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Steamboat Marathon - RunMarathon

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Steamboat Springs, Colorado
United States
50F / 10C
Total Time = 3h 56m 15s
Overall Rank = 111/314
Age Group = 25-29
Age Group Rank = 9/19
Pre-race routine:

Woke up at 4:45, ate a large banana and took a nice hot shower. After getting dressed, we sat around in the hotel room talking and lightly stretching before heading out to the buses.
Event warmup:

After being dropped off at the start, we huddled under the roof of a nearby porch until it was time to drop off our warm clothes at the bag bus and line up to start.
  • 3h 56m 16s
  • 26.2 miles
  • 09m 01s  min/mile

Epic Race.....

Lining up for the buses down in Steamboat, it was in the high 40's with broken clouds...ideal race weather actually. As we make the trip up to the start line, the weather started turning. We drove through some moderate rain which turned into light drizzle by the time we got to the starting line. Waiting for the gun, we could see the clouds moving in on the nearby peaks.

The gun sounds and the group starts to move...all 300 of us. Almost right away, I could feel my right hip flexor was irritated. This didn't bode well for the start of a downhill marathon, but I really had no choice but to go with it. The course starts on a slight downhill for about a half mile, followed by a nice gradual climb into mile two, where it turned back downhill for nearly the next 2 miles. Somewhere around mile 2, the drizzle turned into a cold rain and by mile 2.5, my hands were numb. This made fishing the gel out of my back pocket in time for the aid station at mile 3 quite a challenge.

After the aid station, the course turned back up for a mile long, grinding climb. At this point I was still very fresh and barely feeling the altitude, so I let my pace drop a little, but didn't feel stressed at all on the climb. At the top, the course took a downward turn that lasts quite a ways. Miles 5,6 and 7 were spend on auto pilot. I was just wearing a watch, so I didn't know my splits until after I ran them. I could see I was running too fast, but the pace felt easy and maintainable for a long time, so I went with it. The rain had also let up, but the wet roads had already started to soak my socks. Somewhere around mile 5 or 6 I had to stop and pee which cost me a good 30 seconds, but it did loosen up my lower abs and make my hip feel a little better...amazing what a little pee will do.

Around mile 8, the course starts to flatten out and become more rolling. I knew I had pressed the pace a little (well a lot) over the first 8, so I settled back into a comfortable pace. I was by no means shuffling along, but I wasn't pressing it either. As long as I was in the low 8's, I was happy. I continued to float from low 8's to high 7's until about mile 13. By now the sun had started to come out and it was starting to get steamy. Rain + sun = humidity...which has been a foreign foe to me for the past few months. I decide to ditch the arm warmers, tucking them in my belt.

At mile 13, I started to think I had misread the course. Up until this point, I had been racing perfectly...I crossed the half at 1:45(ish), and was feeling like I could hang on for a sub 3:45 finish. Unfortunately at mile 15, the course decided it was done playing around and started turning on the hurt. As the miles went on, the hills got longer. It was as if they were placed in such a way as to maximize the pain. I was starting to feel it, but kept telling myself that if can hold pace until 20, even 10 min miles would put me in the mid 3:40's.

The next 5 miles broke me..... At mile 16, my foot decided it was done being pounded on and started to hurt. I suddenly became very aware of the dull burning in the soles of my feet and my toes from the last 16 miles of pounding. As it turns out, the padding in my shoes really was toast, and 16 miles is about as far as I should be racing in flats. I could feel my form decaying by the minutes, and the hills were not helping. Every time I'd hit a rhythm, a hill would start or end, slowly chipping away at what was left of my quads. I had to stop and pee again at 18...I felt like a freight train starting up again, but I was still hanging on and still holding pace.

Then it hit....the Wall..literally and figuratively. At mile 20 the course turns back up into a series of climbs and false flats. Halfway through the first climb in mile 20, my quads decide that they are done...relinquishing their duty to any other muscle that would volunteer. They put up a good fight, but alas, it was futile. I started developing a searing pain in my right abs (about where my appy scar is) that kept building until I had to walk. I'd walk a few hundred feet, then start to run again until I could run no more. The hill was dictating the pace now...not me. As if to add insult to injury, with a clap of thunder, it started raining once again.

This was the story through mile 23, where the course began to drop down into Steamboat. Unfortunately, my legs were so fried, that even downhill was horrible, and I was relinquished to run-walking. Luckily there was another poor soul in the same shape, and we would keep pushing each other to go just a little bit further each time. The rain and thunder had also let up, but as if the course was mocking us, it started getting windy.

Run, walk, run, walk, stop, stretch...that's how it went through mile 25. My calves had also decided they were done and start to seize. Every step caused a tiny little cramp. The slower my steps, the longer the cramp. I had no choice but to run. I finally came up to mile 25 and as much as I wanted to walk, I was determined to run the final mile. I finished that damn race running (errr something that resembled a run) and was so happy to finally be able to sit down and rest.

About 10 minutes after I finished and had retrieved my bag with my jacket, the wind picked up and it started to HAIL....and it kept doing so for a while. I may complain about getting rained on, or it being too hot...but I have serious respect for all of those 4 hour + runners that finished up in a hail storm.
What would you do differently?:

Longer marathon build with more specific hill work and a few more 20+ mile runs.

Better pacing. The last half of this course was completely unforgiving. It did not let even the smallest pacing error slide through.

Either slightly softer shoes, or more time training in a lighter shoe. The feet weren't quite ready for that distance in (worn out) lightweights.
Post race
Warm down:

Grabbed my clothes, grabbed a free subway sandwich, hobbled through the rain and hail to the car as fast as possible.

Once at home, took a nice long, hot shower to warm back up, then took a nice long nap.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Pacing and not respecting or knowing the final half of the course. I feel if I raced this course again on my same fitness level, the result would be very different.

Event comments:

Definitely a race I will remember forever. Organization wise, the race was run very well. Aid stations were always well stocked and well manned, and the volunteers all knew what they were doing.

There wasn't much of an expo afterward, but I came to race...not to screw around at some expo.

Profile Album

Last updated: 2009-02-08 12:00 AM
03:56:16 | 26.2 miles | 09m 01s  min/mile
Age Group: 9/19
Overall: 19/314
Performance: Good
1: 8:20 2,3: 15:53 (7:31) 4: 8:27 5: 7:32 6: 7:56 7: 7:57 8: 8:03 9: 8:01 10: 8:11 11: 8:09 12: 7:55 13: 7:54 14: 8:08 15: 8:12 16: 8:16 17: 8:05 18: 8:41 19: 8:33 20: 9:17 21: 11:50 22: 12:54 23: 12:19 24: 10:47 25: 12:32 26.2: 12:13
Course: The course begins at Hahns Peak Village, follows a paved country road down the Elk River Valley, and finishes at the courthouse in downtown Steamboat Springs. Starting elevation is 8,128' and the finish elevation is 6,728'.
Keeping cool Good Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Average
Mental exertion [1-5] 4
Physical exertion [1-5] 5
Good race? Ok
Course challenge Just right
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities: Average
Race evaluation [1-5] 4

2009-06-09 1:34 PM

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Laurium, MI
Subject: Steamboat Marathon
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