As you know, Orange Mud has been following along on my journey to my 10th marathon at the Vancouver USA Marathon and on Sunday that journey came to a end.
My fastest marathon to date was my second the 2013 New York City Marathon when I ran a 4:35:46. I trained like crazy for this race, through a hot Phoenix summer, up to 24 miles for my long run. I had a coach and a nutritionist and I followed my plan to a T.
Fast forward 2.5 years and 7 more marathons and my training has changed significantly. No longer am I following a traditional training plan and in the last 4 months I’ve run a lot of races including 2 – 50Ks & one 50 miler, along with a lot of back to back runs.
Since I’ve been venturing into the ultra world, my training has changed and while I have nothing against a traditional plan currently my preferred method of training is a mix of trail & road and using races as training runs. I will say, if you are a first time marathoner or have other more aggressive time goals, this is probably not the way to go about your training J but it worked for me.
It’s been a long time since I even had a shot at a PR, with my last 4 marathons coming in at over 5 hours, not something I’m ashamed of at all especially since I haven’t made it a focus. At some point, I changed my focus from the time on the clock to the journey, but this year I felt compelled to see if I could PR and I thank Orange Mud for giving me a little push to embark on this journey and keeping me accountable.
Now that all that’s out of the way, let’s get to the race. The Vancouver USA Marathon is a small race, there were 459 finishers.
We arrived at the start around 6:20am race day morning. The race would start at 7am for the marathoners. A unique thing for this race was that the half marathoners started 2 hours later than the marathoners so we were able to finish the race with more people around vs. most races when the slower marathoners are finishing by themselves.
Since there were only 459 people, it was a pretty quick start. I started out just ahead of the 4:30 pace group and quickly made my way up to the 4:15 pace group where I would stay for the next 7 miles. I was feeling pretty good and this part of the course was relatively flat. It was quite beautiful and I wish I’d taken some photos but I wasn’t really thinking about that at the time. The first 13 miles took us west of the city, mostly on the side of the road or on a path, we even had a small stretch of gravel trail.
As we made our way back to the halfway point, I fell off the 4:15 pace group, which I wasn’t really surprised at. I remember being so thirsty, I think I went through 2 Orange Mud bottles in the first 9 miles. And I only had 2 extra bags of liquid calories, which would prove to not be enough. I was wearing my Vest Pack 1 so I was able to stash my baggies of calorie mix in the pocket.
Once we got to the half way point, the hills started. They were only around 100 – 200 feet but they felt like they were mountains by that point. Lol. It was also around this point when we started to see the slower half marathoners – I passed the 3:00 pace group and a bunch of walkers in this section. Fortunately the road was wide enough that it wasn’t a huge issue.
I kept trying to calculate in my head how fast I needed to go to PR. And I knew it was going to be tight especially with the hills.
When the 4:30 pacers passed me at mile 17 I knew I needed to kick it up a notch. Unfortunately the lack of calories became a problem and I started feeling a bit nauseous when I picked up the pace so I had to back it down a bit. I know some people don’t care if they get sick, but I would rather slow down than throw up.
As we got closer to end of the race, the mile markers for the full & half were getting farther and farther apart & my Garmin was behind by .2 miles so I wasn’t exactly sure where I was in conjunction to the finish. I saw the sign for mile 25 and then mile 12 sign was less than a half a mile from the finish so I was really confused until I was almost at the last turn towards the finish.
I tried to pick it up but again I thought I started to feel sick so I just kept going as fast as I could until I crossed the finish line to Bart Yasso congratulating me and calling my name at 4:36:10, 25 seconds from a PR. Of course I was disappointed, but as I mentioned before I haven’t run under a 5 hour marathon in over a year so to get as close as I did to my PR as I did, was pretty darn awesome!
It definitely gave me back my marathon confidence and I am so excited to see what I can do at the New York City Marathon in November, where I’m running with the James Blake Foundation (www.crowdrise.com/runnylegs), for my brother-in-law David, who was diagnosed with cancer in May. With the proper calorie intake and a bit more speed & hill work, I’m sure I go even faster, especially with the crowd support from the city of New York.
Again, a huge Thank You to Orange Mud for your support and amazing products.