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Long Beach Int'l City Bank Marathon - RunMarathon

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Long Beach, California
United States
RUN Racing
68F / 20C
Total Time = 3h 32m 13s
Overall Rank = 312/3531
Age Group = M 50-54
Age Group Rank = 20/213
Pre-race routine:

This was my fifth marathon and first serious attempt at qualifying for Boston. I took a shot at a BQ at LA Marathon in March, but was in the middle of A) a long stretch of injuries and B) training for IM St George...that was the very definition of ill-advised...not only didn't get the BQ, but was well off my PR (from 2009). This time I evaluated my health and fitness (and my schedule of tris) carefully in mid-summer before deciding to go for it and starting to really train properly.

I knew by early August that I was going to be well prepared for this. I had a series of really high quality benchmark long runs (including a hilly 20-miler) that showed me I was going to be ready for a mid-autumn BQ attempt. There were two tris (SF Tri at Alcatraz and the Malibu Oly) I had to juggle with my marathon peak phase, but that worked out okay...actually I ended up crushing my AG on the run at Alcatraz as a result. Got in last 20 miler one week after Malibu, four weeks before this race...when that went great, I knew I was going to be ready.

Training for this really underscored for me the downside to tri training for someone who is also competing seriously as a runner (I'm a consistent AG podium finisher from one mile to 10K): Very hard to get in the mileage AND the speed development work you need while still maintaining equivalent fitness on the bike and swim. Since I didn't have any tris longer than an Oly scheduled for August/September, I was able to ramp down my cycling and build my running somewhat closer to where I was in pre-triathlon days.

One last curveball, though, after 4 1/2 months of injury-free training post-IMSG: On my last easy one hour run, five days out from the race, I managed to pull a muscle in the outside of my right calf. Nothing major, but it was touch-and-go as to whether it would be healed sufficiently not to impact a BQ attempt. Decided to run the race with a shin splint wrap to protect the muscle.

Got up at 3:30 to get to Long Beach and park by 5:00. Had a Clif Bar at 4:00 and another at 5:00 along with Diet Coke. Got parked and walked to the starting area before the portapotty lines got long...and took full advantage of that fact. :)
Event warmup:

Ran several laps of grassy holding area. Thorough stretching. One more lap after that. Said goodbye to Liz and walked up to first starting wave zone and parked myself just behind the 3:30 Clif Pace Group...right next to a couple who both also did IM St George in May.
  • 3h 32m 13s
  • 26.2 miles
  • 08m 06s  min/mile

Generally uneventful...happily. Plan was to go out at 8:15 the first mile then build to 8:09 or better by mile 3--with an ultimate target of 3:33--but I felt very comfortable and smooth and in a nice aerobic zone at 7:55-8:00 by my Garmin. Having run several long runs well under 8:00 over the last 6 weeks, I decided to stay there as long as I was showing no strain. Mostly, though, my strategy was just to stay within line of sight of the Clif Bar Pace Group for 3:30...and make a decision later on in the day whether to try to catch them. Interestingly, I did gradually drift back from them even though my Garmin was showing me running generally at about a 3:28-3:29 pace...either the Garmin was crediting too much distance or I was taking even longer tangents than usual (I always take turns wide, because my left arch and ankle just don't handle sharp turns).

There was a guy shadowing me for much of the first six miles. Eventually he started asking me what time I had when we passed various mile markers and we started talking a little bit. He was running the half marathon (which starts simultaneously with the mary) and was a bit taken aback to discover I was running the full at the pace I was holding. It was his first half--his fiancee was trying for her first sub-2:00 finish and "made him run it"--he was also wanting to go under 2:00 and I have to say he was really crushing it. Said so long to him at the full/half split (around mile 11) and also bid adieu to the nearly 10,000 runners in the half that were crowding the course for the 3,600 of us doing the full. ;)

(Which reminds me of advice I got at the start from a guy who was doing the half, but had done the full twice before: This is a race where you really have to remind yourself that the vast majority of people around you--esp. if you are a faster marathoner--are doing the half, not the full.)

I was sticking to hydration and nutrition I'd used in training: One GU gel every 30 minutes, sticking mostly to water at aid stations, but taking a couple ounces of Powerade when offered, then washing down with water.

Calf injury wasn't bothering me and neither was the calf wrap I had on. I always divide marathons into three parts: The comfortable "base distance" part, the middle section where you are fatigued and starting to accumulate various specific issues, and then the stretch where you are just gutting it out. The longer you stay in each of the first two, the better the race. This time, the comfortable section lasted until into mile 14...left (i.e., uninjured) calf started to really tighten up there. Fortunately, I was able to ease it out by mile 17...although then my chronic issues in my left foot (arthritis and PTT) were in evidence.

Just kept churning out mile splits between 7:55 and 8:00 or so. At LA in March, I'd hit the wall--hard--in mile 18. This time, I was hurting (both calves, left foot) by then, but I threw in a sub-7:45 mile at 19 just to show myself I was going to get it done. When I got mile 20 done in 7:55, I was long as nothing blew up that would make me walk.

Around 19, I got a little tightness in the left hammie behind the knee, so I started to moderate things a bit. I knew I had a decent hill around 22-23, so I was preparing myself mentally for that. I was also doing the math every mile now: Looked like I was solid for 3:31:30-3:32:30. Now it was just a matter of engaging my core and keeping my knees alive. Last 10K was all 8:02-8:14 splits...but I reminded myself that at LA, miles 23 and 24 were both around 10:10.

This race starts the walkers ahead of the runners. I caught the main pack of walkers (and the runners who'd gone out fast and blown up, I'm sure) along Ocean Ave, miles 22-26. Had to move all the way to the left in the opposite traffic lane to have clear room to run. I think only one guy passed me here and I was passing most of the other people who were running.

Finally, I rounded the last turn and saw the finish line about 4/10 of a mile ahead. Have to admit I started to tear up for the first time in a race: I was going to Boston after a year that started with me on the shelf completely with two injuries that had me wondering if I'd ever get back to form. Accelerated a bit down the stretch and heard Liz yell out for me from the crowd. Gun time on the finish line display showed under 3:33...I was punching my Boston ticket with three minutes to spare.
What would you do differently?:

Nothing. I went out faster than planned, but the reality was that I was prepared for that pace. Doing regular long runs at approximate race pace showed me precisely where my fitness was. Won't ever not do that, no matter how many BT know-it-alls try to suggest otherwise.

Garmin had my 26.2 mile actual split at 3:29:12 (total actual distance covered at finish was 26.65 miles), so I probably could have taken a shot at an official sub-3:30, but--honestly--I was on fumes for miles 25 and 26, so I don't think I would have gotten there.
Post race
Warm down:

Liz found me right away and we walked around for a bit. At LA this year, I passed out about 90 minutes after the race and ended up on an IV, so she was watching my color closely. I felt a lot better than after LA, but wasn't taking any chances on forcing down calories like I did there--concentrated on sipping water, then sports drink. Used the portapotty and felt stronger after that: Liz even commented that I looked better after that. :)

Probably the best I've felt after a marathon, inspite of putting up a new PR by more than ten minutes (10:06, actually).

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Nothing. Only potential limiter going in was the pulled calf muscle and it was a non-factor...probably 85% healed by the start and actually felt better after the race.

Event comments:

This is an excellent course for a BQ attempt. Only a handful of short hills, none of them significant. Aid stations are at unusual intervals, not every mile. Limited free food (but free beer) at the finish, but several "gourmet" food trucks there. Nice winding course that shows you most of the "sights" of the LBC...excellent spectator and musical support on the Cal State Long Beach campus around miles 17-19.

Last updated: 2010-08-04 12:00 AM
03:32:13 | 26.2 miles | 08m 06s  min/mile
Age Group: 20/213
Overall: 312/3531
Performance: Good
HM split = 1:44:00. Actual distance run per Garmin 310XT = 26.65 mi. (7:59/mi); Garmin split time for 26.2 mi. mark = 3:29:12.
Course: Start on Shoreline Drive , pass the new Pike at Shoreline Village , cross the Queensway Bridge and run to the bow of the Queen Mary , circle back around the Aquarium of the Pacific , the Lighthouse at Rainbow Harbor , Pierpoint Landing, back by Shoreline Village and down the beach. At approximately Mile 10.5, is "the split" where the Half Marathoners circle back west on Ocean Blvd. Marathoners continue east on Ocean Blvd. to Livingston, passing through beautiful Belmont Shore . Miles 12-13 take in Marine Stadium , then make a U-Turn at the end of Marine Stadium. After leaving Marine Stadium, runners circle Colorado Lagoon and head towards California State University-Long Beach, miles 17, 18, and 19 travel through the campus of California State University, Long Beach and pass the Pyramid Sports Complex. Pass Recreation Park , Blair Field and the Colorado Lagoon. Reconnect to Ocean Blvd. alongside beautiful Bluff Park , and head through "the corridor" after mile 25 before reaching downtown. Turn left from Ocean Blvd. onto Shoreline Drive for the slight downhill finish directly across from the Marina Green Beach Party Finish Line Festival.
Keeping cool Good Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Good
Mental exertion [1-5] 5
Physical exertion [1-5] 5
Good race? Yes
Course challenge
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities: Good
Race evaluation [1-5] 4

2010-10-18 8:43 AM

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Northridge, California
Subject: Long Beach Int'l City Bank Marathon

2010-10-18 11:24 AM
in reply to: #3157571

Subject: RE: Long Beach Int'l City Bank Marathon
Congratulations on your BQ and PR and a good solid race. BM has entered into my head and will try to qualify next year. My 1st marry is in two weeks. Great job once again and enjoy Boston
2010-10-18 11:59 AM
in reply to: #3157571

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Colorado Springs, Colorado
Subject: RE: Long Beach Int'l City Bank Marathon

Big congrats to you. You've been working hard for this and it has to feel really great to get it done. Your training plan worked well for you. Enjoy the race in Boston. It's an amazing experience.

2010-10-18 12:32 PM
in reply to: #3157571

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Subject: RE: Long Beach Int'l City Bank Marathon
great race, great push and great rr....congrats on the bq.  And i will definitely remember taking the tight corners on the next race.  congrats again..
2010-10-20 1:55 PM
in reply to: #3157571

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Bedford, NH
Subject: RE: Long Beach Int'l City Bank Marathon
Congrats on an awesome race and for qualifying for Boston!  Sounds liked you really nailed your plan and the results are very well deserved!
2010-10-22 1:54 PM
in reply to: #3157571

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Subject: RE: Long Beach Int'l City Bank Marathon
Great job, Todd! Enjoy Boston... it's a blast!!

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