Friday, May 27, 2011

Rock/Creek - Scenic City Marathon

Before starting into this report, I think it best to thank those who put together such an amazing event. R/C Race Series and Randy Worton proved yet again that no matter your experience level R/C continues to put on world class events which open the running world up to the pleasures of being in the woods. I mean how many races on the east coast have a helicopter and camera mounted mountain bikers filming a trail race? Unreal!

Following W2C 50k at the end of March, I took some time to recover from my back injury and build up my speed. After racing essentially eight races in three months, I felt that my base was good enough to start hitting the track and the pavement for some structured speed/tempo sessions. Over the span of six weeks, my speed progressed with steady long, long tempo runs and LT track workouts (milers, 1200's, etc). On paper, I felt that I was coming into the race with 2:30-35 road marathon shape. That said, on race day things tend to play out differently.

I started my taper roughly three weeks out from the race, hoping that by decreasing my mileage that far in advance, I would absorb my training and not feel flat on race day. Unfortunately, the extra time did not afford extra rest as work took over and I quickly found myself up to my nose in research. The week leading into the marathon was restless to say the least.

Race morning went off without a hitch (aside from a slight delay due to the helicopter landing). Within the first mile, the peeking order was established. I knew from Arron's previous races that he would take the first half hard so it was not a surprise when he assumed the lead position. My plan was to run conservatively off the back of Arron for the first half and then sort it out on the second. However, when we cruised through the first aid station (5k) well under 5:50/mi pace, I dropped back a few steps to run my own race. I figured the heat was going to be the deciding factor and if Arron wanted to push the pace hopefully I could catch him in the second half.

I clicked my watch at the ten mile mark around 57min. Apparently, I was not running as conservatively as I wished. On the road, this would have been acceptable; however, on trail, I knew this was probably a little quick for an opening ten mile. Reluctant to fall back further, I tried to hold pace still hoping that the heat would limit Arron's lead. At mile ~13, the lead had stretched out to two minutes. At ~18min, he had six minutes on me. Knowing that I was in command of second place and that I was starting to succumb to the heat, I decided to drop the gear down and not turn myself inside out. The finish line was a welcomed sight and I enjoyed the crowd support running around the field for the final 400m. The highlight of the day was without a doubt running with Kristen the final ~3mi. I was supposed to be 'pacing' her and she absolutely dropped the hammer on me. I am still recovering.

I would like to extend my congratulations to Arron on taking command of the race. He is a talent and I look forward to racing again in the heat of Raccoon Mountain at the upcoming R/C Stage Race. Before that though, I am off to the Washington D.C. North Face 50miler to square off again against Forest Gump (aka Dean Karnazes).