Friday, September 14, 2012

Via Marathon Pacing Report

Last weekend the closest major marathon to our house took place, starting about 15 minutes from our house in Allentown and finishing about 20 minutes in the opposite direction in Easton.  Oddly enough, I've never officially raced it, but this is the second year in a row that I've run the whole thing, pacing a family member to his third marathon finish and another BQ!

And I will say this, as a race director I don't encourage bandit'ing a race AT ALL.  Why run 26.2 on a marathon course during a race then you might ask?  Well, first of all I carried my own hydration and nutrition (as well as Doug's).  Secondly, I don't come close to the finish line, ducking off well before the line.  There are a few other things that make this event unique from a "pacing" standpoint, included a HUGE relay competition with several exchange zones and a lot of confusion and the fact that we ran 7:30-7:35 the entire race made us an impromptu pace team, at one point we had a group of about 8 people!

About 5 miles in, it was starting to warm up.
 We've had a crazy summer in the northeast / midatlantic this year.  The humidity has been through the roof and the temps have been above normal.  We were treated to some nasty storms on Saturday night courtesy of an approaching cold front which would bring down the temps for race day.  Temps at the 7am start were in the low 60's which was a welcomed change.

Doug didn't know exactly where he stood from a fitness standpoint and factoring in the cooler weather.  Last year he and I had run 3:24 to qualify him (he needs 3:30).  With better weather we decided we'd shoot for 7:30-7:40's for the first 20 miles then go from there.  That would put us at 3:15 on a great day assuming we could pick up the pace in the last 10K and it would also set us up for a 3:20 should things start to get rough.

We were consistently nailing 7:35-7:38 through the first half.  I was the designated sherpa, so I would stop at water stops and fill Doug's bottle so he always had fluid at his disposal.  Meant that I'd be doing some "pickup"s throughout the race, which was actually great training for me!
Half way, full bottle, trying to catch back up.  Sporting the new LVRR singlet!
 Everything was going spot on target as we went through half way and headed onto the towpath trail.

Here's our group at about 18-19 miles.  Nice shaded trail.
We hit mile 20 and there was no request from Doug to pick it up, so we kept at it, logging consistent miles and picking people off.  The effort definitely got harder but the pace didn't drop accordingly.  We hit the final straight away and peeled off.  Doug looked great, crossing in 3:18:18, 7:35 pace and about 12 minutes faster than he needed for a BQ.

It was a great training day for me as well.  Nearly 3:20 on the legs and great practice with nutrition and hydration.  I've really gotten to like my Power Bar powergels.  I took three of them, starting with a no caffeine vanilla, a 1x caffeine chocolate and finishing off at mile 21 with a 2x caffeine double latte!  They are a great consistency, great taste and high in sodium to replace the salt loss.

Next up, a possible double weekend....cyclocross at Nittany on Saturday and Rock n Roll Philly Half on Sunday.

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