This weekend I had the pleasure of traveling to Dallas, Texas for the Dallas White Rock Marathon. As I said in my last blog post, my goal was to bring back the “old school” training and racing mentality. I had my game plan of running a 2:22-2:24 via a negative split, which in the past few years would have placed me in the top five overall. The Dallas White Rock Marathon was the perfect combination of getting in a hard marathon training run while continuing to learn the distance. I didn’t really “taper” for this race with a 22 mile long run the Sunday before and a 116 mile week. The week of the marathon I completed two workouts – mile repeats and a tempo/progression run and finished with almost 95 miles for the week. I was feeling pretty good on the start line and thoroughly ready to execute my race plan.
The race started fairly fast with the half-marathoners and marathoners together. A pacer was supposed to take the guys out in 1:07 for the first half, which he did. I let them go and ran in the 530s for the first six miles (splits from my garmin below – note that I don’t advocate wearing a GPS watch in a race but I forgot my normal watch at home). I spoke for a mile or so with Erik of Rogue Running before he turned off for the half-marathon at around mile 9 and then I was all alone the rest of the race. About a half-mile into the race the sky opened up and it was pouring. I was 100% soaked by the third mile and running through puddles made my shoes weigh significantly more. The wind was steady at about 10-15mph gusting to probably close to 25mph. With temperatures between 41F-43F, it was pretty awful running weather.
I focused on practicing my hydration and nutrition. Although this race was a little different because the elite bottles were placed at different mile markers, the plan is to take cytomax at approximately 5k, 15k, 25k, 35k and water with a gel at approximately 10k, 20k, 30k, 40k. I executed this perfectly and felt good nutritionally by the end of the race without any blood sugar issues (i.e never close to bonking) and well hydrated. I knew the Kenyans were way ahead, but had confidence they would come back. At around mile 15 I heard I was in 6th. Between miles 18-19 I passed two Kenyans to move into 4th. At mile 24 I caught another Kenyan to move into 3rd. With more than 5 minutes to second place and more than 5 minutes to 5th place – I wasn’t going to finish anywhere but third unless someone in front of me didn’t finish or I didn’t finish. From mile 8 on I tried to maintain a rhythm in the 520s. With some uphill and downhill miles I did execute this very well. I split 1:13:15 for the first half-marathon and 1:11:13 for the second half-marathon. Exactly what I wanted to do!
This was another confidence boost on the preparation for the Olympic Trials. I’m typing this on a flight back from Dallas to Denver on Monday at noon and my legs are not sore at all. In fact, the only thing sore is my shoulder because I had arm-warmers and gloves on that were soaked. That should show you how much water was weighing me down if my shoulders are sore from the extra weight of wet arm-warmers and gloves! In addition to a great workout, it was nice to have a good payday for placing 3rd and being top American.
First, I really want to thank Coach Brad for allowing me to take an old school approach and ‘compete’ in a marathon six weeks from my goal marathon. I want to thank Elite Race Cordinator Scott Robinson of the AmeriKenyan Running Club for having me in the elite field and the Race Director Marcus and his family for helping the elites through the weekend. A huge thank you goes to all the spectators and volunteers who were out there on the course to help the race run smoothly and give us all a better racing experience. It was a pleasure to meet Bob Rosen, who is a volunteer high school coach in Massachusetts and helped with the race. Having dinner the night after the race with him was outstanding to talk road racing and the running community with someone as passionate as him. Lastly, I would be terribly wrong if I didn’t thank Mike Sandefur who volunteered to give three of the elites a ride to the airport on Monday morning. I flew in to Dallas-Love Field Airport and assumed I’d be flying back to the same airport. After dropping two ladies off at Dallas-Fort Worth Airport, he drove me to Dallas-Love Field Airport, only to get a call from me five minutes later that I was at the wrong airport – come back – and drive me back to Dallas Fort-Worth Airport. To be honest, I was glad to spend the extra twenty minutes in the car and chat with him. He ran 3:57 for one of his best times in years on a tough weather day. His love for running and the running community is outstanding. Guys like Mike, Bob, Scott, and Marcus are reasons why I’m so lucky to be able to be in the sport of long distance running because where else would you meet positive people that significantly contribute to health, fitness, and the community?
…Speaking of awesome people I’ve met through the sport…I was just about to post this when I get this e-mail from someone who reads my log on Athleticore.com and is a passionate runner himself…
Great job in Dallas over the weekend! I hadn’t checked your website in a few days, so needless to say I was completely surprised to see on Athleticore that you ran (comfortably raced) a marathon over the weekend. I completely support your thoughts on training, and testing yourself a bit in a race situation while still hopefully saving your peak performance for the trials. Competing is a wonderful thing about our sport, and I say if you can do it and stay healthy and hungry for more – then why not get after it every now and then. Sounds like the conditions were pretty brutal, but that you ran a very smart, controlled race. Things are looking good for you! Keep up that tremendous work ethic and positive attitude. That will carry you far in running and in life. Hope your recovery from the race is going well. Awesome job.
Have a pleasant evening. Treat yourself to a beer and some good food – you deserve it.
All the best,
Thanks a bunch for the support! I posted this e-mail to show how truly spectacular the running community is. It certainly is hard to not want to go out and run some miles after reading that. I guess lucky for me it’s 0F outside and I have my feet up and in my NormaTec Boots – no option to go put in some more miles…I’ll wait until tomorrow morning 😉