Tuesday, October 18, 2011

2011 Kansas City Marathon Race Report - 10/15/11

What’s a triathlete to do when the season is over and the next triathlon is 8 months away? A marathon, duh.

Kansas City Marathon – 10/15/2011

The KC Marathon wasn’t exactly on my calendar, I was barely eyeing the half. But, after running the North Face Marathon on late August and having stomach issues for the last 6 miles, I knew I could do better. Plus, I was having withdrawal from competing in races and needed a goal to keep focus on fitness during the off season. You know.. a carrot.

Here’s my take on how NOT to train and approach a marathon, and somehow I came through on the other side with no major issues.

By no means do I consider myself a super-athlete or more than your average age group endurance junkie. I don’t have stellar VO2 max (that I know of – never tested) and I produce lactic acid like everyone else. I think my best asset is consistency. Right now I don’t have the expendable time to add more training volume, but what time I do train is aimed at a goal. No junk miles. Tempo, sprints, hills, long and slow or whatever the goal, I don’t “run to run” or “bike to bike”. I mean, I like to work out, but when racing, you need a purpose for the workout.

That all goes into completing a marathon in decent time without running more than 16 miles in the previous 6 weeks and only running more than 16 miles twice in the previous year. Once was the North Face Marathon and one training run for the NF Marathon.

Am I asking for injuries? Probably. But I have off days often, stretch, weight lift and use massage to avoid injuries.
Am I crazy? Debatable but I can hold a full time job and keep my driver’s license.
Am I addicted to endurance racing? Yes.

My goal was to negative split the course from the half mark to finish. At the 13.1 mark I hit 1:58 (started slow, didn’t dodge and weave at the start through the crowd, paced myself and took it easy). I finished 3:52. With fancy math, my second half time was 1:54. Negative split, yes. Is 4 minutes impressive? Debatable. It’ll work for now. I wanted to finish and not feel like death for the last 4 miles. I was also attempting to mitigate the “wall” at mile 20. Lucky me I forgot about the 2.5 mile uphill at mile 20 that KILLED me.

Compared to the same course last year I PR’d by a minute and some change. You can’t cry about that. Better yet, you can’t complain at all with what training I did get in. I made a point to hit all long runs but did not get all of the shorter runs during the week in. Over sleeping, poor time management, pick your excuse, but they didn’t happen like I wanted them to. Oh well. I wasn’t going to win anyway!

The other HUGE issue was the stomach issues I was having with long distance events. Over the course of this season, overcompensation was the name of the game as I was ingesting too much gel, liquid nutrition (other than just water) and energy bites. My staple for training is Push Endurance mixed with GU powder. It works great for long training runs and I don’t use gels for training runs. Only makes sense I should be ok without them on race day. I alternated the my home brew with Gatorade at each aid station and usually walked to entire aid station. The only gel was 45 minutes before the race start and none after that.

Parting thoughts:
  • I wonder what I can do with proper training… 3:30? Better?
  • While I’d love to drop major time year to year from races, bettering last year with less training is more than a lot of people can hope for.
  • Gels – you don’t need them with proper liquid nutrition.  Now, would I do that for an Ironman, probably not but I would stay pretty close to that on the run.
  • Last year around mile 23 I had to stretch my hip flexors every mile. I wasn’t cramping, but my strides were not efficient at all. This year, I didn’t have to stop outside of the aid stations or the two pee stops I made. Improvement with less training!
  • Was it stupid to run 2 marathons 6 weeks apart? Na. It worked out, but it was a tightrope walk to stay healthy and get the training miles in.
  • When you are single, post race recovery might involve a nap, some alcoholic beverages, stuffing your face with your favorite foods, laying on the couch and channel surfing until you nod off. When you have a family with little kids and a household to stay on top of, recovery includes finishing the floor trim in your garage entry, moving storage stuff to your mom’s basement and yard work while trying to keep the kids alive and happy. Certainly keeps you from getting stiff from sitting on one place for too long! 
  • The course, the event setup, packet pickup, expo, aid stations, volunteers, food at the finish line… almost everything was spot on. The management had changed to KC Running company and I was waiting to see if there would be transition pains, but I didn’t see any seams rip. Transition was flawless and the finisher tech-long sleeve shirts were pretty sweet!
  • The guy I spotted at the post race area with a "50 marathons in 50 states" shirt was impressive.  Old guy, but impressive.  The scarier part, he hand wrote in "5 time finisher" below the logo.  That's 250 marathons, 6,550 miles just on race days.  Seriously?  And you can still walk after that?
Good job to Mark and Scotty as well and all other KC blogger type peeps that ran the race!

My friend, Rob, post packet pickup.  He ran KC Marathon... 10 YEARS AGO!  welcome back to the half!  He wasn't smiling like that at mile 7...

Sweet finisher shirt!  This is the sleeve!

Visited the wife at her work to being her lunch after the race.  This was the crane dangling over the road.  Is it just me or does that look unsafe?

Entry improvements DONE!  Trim in!

More STUFF to Mom's basement!  More room for more couponing trips.

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