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Snickers Marathon - RunMarathon

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Albany, Georgia
United States
Snickers and City of Albany
40F / 4C
Total Time = 3h 53m
Overall Rank = /
Age Group = 45-49
Age Group Rank = 0/
Pre-race routine:

Woke up about an hour and a half prior to the race start. We knew it would be cold and we would make breakfast in the room and head down to get good parking so we could hang in the van and stay warm. This was going to be a big day for me and I wanted to make sure that the start of it was positive and drama-free. And it was. We arrived down at the river right on time with rock star parking and relaxed and fretted over what shirt and how many of them we should wear to todays rather chilly start. After selecting the right clothing/strategy and gearing up with race belts, gels, etc.,it was time to leave the warm confines of my hip Dodge Caravan SXT and head out to the wild river bank of the Flint River.
Event warmup:

No real warm-up as usual. Why start now? Ran into a friend who was also down from the ATL for his first maarathon. We would actually start the race together. Saw some familiar faces in the crowd. Before you know it, the canon was discharged and we were left scurrying for a spot in the start throngs.
  • 3h 53m
  • 26.2 miles
  • 08m 53s  min/mile

I started the race with a friend who was racing at this distance for the first time. I frankly wasn't sure that I wanted the responsibility of guiding through this and since we hadn't trained much together I had decided to run my race and hope that he would ultimately run his. He's a strong runner but as anyone knows, your first marathon is like no other. We were back in the pack to start and I was stuck a couple of groups behind my goal pace. I had set out to run a 3:40 as my ultimate goal with anything 3:45 or better to be a real success. My PR at this distance was a 3:52:53 set two years ago @ Gasparilla. I had trained well and was really feeling pretty confident on this morning. When we got started I wouold say that my first lap or two were probably a bit ambitious but not crazy. I soon settled in and found in the distance one of my training partners who was also shooting for 3:40 and a BQ for her AG. I eventually caught up to Aimster around Mi. 7 and she was running with a new race buddy. The four of us ran for a couple of miles before her companion cruised off and left us virtually standing still. This woman had game and was clearly slumming with us. We were dead on with our average pace as I checked our position at the beginning of each mile referencing my wrist pace band. I was feeling well and had on a new pair of compression socks, the first time I had used them (which I know breaks the dress rehearsal rule for sure) but they seemed comfortable and while I was experiencing my typical twinges and tweaks here and there, my breathing was great, I was relaxed and motivated.

As we neared the 1/2 Marry mark I noticed my friend (the first-timer) had gotten very quiet and dropped back just a tad. I didn't think much of it but as we cleared 13.1 and were heading on he was starting to slip. We continued onto the second half and I admit, my pace picked up a little and the course started to roll more. These two changes to my overall plan I think ultimately helped me into the weeds I would find later in the course. By the time we were in the 14/15 mile area my friend was dropped and it was just me and Aimster heading for 3:40. We both were running well and I truly thought this was the day of days. I even considered sub 3:40. As long as I didn't have something go wrong bio-mechanically!! With a 1:50 half I was two minutes ahead of my PR and in good shape.

Our next milestone was Mi. 18 and there was talk among us that the Hurt Locker was looming in the distance. We brushed this aside. I was concerned now that my HR was up over my comfort zone. I typically will run long around 8 - 10 beats over my LT with good success. But now I was up in the low 170's. While my breathing was fine I knew that lactic was building in my legs and could cause cramping severe enough to shut me down and keep me from my goal.

We cleared 18 and headed to 21 still in good shape. We were dead on at 20 and always give or take 1/2 a minute on either side of a perfect pace. With that said I could feel issues rising in my calves as we cleared 21. My time had slowed but I was still under a 9 min/mi. pace. At Mi. 22 there was trouble as I started to cramp in my left calf even with the compression socks. It was back at Mi. 19 that I had realized that I had ignored the Gatorade the entire race to that point. While I was drinking water and eating GU's at my normal 35 - 45 min. rate, I had possibly cooked my goose with insufficient electrolyte replacement. Now, I was cramping and nervous. I let Aimster go. She was looking very strong and I felt she could hit her goal if she went on her own. I watched her creep away from me as I dropped my speed to get my HR down in the mid 160's. By now I was running very gingerly with my toes up in the air a bit and trying to encourage any more cramping. I was actually able at Mi. 24 to pick up my speed a bit. I thought that while 3:40 was gone I was still looking very good for a 3:45/46 ish finish and a clear PR. I continued nursing my pace and hoping for the miles to shrink in front of me as I headed for the finish. And then...WOW! Clearing Mi. 25 I was forced into walking. I hit 3:40 short .8 miles of my goal. So I was close. But now, both of my calves were locking up. Other pace groups were passing me as I was sttempting to push myself down on the pavement and loosen the cramps. I was on my tip toes and I knew that if I laid down, it was over. I didn't do all of this work to walk in a 4+ hr run. I relieved the cramping and kept shuffling in to the finish. As I came down the trail onto the river park I saw Deb cheering (she did the half) and ATL_Runner (he BQ'd!!!) and Aimster all shouting at me. I knew that my goals were trashed and now I was just hoping for some kind of PR. But, it was not to be as I crossed with an elapsed time of 3:53. Just 8 seconds short of beating my previous best. While my laps after 21 were about a minute slower, I ran the last mile in over 13 minutes. That was the killer to the PR quest.
What would you do differently?:

Well, I need to figure this thing out. Not sure yet. The Gatorade thing could've been an issue. I think it was one culprit. I think some quick miles here and there also added to my raised HR and uploading lactic into my muscles. My breathing was fine, I felt like I had plenty of gas in the tank but no wheels to run on. In the end though, I was very proud of my performance. I ran harder than I had ever done in the past. I went for it totally and the last five miles were some of the bravest I had ever done. It would've been easy to roll up the tent and walk it in but that didn't happen. I will figure out this cramping issue and I will get to the next level. Of course, there is just the small issue of two HIM's and IM Florida to deal with first!!! :)
Post race
Warm down:

Blanket. Medal. Rock. Sit. And hand delivered draft beers from my friends. We toasted a PR (Aimster) and a BQ (ATL_Runner) and Deb's successful 1/2 Marry finish in bare feet!!! It was a good day.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Cramping. Plain and simple.

Event comments:

OK, race comments time. I liked this race and would like to return to complete some unfinished business. However, there are a few points I would like to make. First, the T-shirts, YIKES! Ugly and huge! We measured a small and medium and they were virtually identical. No women's sizes and I dropped from a large to a medium and it's still a freaking dress. Also, the drink stations were inconsistent. In every race I've ever run, it's water first, then gatorade. The first station was the opposite. OK, I get it, but guess what? The next station was flipped back. And so on, and so on. In some cases, like between the 1/2 point and the end of Mi. 14 I think there were three drink stations. WTF? Those that worked them though were great and also I would like to mention the noticeable presence of our service men and women. What a generous gift of their time to cheer us on. I really appreciated that. Next year, if I return, I would like to stay for Mardi Gras. That might be fun.

Last updated: 2010-01-06 12:00 AM
03:53:00 | 26.2 miles | 08m 53s  min/mile
Age Group: 0/
Overall: 0/
Performance: Good
Course: This was not "PANCAKE FLAT" as stated in the marketing for the event. I found the course challenging and very scenic and quiet. There was one stretch along a highway/light industrial area that was the requisite boring section of any marathon. But the rest was rather nice. From approximately 13 - 17 though, it was rolly polly and felt like we were going slightly up for that duration. My HR was clearly paying attention as I gained 10 bpm's over that distance. Also, the course measured long on my GPS by .25 miles. Confirmed with others that were also on GPS.
Keeping cool Good Drinking Not enough
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Average
Mental exertion [1-5] 5
Physical exertion [1-5] 4
Good race? Yes
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

2010-03-09 7:53 AM

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Subject: Snickers Marathon

2010-03-09 8:30 AM
in reply to: #2715822

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Atlanta, GA
Subject: RE: Snickers Marathon

Great job keeping it together and finishing with a still great time. I know it wasn't what you wanted but by all accounts you raced well. You dealt with what you were given that day and finished running. It was really fun running over half the race with you. I've never done that before. You have a 3:40 in you. We both do. It's just a matter of time.

2010-03-09 9:21 AM
in reply to: #2715822

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Atlanta, Georgia
Bronze member
Subject: RE: Snickers Marathon
Nice RR - It was not the day I'd hoped for, either but we'll be back to fight another day..3:50 mary is pretty dang speedy, in any case.

I cramped big time, even with compression socks - I guess they don't solve everything!
2010-03-09 1:16 PM
in reply to: #2715822

Extreme Veteran
Atlanta, GA
Subject: RE: Snickers Marathon

Congrats on another marathon finish! You had an awesome race despite not hitting your goals.

I'm glad to read that you keep planning to seek that perfect marathon race! Maybe one day I'll be able to run again and we can try to hit 3:40 together!

Best of luck with your training and racing in the rest of 2010.

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