Wednesday, November 19, 2014

OBX Marathon - Lessons Learned

Well, alot can happen in a week.  Last week at this time, I was sitting on the beach, playing in the sand with Greg and Rob, and just relaxing.  My legs still ached from their 26 mile jaunt on the beach, and reality was a distant thought.

I've been back to NY for 4 days now - there is snow on the ground, I have my winter coat out, we have ripped apart our bathroom (because all house decisions should be made at 3am in Pennsylvania) and I've gotten in a nice easy 7 miler on my post marathon legs, as well as a few nice easy spins and swims.  I' not ready to commit to another race right now - off season is awesome.  But I'm far enough away yet fresh enough to look back at my 5th marathon (3rd stand alone) and my 2nd failed attempt to break 4.  I think I know what I need to change next time to meet this goal, here goes....

Lessons Learned from OBX  - aka - what to do to PR next time (or in my case break 4 hours!):

1.  Travel is BAD for PRs.  Last time I tried to break 4 I drove 7 hours the night before.  Dumb.  This time it was 12 hours 2 days before.  I don't think this was as much of an issue this time, but sitting in one spot in the car, especially overnight (we drove through the night because strapping a 1 year old in a carseat for 650 miles during the day is just rude).  So it screwed with my hours and also my muscles.  Not a problem to run a marathon, but probably a problem to run it as well as I want to.  If I do a destination marathon again I will either run it just for fun or I will do it toward the end of the week instead.
Sand is fun, but not halfway through a race.
2.  Know the course in terms of geography.  This sounds like a big fat duh, but let me 'splain.  The OBX course had 3 plus miles of trail in the middle, which I knew about.  But, being from New York, I equated trail with our trails here.  Mendon.  I knew it would slow me down a bit, but I forgot that NC really doesn't have dirt.  They have sand.  So my "dirt trail" really was a "rocky sand" trail.  It didn't break my PR dream, but my miles pre sand trail was 8:30-8:40 per mile, and the sand portion averaged a 9:30 mile and trashed my legs a decent amount for the second half of the race.  It still would have been what it was, but I would have prepped a bit more with some dedicated trail portions of my long runs.
3.  Drive the course.  Again, a big ole "no kidding".  But not for terrain in this case.  I like to read the elevation charts so I can mimic my runs with them, which I did in this case.  But for run courses, I like to take the course fresh so that the scenery is new and I don't get bored.  In this case though, knowing where the big hill was would have helped.  Knowing the sand portion would have helped.  And knowing where the f*(#&ck the finish line was would have also helped - aka, when I had my tantrum at mile 23 and flipped out with the double mile at miles 24 and ....24.  I wasted so much time not knowing if the race had an end, whereas if I had driven the course I would have known, duh, where the end was.
4.  Use a *&@#%^&^% garmin- Knowing that the mile markers were off might not have helped my overall time (even the 4 hour pacer said the course was long) but it would have saved my sanity.  Makes  big difference when you think you are running 9 minute miles and the mile markers tell you that you are running 11 minute miles :-P  PS _ I do own a garmin.  I am just lame and run with a $20 timex.
5.  Run 4 days a week, not 3.  I have been following a plan for the last 2 marathons with a 3 run a week plan - tempo, speedwork, and long run.  They are all focused on paces, but I think one extra day a week easy run would help out in terms of time on my feet.  Maybe an easy run the day after a long run to help on tired legs.  I did 2-3 back to back days for my last ultra and that helped a ton.  So I guess the next marathon would NOT be on the edge of tri season :-P
6.  Add in a 22 mile LR - Conventional wisdom says you hit a wall at mile 20 - that the race is 2 races - a 20 miler and a 10k.  So I think going beyond that 20 mile mark would be a smart thing to do.  I averaged a 9:00 pace for the first 20 miles, and a 10:15 for the last 6.8  yikes.

Tabbed and saved for next year.  So whats next?  I dunno.  If I want a PR, I might do Buffalo in May or Rochester in September.  If I want to check off another state and go see some family, its Olathe KS in April, Burlington VT in May or Estes Park in June.  Or all 3 :-P

No comments:

Post a Comment