Monday, January 16, 2012

Rock and Roll Arizona Marathon Race Report!

Normally for a race report post, I'd save the exhausted, spread eagle picture until the end.  But, for this race report, it deserves to be front and center.  Afterall, this race turned out to be a combination of the exhaustion on my face, the look of concern on the little girl behind me, and the mid-chew look of disgust from the girl's mom. (Who ARE they judging anyway?  They are lucky I didn't drop 'trow right there and swap out my sweat soaked pants.) I said in my race preview that poor races make for spectacular blog post.  Well, prepare to be amazed!

Time: 3:30:55
Pace: 8:02
Place: 428/3863
AG Place: 61/335

The race weekend itself actually started on Thursday.  I'm friends with the Social Media lead at the Competitor group who told me about a press conference about the race.  All of the major networks were there.  I tweeted that I would photobomb the taped coverage for $10, and I had some takers, but I had to get back to work and I didn't want running away in dress shoes to screw up my feet.  Next time I suppose.

Tempe, AZ mayor Hugh Hallman talking about how he was going to run the 1/2 course twice

On Friday, I actually took the entire day off to do the expo how expos are supposed to be done.  2.5 hours of free sample, blogger friend meeting, running skirt trying on good times!  The Rock and Roll group REALLY knows how to put on great expos and this time they didn't disappoint.  No sooner did I walk in the door that a local blogger and Team in Training coach Mike tracked me down.  We chatted about race strategy, the new course, pre-run pooping, and all things running.

I also saw some of the Phoenix blogger crew!  Lauren was working the Asics booth, Adrienne and Demi were running the full.  It was good to connect with them and give them the guilt trip about attending the Freeze Your Thorns Off 5K virtual race in person.  Fortunately, I think it might have worked for 2 out of the 3!

I promise I didn't smell.  But I guess Adrienne thought that Lauren smelled better?

Finally I was able to meet up with my friend Maya the previously mentioned Social Media director for Competitor.  She is the real person behind all of the Rock and Roll facebook pages and twitter accounts.  We chatted about the logistics of putting on a race like this - mostly because I'm a huge dork and love to get into stuff like that. I'm going to team up with her soon and get some cool posts out that are behind the scenes.

The one and only thing that was missing from the expo? A slip and slide lubed up with GU.  BEER!  Well, and wine.  What the crap?!  I had gone mostly alcohol free the week leading up to the race and was looking forward to splurging 2 to 3 oz at a time.  In fact, I was going to see how long it took before they realized that I had already been by!  Nothing says "classy" like getting buzzed on 2 oz of beer at an expo! All all of my scheming was for naught - no beer to be found.

Sugar sugar everywhere.  Too bad that it didn't meet up with some yeast first

One of the Biggest Loser dudes was at the expo as well.  I took one of those corporate sponsored pictures where they email you it afterwards but it hasn't shown up yet. I'm sure I'm now on their mailing list though to receive a million messages about their foundation......not that I am bitter. Sometimes I feel like these deals are a bit like MarathonFoto and their incessant emails. "It's Martin Luther King day! What better way to celebrate than to order a picture of yourself at mile 22 of your marathon?"

Since it was a bit slow at the time, I was able to chat with him (I'll look up his name as soon as I get my picture in my email.....again, not that I am bitter) for quite a while about the show, how he was able to make a living post-show (he is on the road 41 weeks a year!), and keeping his weight off. Joking aside, he is one of the more public outputs of the show and I do think it is amazing that he has been able to stay fit.

Finally, right as I was walking out the door, a gloss black mannequin caught my eye.  It was covered completely in a KT Tape competitor:

It was only upon closer inspection that this mannequin was VERY VERY anatomically correct.  I am not going to even circle it, I'll just let you see for yourself.  Of course, I assumed that this implied other "benefits" from the tape so I immediately bought a dozen.

Marathon "stuff" for race day. Whomever said that running didn't take a lot of stuff was WRONG.  Either that, or they were running naked like my KT Tape covered friend above.

Really quick - if you take a look at the above picture, you can see a custom bib that Maya made for me to pin on my back.  While it says "follow me" as you'll find out when you read below, most people were reading that as they were blowing past me at mile 22.

The race!!

Miles 0-6.5 (Hurry up and wait, and then RUN) - 7:12 pace
I arrived at the start of the full marathon pretty early and settled into my normal routine.  A bit of gatoraide, some water, and a banana.  I went for a quick warm up jog and settled into the corral - only to find that the race was delayed 30 minutes. UGH.  I understand why they did it - a bunch of racers were stuck in traffic and they only had specific windows during which they could delay the race because of train schedules.  A delay of 5 minutes meant a minimum delay of 30 minutes so that the course wouldn't be blocked off by a train.  Delay aside, the starting line was really well organized and surprisingly not crowded - mostly because the half marathoners were starting at a different spot.  This was a GREAT change that RnR made for this race this year.

Anyway, once we got going things were great!  I was right on my race plan starting out with 7:30 pace and then settling into 7:10 pace. My legs settled out around mile 3 and I started to cruise.  Full steam ahead!

Miles 6.5-13.1 (Isn't Arizona supposed to be flat?) - 7:16 pace
The course was changed slightly this year to be straighter with fewer turns and therefore faster.  However, I had modified my original race plan slightly from what I previously thought because of the ever so slight incline from mile 5 to mile 12.  Over the course of those miles, we gradually gained 300 feet or so.  Instead of pushing down to 7:00 pace I decided to stay at 7:15 pace as not to get my HR too high.  I executed this great and was right on pace with  a 13.1 split of 1:34:50.  Right on track for a 3:10 finish!

However, one thing started to happen right around mile 5 that I was afraid was going to come back to haunt me.  I started to get the puke-burps.  You know, that feeling of your stomach being WAYY too full and just a little bit of stomach "stuff" coming back up. (Luckily, no chunks)  FUN.  As a result, I couldn't stomach as much liquid as I knew that I needed.  I honestly tried to put it out of my head - not wanting to screw up a race before the half, but looking back deep down I knew that I needed more electrolytes.

Running at mile 13. I can only assume my heel strike foot leveled out to land with perfect form

Miles 13.1-20 (Scrreeeeeetch.....stop) - 7:28 pace
Around mile 15 I saw Trisha Miller (elite runner who I interviewed - she was at mile 19) looking GOOD.  I knew that she had to have been leading because she had a bike escort.

Anywhoo, I was continuing to click away miles but I felt a strange tingle in my pants quads.  It wasn't until mile 17 that my quads said "Hey, let's take a break from all of this running nonsense. It's a great day! We should take a walk and spend 20 more minutes out here".  And with that, my quads locked up. Full stop.  When they locked up I was still on pace for a 7:15 finish.  But, as anyone who has ran a marathon knows, until you are across the finish line, anything can happen.  I'm trying to decide in my head which would be worse - having to poop on course or quads locking up. Based on the spectacular times I put in for the last few miles, I'm going to say that pooping would be much much better.

Miles 20-26.2 (suck suck suck suck suck suck) - 8:03 pace
As I look at my garmin stats, by mile 20 I was still on 3:13 finish pace.  I had ran one mile of 8:30 and one mile of 8:20 but overall I was still doing decent.  I stretched out my legs and was able to power through the sinking feeling of a race slipping away.  But around mile 21, the wheels officially came off and I felt like I walked more than I ran.

We've all done it before, first you walk the aid stations, but then before you know it the aid station was 30 seconds ago.  Start to run again but your legs won't move right and the run feels awkward.  In fact, the pain in my legs screwed with my gait enough that once the race was done my foot and knee were VERY sore (thankfully, not as sore today).  I turned in a few 10:30 miles and even an 11:11 mile.  Good for some, but 4 minutes off my goal pace.  Not exactly how to set a PR.  I could elaborate more, but essentially I death marched it in from 21 on.  Lots of walking, grabbing at my legs in pain, you know the drill.

As I look back, I think that there are a few things that lead to my disaster of a race:

  • Puke burps.  Where did THOSE come from?
  • Not enough electrolytes because of burps
  • Hotter than normal temps.  I had planned for about 10 degrees cooler w/ long sleeves. Should have trusted my instincts
  • Should have eased up even more on the hill between 6-12.  I still wonder if a few seconds here or there could have at least delayed cramps

Overall, I am happy with my performance through 18 or even 20 miles or so.  But, after that I become VERY frustrated that my body didn't cooperate like I wanted it to.  The Rock and Roll group puts on a solid, consistent race with lots of amenities.  I think that I could have benefited from some Endouralyte tablets and better fueling.  In the back of my head, I do wonder if my puke-burps were due to the level of effort that I was putting out or if it was due to some other reason.  If I am being true to myself, it is probably a combination of both. But, all are things that I can adjust and move forward with!

Drinking a Michelob ultra skinny can post race
I'm assuming the only way to drink beer like that is with your pinky up?

Remember the interview I did with Trisha Miller? Yeah SHE WON!  She broke 2:50 and cruised to a win by 40 seconds.  She said that she received a great Sally Meyerhoff trophy.

Since I always get shit for not posting, here it is!  I like how it isn't obnoxious but is still high quality. Of course, the irony is that it was cloudy for the entire weekend.  Valley of the sun!

So, what is next?  Eat my weight in ice cream while crying in the tub.  I'm not 100% sure.  I am going to do a late spring marathon to redeem myself but I haven't 100% locked down where it will be.  I have a few on a short list (WI?  MT?) but I haven't fully committed to pulling the trigger. I'll be the first to admit that I need to do it SOON. I'm very much goal driven and without something on the horizon, 10 milers turn into 7 milers and 18 mile long runs turn into 12 mile strolls around the neighborhood.


kilax said...

Congrats! I love that your marathon pace is my 5K pace. LOL :)

It sucks so much that your quads locked up. I hope that never happens again!

And I hope everyone made it to the start of the race! Eeks! I would be nervous if I was stuck in traffic on my way to a marathon!

X-Country2 said...

I'm so bummed for you. Stupid quad. You were definitely ready. But you will definitely be ready to crush it next race.

Jamoosh said...

Just because a beer is free, does not mean it is good...

3:30 is still an excellent run. You did well.

XL said...

You were blazin' for that first bit! Diving into a Denny's to take a crap would've set you back by only 5 minutes (remember, I speak from experience) so yeah... quad cramps trump pooping on the course. I am so sorry that happened. Love the lifted pinky...pip pip cheerio, old chap...and all that. Great effort and fab write up, Adam. You will hit that 3:10 before long :)

Michael said...

I think your time is excellent given all that happened to you on the course. My goodness...I wish I could string just a couple of your "normal paced" miles together. Great run and post!

Nobel4Lit said...

I know that lock-up (except in my calves)!! Great job finishing it in a timely manner in spite of that. Hurts like a @#^$%!!

Rain said...

Still a good time! Sorry those last miles were so bad!

Brian said...

Still an awesome time. Congrats!

I hope that next time your last couple miles are a lot more fun. From experience, it's frustrating out there when you're having to talk longer and longer walk breaks and it still seems like there's so long to go.

Running Through Phoenix said...

Great job Adam!

Lynette @ NetteOnHerWay said...

Congrats on a fast finish though it wasn't the time you wanted. It's still an hour faster than my best. Good for you!
I love pics of medals because I am a medal ho. That's why I run them. The bling.

Al's CL Reviews said...

You did a great job, especially if the last 10K was a death march. Sorry about those quads!

pensive pumpkin said...

I just want you to know how awesome it is that even after a death march you are still smiling. That attitude is what keeps me coming back to your blog.

The attitude, and the poop. Gotta love the poop.

Even when you have a terrible day, you are inspiring. Thanks!

Becka said...

I always say... it could have been worse. Sorry the race didn't go as planned for you!

Laura said...

Suck you didn't make the time goals but still a race to take away a lot of positives and what to learn froms.
Recover well!

Kate said...

This sounds very much like the marathon I ran last May, only much faster than mine. Something I really like about your blog is that you worked from being a "normal" runner to getting fast, and that you are so honest about the work and struggle to achieve the high goals you set for yourself.

C2Iowa said...

Congrats!! Excellent report and race.

I know that the race did not goes as you had planned - but you are still wicked fast as far as I am concerned.

btw - the move to wordpress has been slow but better.

Beth (i run like a girl) said...

What? No photos of you trying on running skirts? I'm disappointed...

Jeff Irvin said...

That sounded painful dude. The quad cramps are the worst - been there, done that and pray it never happens again.

Hey, you got the training in come to The Woodlands and run with Kevin (Ironmanbythirty) and me on March 4th.

It is a flat and fast course!

MotherRunner said...

WI!!!!!!! WI!!!! That's all I have to say about that.

Dave from Denver said...

So, remember that crazy guy who yelled hi to you at mile 17? Yeah, that was me. I could see you racking your brain trying to figure out who I was. But of course, we've never met so you have no idea who I am. But I lurk your blog every so often.

Sorry things didn't work out the way you planned, but such things happen. Good luck with the next one!

Quix said...

That stinks! I think your time is amazing regardless, but sorry you didn't meet your goal. I'm trying to work out why I get the tightness/cramping in the back of my legs when I hit double digits, so I literally feel your pain!

You'll get em next time!

Runners Fuel said...

I hate puke burps! Good job, though.

Gracie (Complicated Day) said...

Yeah, I hit the wall Sunday in my marathon...could have planned better. It's super hard to plan for cramps, though! I got a calf cramp once during a race and it was beyond awful and painful. Sorry!

Scallywag said...

Look you a) finished 26.2 freakin' miles in 3.30! and b) took a picture as unsettlingly sexual as the greeting image of this post. I dont think you have anything to be sad about!

Also if it makes you feel better I got major calf cramp today... During a six miler...

Missy said...

Sorry you had such a tough day out there. That stinks.
Way to tough it out though and bring it home faster than I could ever imagine.

Joanna said...

Oh man, I am SO sorry. I've been there. The wheels came off around mile 20 in my last marathon, also due to fueling issues (which I now know how to avoid!). It's a tough thing to handle. We'll all be cheering for you come spring!

P1t0 said...

With my first marathon coming up this year, reading this post makes me nervous about mine.
You may have not hit your goal time, but 3:30 is still ficken awesome!!! Congrats!!

Mike said...

Impressive you pulled off a 3:30 with serious leg cramping. That took physical and mental toughness. Congrats Adam!

Char said...

It was so nice that the mannequin went the full Brazilian for the expo.

Well done on the race. Every time you finish a marathon is a cause for celebration. And if you choose to celebrate while sitting sobbing in the bath and eating ice cream - well, each to their own I guess.

Kathy said...

Aw fuck, Adam. I thought you had this one in the bag. so sorry.

Sue's Ramblings said...

Egads! Egads! I hoped you've had your fill of ice cream by now...I would have had double the amount. Anyway, I'm still in awe of your timing and the training and hard work you put in. You'll definitely rock the next race.

Lisa said...

Sorry things didn't work out for you, but thanks for the great recap of the event. RNRAZ was my first half and someday I'd like to get back for the full.

Pam said...

Mich Ultra in a skinny can is my go-to everyday beer. LOL But I have NEVER held my pinkie up while drinking it.

They really delayed the race for some people stuck in traffic? Ummm... isn't this thing chip timed? So what if they were half an hour late starting.

There must have been something in the water in Phoenix and Houston. I guess you've already seen Jamoosh's recap? He was a victim of the vurp, too. Weird.

I notice TN is not on your short list of marathon possibilities... :P

Running Ryan said...

That sucks that your quads locked up you. My right locked up on me in NYC in November at mile 20. So i feel for you.

Try considering the Canton Marathon (in Canton Ohio) in June. I looks to be a good one.

Nina B said...

The Biggest Loser guy's name is Dan. I saw Tiffany and Hayden at the finish line, sorry we didn't stick around to see your finish! Nice work!

Katie said...

well, HRRMPH. this is such a tough distance to execute, and I'm sorry that you didn't have the day you wanted. it will come, though, just keep plugging away...and any day you can run 26.2 miles is def better than a day when you can't? I don't know, I'm not helping. I feel for you, though. hrrmph.

Caroline said...

sorry about the problems you had...the burping situation and not being able to drink...I am way too familiar with that and it is frustrating when the body rebels...but what a great time you had and with all the problems you had also...!

Christina said...

I completely didn't realize the winner Trisha, was the Trisha you interviewed. That is so cool.

Razz said...

Nice work! Replace "quads" with "IT band" and add about 1.5 hours to your time and you have my RNRAZ marathon.

Jacqueline said...

Hey there, so sorry about your quad. That really stinks.

Nice job gutting it out.

I think you and I ran identical final 10Ks, mentally at least. I felt the same way -- just walk the water stops, then find myself extending them for no reason (for me, no injury, just mental lameness).

Anyway, nice job out there.

Laura said...

I think the cause was a lack of alcohol. Remember, BEER = CARBS! Total mistake to stop drinking leading up to the race.

Speaking of, where do you find marathon expos that serve beer at them? I have never seen that.

Stephanie Anne said...

Nice job on the race. You did an awesome job of pushing through it all.


MtUnpaved said...

If your thinking a Montana Marathon checkout
It's the highest road marathon in the US, it's also gravel and beautiful and you could see bears, grizzly bears. Might as well get the full experience right? Happy running