Monday, May 16, 2011

2011 Mississauga Marathon

Where do I start with this one? I am still a bit shocked with the result, to make the long story short
 - 1:49:09 first half, 1:48:06 second half, 1:03 negative split = 3:37:15  It is a 11:53 PB! and 11:59 from my last full. Training was done without any "long" runs, longest was ATB30k in the end of March and a hilly 25k a week before the Marathon.

Past Success & Failures
GoodLife Toronto Marathon - 3:49:08
This was my 3rd marathon and first time broke 4hrs, a 1:55:25 first half, 1:54:19 second half.

I was aiming for sub 3:40 for 2010 but had 4 failed attempts:
Whitby Marathon - 4:02 - both calves cramp before 30k with a disaster finish
San Francisco Marathon - 3:51 - Garmin went wonky when I went into a public washroom after the Golden Gate bridge, it logged an extra km, I thought I was on pace for a 3:45-56 finish.
Scotia Toronto Waterfront Marathon - 3:51 - I'm cursed with this race or course, legs shutdown with no reason before half way.
Goodlife Toronto Marathon - 3:49:14 - dropped all my nutritions before 9k waterfront station with 1 salt cap left, things went well and I thought I had 3:46 in the bag but calves went cramp again with 3k left.

With a disappointing 2010, I realize I shouldn't be "racing" marathons at all given the amount of time I have for training, I have been logging randomly 20k-50k weekly and attacked Marathons which was very foolish.  I wasn't going to run any marathons this year, but I have registered Mississauga full last year for $35 bucks! so I've decided I'll just run it.

January & February - I saw "The Hanson's Less-Is-More Plan", although I still don't get enough time to follow this plan, but I thought I might be able to tweak it and let's experiment what happens.  The road conditions around where I live was quite terrible, unable to do any runs on regular pace.  Instead, I picked all the hilly routes & trails and run slow on the snow.

March & April - My work office moved to a new location with shower facility, I started to do 8k runs during lunch time, which adds up to my weekly mileage.  In these 8k, I would run about 10 seconds faster than marathon pace, and throw in 1 - 3km here and there with 5k pace.  As for the long runs, I started to run from work back home once a week, which is about 20k-21k along the reverse of Goodlife Toronto Marathon's route - an uphill long run.  Other "long" runs I would do about 16k - 20k during the weekend with my kids on a stroller to hilly routes, sometimes I mix it up with some fast km intervals on the track during the run.  In March I logged 200.58km and April I logged 246.09km, it's been a consistent weekly 50km or 60km, way more than I use to.

The more I ran, the better and stronger I felt, I managed to PB in 5k, 10k and ATB30k during these 2 months.

I would like to break 3:40, this would be my 5th attempt, but having no 30km+ under my belt, I wasn't sure what to expect and I didn't know if the calf cramp issue is going to happen again, but I would give it a shot.  If it didn't go well, just another failed sub 3:40 attempt :-)

My Race
I seeded myself a little behind the 3:40 bunny, I wanted to play it safe and run my own pace depending on how I feel.  I've ran the Mississauga Corp-Relay before (8k-16k leg) but never did the full.  It appears even the first 8k has a lot of downhills, it wasn't before long I caught up the the 3:40 group.  By looking at my Garmin, it appears they were going faster than suppose to, it would be about a 3:38 finish.
01k - 5:13 
02k - 5:07
03k - 5:03
04k - 5:01
05k - 5:06
06k - 5:13
07k - 5:12
08k - 5:09
As we passed the 8k, I know the course, there's a hill about 10k then after that it's all downhill.  Having tested in San Francisco Marathon and other hilly course, I find flying down the hills doesn't damage my quads at all, so I decided to break away from the 3:40 group to take advantage of the downhill and ease on flat and uphill for them to catch up.  From 8k all the way 28k I was always a few hundred meters ahead of the 3:40 group, I could hear the bunny telling them to turn left or right, which was great so I don't get lost.
09k - 4:53
10k - 5:04
12k - 5:12
13k - 5:09
14k - 5:08
15k - 5:06
16k - 5:11
17k - 5:20
18k - 5:09
19k - 5:12
20k - 5:10
21k - 5:01
22k - 5:06
23k - 5:04
24k - 5:05
25k - 5:11
26k - 5:12
27k - 5:15
Around 28k -29k I slowed down a bit and finally 3:40 caught up, but within a km or two I felt they were slowing down on the hills (maybe because they banked a 1min on the first half?) since I felt okay, I decided to keep my constant pace and I dropped the 3:40 group again.  I also passed 2-3 guys in blue Boston jacket, which made me wonder if I've done a silly move...
28k - 5:23
29k - 5:21
Between 30k - 33k I carefully monitored my legs to make sure no stupid cramps is happening, it appears everything was still functional well and Lakeshore has some downhill and incline, I managed to pick up the pace going downhill and attack the uphills, though I was slowing down on the incline but still reel in runners one by one.
30k - 5:07
31k - 5:18
32k - 5:10
At this point I felt great and seems my legs cannot slow down! the rain and head wind didn't matter to me at all, it actually felt refreshing in many occasions.  Around 39k or 40k, 2 or 3 guys passed me, I noticed one of them was from the 3:40 group, but 3:40 group was no where to be seen.  I kept with them for a few hundred meters but they were dropping down to around 4:40min/km or so I couldn't keep up, there's goes my clean record of nobody passed me after 30k...  with about a km or two to go, a guy in the park's parking lot was cheering for us, seems this guy has completed his race and was changing or something, the guy noticed I was picking up my pace to give everything I had left, he was shouting with lots of words to encourage me, can't say enough thanks to this guy!  I kept on passing people along the lake and finally with a little kick to the finish!  couldn't believe I was way ahead of 3:40!  Somehow Garmin logged 42.14km, but I know with another 55m I would be still 3:37ish so I am okay with that :-)
33k - 4:55
34k - 5:07
35k - 5:24
36k - 5:01
37k - 5:03
38k - 5:17
39k - 5:08
40k - 5:14
41k - 5:01
42k - 4:53
14m? - 3:44

After the Race
The volunteer had troubles to take off the chip of my shoe laces, I didn't want to take the chance that he might cut my shoe laces so I actually bend down to take it off for him but my leg muscles were so seized up and I couldn't tie my shoe laces.  As I was hobbling out another volunteer spotted my loose shoe laces and he was nice enough to tie it for me.  I took the shuttle bus back to Square One, since I am not familiar with the area, had no clue where my car was.. walked in a singlet & shorts with a foil wrapper in the rain and wind I was about to be frozen... finally took someone's advice get into the mall to find my way to the closest exit to my car, it was a little odd walking around in the mall with everyone starring at me and mall security didn't arrest me.

Special Thanks to my Running Free group, my running buddy Jack who attacked hilly long runs with me and Tony who ran with me around 10k-12k during the race.


Hong said...

You found your secret to scoring big PB's! Looks like BQ is in the horizon! All the best Felix!


chris mcpeake said...

Congrats on a huge PB,
way to go

cynthia said...

a very well structure essay ar.. :P
keep going!

Double Bellybuster said...

Dude - what is happening since then? I think I was running alongside you at 22K in the Toronto Marathon earlier this month.