Monday, January 23, 2012

RR - Ocala

Race Report

Sun, Jan 22/12
Ocala Marathon
Ocala, FL
Marathon # 352

Rather than repeat a medical/health update please read the footnote added to my previous race report from Curacao.

Now that I am feeling ‘better’ I decided to stick with the proven and best way to get back into marathon shape – by running marathons! Luckily winter is race season in FL and there are lots of races to choose from that I can drive to. The 1st race after the cruise was Ocala. I have run this race many times and won my AG almost every time. It is a ‘hilly’ course in the horse country around Ocala.

Typically the weather is not great – either cold or rain or both – but this year the forecast was sunny skies and temps in the low 50s at the start. There were some minor changes to the course again this year as the race started and ended at the Paddock Mall in Ocala. There were
200 runners lined up for the 7 am start. It was the nicest weather I have experienced in the many years I have run Ocala – sunny and a pleasant 51 F at the start and warmed up to the mid 70s by the time I finished.

I wasn’t sure what to expect from the old bod? During the few long training runs (13 & 16miles) I completed after the cruise I could only run an 11-min pace and my legs were beat at the end of the runs? I knew that I couldn’t run the entire race so my initial race strategy was to run a cycle of Run 5 miles & Walk 1 min. However when I passed Mile 5 in 50:06 I was pleasantly surprised with the 10-min pace and I felt GOOD so I decided to revert back to the race strategy I used in the past to beat my old bod into race shape – run for the 1st 20 miles or until my legs tired and forced me to walk! As I approached a turn-around near Mile 10 I noticed an old friend Rick Karamptsos coming in the other direction. He was about ½ mile ahead of me. I decided to catch him!

I passed Mile 10 in 1:38:10 – I was running over my head for the shape (or lack of) I was in!
I passed the Half in 2:08:33 – a way ahead of my expectations. But I had no false illusions or fantasies. I knew the 2nd half would be much slower and involve a lot of walking! When I made a turn at Mile 16 for the 2nd and shorter 10-mile loop I could see Rick ahead of me and I finally caught him at Mile 18. We ran together for 1 mile but then I could feel my legs starting to tire and I had to watch Rick pull ahead as I struggled to continue running to Mile 20. I reached Mile 20 in 3:18:10 (still on a sub 10-min pace) but my legs were wasted! I started to walk! I set a strategy of Run 1 mile & Walk 1 min and was able to hold that cycle for the next 4 miles and average an 11:30 -min pace. However the final 2 miles have some really nasty hills and I had to struggle to keep the old legs shuffling and was forced to add a few extra minutes of walking on the hills. At that point I really didn’t care about time. I had exceeded my expectations and a few more minutes weren’t going to hurt my finish time!

I struggled across the finish line in 4:34:37. I didn’t win an AG award but I was very happy with my time and performance. It was a great ‘training’ marathon! I discovered that I am in better shape than I thought. All I need is a few more months of training and a few more marathons and I will be back in marathon shape. And I confirmed that the ‘fatigue and shortness of breath’ issues are behind me. It is amazing how much easier it is to run when you have a heart that is working properly!

My only disappointment was my lack of motivation and willingness to accept pain. I could have finished under 4:30 but was unwilling to push the old bod and accept the level of pain necessary to accomplish that time! Hopefully as I get into better shape and become competitive again the ‘fire in the belly’ and desire to win will return? If not then I will seriously consider hanging up the racing shoes and retire from racing by the end of this year!

What will happen? Who knows?

Stay tuned!

1 comment:

Team For Life said...

Run For Cancer with Team For Life Marathon events