officially start when you cross the start/finish, vs. when the gun goes off. Sweet!

And away we go…
The plan for the day was to take it fairly easy for the first 6 miles or so. Since I got stuck way back behind my target time (and my target time for the first 6 miles), I picked up the pace a little bit until I was slightly in front of the Clif Bar 4:00 pace crew and settled into a comfortable pace. The early going was a bit hectic with everyone all piled together (relay people, half marathoners and those doing the full) and we ran past Lodo’s landmarks (The Convention Center, The Can 1 and 2, back over by the Capitol) then headed out to City Park. Things got a little tight on the first part of that loop but quickly spread back out again as we made our way to Cheesman Park (about 9.5 miles in).

By this time, my eyeballs were floating and the first batch of Porta Potties had a line a mile long (no racers, I may add) so I kept going and decided that I would have to find a tree and hopefully not frighten any children. Just as we were leaving the park, 5 vacant johns appeared miraculously and lucky me, I only needed one of them!

Shortly thereafter, we said goodbye to the half marathon crew and I set out to start really pushing it in the attempt to run negative splits.
The Second Half…

So into the second half I ran, trying to keep a steady sub-8 pace. Mission accomplished for the most part. I really wanted to have a good segment between miles 17 and 22 and focused on my form during this chunk of miles. Unfortunately, the hammering I was taking running on pavement started to catch up with me after mile 20 and my times really started to suffer. The last 4-5 miles were excruciating with my feet really taking a beating along with my shoulders. I also started to experience some exercise induced asthma, something with which I have not had problems for many years. Weird. So the last several miles were fairly miserable and I lost a lot of positions in the last 20-30 minutes of the race. Not a big deal in the grand scheme of things. I was just happy to get it done.

Post event…

Wow, hammered crap does not do justice to how I felt immediately post race. I stopped after crossing the finish line to get my chip removed, grab some water and apples then started getting tunnel vision to the point where I had to lie down on the Capitol lawn for a bit. I then made my way very slowly back down the Mall (finally catching a shuttle) and back to my car where I changed and headed home.

My left shoulder was hurting so much I could barely lift my arm, my feet were really quite sore and my legs were tight and sore. Probably pretty standard for pounding pavement for 26 miles. Oh and there is a bobcat in our yard just kicking it on a rock. But I digress. My blistered heels didn’t give me any troubles, which was nice and I never really pushed my heartrate to their upper limits. My abdomen hurt a little (and quite a bit afterward) but not so much during the event that I felt like it was hindering my performance. My troubles seemed to be abuse-based which is something I may be able to work on by focusing a lot more on running pavement. I’ll get some advice and see. All in all, a great event and a really fun day.

Official results:
Chip time: 3:41:31 (2:30 faster than my goal)
Overall place: 348 out of 1719
Place in class: 37 out of 188
Overall pace: 8:27
Negative splits? Negatory.
Motionbased data

Caleb finished in 3:22:36 for 145th place and 30th in his class. Way to go Caleb!

Ok. Back to feet up, brain off.

~stubert.

Tomorrow’s the first of two. Weekly wrap-up…

Let’s get it on. ~ Marvin Gaye

Well, tomorrow’s the big day. Or at least the first of two scheduled big days. Though I am very excited and psyched to see what I can do, I am treating tomorrow’s event as a training race/test drive of sorts. After talking with Caleb today, I plan to take things really easy for the first 6 miles or so, then pick things up and see how it goes.

Here’s the weekly summary for October 12-18:

  • Sunday (10/12): Treadmill and swim, 11 miles, 1:32 (if memory serves). I let the day get away from me and the weather was shitty so I just hit the treadmill to run a portion of the scheduled 15 (12 at pace). Actually, I felt pretty great. So that was nice. Swam for about 1/2 hour afterwards.
  • Monday (10/13): Lift and row, 1 hour. Hit the gym for a bit. I was going to swim too but the pool was full of racer kids and I didn’t feel like schooling them (read: getting my ass handed to me by an 8 year old). Also went to another doc who said my abdominal problems were muscular vs. organ-based. So two weeks blown on anti-biotics. Good for me.
  • Tuesday (10/14): Recovery run in Boulder, 5 miles, 00:42. Had to squeeze in a run between appointments so just hit the Boulder Creek Trail then did some 400 repeats on the High School track. Did 3 repeats which felt pretty awful, really but I am not a fast man. Otherwise, felt okay. Stomach bugging me a bit but my second appointment was with Mark at In Motion Rehab who diagnosed my problem located in my psoas muscles. So he crammed his fingers through my stomach and, after several minutes of excruciating pain, told me that things would be better soon. Ya know, he was right.
  • Wednesday (10/15): Test-drive, 7 miles, 00:56. Had to be in Denver for meetings so I jammed down to City Park to do my pre-race test run on the race course. Felt a little crappy for the first couple of miles then got into a groove and logged several sub 8s in a row. Overall, feeling pretty solid, which is a good way to feel.
  • Friday (10/17): Recovery trail run, 5-miles with strides, 00:47. Just hit the trails around the house. Didn’t feel great but was still working out some of the kinks from some fast running this week so with some stretching and the post-run ice-bath, think I’ll be in good shape come Sunday.
  • Saturday: Was supposed to do a 4-miler today but had to jam down to Denver to pick up my race pack and ended up with blisters on both heels. Ha. How much does that rule? I rode the motorbike down and honestly am not sure what happened that resulted in blisters. I have had these motorbike boots for at least 3 years and have never had problems in the past. So Rach picked up some blister stuff and we’ll give it the old college try tomorrow. This will be great practice for Leadville.

Total mileage for the week: 28 miles
Total time for the week: 5:15 ish

So I have been eating carbs like there is no tomorrow and resting, watching movies, etc. Have to be in Denver by 6:15 tomorrow so I’ll be getting up very early to whack down some breakfast and get my run on. Though the event is chipped, there apparently is not any real-time tracking but I’ll let you know how it goes ASAP.

~stubert.