Monday, September 14, 2015

Erie Marathon: 3:24:37 PB. BQ. Going to Boston!!!

This blog has been very silent over the summer training session for two reasons:

1.  I've been spending so much time running, I haven't had a lot of time to keep the blog up-to-date, and
2.  There wasn't really a lot to talk about anyway.  We did the 50-70 mile program from Advanced Marathoning and while the miles were long, they weren't particularly hard.  Really, the average post would be the distance and average pace.  Not very exciting.

So I'll chat about the paces we did from the program.

Ultimate Goal Time: 3:28 or better in order to qualify for Boston
Race Goal Time: 3:25
Training Goal Time: 3:23

So we were going to train as if we were targeting a 3:23, run the race as if we were going for a 3:25 finish, and if everything fell apart, we'd hope to hold onto a 3:28 finish time.

I say "we" because Bernie LeForte agreed to pace me for the training and the race itself.  It was a real bonus having him join me for those long runs because they would have been pretty boring running solo.

Within the Advanced Marathoning program, there were several types of pace:

Long Run (10% slower than marathon pace) 5:19  per kilometre
General Aerobic (15% slower than marathon pace): 5:31  per kilometre
Recovery Pace: 5:31  per kilometre
Half-Marathon Race Pace: 4:44  per kilometre
5K Race Pace: 4:12  per kilometre

For the race itself, we were looking for a 4:51 or 4:52 pace per kilometre to meet the 3:25 goal.

On race day, the conditions were near-perfect.  The weather was overcast with a temperature of between 14 and 16 degrees C.  There was a strong wind from the north, but it was really only a factor for about 2 kilometres of the 21.1 km (two loop) course.  The sand dunes and trees provided excellent cover from the elements on race day.  And the course was as flat as you could ever ask for.

Here are my splits:

Split Time
1 04:51.9
2 04:50.0
3 04:49.0
4 04:49.7
5 04:48.8
6 04:49.1
7 04:52.1
8 04:51.4
9 04:49.7
10 04:51.6
11 04:49.1
12 04:46.6
13 04:52.4
14 04:51.2
15 04:50.3
16 04:50.1
17 04:54.2
18 04:50.3
19 04:50.2
20 04:50.5
21 04:51.3
22 04:47.7
23 04:49.7
24 04:51.9
25 04:50.9
26 04:51.3
27 04:58.4
28 04:48.6
29 04:51.2
30 04:48.4
31 04:51.3
32 04:50.9
33 04:51.3
34 04:55.8
35 04:54.7
36 04:50.3
37 04:51.5
38 04:53.8
39 04:47.0
40 04:50.8
41 04:42.0
42 04:46.7
43 01:15.4

Remarkably consistent, and during the last 4 km, I decided I could ramp up the pace a bit.  That last time -- 1:15.4 -- was for the last 300 m. of the course and was at a pace of 4:11/k (5K race pace)!

Bernie developed groin cramps at around 17 miles so he told me to go on ahead and keep the steady pace, which I did.  He finished about 3 minutes behind me.

For hydration, I took Gatorade (or whatever it was) at almost ever hydration station (every mile).  For carbs, I made up several tubes of my potato, honey and salt concoction and had one tube (half a large "Mr. Freezee" tube) every 4 miles, other than at Mile 20 where Jenny had handed me a baggie with orange slices and pineapple which got me through the rest of the race.

My challenge in my previous marathons was leg cramps -- particularly my left hamstring -- starting at between 15 and 16 miles (24-25k).  In this race, though, my training allowed me to get through those kilometres unscathed.  There was a bit of a slow patch at km 27 (I just wasn't paying attention to the pace) and then at kms 34 and 35 (headwind).  I decided with 2 km to go, I could pick up the pace but with 800 m. to go, my left hamstring threw a cramp at me and I had to ease up a bit.  But when I saw Jenny at the finish and Coach John jumped out of the crowd to run me in, I picked up the pace a lot and finished strongly.

In summary, the training we did make this the easiest marathon I've ever done.  It was mind-boggling, really, how at 22 miles (when I'm normally just trying to hold the race together), I was thinking how steady and easy the race was going.  I didn't want to pick up the pace at all, lest I risk having hamstring cramps again, so I just followed the target pace that Bernie and I set out at the beginning.

And here are the overall results:

Thank Yous

Obviously, the biggest thanks has to go to Bernie LeForte, who got me onto the Advanced Marathoning program after his successful results, and who ran with me for almost all of the training runs and almost all of the marathon.  A huge commitment, and something only a true friend could do for another person.

Jenny was awesome and so supportive -- both physically on marathon day with supplies for the run, not to mention driving to and from Erie -- but also emotionally, supporting my 18 long weeks of training.  Knowing that the end goal was to be able to run Boston with her in 2016 gave me the motivation to get out there every day to work hard to reach the goal.

Coach John Ferguson was also there for us with advice and support to allow us to execute our Advanced Marathoning program within his regular marathon training program.  As he said at the start of this season's session, in the ideal world he'd have a custom program for each one of us depending on our abilities and goals.  Allowing us to be the renegades of the group by doing different speed work and slightly different tempo runs was great.

Pete Pfitzinger and Scott Walker wrote Advanced Marathoning and deserve thanks as well -- even though they have no idea that I even exist.  But I'm sure they wrote the book with people like me in mind -- who needed a plan to take them to the next level in their marathon running.  It worked.

And finally, many thanks to the whole Runners' Choice Marathon Training Group.  The emotional support of that group allows one to get through the tough runs, and the willingness of members to step up to keep me company on some of the (otherwise) solitary runs (Brian Watson, Dave LaDouceur, Brian Kilburn, Gord Ball) was a real benefit.


I'm going to have the smile on my face for days or weeks to come.  It was a long program and a lot of work, but the results were 100% worth it.

In April 2016, Jenny and I will be running the Boston Marathon together for the second time.