Sunday, May 25, 2008

Edinburgh Marathon

So today was the big race. 6 months of training to see if I could finally run a decent marathon..... It's late, I'm tired so I'll add some "color" and details tomorrow - but here's the basic facts and a couple pictures......

The Background
started running 2 years ago in April 2006, did 2 marathons (both ugly, painful races - 4:10 in california and 4:26 in hawaii) with insufficient training and promised i wouldn't run one again until i could do one "properly". messed up my achilles running too many hills in may 2007 and spent 3 months pool running. Crawled back onto dry land Sept '07, picked up the training and by mid November '07 was back to pre-injury fitness levels. Started on a big training plan (27 weeks, 1,735 miles, 107 mile peak mileage) for Edinburgh and today was the time to see if it had worked or not.

The Course, Conditions and Race Plan
Theoretically it's a fast course, if conditions are good. 200' downhill in first 5 miles then pretty flat to the end. But if it's windy, it's a headwind from mile 5-18 and then a tailwind from 19 to 26. Today the wind was 20MPH with gusts in the mid 30's, so it was not a real PR course. About 11,000 runners plus 3,000 doing a relay.

My plan was for 3:10 - I'd toyed with going for sub 3 but the weather said no.

Miles 1-5
I was in the second corral/pen so got a good start just 13 seconds after the gun. It's a fast start as it's sheltered from the wind and downhill. No mile markers 'til mile 3 - here's the splits

1-3 21:19/20:31
4 7:01/7:01
5 7:13/7:09
So at mile 5 I was 34:48 against a plan of 35:33 - 45 seconds in the bank!

Miles 6-10
We hit the coast, and also the headwind in this section and there were some tough spots. Gu'd at 5.5 and felt pretty good.
6 7:18/7:16
7 7:18/7:18
8 7:20/7:04
9 7:26/649
10 7:16/7:04

So after 10 miles I was 1:10:33 against a plan of 1:12:12 and feeling great - 1:39 banked and feeling strong!

Here's a photo from mile 9

Miles 11-16
This was the worst section - direct headwind, and the plan reflected that. I started chatting with another runner (#1242) at mile 14, which helped a lot.

11 7:28/7:02 - fast!
12 - missed the marker
12-13 15:10/14:20 - still fast!
14 7:32/7:17
15 7:32/7:20
16 7:31/7:15
Crossed 16 at 1:53:56 vs 1:57:24 plan, so 3:28 ahead of schedule!

This was a big segment for me, managed to stay strong and make up big time in some pretty brutal winds right on the coastline.

Miles 17-20
This section left the coast and went round some old house. Felt great to be out of the wind.

17 7:21/7:02
18 7:22/7:04
19 7:15/6:57
20 6:46/7:03 - overly optimistic planning.....
Crossed 20 at 2:22:14 vs plan of 2:26:09 - still picking up time and 3:55 ahead

Miles 21-25
The last 5 miles had the tailwind and I rolled nicely thru these. My big training weeks and many, many 20+ mile runs kept me strong. Only 1 person passed me (in fact that's from the half way point) and I went by dozens and dozens of fading runners. I could feel it in my quads by 23 but I was never close to bonking or cramping.

21 missed marker
22 14:07/12:56 - short at 1.84 miles
23 7:01/8:29 - long at 1.19 miles
24 7:01/6:23 - short at 0.89 miles
25 7:07/7:55 - long at 1.1 miles
so they messed up the markers bigtime on this session, so who knows where I was. Assuming mile 25 was right I was at 2:57:58 vs 3:01:24 - which was 3:26 ahead.

Final 1.2
I knew sub 3:05 wasn't going to happen so decided to not kick from 1.2 miles out. Instead just focused on getting the person ahead and sprinting once I got into the stadium for the last .22 miles.
26 7:01/6:55
26.22 1:36/1:20
Hit that last .22 at about 6 minute pace in front of a packed grandstand and it felt great!

Final time 3:06:13 - A huge PR of 1:03:57.

I was very happy with the result. I ran a smart race and didn't get myself into trouble. I think I was probably in good enough shape to do sub 3:05 but sub-3 was never going to happen in that wind.

Here's the finish line photo......

The results don't come out til Tues/Wed, but the winner was 2:25 - here's his story


ryandavid said...

Way to run a smart race man. Been following your build up...nice work. That sub-3 will be yours soon.

Martin said...

Great race Alan - all that hard work and planning paid off big time. Congrats!

Chris Rumble said...

Incredible performance Alan. Congratulations!

Loth said...

Brilliant race Alan. Given I was one of the volunteers at the finish, I spoke to a LOT of people, and everyone struggled in the conditions with that wind. You did wonderfully and I suspect with better weather, your sub 3 hour race would have happened. Next time, eh?

Tammy said...

wow - that is freakin' unbelievable Alan! A 1:03:xx improvement on your PR???!!! Dude - you ROCK!! You ran a very smart race and you trained hard for this. You are a very disciplined runner and that sub 3 marathon is oh so very close now!

Peter Lubbers said...

Hi Alan,
Talk about that windy training run really paying off!
Awesome race. Very well paced and brilliantly executed.
Sub-3 on a wind-free course is yours for the taking now.