DATE: Sunday, June 3, 2012
LOCATION: Ojai/Ventura, CA
RACE BEGAN: 6:10 am
FINISH TIME: 04:22:24
When it came to this marathon, I was in major denial. I only signed up for another marathon so soon because I won the entry at the expo of the marathon that almost ended my marathon career. I mentioned it a couple of times in passing, but I didn't elaborate on any goals or anything. Secretly, I just wanted to come in sub-4:30, but secretly secretly, I wanted to PR (sub 4:19). But that's kind of ridiculous, because I didn't do much training. I'm embarrassed to even specify how much training I lacked, but if you've been reading, you'd know I had other goals in progress that didn't allow for a lot of miles logged.
I was nervous, but the supposed elevation map was really promising:
The day before the race was spent trying not to walk too much at the Camarillo Premium Outlets, a stomachache following eating too many muffins at Souplantation, and Italian dinner with my sister and "M." It was actually the first time in many marathons that I had pasta the night before... I had a poor experience with it once and avoided it ever since. But apparently, it was a good choice -- just as long as heaviness, cream, and whole wheat pastas are avoided!
Once again, I used the run/walk (Galloway, click the link to read about why I had to start going this route) strategy I used during the LA Marathon a few months ago since it seemed to work well for me. Once again, my Garmin was set to beep at intervals of 8 minutes and 1 minute rest, over and over again. Overall, I was able to adhere to this strategy longer than last time, but I did have to skip a couple of the earlier "rest" periods because of a narrow field and downhills that I simply did not want to "waste" by walking.
With my Garmin set up that way, I don't have mile splits again, a downside that I should really try to work out because I love knowing where I had trouble. However, I can say with confidence that I struggled around the 19th mile, recovered a bit, and after Mile 22. Anyway, without splits, I'm doing something a little different with this post format:
Strategy: I approached the intervals slightly differently this time, mostly sticking to them but going by feel or conditions as mentioned two paragraphs ago. I normally have this "the Garmin is king" thing -- basically, if it tells me to walk, I should walk -- but I adjusted slightly -- not sure if that was helpful or not since I was breaking down a bit near the end. Miles 22-24 was the toughest time for me because I kept seeing runners at a turnaround that was literally miles away. Also, my legs were getting realllly tight by that point, along with running out of steam. BUT I did not feel the "cramp pull" in my right calf until the last mile, the latest ever, so I think I paced myself appropriately!
Items consumed: 1 Honey Stinger Lime-Ade packet pre-race, 2 Nuun tablets (to review), 1 Vega Performance Sport Drink (NOT the protein), on-course electrolytes (maybe 3x), 1 salt tablet approximately ever hour, water at every station PLUS the water bottle I brought with me -- so glad I did!
Song that set the tone: Milkman - "Circle of Fifths" (remix of the Coldplay "Paradise" song)
Bottom Line: My overall review of the race is... definitely do it if you are local to the area. I was likely out of shape, but my sister alllllmost BQed on there and PRed on that course last year. I'm pretty sure I will return to attempt a PR at some point, when I have a real hunger for that again enough for me to train effectively versus running essentially for fun and unwillingness to train and then blow it.
Although it's a small race and pretty quiet, I thought the course support was enough. There was a lot of quiet time, but luckily the scenery was mostly good to keep you from missing the crowds too much. I didn't trust the small race with water station spacing in June (~2 mi apart or more), so I did run with a bottle, and I would HIGHLY recommend that because at one of the stations, there was a major jam and I couldn't wait to get a cup.
We really lucked out with the weather. Later in the day, it got a little warm and humid in Ventura, but the morning was cool and a bit misty -- "June gloom."
The medal is pretty neat, too... recycled.
(Obligatory) Reflection: While I know there might be better for me, I am pretty satisfied again -- beat my LA Marathon time by about five minutes, and in my 12 marathons, this was my third best time, just THREE minutes behind my PR. If those last few miles went better, I probably would have had a chance, but given everything (or nothing, ha ha), I'll take it. I'm hoping this will motivate me to legitimately train for my next one (TBD) and get over the fear of putting in that kind of time and effort for a unknown result. I'm sure there's some sort of middle ground that would get to the start line uninjured, not burnt out, and not just flying by the seat of my running shorts and relying solely on run/walking to just get me through these.