Monday, February 20, 2012

2/20/12: George Washington Birthday Marathon Race Report

I had a fantastic time running my second George Washington Birthday Marathon. Three years ago I ran 3:14 here and really enjoyed the laid back feel of the race. This year's race did not disappoint, and I had a solid run in 3:04, which was good for 6th place and winning my age group.

My running was not good at all in the week leading up to the race. I may have been too exuberant in the prior week and pushed too hard. All throught last week, my legs were tired, and I had all sorts of aches and pains.

I took it very easy throughout the week and ended up feeling pretty decent on race day. I took off towards the front of the pack and tried to stay relaxed. I was pretty pumped to see the first two miles go by in 6:40 and 6:33. I couldn't help but smile after that. It felt good to be out there racing and feeling good on a beautiful day. It seemed like it had been too long since the 50K I raced in December. I do love racing!

I intentially dialed back the pace a bit and very consistently hit most miles in the upper 6:40s. Most of the course is 3 loops that are a little over 7 miles. I came through loop 1 at mile 10 feeling fantastic. Soon enough I hit the half marathon in 1:29.

I started to struggle holding pace around mile 15. "No problems", as a wine steward from our summer cruise to Bermuda would say. I knew I was not at 100% with little serious running over the prior 1.5 weeks, and I was not planning to go 100% anyway. This was supposed to be a hard training run and not an all out effort.

The old Will would have kept pushing really hard, likely would have blown up towards the end, and would be too worn out from the race given that the National Marathon is only 4 weeks away. The old Will was not the smartest.

Instead, I dialed it back right away to the 7:00-7:15 range and held there for a while. I slowed down a little bit more in the late miles, but overall I kept pace pretty well . Even the 3/4 mile steep hill starting at mile 25 was doable, though I will say that whoever designed the course to have that right at the end is very, very mean. I finished strong with plenty left in the tank and felt fine after crossing the finish line.

This was a great race and shows that I've come a long way. When I first ran 3:04 at Philly in 2006, it took everything I had and left me injured for months afterwards. Yesterday I was able to run 3:04 on a really hilly course (probably runs 4-5 minutes slow) without going all out. Today I felt fine and biked a little over 20 miles to loosen things up.

The time I am shooting for at the National Marathon will still be extremely tough for me, but I do have a bit more confidence now after yesterday.


300 Spartanworkouts said...

It was a nice post, thanks for sharing. Congratulations to all the participants for a great job well done and looking forward always for more updates.

Dad L. said...

Sounds like you had a great race. It seems like you’ve been doing a good job of gathering data and using it to alter your decisions to improve your future success. Too bad you can’t find a job where those skills would come in handy...Oh, wait a minute...

Will said...

Haha, if only! Maybe if I keep this up my company will sponsor my running. Not sure encouraging me to run even more would quite be in their best interests, though.

Chen said...

BOOM. I'm amazed that you can just go out there and BQ while "dialing it back" and keeping it "easy." Can I say jealous ;)? Good work, Will!!!

Will said...

Thanks, Chen! Looking forward to seeing what races you have coming up and how they go. I'll actually be out in San Fran in late April / early May. Hopefully we can meet up for a run or for drinks (possibly even both at the same time!).

Chen said...

Yesss... please do let me know when you're out here! I'll actually be in Switzerland visiting Winslow at the end of April (and I have tentative plans to run the Zurich Marathon while I'm there :), but if you're still here in early May, we will definitely go running, and I will definitely plan out some beer stops!