Month: March 2008

Marathon PR — finally!

To all you doubters…yes, this is an actual race report. 🙂

Yesterday during my 9th running of the LA Marathon, I finally managed to break 3:30 for a PR — finishing officially in 3:28:15.  That barrier has haunted me for almost 10 years, getting close several times, but never going below that 8 min/mi pace.  I got close last year, almost beating my previous PR from 2000, but just couldn’t squeeze it out.

Some close times:

1999 Chicago 3:32:56
2000 Long Beach 3:31:09
2001 LA 3:32:43
2001 Long Beach 3:35:30
2005 LA 3:34:28
2007 LA 3:31:57

My race this year was perfect — I ran a consistent pace (well, consistent for me) throughout, and felt strong the entire time.  I never walked, except for a stretch of about 10 yards while I re-filled my water bottle — that was new to me, since I typically walk much more, having always been a proponent of Galloway’s walk/run technique.

I started with the main pack, since I didn’t have a seeded bib this year, so it took me almost a minute to cross the start line.  It thinned out pretty quickly though, so I managed to get into my groove while climbing the first hill up Cahuenga Pass, where I saw a couple ultrarunners — Chris Rios who was going for his 23rd straight completion as a Legacy Runner, and Ruperto Romero, who sped off immediately after saying hi, on his way to a 3:02 finish.  The next several miles of downhill were pretty uneventful, while I was still trying to get into a comfortable rhythm, and loosening up my muscles from the lack of running/training in the days leading up to the race.  I glanced at the race clock occasionally, and noticed I had about a 3 minute cushion for a sub-8 pace, which I knew would quickly diminish as it usually does for me towards the latter part of the race.  I managed to somehow keep this pace for quite a while, then I stopped keeping track because it became too difficult to do the math in my head for the splits.

At around mile 10, I saw Deb Clem, so I gave her a hug and continued on my way, still feeling good, but I still had a long way to go.  Then I caught up to legendary Jussi Hamalainen, another Legacy Runner, who has almost as many AC finishes as his LA Marathon ones, who I ran with for about half a mile until I passed him, thinking that he would eventually catch up to me — he didn’t, finishing about 10 minutes after I did.

The half-way point soon came and went — I knew I needed to be through there around 1:40, since I wasn’t anticipating doing a negative/even split.  The clock read 1:41 — not much room to spare, but I didn’t think about it, and kept going.  I didn’t wear a watch for the first time in a race, so I couldn’t really keep track of my splits, so wasn’t sure if I was on pace or not.  I thought that if I could get to mile 23 in around 3 hours, it would give me plenty of time to make it under 3:30.

Me at mile 20

Mile 20 (photo by Marc Johnson)

At mile 20, I was surprised to see my friends Marc and Tanya cheering people on — usually, I’m not a happy camper between miles 18-22, but this time, I felt good, and seeing them made me feel even better.  I struggled a little going up the bridge towards the Sears building, and almost thought about walking the uphill like most people were doing, but I didn’t.  Once across the 6th street bridge, I knew the last 2 miles would be mostly flat, with a slight uphill finish.  I wanted to give myself about 20 minutes, but only had about 18 if I recall.  When I saw Ben at the mile 24 aid station, I got another surge of energy, and managed to maintain my pace, passing a lot of people as they were slowing down.  In fact, I don’t remember too many runners passing me the entire race — those who did, I eventually caught and passed later on.  That was also unusual, since I typically go out too fast, only to struggle to the finish.

At mile 26, at the sharp right turn to the finish onto Flower, I saw that my time was just under 3:28.  First, I wasn’t sure I’d be able to cover the last .2 miles in less than 2 minutes, but after the first 100 yards, I realized I had it nailed.  When I still saw I had over a minute to spare, with only 100 feet left to the finish, I was ecstatic — I couldn’t believe I would finally make it under 3:30!  The clock read 3:29:35, but with the chip adjustment, my official time was 3:28:15.

While walking to the Metro, I saw Flaco recovering, after finishing in 3:10.  I asked if he saw Jorge, and he said he was done a while ago — I found out later that he came in in an amazing time of 2:49, which was good for 44th overall.  When I talked to him at Shannon’s Moeben booth at the expo, he said he was training for American River.  I also bumped into Mike, who was wearing an AC finisher’s tournois poker en lignepoker comle poker a télécharger gratuitementjeu de video poker gratuitesjouer poker omaha en lignejeu au pokerune régle du jeu de pokereverst poker netpoker en ligne debutantmastery series texas holdemcomment bien jouer au pokerregles de jeux du pokertélécharger gratuitement jeu de poker en lignepoker casino bonusjeux frjeu de poker pour pcdescarga juego pokercaribbean poker paginas web,caribbean poker portal web,caribbean pokerjugar poker internet,juego poker,jugar poker webpoker texas holdem gratiscaribbean poker onlinejuegos pc pokermejor juego pokerjugar poker en internetpolli poquerdescarga juego de pokertexas holdem game7 card stud gratisstrep poker on linejuegos de poker texasjuegos streep pokerjuegos flash pokerdescarga gratis juegos pokerpoker para pcbwin pokerpoquer en lineajuego del poker en lineapoquer onlinecard game pokerapuestas onlinejuego al instante portales internetpoker gratis sin dineropoker downloadrevista pokerpoker pagina internetcaribbean poker portal webjuego cartasjugar poquer webpai gow poker portal internetplay poker omaha free shirt.  He finished his 12th LA, and was going for his 6th AC finish this year — he was also planning on running Leona Divide.

It’s now Monday, and I usually am quite sore the day after running a hard road race, but I feel great.  I have very little pain, and would be able to run right away at my normal intensity if I had to.  I haven’t done anything differently or changed my training, other than to cut down on mileage — since HURT, I’ve run only 15 hours, including a week of zero running 2 weeks ago.  This wasn’t really intentional, since it was due to being sick and/or Catra visiting.

This weekend, we’re planning on doing the last 25 of the AC course at night, then possibly another long run (8-10 hours) on Sunday — time to make up some mileage to prep for my next 100, which will be Coyote Two Moon at the end of the month.