Nov 25, 2007

Race report - Philadelphia Marathon

crossing the finish line

bottom line:

Bib 408
FName steven
LName tursi
City suffern
State NY
Age 31
Sex M
ChipTime 05:49:46
ClockTime 05:56:37
Overall 6661
SexPl 3992
DivPl 599
AgeGrade 35.7%
Pace 13:20.6
Half 2:50:14
Mile20 4:23:36

My goal for this race was to run it in 5:30, but I shouldn't have had a realistic expectation of meeting this goal. My training for the month prior to the marathon, to say the least, had been inadequate, and while I did expect to be able to beat my time at the Breakers Marathon (5:50:45), 5:30 was going to be really tough.

I might actually have made it but, without even thinking about it, all I ate the morning of the race was an orange. I wasn't even thinking, and it literally didn't occur to me until I talked to my wife after the race that an orange was all I ate. The night before, I had a traditional pasta carb-load, and while it was good, it was apparently inadequate, because at about mile 15, I really hit a wall and found running very difficult. It only got worse and at mile 18, I really started to feel intense hunger. To make matters worse, the race, as well-organized as it was, only had clif shots for solid food, and my stomach can't handle those things. Just in a nick of time, a spectator at mile 20 had brought bagels for runners, and I very gladly took one, and ate it over the next mile. My splits tell the story. Miles 1-15 were all 12:something, then I suddenly slowed down over the next two miles to 14:xx. Then, the next two miles were both 15:xx, and mile 20, the bagel mile, was actually 16:01. It started to kick in towards the end of mile 21, 15:22, and mile 22 would indicate that I had recovered, 13:38. Mile 23 was an anomaly at 14:40, but miles 24-26 were all 13:xx, with a final mile of 13:01, which allowed me to get a PR, by a mere minute, of 5:49:46.

I spent the first half of the race with a clif-shot pacing team for a 5:30 completion. Obviously, I wasn't able to keep up, but I was hanging with them right up until mile 15 or so. The pacer took two 1-minute walk breaks every mile, and having an open mind, I did it with them. Maybe it's due to lack of food, but the walk breaks didn't seem to help me very much, but after hearing about them so much, I was glad to have tried them.

Philadelphia puts on an incredible marathon. It was my fourth marathon and my second large marathon, and I sure enjoyed it as much as any of the others. Plentiful aid stations, lots of runners, a few spectators, clocks at every mile, and a beautiful medal really made for a great race. There's a lot more I can say about this race, but I'm going to leave this report (relatively) short and sweet.

What's next?

My marathon season is officially over. I was considering the Orange County (California) marathon on January 6th, but I've decided against it. I am going to go back into weight-loss mode, and implement some very aggressive goals for losing about 40 lbs ahead of the spring race season. But that's another post, one that you can expect in the next day or two. Preview - I've already lost ten lbs since the race nine days ago, and that was with unrestrained thanksgiving gluttony.