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Posts Tagged ‘vermont city marathon’

The synopsis

If for some unknown reason you don’t want to read seven hundred words on my running of the Vermont City Marathon here it is in a sentence.

I ran VCM in 4:27:16 smashing my previous marathon PR of 5:45.

The Lead Up

Ah Vermont, the land of Ben and Jerry’s, beautiful vistas and some of the largest mountains on the East Coast. It is gorgeous, and a great place to run.

On Friday night, I flew up from D.C. meeting E at the Burlington airport and then taking a cab to Stowe, where we were staying. Slept for a good eight hours and then spent the day with my parents who also made the trip.  Went to the expo, sat around the house chilling, and basically freak out with nerves about the coming race. Saturday night E made a delicious pasta dinner and I was in bed by ten o’clock where I proceeded to toss and turn for hours.

Sunday I was up at five, had two eggs and toast and was out the door by six fifteen. I was at the race start by 7:30, and then proceeded to wait in line for the bathroom for twenty minutes before dashing to the start to line up with the 4:45 pace group and listen for the start of the gun.

The Race

I had promised myself that I would go out slow in this race, and I did… sorta. I stuck with the 4:45 pace group for the first couple of miles. About four miles in, the two leaders of the 4:45 group decided to split up, one of them would be doing a steady jog for the length of the race and the other would pick up some speed on the downhills in order to make up for time lost on the uphills (Vermont is really hilly). I went with the woman who was banking time on the downhills and then when the first uphill start around mile six, I just couldn’t bring myself to slow down. Instead, I went on ahead alone.

Somewhere around mile eight I met up with a woman and ran with her until around mile 8, where to my astonishment, I’d caught the 4:30 pace group. I was a little nervous that this meant I had gone too fast, too early, but decided to just say screw it and stick with this bunch. The 4:30 pace group leader was great, just the kind of talkative, supportive person I needed, especially in those last five miles. A pace group is an interesting thing, as the miles piled up a group of ten of us stayed with the leader and created a sort of peer pressure group which assured that none of us were going to slow down. Around mile twenty four, a guy named Nam and I took off ahead of the pace group leader and just gave it all of what little we had left. Nam clearly had more than I did and pull away from me at mile 25. I just kept pushing, trying to ignore the pain in my knees and hips and crossed the line at 4:27:16.

me, making my "that's right haters" face

Summing Up

Reflecting generally on the race, I’d say it is a fun run. It is hilly, with an especially steep incline around mile 15, some of the course got pretty lonely, with little crowd support, but maybe that was just because I am slow. The weather wasn’t bad until the last couple of miles where the temperature had climbed into the eighties. I enjoyed the race, but I don’t think I will do this one again. Next year, I’d like my spring marathon to be a little earlier to avoid the chance of high temperatures.

On my performance, I’m really very happy with my time. I had no idea going into it what I was capable of doing. I would have been happy with anything under 4:45, and going under 4:30 is really pretty fucking great for me.

Now, of course, I can’t stop thinking about going under four hours.

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100 days

I got up this morning, and like I have done every day for the last 100 days, I ran. It was just three miles in a muggy Washington D.C. morning, up the 16th street hill and back down. I didn’t went without headphone and thought about my race this weekend, about the time I have put in, and about how to approach the race.

With this marathon, I wish I had run more and done some speed work, but fearful of getting injured again, I kept the training to just light miles. Still, I had eight weeks over thirty miles a week and three of those were over forty. I have focused on nutrition on my long runs and think I have that locked down. My hip is for some reason sore, but I am hoping a couple of days of very light running, plus stretching and massage will help with that. Regardless, I will run this race as smart and as fast as I can, and here is how I plan to do it:

The Plan:

Perhaps the reason it has taken me so long to write up my plan for this race is that I’m just not sure what the best strategy is for doing my absolute best. Currently, here is what I am thinking.

The night before will be a traditional pasta dinner with E and family, I’ll probably have a single glass of wine and drink a ton of water. Before bed, I will lay out what I will wear the next day and ensure that I have everything I need: bib, shorts, sunglasses, singlet, shoes, socks, gels.  I’ll attempt to go to bed early, but will probably toss and turn most of the night.

Morning of: Coffee, toast and eggs at five am. Lots of water. This has been my breakfast before all my long runs in training and I think it has worked well.  I’ll try and use the john before I head out of the house around 6:00. I’m staying almost an hour from the race start, and I want to make sure I give myself plenty of time before the gun goes off.

Race: The race begins at 8:00 am. I plan on lining up with the 4:45 pace group, and will stay with them through the fifteen mile point at least. I WILL NOT GO OUT FAST. I WILL BE SMART.  I WILL LET PEOPLE WHO ARE CLEARLY IN WORSE SHAPE PASS ME.

Regarding nutrition, I’ll take the cliff shot blocks I have used in training; the first one 1 hour in and then 1 every 45 minutes after that. I’ll drink water, and not Gatorade, as often as feels necessary.

If after fifteen miles I feel like I have something more than 4:45 in my legs, I will try and pick it up. Ideally, I’d like to run this thing in closer to 4:30 than 4:45, but what I really don’t want to do is blow up and end up crawling the last part of the race. Under no circumstances will I let the 4:45 pace group get ahead of me. I KNOW I can finish this marathon in less than that, I just know it.

This race will be a learning experience for me. My last marathon, was a disaster, an I hope that by being properly trained, starting off slow and replicating the nutrition plan which worked for me in training, I can avoid major problems. I expect to make mistakes, but hopefully none which are too serious. My hope is to finish somewhere between 4:30 and 4:45 without injury or major incident. I’ll lay everything I have on getting this done in less than 4:45.

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