Thursday, February 25, 2010

Triage my run: RnR NO Preview

I was thinking the other day...Running an endurance race, specifically the last 25%, is a little like being a triage nurse/doctor. During a horrific tragedy, when there are more sick people than resources to treat them decisions have to be made. A doctor needs to quickly assess the situation and determine who is worth saving and who just needs to be 'comfortable' (read - morphine). The last 6 miles of a hard marathon, to me, are very similar. Stay with me here......

During the last 6 miles of a race, I usually try to take a mental snapshot of how I am doing:
  • Is my heart rate out of control (a sure sign that my wheels are about to fall off)?
  • Am I slouching and not picking up my feet (a sign that I am exhausted and my pace is about to slip)?
  • Does my stomach feel like squirrels are going to town inside (helloooo port a potty)?
  • Am I questioning why I run in the first place (I'm trying to mind-F*ck my way out of a good race)?
To rectify, each of these things takes energy - and probably more importantly brain power. Something that is normally in short supply on a good day. I have to triage my run. Depending on the goals of the race I'll either try to fight each issue one at a time or I'll throw in the towel and succumb to the death march walk of shame. Maybe I slow down slightly to get my heart rate under control, thereby still saving overall time by not walking. Maybe I switch to drinking water to try to calm my stomach. Realistically I can't do them all at once, so I need to make choices. That is what I plan on doing during Rock and Roll New Orleans.

The plan:
On my original plan, this race was a B race. That is, plan to finish at or just slower than my current PR (3:29). But, this race may be a A race mascaraing in a B race's clothes. That said, I am planning on lining up just behind the 3:20 pacer and running a 3:23 pace for as long as I can. Based on my long run pace of 8:20 or so I think I can do it through 23 miles +/-. Of course, that last 5K may be a bit of a challenge.

It is interesting to look at the course elevation profile. First, really competitor group? Excel graphing is the best you can do? The other thing that strikes me is that the highest elevation that we go to is forty feet. FORTY feet above sea level. It isn't a wonder that there are so many water pumps all over the city. I got a little worried when I first looked at the chart, but then realized that I was only bouncing up and down 10 feet. You know, I can do that.

The Goals:
Here are the details of my goal levels. Anything above a C goal is considered a great race. But, i'll be shooting for the B goal since this is officially a B race. (I like my goals like I like my electronics...complicated)

Fun Goal: get a GOOD race picture. I looked like I was dying @ RnRAZ.
C Goal: Sub 3:40
B Goal: Sub 3:30 (Current PR is 3:29:29)
A Goal: Sub 3:25

So, there it is - letting it all hang out.

Next time you are sucking wind - triage your own run. What are your race goals? Can you fight through some of the issues while succumbing to others and still have a good race? Use your resources, know your body (not that way, gross), and know when to push and know when to walk it out.

15 comments:

BrianFlash said...

That race elevation chart is absolutely hilarious!

Talk about vertical scale being exaggerated...

aron said...

haha i was looking at the chart the other day - they need to calm that thing down!

GOOD LUCK this weekend!!!! you're going to do great :) my friend tara who i always run with is doing the half there!!!

ShutUpandRun said...

I was just wondering at which of those purple peaks on the race course you get to stop and have you Hurricane drink.

Julie said...

Hi Adam,
I think that you are going to do great at R&R!! I love how you say that you are a A runner wearing a B racers clothes:) Hopefully that will work out for you...it did not for me:( I had high hopes but didn't train worth a lick!! You have been training hard so I am sure you will be a speedy guy!!

BTW: I e-mailed you my address this morning...let me know if you got it:) Happy Thursday Adam!!

Morgan said...

So excited for you! Can't wait to hear how you killed it out there! Good luck Mister and will anxiously be awaiting my finish so we can swap times! :)

The Sean said...

I hope you've been doing enough hill work;)

Enjoy your race and be sure to smile for the camera:)

RunningLaur said...

1.) The fiance and I are watch a Law and Order rerun with Doogie Howser featured as the killer at this very moment. Good timing.

2.) I can't believe the quality of that elevation map. Seriously? They have so much moolah and that's the best they've got? At least you won't have to push through hills!

3.) 'When my heart rate is out of control' so it hits what, like 400? Embrace that hummingbird power and rock the race!

RunnuRMark said...

Now that is one crazy flat race. The only question is have you accounted for the extra weight in beads that you'll be accumulating along the way? I'm guessing you'll get a few since you're "letting it all hang out" and all. Good luck bud.

Adam Culp (Crazy Floridian) said...

Good luck at the event!

This is a very interesting way to look at race strategy. I could have used this thinking at Miami a few weeks ago. (I did well and hit my B goal, but missed my A goal simply because I have poor triage.)

Rio said...

That is a misleading elevation chart! It looks scary until you read the scale. Have a great time in NO! You are going to Kill It!

Running Through Phoenix said...

Adam, get on a 35 foot ladder and practice jumping off. Do this fast 2x this week and then a long slow jump the day before the race. That should get you ready.

Pat said...

I bet they have a bunch of clearance RnRAZ shirts at RnRNO. Don't forget your VISA, because at RnRNo they only accept. . .

Glenn Jones said...

Great post! The whole idea of triaging the race is genius! This post is now favorited. I will be visiting this again the day before my next marathon.

Good luck this weekend. BTW - I think they should exaggerate the Y-axis of the graph a little more. Sure looks mean!

Lisa said...

Your triage theory makes total sense!

Good luck and smile at the cameras!

inspiREDtorun13 said...

Your triage idea also seems like a good distraction from negative thoughts...before you even take action on an area of focus.

This is really interesting. I'll keep this in mind. The longer I run the more ADD my mind gets. (And I only do halves.) Thanks for sharing!