Tuesday, February 17, 2009

RR - Sarasota

Race Report
Sarasota Marathon
Sarasota, FL
Sun, Feb 15/09
Marathon #317
4:03:36 - 5 AG

My hometown race! When I registered for the race right after last year’s race I had no idea I would be running a tough marathon (weather-wise) in Tahiti the week before. But there was no way I was NOT going to run my hometown marathon! Many of my running buddies from the local running club participate in this race and we always enjoy a great post-race party!
My legs were totally wasted/trashed at the end of the Tahiti marathon and then I had to do three training runs in the brutal heat on Bora Bora just to keep the old legs in shape for Sarasota. When I struggled during a 10-mile training run on Wed I decided to take an extra day’s rest to let my legs recover for Sarasota. Then we had the long flights and a midnight arrival home on Fri. On Sat when I picked up my race packet I had no idea how well my legs would be for the race on Sun. And even though the race had moved up three weeks from 2008 the weather forecast was calling for warmer weather than normal. Oh great! Just what I needed – another warm/hot weather race!

About the only good thing to happen before this race was the great pasta dinner the Sports Manager cooked- she makes the best spaghetti bolognaise in the world!

Sun was ‘M’ Day. There were about 2500 runners lined up at the Ringling Museum for the 6 am start About 400 in the marathon and 2100 in the Half). The temp felt much cooler than Tahiti – 64 F and 90% humidity. I decided to go out at a 3:45 pace and see how long I could hold it? Not long apparently as I passed 5 miles in 43:00 but a split of 9:14/mile.
When I reached 10 miles in 1:27:19 and a split of 8:58 I knew at that point the race was essentially over for me. I struggled to lower the pace but my legs were already tired/wasted so I decided the smartest thing to do was to back off and treat the race as a long training run. I tried to hold an ‘easy’ 9:00-min pace but by the time I crossed the Half in 1:56:15 my pace had slowed to 9:30s. I knew that a sub-4 hr finish was not going to happen but I hoped that I might finish close to 4 hrs? I let the pace slip to 9:40s which really helped and around 17 miles I started to feel the old legs recovering some? When the 4-hr pace group passed me at 19 miles it was discouraging but I tried to keep them in sight as long as possible. I passed mile 20 in 3:03:52. A quick calculation confirmed that I needed a 9:00min/mile pace over the last 10 Km to beat 4 hours. That wasn’t going to happen so I just tried to follow the 4-hr pace group for as long as possible. When I passed mile 23 in 3:32:31 and a split of 9:39 I figured the best I could do was to finish close to 4:05? Somehow I managed to keep the old legs shuffling and crossed the finish line in 4:03:36.

It wasn’t pretty and it hurt even though I backed off but I fared much better than the many runners who were in the medical tent at the finish line. A lot of runners suffered from cramps and dehydration due to the high humidity! I was disappointed that my body/legs had not been able to recover as fast as they normally do after a run but am smart/experienced enough to know that can happen and it is best just to forget a ‘bad’ run and move on to the next one.
Some of my friends enjoyed a good race and finish time but many were disappointed because they were not able to qualify for Boston as planned. However we all met after the race at Linda’s for a great post-race party with lots of food and beer. Next year I am going to focus on this race and try to regain the championship in my AG. I am tired of getting beat in my own race!

But right now I realize that I need some rest and ‘down’ time from running. My legs are totally wasted. My body is sending me ‘HUGE’ signs that it need rest. I have come down with another head/chest cold and the constant coughing/hacking is killing my back. I developed a severe pain in my lower back in Tahiti. It is the same old symptoms/problems I usually suffer every spring. I always figured it was caused by the long drive to CO but this time I believe it was the bad/soft beds in Tahiti. I am going to take most of the week off from running and then try some easy runs.

I am scheduled to run the Gasparilla Marathon in Tampa in two weeks. However I may decide to skip it or just do it as a long training run?

Stay tuned!

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