Akron Marathon 2010 – Recap of my run

This week I’m providing a breakdown of my run in the 2010 Akron Marathon. It was my 8th time participating in that event (7 full marathons, 1 relay team).

5:35 AM Wake, shower, get everything together – body glide application, re-tape my toe, pin-on bib number, attach D-ring timing wrap to shoelaces, pack some ibuprofen in a baggy (duct-taped to inside of running shorts – not a good choice, tape peeled back, stuck to skin, pulled off skin), put on temporary tattoos (road runner bird, handed out by the race)
6:00 AM Out the door. Staying at in-laws house, only about 2.6 miles from the start. Have started running to the start, nice easy jog to warm-up.
6:25 AM Arrive, get some coffee, warm-up, stretch. Pretty warm from my jog despite temp of 55 degrees.
6:45 AM Get in the coral, queue up in-between the 3:50 and 4:00 pace groups. Nervous energy (mine and those around me) starting to build. Periodic motivational announcements over the loud speakers.
7:00 AM The race is officially underway!!!
7:01:30 AM I officially cross the start. This is an important bit to keep in mind, need to subtract the overage from every race clock I see as they are all running on gun time, not my chip time. At a bigger race, like Chicago (by the way, I highly recommend it – extremely flat course and 1 million+ spectators. Good fun), it might be 6+ minutes until you actually cross the start. Also this is important to understand as the official pace groups adjust their pace/time to finish with the clock time matching their pace group sign time.
7:02 – 8:30 AM Nice pace, about a 9:08/mile. Still running thick in the crowd. Only problem with my finish time/pacing is that it is the ‘meat’ of the crowd, lots of people to move around. Especially relay team folks that are slower. Pet peeve – folks who queue up way ahead of their finish time. They really cause problems on the course. And if your walking, get to the back. I know that sounds jerky, but it really is an issue, especially when you have 4-5 walkers all in a long row out for a Sunday stroll. Think about the other folks.
8:30 – 8:54 AM Picking up speed, a big downhill portion from downtown Akron to the towpath entrance, laying down around a 8:22/mile pace. Then on the towpath keeping the pace around 8:30/mile, trying to ‘bank’ some time for later use.
8:55 AM Cross the half-way point, have ‘banked’ some time to allow for a little slack on the back half and still aim for a sub-4 hour finish.
9:10 – 10:00 AM Back portion of the towpath and then into Sand Run. Not a fun part of the course. In Sand Run 99% of the fan support disappears (metro park). It is also almost all uphill. This is where I use some of that ‘banked’ time, drop my speed back a bit to 9:15. Maybe 9:30. For reference, here is the elevation chart:


10:15 AM Toe starts to take over, really beginning to feel the miles on it
10:30 – 10:55 AM Portage Path to Market Street. Portage is great, flat and lots of fan support. Market starts out great in the Highland Square area but quickly gives way to very few fans and lots of angry motorists (at the back-up due to Portage/Market intersection being closed).
11:11:05 AM Cross the finish line. Note: Actual time to run was 4:08:43 – the 2+ minute difference is attributed to clock time vs. chip time.
11:12:00 AM Start analyzing race for areas to improve, aiming for 3:50 in 2011 . . .

Here’s a great place to start – examining my pace over the entire course. This is a screenshot from my Garmin Forerunner 205 Training Center software, the green line shows course elevation, blue line shows my pace at all times (peaks are typically water tables stops, approx. 15 seconds, and valleys are where I was burning fuel. At the end you can see where things fell apart, 3 hour mark was first sign of trouble and then by 3:15 you can see my ability to hold the pace really degrading.):



Proactive Mindset – Safe Running

Running can be a lot of fun. Running can also be a risky venture where every step is fraught with peril and catastrophe. Sounds dramatic, eh? I am being slightly hyperbolic, but frankly I think this is a topic most runners don’t give enough thought or consideration. It typically takes many years of running before someone ‘gets it’ and starts to apply common sense safety to their running lifestyle. Below are some key things you should give serious thought to – not to spoil or hype the fear, but rather be prepared and aware. Trust me, it actually allows a more zen-like philosophy and being in the moment with earthly concerns tabled.

  1. Know your surroundings. This seems too simple and obvious to post, but it’s a major consideration. Have you really thought about where you are running? Do you really know the area? Is it somewhere you have driven through and therefor assume everything is the same on the sidewalk? Being on sidewalk, exposed and moving much slower is altogether different. Do you know if there is a neighbor that lets their pit-bull roam free? Have you checked the police blotter to see if there is a frequency of muggings in that area?
  2. iPods/MP3s – It seems like 97% of the folks I see running have those white ear buds hanging from their head. I’m included in this group. Be smart about your volume level. I can’t tell you how many people I’ve come up behind on the sidewalk or trail, shouted to them that I’m passing on the left and they are just meandering around because they cannot hear me. That is dangerous. Change that from a friendly runner trying to pass to a dangerous thug looking to score a nice Nano iPod, or worse.
  3. Crossings – Streets, driveways, cross-walks: There a million ways to get hit by a car (to read a small smattering of these grim stories click here, here or here). The worst is by being presumptuous that you have ‘right of way.’ That argument will surely hold up in court, but it is of little use to you if it is your attorney and family members settling a wrongful death suit.

Extreme? Over the top? I think not. I’m lucky; I have applied these basics over the years and still have come close to getting hit by a car on numerous occasions. I’ll blog more about this topic at some other time, but let me leave you with a few key bits and pieces – RoadID.com, ICE and Situational Awareness (I know, it is commonly used in military jargon, but the concept is sound and works here as well). Let me turn it around and pose it to you this way – do any of the above create a major inconvenience for you? And if so, do the risks out-weigh the rewards? Is the risk mitigation minimal (the answer is YES)?

Good luck, keep running and get those feet on the road.

What’s it all about?

I’ve been an avid runner for 10+ years. Started serious running in 2000 with entry to the Tampa Bay Marathon. Ever since that (painful) experience I’ve turned running into a lifelong pursuit and passion. I run at least one marathon a year and have even ventured into the netherworld of ultramarathon.

Why am I posting? It is simple really, I’ve acquired a lot of knowledge over the years. Some of it practical, some of it philosophical. One thing I’ve found in the running community is a general desire to share, support and encourage others. In that spirit I think its time I gave back what I can to new runners. This site will probably not be beneficial to a hardcore runner. But, running is a growing sport. More and more I run into people who are training for their first 1/2 marathon or full marathon. Slap the phrase ‘Is running a growing sport’ into the search field on Google. You’ll find that its growing not just in general but also in specificity – 1/2 and full marathons, trail running, ultra’s, etc. You name it, its growing.

Given the growth I’ve identified, coupled with my experiences (good, bad and the ugly) I feel I have something of value to share with those who are just starting the journey. What exactly am I going to share? Great question. On a weekly (hope that isn’t too ambitious!) basis I’ll be sharing my thoughts, knowledge, experience, judgments and general color commentary on the following topics:

  • Desire
  • Commitment
  • Equipment
  • Nutrition
  • Discipline

Not necessarily in that order mind you. Additionally, within each topic there are multiple sub-topics on which I’ll ruminate. Along the way I hope to provide useful, beneficial and practical insight into the activity of running. As you can see from the list above, I’m not strictly talking to those who want to run competitively. This site will be of use to anyone who wants to generally introduce running into their life. Running can be a lifestyle, an outlet for exercise/fitness, a social experience, a process of creation (yep, that’s right) and so much more. I’m going to talk to all of those audiences. So come back regularly. Tell your friends. If you like what I post let me know. If you disagree let me know.

Check back next week for my first topical post.

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