Monday, February 27, 2006

Tampa Marathon Recap: No PR - but my #6 is in the books

This marathon started out wet, windy and uncertain. The Tampa Bay area received some intense thunderstorms at approximately 5:15 AM on race morning, for which a 6AM start was planned. Fortunately, the heavy rains diminished to a steady, light rain. Race organizers decided to delay the start 1/2 hour - which left thousands of us standing at the start for quite a while. This was going to be a wet one.

The race course was a bit uneventful as all of the planned entertainment was cancelled due to the rain. The course design was OK, I guess. It carried us down Bayshore Drive which had lovely waterfront views. However, we seemed to cover the same roads on the second half as the first. I think I ran 10 out of the last 13 miles on roads that we ran the first 13 miles.

The conditions were drab but manageable. It was totally grey and rainy for almost the entire race. My feet were soaked the whole time. I saw a fellow runner nearly twist his ankle trying to avoid one of the countless giant puddles on the narrow pathways. The only bright side was that the temps were in the 60's and the bay breeze kept us all cool. Definitely beats a heat wave and intense sun.

I ran the perfect race for me through 20 miles, but I knew I was in trouble as I headed into the high teens. I was able to hang on through 23, but that is where the legs really began to slow and burn. It is a humbling and disappointing feeling when your legs have taken you 23 miles strong and they just don't want to go anymore. It was almost comical. I felt good otherwise.

I need to figure out why I didn't hit the wall in my last two marathons. Sure, I was tired and my pace slowed, but I was able to hang on running. Was my training that much better in 2004 and 2005? Maybe.

Although it was a mind wrenching experience, I knew I would finish. I was running for myself and that is all that mattered. On this particular race day, I would take a little extra time the last few miles.

I am not going to make excuses about how I got sick and missed my last long run or how the recent blizzard hampered running opportunities. I trained about as well as I could over the past few months with everything going on in life. It will be a learning opportunity. I know that if I do another marathon, I will need to step up the training, gain some peer support (I did ALL of my training alone) and get some pre-marathon races in.

Training was the key issue, I believe. Looking back, my 18 and 20 training mile runs I did were a bit too fast. Plus, my goal is not just to finish anymore. I believe I need to kick up my peak training mileage to 24-26. All things to think when I go for it again.

All and all, I am proud to have a completed my sixth marathon. Now, I will take a little time to recover and get back into a 20 mile per week regimen. I will also be taking the next several weeks to decide if I will run in the Chicago Marathon in October.

Below is the Tampa Marathon breakdown by the mile:

1 -- 7:39 - 7:39
2 -- 7:42 - 15:21
3 -- 7:46 - 23:07
4 -- 7:43 - 30:51
5 -- 7:37 - 38:28
6 -- 7:47 - 46:15
7 -- 7:32 - 53:47
8 -- 7:52 - 1:01:39 - Even managed to work in a pee break
9 -- 7:20 - 1:08:59
10 -- 7:45 - 1:16:43
11+12 -- 15:37 - 1:32:20
13+14 -- 15:27 - 1:47:47
15 -- 7:56 - 1:55:43
16 --7:52 - 2:03:35
17 -- 7:43 - 2:11:19 - Started to feel some fatigue
18 -- 7:38 - 2:18:57
19 -- 8:16 - 2:27:13 - Seemed like a misplaced mile marker as the next split would confirm
20 -- 7:09 - 2:34:22
21 -- 7:44 - 2:42:06 - Hanging on
22 -- 8:12 - 2:50:18 - Strong head winds kicked in
23 -- 8:27 - 2:58:45 - Still on pace for a PR after 23
24 -- 9:35 - 3:08:19 - Wall - Did some walking to try and recover
25 -- 10:59 - 3:19:18 - Struggled to climb over the wall - Walked even more
26+26.2 -- 12:10 - 3:31:28 - Ran to the finish for the last half mile


Zeke said...

Ryan, congrats on finishing #6. I'm going to be honest because I think you have a ton of potential. You can go a lot faster. 3:30, on what, 40 mpw? I think you could break 3 hours, but not on that kind of mileage and not on 1200 miles a year.

Your runs are fast enough - probably too fast. I think if you slowed down and added some miles, you're time would drop like a rock.

I ran my first 3 marathons between 3:17 and 3:26 with similar training. Then I followed Daniels and Pfitz's plans and dropped my next 4 marathons between 3:03 and 2:58.

Just something to think about.

runninturnip said...

Finishing 6 marathons is definitely something to be proud of. Its not a feat that many people can accomplish! Maybe you didn't PR but sometimes circumstances just don't allow it and you can't really help it. Sounds like you still ran a great race.

robtherunner said...

Congratulations Ryan! Eventually we all have to face the ending of a PR streak. Like Zeke said, you have a lot of potential and have the ability to run a much faster marathon, but be happy #6 is in the books.

Zeke said...

Ryan, thanks for stopping by my blog.

I'm not sure if you followed a specific program this time around or not. I would bet that if you followed Pfitz's 18-week, 55 mpw program, you'd be able to get a BQ.

Thomas said...

Congratulations on a good marathon. Even if it wasn't a PR, it seemed like a good effort. I agree with Zeke - If you followed a plan like Pfitzinger's you could drop your PR by a serious amount of time.

Dawn - Pink Chick said...

I spotted your Tampa comment on Rob's blog and had to come read your report. I did the half in Tampa in 2005 and loved it. I see we had much different weather conditions. We had sunny & hot, you had rain. We had tons of entertainment, cheerleaders, fans, etc looks like you didn't.

I must admit my race time wasn't my best either but the trip and time there was the best I've ever had and I would definitely love to go back there again for another race.

I've only ever done one marathon and it was a disaster for time but heh as you said, "its in the books". :-)