Monday, April 03, 2006

RR Martian Marathon

Race Report
Martian Marathon
Dearborn Hgts, MI
Sat, April 1/06
Marathon #260
State # 40 (2nd loop)
3:42:30 - 1AG

I planned this marathon during Maddog’s spring training program in the expectation that it would help to keep me in marathon shape until we moved to our summer home in Colorado in May. Since there are no more marathons this season in FL or close enough to drive to I realized that I would have to travel out of state. And if I have to get on a plane then I might as well run a state than I have only run once before as I work my way around the 50 States + DC for a 2nd time. The Martian Marathon in the suburbs of Detroit, MI fit the bill! I had mistakenly thought that this marathon would be my 39th state but I was pleasantly surprised later when I checked the list and discovered that it was actually state #40! Only 10 more to go! However I think it may take me at least two more years to finish the task unless I make it a ‘goal’ and become obsessive about it. And remember I said, “there would be no more marathon goals”!

Unfortunately I had also made the assumption that I would be healthy for this marathon and as most of you know that wasn’t the case. I have been struggling with injuries to both hamstrings and my right knee since the Sarasota Marathon. I would have been happy to skip this marathon but had prepaid the travel expenses so I decided to go.

I had to travel to Detroit one day earlier than desired in order to obtain cheap air tickets so I figured I would visit downtown Detroit. It had been several years since I had visited the downtown area. It was as bad as expected! If GM closes their HQ it will become a ghost town? On Fri night there were severe thunderstorms and the forecast for Sat morning was ugly – cool, rain and strong winds. Fortunately the rain did not materialize but the temps were 46 F with blustery winds blowing from the west at 20/30 mph at the 8:30am start. The marathon course was on a 9.5-mile road through a park in Dearborn Heights so it required multiple loops. There were 2000 runners in the Marathon and Half that started together at 8:30 am. In addition there was a 10K run and a 20-mile training run. All runners had different color race bibs but everyone used the same road/course so it got very confusing?

Because of my injuries I wasn’t sure if I should just try to jog/run an easy 4-hr marathon like I did last weekend in Washington or should I let the Maddog loose and try to win/place in my age group. The weather actually became the deciding factor! I didn’t see any sense in trying to push a fast pace into a 30 mph headwind! I started a few rows back from the start line and let the crowd pull me though the 1st mile in 8:30. The first 9.5-mile loop was into the wind so I drafted behind the half-marathoners and let them pull me through 5 miles in 42:28. The 8:30 min pace felt comfortable and my legs felt OK so I decided to hold that pace. Easier said than done when the half-marathoners turned around at 6.5 miles and I found myself all alone with nobody to draft behind. The wind was tough for the next 3.0 miles to the 1st turn-around point but I managed to pass 10 miles in 1:24:48. Finally the wind was behind us and my pace dropped to 8:10s with the same effort. My right knee started to hurt around 11 miles so I had to ease off the pace and focus on my gait/stride and fortunately the pain disappeared after one mile and I passed the Half in 1:50 flat! I tried to determine who my age group competitors were but it was too confusing with so many runners at different stages of the various races? I just decided to stick with my 8:30 pace and not worry about position.

At 16 miles we had to turn back into the wind for another 4 miles. It was really gusting! How come it didn’t feel that strong when it was at my back? With nobody to hide behind I struggled just to run an 8:45/9:00 min/mile pace! I reached the final turn-around at 20 miles in 2:50:41. The wind was at our backs for the final 10K! This time it did feel strong and I let it push me along at an 8:00 min pace for a few miles but then fatigue started to set in and I slowed to 8:30s. I passed mile 23 in 3:16:23 and also passed two grayhairs/seniors who looked like they could be in my age group. I pushed the pace for the next mile and then slowed again to cross the finish line in 3:42:30.

Since the race had started so late and I had to check out of my hotel I rushed back to my car without checking the results. With a late checkout time I was able to enjoy a much-needed hot soak and shower before returning to the finish line to check the preliminary results. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that I had won my age group!
So it was a satisfactory time and performance considering the weather and the injuries. Other than the few minutes my right knee had hurt around 11 miles both legs felt OK throughout the race. However the right knee was very sore following the race?

Fortunately I do not have another marathon for three weeks and no important marathons until this summer so I have wisely decided to take one week off from running to let my legs heal and recover. I will do some cross training for a week and then ease back into running. If my legs are OK after the next marathon than I will resume speed work to get ready for the summer races?

Stay tuned for the next report!

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