Wednesday, December 09, 2009

California International Marathon 2009

It's done! 3:59:51. A little off target.

The second half of the training was a little bit more difficult with more runs missed and too much yo-yoing; hitting 16 one week killed the legs, which meant more days of rest, which meant I was less prepared for the 18 next week, which killed the legs more, etc. Still thought I could hold 8:46 pace for 3:50 but that changed...

The biggest factor was probably the cold. With a 27F starting temperature, my whole body was frozen. Significantly, I could feel my right ITB tighten up and refuse to loosen for the first 4-5 miles. Staying with the 3:50 pace group was easy but by mile 7, the right ITB struck. Shooting pains up the ITB had me hobbling more on my left leg because the right would try to collapse every once in a while.

So I pinched my butt. It was like some kind of odd massage for the ITB and it alleviated some of the pains. After figuring that out, I started to try to adjust my gait to compensate for the ITB weakness. By mile 13-14, it seemed my legs had adjusted: no more ITB pain. I knew that the ITB was still blown up but at least it didn't hurt. And I had stayed with the 3:50 group this entire time so I had a glimmer of hope of keeping 3:50.

Then came mile 18. I could tell that all the energy I spent from 7-14 adjusting my gait really took its toll. Still held pace (just) but I knew that I would blow up at 20. And then came 20 and the legs blew up. Both my legs were gone from the gait change so I decided to just hobble along best I could. I had already thought about stopping multiple times but I figured at 20 miles I might as well finish. As I progressed, however, I didn't even know if I would hit 4:00.

So I took my time, jogged slowly, and did lots of mental calculations. At mile 25, I started speeding up again to try to hit sub 4:00. I knew I would probably be within seconds. My entire body started buzzing from lack of oxygen and I couldn't unclench my hands. Fuck it. Speed up more. Finally hit 26 and saw barely 1:40 left till 4:00 by my GPS. FUCK! Speed up more! Screw form, screw how I looked, screw everything, just move the legs! Would I make it?

200 feet from the finish line and I saw 3:59:50 on the watch and I knew I'd make it. Crossed the finish line dead. Glenn was there to tell me I broke 4:00, and Shryh was there to welcome me back to the land of the living.

So am I happy with the result? Not entirely since I knew I could have done a lot better but given the conditions I was satisfied I broke 4:00. 3:50 feels like it's in the bag once I strengthen the ITB a bit and redo the last half of the training. And besides, my last marathon was a 4:41:49 so I can claim a 42 minute PR!

Thanks to Glenn and Brandon for all the training advice and inspiration, Naveen and parents for the place to stay and awesome post-marathon food, Andrew for moral support, and Shryh. Couldn't have done it without you guys!

Not sure what the next Marathon is at this point. Can barely walk. Maybe a 3:50 at Big Sur? A 3:45 at a faster course? All seems doable with just a bit of training. After I hit 3:45 I'll feel like I've reached a milestone. And then three more giant leaps to Boston: 3:30, 3:20, 3:10!

Geek data:


ashuang said...


Brandon Fuller said...

When it hurts, speed up! Or so they say. Glad you are moving forward. PR is a PR. Just keep doing it. If you are going for speed, stay away from Big Sur.