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The OBX Marathon - RunMarathon

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Kitty Hawk , North Carolina
United States
60F / 16C
Total Time = 3h 10m 43s
Overall Rank = 32/1309
Age Group = M40-44
Age Group Rank = 4/110
Pre-race routine:

Up at 0500. Drank an Ensure, ate a slice of leftover pizza. Stretched, lightened the load, threw my stuff in the car, and off we went.
I was probably calmer before this race than last year's race or any other half marathon or HIM. I don't think I was over confident, but felt good about my training and my chances.
Event warmup:

Ran a little under a half mile, easy with a few race pace strides. Stretched some more. Mostly just paced and got all my stuff ready (race belt w/gels, Garmin, iPod).
  • 3h 10m 43s
  • 26.37 miles
  • 07m 14s  min/mile

Started off good. I wanted a repeat of last year's race, where I felt like I was running a bit faster than I thought I could sustain. Splits were incredibly even. First 10 miles were all within a 6 sec range. Some jockeying for position. Got passed by a few people - Petty from Boston, MA (written on his shirt), a dude with blond dreds, Shamrock (marathon) guy, and a guy with a yellow tank (like me). Every one of these guys kept inching farther away from me as the miles ticked off. Except for Petty, who slowed down at every aid station, then passed me again within a quarter mile. I was trying to stay relaxed and within myself. I kept having crazy thoughts of keeping the pace around 7:01, then really pushing the last 3 miles, but then I kept wondering if I would be able to keep this up. There was nothing easy about it.
At mile 11 we head into Nags Head Woods on an unpaved, but maintained, fire road a maritime forest. The road was in better shape than I remember from last year - fewer ruts. The trick is that it is never flat - not much elevation, but always up or down. Through the woods, I passed the blond dred guy and Petty. Shamrock stayed out ahead of me. Also passed a few people who started out much faster. After mile 12, the course makes a sharp turn onto a nearly single-track trail, the first section, of which, is very much uphill. Definitely the slowest terrain on the course - lots of short, steep hills. Out of the woods, half way home, and out onto Rt 158. Last year, I felt a renewed spring in my step once I got back on pavement, but not this year. I never regrouped from the off-road terrain. My splits were solid (7:08,:03,:19), but they took their toll. Not long after the wooded section, I got a twinge in my right hamstring. "Hunh!?" I have never felt anything like that while running. It didn't last and I chalked it up to the hills and uneven terrain. The next 5 miles were a real mental tug of war. The pace was difficult and I would think about how far I could back off and still beat my goal time. But, then I'd tell myself to deal with the discomfort and to give myself a chance to succeed. I was hanging on the heels of the Shamrock guy, so I went back and forth - just staring at his heels and trying to distract myself with the surroundings (esp. through the golf course). The distance between 'mile splits' and 'mile markers' kept increasing, so I missed most of my splits through this stretch. After seeing the data, I was surprised how fast I stayed on this stretch. That may have buoyed my spirits.
Onto the Causeway, which is a gentle upslope to the bridge. This was much further than I remember. It was also the beginning of the end (sort of). The twinges in my hamstrings were off and on, but infrequent and not severe, down 158 and through the golf course. Didn't really slow me down much. But shortly after mile 21, it felt like they were going to lock up. I stopped and stretched out for 20-30sec. A guy in a Rock'nRoll half marathon shirt passed me, and I expected the flood gates to open up with people whom I had passed earlier in the race to speed by. But, he was the only one. I backed off the pace, pretty secure that with ~5 miles to go I at least had my goal time beat with just a marginal pace. High-fived the shrimp, but had another serious twinge right before the bridge. Took my last gel at the mile 23 aid station and stopped again to stretch. My mindset now turned a bit more toward survival mode rather than performance,"Just get over the bridge and finish". Going up the bridge, I passed the guy in the RnR shirt, and thought that I was home free, that this was the last big test of my hamstrings. Wrong! Mile 24 was not long after the bridge and I had to stop again - made sure I got a full cup of Gatorade. Maybe a few extra electrolytes would keep these cramps at bay. Cruised to the light at the first intersection on Roanoke Is. "Only 1.5mi to go!" Constantly weaving in and out of half marathon walkers at this point. Just about a mile away and a guy flies past me - it was just ridiculous. He looked frsh as a daisy and I felt like I was on the verge of pushing up daisies. One more big twinge. This was ugly. I thought my race was over - the legs tried to lock up. If I had sat down, there was no way I would have gotten up. Stretching seemed to keep everything working, and I cruised home. At the next turn, I looked over my shoulder to see if anybody was closing the gap - nada. No need to pick it up at all. The finish and blessed relief.

What would you do differently?:

I have contemplated many reasons for my collapse and I'm not convinced about any of them. I guess the best explanation would be that I just went out too fast - bad race plan. But my last long run was 22mi averaging 7:02/mi. Why then and not now? Did the hills do me in? Not enough training on hills? Did I taper too long? Did I not taper well enough? Poor nutrition? Should I have taken electrolytes before the race? Not enough training mileage? Too much speed on the long runs, which I needed to recover from, thus reducing the quality of tempo/interval sessions? The day before my last long run, I ran 9.4 mi at 6:56/mi. Why then and not now?
I need to figure this out before I start training for Boston. I can't help but feel some disappointment about this race - it simply was not the race I wanted. But, the funny thing is that had I started out more slowly, finished strong, and crossed the line at 3:10:43, I think I would feel quite differently about my performance.
Post race
Warm down:

Met Brenda and the kids, who supplied me with my fix of Endurox. We walked around downtown Manteo. Nice setting. Wish I wasn't in too much discomfort to enjoy it. Checked the results - out of the top 3, so we just headed back to Nags Head.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

???? I could definitely have been more disciplined about nutrition all through training and especially leading up to race day. I seemed to have my head up my a$$ when it came to what I ate. I would like to have been 12-15 lbs lighter. That will be my goal come April 20.

Event comments:

I enjoy the Outer Banks and the town really seems to support the race well. The course is interesting - different terrain and scenery - as well as somewhat challenging (maybe that's just the Eastern Shore in me). Festive feeling in downtown Manteo after the race. Wish that Festival Park was the central locale like last year - climbing wall, moon bounce, etc.. for kids. Maybe Manteo didn't get enough $$$ flowing its way for the trouble of closing down the town. Lots of small restaurants for post-race meal. We'll plan on that next year(?).

Last updated: 2008-07-24 12:00 AM
03:10:43 | 26.37 miles | 07m 14s  min/mile
Age Group: 4/110
Overall: 32/1309
Performance: Average
Miles 1-10 6:58-7:04 Avg=7:00.9 HRavg=151.5 Miles 11-13 7:08,:03,:19 HRavg=155 Miles 14-18 6:55-7:07 Avg=7:02.8 HRavg=156.2 Miles 19-21 7:09,:11,:14 HRavg=157.7 Miles 22-26.37 7:36,8:13,7:48,7:43,8:01,2:43(7:13) Avg=7:52.2 HRavg=157
Course: Point to pont from Kitty Hawk to Manteo. Mostly flat - starts in residential area, along Albemarle Sound, on roads/bike paths. Around Wright Bros. Memorial, then off-road through Nags Head Woods, out onto Rt158 w/2 loops through communities (Nags Head GC), then Whalebone Jct and causeway before crossing Baum Bridge onto Roanaoke Is. Finish in downtown Manteo.
Keeping cool Good Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Below average
Mental exertion [1-5] 2
Physical exertion [1-5] 3
Good race? Ok
Course challenge Just right
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities: Good
Race evaluation [1-5] 4

2008-11-11 1:37 PM

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Wye Mills, MD
Subject: The OBX Marathon

2008-11-12 9:06 PM
in reply to: #1802072

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Pasadena, Maryland
Subject: RE: The OBX Marathon
Great report as always. Enjoy your insights and I will make sure I add cold leftover pizza to my race morning routine. Steady 7min miles awesome, sorry it don't met your expectations. Was it the race or your expectations?
2008-11-13 9:01 AM
in reply to: #1802072

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The Original
Subject: RE: The OBX Marathon
Great race Glen!  Reading your RR makes me feel exhausted and reminds me of tough marathons are!  Way to push through all the cramping issues you had!
2008-11-13 2:22 PM
in reply to: #1802072

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Subject: RE: The OBX Marathon
Good job Glenn.  I think you'll figure it out before Boston. 
2008-11-13 6:33 PM
in reply to: #1802072

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Sous Mon Diadème
Gold member
Subject: RE: The OBX Marathon

Wow!!!  I'm impressed as always.  I'm sorry it wasn't the race you hoped it would be, but you stuck it out and sounds like you've done a good job of analyzing your expectations vs. the race.  Heck, if you finish and learn a thing or two, then you have to color it a success on a few levels... particularly when you're in the top five.  Congratulations.

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