Thursday, February 21, 2013

Lost Dutchman Marathon Performance Review

Lost Dutchman Marathon
Sunday, February 17, 2013
Apache Junction, AZ

Official Time: 3:28:59
Average Pace: 7:58/mile
Finish: 35th/384 Overall
7th/32 in 40-44 Age Group
Avg Heart Rate: 165
Weight: 184
Calories Burned: 3,752
Pre-Race Health: Close to 100%, fresh healthy legs
Elevation Gain: 561 ft
Elevation Loss: 1,052 ft
Total Distance Ran: 26.44
Start Temperature: 46 degrees
Finish Temperature: 65 degrees
Wind: 5 NE
Humidity: 30%
Comments: Pretty good race overall.  Ran a little 
faster than I intended, but good training run for upcoming Ultras.

Michael and I spent a few days in Phoenix before the marathon and I probably did a little too much walking, climbing, and hiking.  That being said, my legs felt really fresh for the race, but I did notice that my feet were a little sore at about mile 14.  For most of the walking around in Phoenix, I wore shoes without much support and my feet were sore every night before bed.  So it was no surprise when they started aching in the race.  However, if I would have worn different shoes and walked a little less, I think being active for a couple of days prior to the race was probably a good thing, as opposed to just lying around.

At the end of race I started cramping worse than I had in a while.  I think one of main things I should have done better was manage my diet better the few days before the race.  I didn't really eat that badly, I just didn't take in nearly enough calories.  I think I actually lost a couple of pounds before the race, which is not a good thing.

I ate mostly salads, with as much grilled chicken mixed in as possible, with the exception of the huge steak I ate for Valentine's Day.  But other than, I didn't really carb-up that much until the day before.  

My "day before the race" meals were as follows:

        Oatmeal with Cinammon & Almonds
        Toast with Honey
        Granola Bar mid-morning

        Spinach & Greens Salad with no Dressing
        Grilled Chicken Breast
        Half Wheat Bun
        Banana mid-afternoon

        Half Chicken
        Chick Peas
        Bowl of Pasta
        Baked Potato
        Protein Bar after dinner
        2 Bottles of 20oz Gatorade G2 throughout the day

When I went to bed that night I felt really good about what I had eaten that day.  I wasn't bloated feeling like before some marathon due to too many carbs, but looking back, I probably could have had a few more.  I got to bed at 9:00pm, which was fine, but just couldn't sleep.  I wasn't nervous at all, I just had bad pillows that gave me a huge headache.  I got up about 2:00am and took two Tylenol, which I don't really like doing before a race, but my head was killing me.   The headache eventually went away and I felt fine in the morning.

Race & Pace
I really had no intention of running this race fast or trying to PR.  Don't get me wrong, if they're timing it, I want to run a good race, but I was more interested in using it as a good strong training run for my upcoming ultra marathons over the next two months.

I started the race without headphones and decided to run the first 10 miles without them.  Marathons are fun to run without music sometimes, but in smaller races when the runners spread out, it gets a little boring.  Plus, I really wanted to enjoy the beautiful surroundings and visit with other runners.  I've been doing quite a bit of training without them, so it wasn't a problem.  

Miles 1-6 
The first 6 miles were ran on a slightly compacted dirt road about 15 feet wide.  It was almost all gradually downhill since we started at about 2,330 feet and ended the race at 1,840 feet.  I really tried to keep my pace slow, but found myself accelerating a little more than I intended to with the easy downhill work. Overall I felt great.  My legs felt fresh and the cool morning temps made it perfect for running.  I literally don't even remember breaking much of a sweat those first few miles.  It was just smooth and easy.

I found myself stopping and walking through all the water stops, without much concern for the clock early in the race.  I also stopped for about a minute during mile 3 to pee behind a cactus.  I probably didn't lose that much time during the water stops because I kept moving forward, but based on my Garmin readings, it probably cost me about 4-6 minutes total in the race.

Mile 7 & 8 
At mile 7, our feet touched blacktop pavement for the first time in the race.  Usually when you go from a trail to road situation, you notice an immediate difference in traction.  But the dirt road was maintained so well that I didn't notice much difference.  I ran mile 6 at a 7:44 pace and felt that was a little too fast for this point in the race, so I slowed mile 7 down a little.  At mile 8, I picked the pace back up slightly, but still tried to throttle back a little.  I remember still feeling like I was running on air - a feeling that I hadn't experienced in a while.

Miles 9-12 
At about mile 9, we hit the first set of three gradual uphills.  It wasn't steep by any means, but it was a long, fairly winding road through a couple of neighborhoods that just didn't seem to end.  We climbed about 200 feet over 4 miles without any downhill during this stretch. My legs felt pretty strong through this phase, but it was a little tougher than I thought it would be.  The biggest problem with the incline is I wasn't able to accelerate at all during this stretch.  I felt like I had a good energy,  with no trouble holding the pace, but nothing more really without burning too much energy.  I just kept my mind on maintaining a smooth pace and getting of of the hill.  I knew there was a long downhill coming up.
2013 Lost Dutchman Marathon Course Elevation

Miles 13-16
The next three miles were a gradual downhill, and my legs were more than ready for a little rest.  The incline wasn't a killer or anything, but I just wanted to level off for a few minutes.   

Once I fully caught my breath I decided to find out exactly what I could do.  It was a beautiful morning.  I was feeling better than expected.  And I knew that I probably had a PR attempt in me based on how my overall average pace was dropping every mile.

Mile 13 was a smooth and easy 7:22.  It really didn't feel like I was working - partly because I was running gradually downhill, but also because I was in pretty good shape going into this race.  At mile 14 & 15 I decided to push the issue a little more.  I eased into back-to-back 7:13 miles and still felt great.

Miles 17-19
If I made a tactical error in this race, it was during the 3 mile uphill of miles 17-19.  I was really starting to get a feel for the race and easily putting up numbers that would get me close to a PR.  But for the next few miles, we would be climbing another grueling 200 ft without any downhill breaks.  I knew that if I wanted to PR I would have to push my energy level a little, so I did.  My pace dropped a bit which was fine, going 7:17, 7:24, and 7:40 during this stretch.  But looking back, I probably could have let the pace slide a little more and still have been fine.  I really burned a lot of energy during this push.  My heart rate was averaging 178-182 bpm, way too high for this early in the race.  But as the continual 3 mile incline just kept coming, my heart rate kept increasing.  Based on the online elevation chart, somewhere in the middle of mile 19, there was supposed to a downhill to the finish.  It came at a turnaround point on an out and back.  Once I hit that I gathered my breath for the home stretch.

Miles 20 & 21
After I caught my breath at about 19.5, I again started to bear down on the pace.  I had used a ton of energy and I wasn't feeling as great anymore with a little more than 6 miles to go.  But base on everything I read and was told, it was "all downhill from here"!  So I sucked it up and started pushing toward the finish.  Mile 20 was another easy 7:17, and Mile 21 was my best mile off the day at 7:07.  I was starting to get a little winded and knew that if I ran the next few miles at 7:40ish and pushed the last mile, I would probably PR ... but that's when everything really took a turn.

Miles 22-26
I was working hard, but I wasn't dying.  My heart rate had fallen back to the high 160's, which is where it should have been.  And I was really starting to get into a rhythm again, focusing on maintaining a good pace on the remaining downhill of the race.  So imagine my surprise and disappointment when I saw another long 100 foot, 2 mile uphill stretch immediately ahead of me.  I couldn't believe it - everything I looked at showed this final leg of the race to be downhill, but I was going up.  

I fought it for as long as I could and mustered a 7:45 for mile 22, but I was really starting to drop below my overall PR pace.  At mile 23 I just couldn't hold the pace any more.  I didn't walk, but really slowed down to 8:40.  At that point I knew the PR was not gonna happen.  So I packed it in, relaxed and enjoyed the rest of the race.  I don't know that I really needed to, but I rested for a little longer than normal at the remaining water stops, and even walked for two stretches,and my last three miles really indicate that.

Overall I feel really good about how the race went.  I had not been training for a PR attempt at all, but felt like despite of missing it by about 8 minutes, I was still pretty close.  From miles 10-22, I had averaged a 7:20 pace.  And it wasn't until the last hills from 22-25 that I really folded.  My legs felt really strong throughout and it seemed like my miles and miles of ultra training were really paying off.  The next marathon PR attempt I really plan on making is Chicago (if we get registered), so it was really encouraging to run this well without really pushing it too hard.  All in all it was a really positive marathon, and a great time in Arizona.
... be great today!


  1. congrats Jim! I sure hope you and Michael get in for Chicago..what a crazy mess this registration has been...!

  2. Another solid race for you. You look ultra ready - although I guess you do need to make sure you get enough calories before an ultra. I wouldn't even know where to start.

  3. Congrats Jim. Half way there - most impressive!

  4. Wow! Great pace for not trying to PR. You are a machine!!

  5. Great work on a 'training run' race. Really, that's speedy considering your goal going into it was just to use it as a training run. Those hills can really beat you up if you haven't trained. Hill repeats, long ones, need to be your best friend for ultra (So I'm told :)). Great job, Jim. Very solid race and you learned more about yourself, which is way cool!

  6. Great report. All those little details are the things that can make or break a marathon so getting it right is important. If that race is any indication, your training for the ultras looks like its well on track.

  7. Great job on the race, I love how detailed your reports are. You were speedy!

  8. Well done, great run! That is an awesome course. If I ever travel your way I would certainly not miss out on Arizona.

  9. Great job!! I like that you post what you eat prior to your race.

  10. Fantastic race Jim. I think it's incredibly admirable that you even came close to a PR when you haven't been specific training for it and were running a really hard course. This is a great indication that your fitness is very, very high.

    How did the 20 the next day go?

  11. Great race! Congratulations. Arizona is so beautiful! I looked at your meals - maybe add a fresh veggie juice in there to replace a Gatorade & add some more veggies & variety to your diet. Sometimes our bodies do better absorbing nutrients from natural sources, than processed sources. I get cramps & my tummy can't handle lots of fiber, so my VitaMix is my go to for added electrolytes.


Thanks for stopping by ... your comment's always welcome!