Monday, October 06, 2008


Yesterday marked lucky #13 for me in terms of marathons finished. Based on some comments here, as well as how I felt about my training, I was leaning towards going out controlled and picking it up at mile 20. Having Team USA Minnesota’s coach, Dennis Barker, basically reiterate the same thoughts at Friday’s press conference helped seal my race plan. I also took an anonymous poster up on his idea regarding not wearing a watch. I purposely avoided looking at any of the clocks along the course. And I positioned myself fairly far back in the first corral so I wouldn’t get sucked out. In fact, when I passed a few of my training partners a couple of minutes into the race one of them asked if I got held up at the start. Just on purpose.

Did I mention that the weather was perfect on Saturday? Unfortunately, TCM is run on Sunday. While temps were nice at the start – around 48 – the skies were threatening and would open up within the hour. Someone asked if it was as bad as it looked from the sidelines. Actually, I don’t think it was. I can understand how a spectator would think we were miserable, but honestly, I was more annoyed by the wind than the rain.

Thinking back on the race, it was really a blur for me. While I remember a few things early on about the race, it was more like, “Wow, I’m at mile 7 already.” Or “That first half went by quick.” My only real concern during the race was around mile 11. My right heel/arch was sore and my left groin was sore – not enough to slow me down, but enough to be of concern with 15 miles to go. This is also the point in the race where I planned on taking my second gel. I realized my hands were rather numb, which made unzipping a pocket, pulling out a gel and ripping it open an adventure.

As I approached the halfway point, I pulled my hat down over my eyes and avoided all temptation to look at the clock. I felt I was running well up until that point and I thought any sign of time/pace – whether good or bad – would throw everything off.

So far I had also been keeping Kirk’s mile-by-mile MDRA article in mind – at least the part about holding back and not worrying about people passing me. I’ll save the part about avoiding the sun for another year.

When I got to mile 15 I started to feel really good – maybe it had something to do with running two of my 22 mile runs from mile 26 to mile 15 and back. At this point in the race, I think marathons can generally be broken into two categories; 1) Man, I only have 11 miles to go or 2) Shit, I still have 11 miles to go. Yesterday definitely fell into category #1 for me.

While I heard some cheers during the first half of the race – including, “Go blogger Chad, sub-3!” – most of my friends and family were between miles 16 and 25, which was really great. Thanks to everyone that came out in the cold rain to cheer – it helped a lot!

About the only things that happened between mile 15 and mile 20 were taking a gel at mile 17 that had the consistency of caramel and hearing the loud speaker, from across the river, welcoming people to mile 20 when I was only at mile 18. Luckily I was still feeling good and was at mile 20 before I knew it.

With 10K to go I decided to occupy my mind by keeping track of the number of people that I passed. I even surprised myself by passing 63 runners, of which, only 2 passed me back in the last half mile. As I approached the finish line, I was really curious to see my time. But get this, the clock wasn’t working. I was able to glance at the time on my watch and figure out that was within a few minutes of 3:05, but I had to wait until later that afternoon to see I ran 3:05:41. I finished in 253rd place which means I was able to pass 20% of the 315 or so people in front of me at mile 20.

Looking at the complete results, which can be found HERE, my splits were;

5K 22:01
10K 43:39
Half 1:32:05
30K 2:10:59
20M 2:20:24
Full 3:05:41

Prior to the race I thought about emailing blogger Ryan because I knew he was shooting for 3:05. In the end I didn’t because I prefer just to run my own race and see what happens. However, if you compare his splits we were practically next to each other and didn’t know it.

5K 21:51
10K 43:50
Half 1:33:16
30K 2:13:14
20M 2:22:51
Full 3:06:50

I’m guessing he’ll have a similar race report as mine.

Did anyone else that ran yesterday think those were the worst plastic cups ever? At first I thought I was dropping each cup because of the gloves I was wearing. But even after ditching the gloves I was still dropping 1-2 cups per water stop.

Quote of the day;

“At 20 miles I just got real mad and said, 'You're tough, attack these hills, you've done all the work, you're running for a lot of people today. All the people who said I couldn't do it, that I'm a has-been.' I did it for a lot of things." - Fernando Cabada, after winning the US Marathon Championships on Sunday.


Anonymous said...

Congrats on running a good, smart race. Are you pleased with the results?

What's next? (just kidding)


Thomas said...

So how do you feel about it? Happy because you ran a smart race, or a bit annoyed because you missed 3:00 by a fairly big margin DESPITE running a smart race?

Anonymous said...

Hey Chad:

Notes from my race Sunday:

1) Kara Goucher was looking really good at the start of the 10 Mile

2) Hard rain is a bummer if you are wearing contacts and no visor/hat. Everything blurred around the 10 mile mark, but luckily I kept them in

3) I used a Clif bar pacing group and the leader (veteran of 98 marathons) gave me great advice at mile 3: the first 10 miles of the marathon are run with your head, the next 10 with your legs, and the last six with heart

4) I was AMAZED at how many spectators stayed out there when it was pouring down

5) Soaking blisters. How cool is that???

6) No finishing clock...bummer. Luckily I got on the web and found my finishing time as soon as I got home.

7. Saw a drenched runner smoking a cigarette by the bag pick up...doesn't happen that often. He looked like he was really enjoying his smoke

8. I was shooting for a 3:30 and ran a 3:26 and change, thanks to a 1-1/2 minute negative split. The St. Thomas hill never felt so easy

9. Final thought...chicken broth never tasted so good

Vince A. said...

Great race summary, and I take it that all things considered, a good outcome for you.

I liked your running on feel - I don't know how you could keep from seeing or hearing the time, at my races they not only show the time splits but shout them out, jeez I don't need their help I can check my watch if I wish to.

Anyway congrats, great way to finish.

Anonymous said...

Very solid race in the wind and rain, Chad. Sounds like you had a good experience and kept a positive attitude all the way.

It's like you navigated your ship of state through rough seas and arrived safely in port, lol.

Take care,


Ryan said...

Chad, Great run. I can understand wanting to run your own race.

I think I saw you around mile 5. Were you wearing a yellow shirt? I wasn't sure....

I envy your approach of avoiding the clock. No way could I have pulled that off!

I must admit the cold rain affected me, simply because of the temperature. I was FREEZING at miles 9-10-11. Thank God it tapered off.

Chad said...

Thanks everyone.

Anonymous, good notes. Congrats on crushing your goal time.

Ryan, yeah I had a yellow tank top, red shorts and black baseball cap. I agree, miles 9-11 was the coldest stretch. I remember a guy stopping to ask for gloves at mile 12.

Derek Lindstrom said...

Congratulations on a great race Chad! You looked SOLID!

Love2Run said...

A very brave effort running without the watch cue. I can imagine that could really mess you up and let you run way too fast but it seems you rationed out your effort well. Good race!

Anonymous said...

Chad - I'm glad to hear you ran a great race, and without a watch. Running by feel, listening to the body, is a great way to run. Congratulations!