Monday, May 25, 2015

Colfax Marathon Performance Summary

2015 Denver Colfax Performance Summary
Personal Stats & Analysis
Sunday, May 17, 2015
Denver, Colorado
Official Time:  3:54:09
Pace: 8:55/mile
Place: 336/1,419 Overall,
67/213 40-49 Age Group
Weight: 182
Calories Burned: 3,392
Pre-Race Health: Hip Bursitis all Spring during training, so nowhere
near peak marathon condition, also over race weight
Post-Race Health: Good, no new issues
Course: Elevation of 5,280' and a 350' climb from miles 5-15, mostly
rolling hills with long flat stretches
Elevation Gain: 584 ft
Elevation Loss: 584 ft
Total Distance Ran: 26.2
Start Temperature: 45 degrees
Finish Temperature: 62 degrees
Sky Conditions: Overcast
Wind: 11 mph SW
Humidity: 61%

I went into the Denver Colfax Marathon, not in "terrible" shape, but probably the worst marathon distance shape I'd been in, maybe ever.  I just wasn't ready to run a full 26.6 miles, much less at the 5,200 feet of elevation of Denver.  So I knew it would be a struggle, and the only real result I was concerned with was crossing the finish line.

I had a pretty lengthy bout throughout the Spring, after the Phoenix Marathon, with bursitis in my left hip.  The results was a drastic reduction in my mileage leading up to the race.  In the last six weeks before the marathon, the time when I'm usually hitting 75-80 mile weeks consistently,  my mileage was as follows ... 47, 45, 39, 12. 39. 13.  In fairness, two of those weeks were the week before my Spring Half-Marathon, and the other was a taper week.  But the bottom line is, I didn't have a strong enough base to run a good race from start to finish.   But I've ran enough marathons, that I figured I would most likely complete it, but that was about it.

The altitude really didn't have much of a noticeable effect on me at Colfax.  It's been my experience that I really don't start struggling with it until about 6,000-6,500 ft.  I'm sure there was more of a cumulative effect than I realized, but I never remember being "short of breath" at easy paces.

I knew I could run a 7:45'ish fairly comfortably ... but for how long was the question.  In hindsight, if I'd kept my pace closer to 8:15 or so, I might not have had to walk as much at the end.  But at the 7:45-8:00 pace through most of the early race, I never really felt like I was pushing it.  In fact, on several occasions, I held back a little.  So who knows.  I figured I had a pretty solid 18-20 miles in me, but after that, all bets would be off.

I actually ran the first 20 miles at a 7:56 average pace with a couple of pee breaks, and also walking through every water stop, but at mile 21, I started having stomach issues.  They're something I'm definitely going to focus on this summer during training, as I've experienced them in two out of the last three marathons I've ran.  My legs were actually fine at that point, but I just kept having feelings of nausea, which actually might have been from the elevation.  And as far as my legs go, I have very little soreness in the following days after the marathon, so I was probably in a little better shape than I thought I was. In some marathons, my legs have started aching from about mile 16 on, mainly from over-training during the training cycle.  But in Denver, I actually felt like I could have gone a little further at a 7:45 pace if not for the stomach issues.  These stomach issues at Denver were probably from a weak core, and poor fueling leading up to the race.

When I started feeling the issues about half-way through mile 21, it made me walk most of the remaining mile. I never thought about quitting, it just bummed me out because I knew the remainder of the race would take forever if I had to walk it.  At about mile 22, I started feeling a little better and was able to put a 9:21 in the bank.  But then I started feeling them again decided to walk/run the rest of the race - which was fine, I really didn't care.  I really just wanted to make sure that I felt okay for my 9 hour drive back to Missouri immediately following race.  I figured driving 9 hours while holding back vomit might not be a great thing to experience.  If we had been staying in Denver one more night, I might have pushed it a little, but probably not.  Like I've written before ... if I realize at some point during a race, I'm not going to PR or place in my age group, I have A LOT of "quit" in me.  Ha, and that's what happened at this race.  During mile 22, it just became a game of get to the finish line, get the medal, and get out of here.

Hopefully most of the hip stuff is behind me, because trying to train for a marathon when being only about 50% healthy sucks.  If I can get the hip stuff completely resolved, it should be a fairly fast rest of the year, but we'll see.
... Be Great Today!


  1. Hate running injured, just saw Dr Metzl, who convinced me that his exercises in his book (Running Strong) will help my hammy. I'm digging the ant-inflammatory he prescribed, but gotta try the exercises.

  2. Stomach issues can really kill a race. Once I start feeling sick I just want to give up. But I think you've got to the bottom of yours this time. Altitude can mess you around as can not eating right.

  3. I'm sure the more conservative pace helped your legs feel better afterwards, but those stomach issues are miserable. I had them in my marathon and figure I lost about 20 minutes conservatively to port a potty stops.'s to no injuries and good health for the rest of the year!

  4. I love the way yo break down your marathons. It puts me there every mile with you :)

    I think we all have been there. Struggling at a race. But you finished and thats all that matters. Man... I can't even think about driving 9hrs after a marathon!!

  5. I really hope your hip feels better soon and you can be back to 100% health! I don't know if I could have handled stomach issues like you did. I can handle a broken leg and blood better than feeling nauseated or worse, vomiting!!!
    Kudos for finishing the marathon - while it wasn't what you expected and given the injury, you've got another race in another state down in the books.
    I hope you are enjoying a break from running. Can't wait to follow you along the rest of your training this year!!!!

  6. So basically, weak core...lets stomach contents slosh around a bit? Or are you slumped and that compresses the stomach? This is an interesting theory to me.

  7. Yeah, I don't know Grace, I'm getting ready to do a little research on it. But they seem to go hand-in-hand in my races, at least. Maybe it's just coincidence, I don't know.


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