Jump to content

Bloop

  • entries
    578
  • comments
    6,823
  • views
    21,958

Contributors to this blog

Mohawk-Hudson River Marathon RR

Slow_Running

192 views

     The MH marathon is a local Half and Full that is fairly popular here.  It's held during the Columbus Day weekend but my family is usually out of town that weekend so it's rare that I can manage to run this race.  I've ran the Half two times when travel plans fell through.  MH allows bib transfers so that makes it easy to get in late since the race sells out in a few hours.  The course is mostly flat but results in a net downhill elevation change so it's a good PR course.  I registered because I've been chasing a sub-4 hour marathon and this race seemed like a good fit.  The goal was 3:59.

     One week prior to the race the weather looked perfect, for me anyway.  A predicted 55 degrees at the start on a cloudy day with temps rising to around 60 by the end.  But as time passed the predicted start temp rose every day during the last week of taper.  By the time race day rolled around I was really stressing over the temperature.  MH is a point to point course.  Buses are available from the finish location to the starting location, or from the finish line back to the start if that's where you parked.  Race morning turned out to be very humid.  I parked near the finish and rode one of the buses to the start where I caught up with some runners from my LRG.  We arrived an hour or so before the start time and the temp was already 66 degrees and expected to rise into the 70s as soon as the sun rose.  Not what I was hoping for during an October marathon.

     Time passed quickly as we sucked down some last minute fuel and used real bathrooms in the park.  Soon it was time to line up.  I found the 4 hour pacer and lined up.  After the national anthem the gun sounded and we were off.  The race started on some roads within the park and then we exited onto city streets which eventually led to an asphalt bike path along the Mohawk River.  I think we reached the River at about mile 5.  The view as we entered the river gorge was great.  The next several miles were on the bike path with alternating views of trees and the river.  The leaves were just starting to change.  I was enjoying the scenery and sucking down water at every aid station.  The pacer slowed down and fell behind.  I didn't see him finish so I'm not sure what happened there.  That was fine because I was holding the pace just fine and chatting with other runners as we made our way through the course. 

     I like warm temps, but this morning was much warmer than any runner wants to see for a marathon.  It never occurred to me that my electrolyte pills would dissolve from sweat.  Putting them in a baggie would have been so easy, duh.  Seems like such a simple concept now, but it just didn't occur to me ahead of time since it's usually cool during fall races.  Never been an issue before.  As you've guessed by now, my electrolyte pills dissolved into a mess in the pocket of my hydration belt.  I don't drink gatorade during long races because it upsets my stomach, but I tried sipping some around mile 15 to try to take in some electrolytes.  Nope.  My stomach let me know for the next few miles that gatorade wasn't going to happen. 

      Around mile 16 we left the bike path and exited onto streets again.  The crowd of runners had thinned by this point so there was plenty of room to run.  The down side was that we were out of the shade of the trees along the bike path so there was nothing to prevent the sun from heating us up even more.  My running buddy / training partner was waiting for me at mile 20 to pace me in for the last 6 miles.  Seeing her was a great pick me up which I definitely needed at that point.  We ran a few blocks and then entered another bike path along the Hudson River.  We chatted as we ran and it was just like we were finishing another hard run on a hot day like we had done all summer long.  After mile 21 my quads started to cramp badly.  I've never had cramps before.  That's never been an issue for me during a marathon or any other race.  Of course, my electrolyte pills had never dissolved before either.  We stopped a few times so I could stretch.  My quads were just too tight to hold the pace.  RB had about half a bag of sport beans left over.  I really didn't feel like more sugar at that point but I choked them down as fast as I could for the electrolytes.  By mile 25 the cramps eased some and we were able to pick up the pace a bit.  Sadly, it was too late.  I had lost too much time between stopping to stretch and the slower pace.  I crossed the finish line with a 4:04 instead of the 3:59 goal.

     The 4:04 finish was a 3 minute PR, but I'm not happy about it.  I know I should be.  But I'm not.  A 3:59 finish was in my hand with a few miles left to go and I would have had it if my electrolyte pills hadn't dissolved.  That stings a little.  But, no excuses.  I ran a 4:04 and that's all.  A lot can happen in 26.2 miles.  Maybe that's one of the reasons why we try so hard to beat the marathon even though the marathon usually wins. 

     I'm far from finished with the marathon.  At first I told myself that I was done chasing marathon PRs, but after thinking about it I realized that I won't have to do anything different to get that 3:59.  Well, other than bring a baggie maybe.  Seriously, if I follow the same training plan and run the same workouts I should be in the same position.  I WAS prepared to break 4:00 which has been a barrier for me.  I won't have to train any harder.  I just have to bring a baggie or hope the temp isn't 70+ with high humidity on race day again.  I haven't picked a 2019 fall marathon yet, but I know that the goal is 3:59.  Guess I'm far from finished with chasing marathon PRs.  Anyway, here's the bling:

medal.jpg.e038b724160efef1da3bb270e0f8d4d8.jpg

     Small medal this year.  Is that a trend?  It's... interesting.  

     Be well.  Good luck with your fall race and bring a baggie.

  • Like 5


11 Comments


Recommended Comments

I'm in favor of smaller marathon medals. My rack looks like a weird sizing progression, except for a couple of outliers. That stoopid warm weather was worth at least 5 minutes. Try something in November. I can recommend Marshall.

  • Like 2

Share this comment


Link to comment

Dang it, John. You definitely had this one. Climate change is messing with the fall marathon.

I second Dave's suggestion to choose a later one next year - temps at Rehoboth were perfect for me. 

  • Like 1

Share this comment


Link to comment

I DEFINITELY think you can break the 4:00 barrier, especially with cooler weather and some electrolytes. My very first marathon finish was 4:00:28, so I completely understand needing to break it. I can be weird about collecting certain things, but I think this is where keeping the little bags that buttons come in (and the buttons) pays off! I've used them during races and also use them to separate my necklaces so they don't tangle up :) I've also just used saran wrap too for the pills. 

  • Like 2

Share this comment


Link to comment

Oh, and being the 4:00 pacer seems like BIG deal to me. Unless something terrible happened, there's no way I'd be that pacer unless I knew I could do it. And I forgot to say, Congrats on a great race and PR!!!

  • Like 1

Share this comment


Link to comment

It's funny about weather. In my head, every race I prepare for is run at 48 degrees with a thin, high layer of clouds and no wind. And then race day comes. What can you do except mark it down to bad timing? It's still frustrating, though. And you still came close even with your nutrient problems. Sub-4 is still doable, I think. And I discovered the same thing about those pills a few years ago. I gave up on them and started carrying orange slices, since I don't like gels. I seem to be able to take those without too much digestive stress. 

  • Like 1

Share this comment


Link to comment

A big part of breaking those barriers is having the confidence that you're capable of it. PRing with all that was against you should help. You'll get that 3:59.

And I'm with Dave, smaller medals for me too please. 

  • Like 1

Share this comment


Link to comment

3:59 will come, no doubt. Very tough temps. You could always come to Harriburg next year. Late enough for much better chance at cool temps and great hosts to welcome you!

  • Like 1

Share this comment


Link to comment

You definitely had the sub 4. The weather was like that for me when I ran Run for the Red back in 2015. Ended up with almost the same time as you. Next race I ran was 3:53.

Rehoboth Marathon? Philadelphia?

  • Like 1

Share this comment


Link to comment

Great examples of why the marathon is so alluring yet can be frustrating.  It's hard to have a day when everything goes perfectly, but all you need is decent weather and you'll easily break 4:00!

  • Like 1

Share this comment


Link to comment

It's amazing how much effect the weather can have on a race. It's such a crap shoot as to what you'll get. The PR is a good thing. Be happy about it!

I'm an outlier about medals. I couldn't care less if they gave me one or not. The few medals I have are in a drawer somewhere and I never look at them. I'd be happier with a finisher's or age group winner's shirt than a medal I have no use for. 

Edited by MichaelV
  • Like 1

Share this comment


Link to comment

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×