Monday, December 04, 2006

RR Palm Beach Marathon

Race Report
Marathon of the Palm Beaches
West Palm Beach
Sun, Dec 3/06
Marathon # 277
3:57:05 - 2 AG

This marathon had been in my 2006 schedule before the DVT problem struck in Oct. Then all bets/plans were off. But after I finished the Marabana Marathon ‘ALIVE’ and with no problems with the leg I figured it should be OK to resume my running/training. One of the best ways to train for marathons is to run a marathon so I registered a few days before the race and on Sat drove the ‘red rocket’ or Allante down to West Palm Beach. I went alone since the Sports Manager’s brother was visiting and they didn’t want to go?

I used to visit this area frequently during my work life but had not been there in 10 years? What a change! It has grown significantly. I found the registration and expo in CityPlace shortly after my arrival on Sat afternoon. I was not impressed. The registration was not organized well and the prices at the expo were indicative of West Palm Beach – expensive!!

I called my friend and mentor Wally Herman (81 years young – 684 marathons and the world record holder with 99 countries) who lives in Lake Worth and invited he and his wife to pasta dinner. We had a nice time reminiscing since I hadn’t seen Wally since last spring. We had to retire early since the race started at 6:30 am.

As forecast the weather was ugly – it was hot (78 F) and humid as I lined up with 4,000 runners – 1000 in the Marathon and 3000 in the Half. Both races started at 6:30 am in front of the Meyer Amphitheatre in downtown West Palm Beach. The course was flat and headed south for 6.5 miles before turning around and finishing the Half at the Amphitheatre. The marathon course continued north to Riviera Beach where it turned around at 17 miles and headed back past the finish line (again) at mile 21 and did another short loop south of the city before finally returning to the finish line.

I had 3 goals:
1) finish ALIVE
2) run the entire race
3) finish under 4 hrs

I started out at an 8:30 pace to take advantage of the ‘cool’ weather. I reached 10 miles in 1.25.07 so I was right on pace. But the sun had risen and the temps were already soaring into the mid 80s and my pace slowed to 8:45s. I passed the Half in 1:52:31 but I knew that the 2nd Half would not be as fast and would more likely be a game of ‘Survival’. I decided to slow my pace to 9:00 min. When I passed mile 15 in 2:09:48 my body/legs had slowed the pace to 9:15s. I decided to listen toy body and let it set the pace. With very little training and the high temps sapping our strength I wisely decided not to push the pace. By mile 20 (2:57:08) the heat was brutal and I was struggling to hold a 9:40 pace. A quick calculation determined that a 10 min pace would get me across the finish line under 4 hrs so I just had to keep the old legs running – no walking! An old fart passed me at mile 21 but I couldn’t respond – my legs were dead! I decided to keep him in sight and hope for a 2nd wind? I followed him through mile 23 in 3:26:57 – a 10:32 mile – my slowest mile of the race! I really, really wanted/needed to walk!

OK! That was enough of that nonsense and feeling sorry for myself because it was hot and I had little training! It was time to call on Maddog! He would know what to do!
He immediately reminded me that to get back into good marathon shape it was necessary to push the old bod and teach it how to cope with pain. He lowered the pace to 9:15 and passed the old fart around mile 25 and to make sure he didn’t respond lowered the pace to 9:00 min for the final mile. I crossed the finish line in 3:57:05! I had nothing left and was overheated but ALIVE! I had achieved my 3 goals so I was happy.

I had to return to the hotel for a quick shower and check out and then returned to the finish area for a finish line photo and to check the results. I didn’t really expect to win in a race that big (and with that slow time) but hoped to place? I confirmed that I had placed 2nd which was OK considering my poor shape and lack of training. The race did confirm that I still have an endurance base but no speed. I need to do speed work but am still concerned (afraid?) to push the old bod too hard until I get confirmation that the blood clot has dissolved or solidified? That may still be a month away so I guess I need to start some speed work but not make it too intense or too long?

I will probably run another Florida marathon in a few weeks to help improve my endurance base and capability to hold a faster pace. I have to beat the old bod back into good marathon shape before the winter/spring marathon schedule starts in Florida in Jan!

Stay tuned.

No comments: