365Runners
Welcome to 365Runners! We are here because we all share a running addiction. Whether training for a first marathon, a new PR, a new race distance, or anything else... welcome!

To stop the banner ads, please register and login. Otherwise, please enjoy browsing as a guest.

Lake Wobegon Trail Marathon Race Report

Go down

Lake Wobegon Trail Marathon Race Report Empty Lake Wobegon Trail Marathon Race Report

Post  Ben Z on Fri May 18, 2012 8:44 pm

Race: Lake Wobegon Trail Marathon 2012

Location: Holdingford to St. Joseph, Minnesota

Date: May 12, 2012

Short Version

Near perfect race conditions preceded by probably too many weeks of a build up resulted in me running 2:58 for 26.45 miles (on the Garmin). A little over three minutes off my PR but closer to two minutes slower if I knew how to run tangents better as I think I ran something like 26.26 miles when I ran 2:55.

Based on how bad I felt during a few stretches in the race I was really happy with the effort I maintained. I really wanted to jog it in from mile 18 onwards but I kept plugging along and was rewarded with my first top ten finish.

Official Results:

Time: 2:58:58 (previous PR of 2:55:36)

Place: 9th (of 354 starters)

Long Version

Training Highlights

The last time I raced a marathon all out was in December 2010 where I ran 2:55 at California International. Since that time I PRed in the half (1:21 last spring) and paced a buddy to a 3:04 PR in St. George last fall. I really wanted to race a marathon last fall but St. George was too hot so I opted to run with my buddy and then work got in the way when I wanted to race California International again. So I took a couple of down weeks last December and then started back up around the holidays. In hindsight I probably trained far too long for this race and suffered a bit as a result. However, I really enjoyed the build up and learned a few lessons about what I will do differently next time. Highlights/lowlights included:


  • Consistent 70ish mile weeks with no injuries (I am particularly proud of this as I seem to know right where my redline is week-to-week) requiring any time off in the last 5-6 months
  • ~12 training runs of 20-23 miles (I’m guessing here because my I didn’t keep a very good log this time) with the last few including the last 5-6 miles at 6:30 pace
  • My general easy/moderate paces increased slightly throughout this cycle. I was doing most of my easy runs at 7:30 pace where before they might have been closer to 7:45. Probably too fast when I compare it to what I was able to sustain in the marathon.
  • Only a handful of hard, track-type workouts. One memorable one though where I did 4 x 1 mile @ 6:00-5:50 pace and then 4 x 400m @ 5:30(something) pace. Fastest/highest volume track workout I have ever done for mile repeats. If I overdo it on the track I break down.
  • A two-week taper instead of a three-week taper due to celebrating my girlfriend’s birthday with her in NYC
  • No tune-up races as I just couldn’t fit in any halves with my schedule between 3-5 weeks out – now that I think about it I didn’t do a tune-up race before I ran 2:55 or 2:57 either. Even though this sort of works for me I think it is a mistake because I wasn’t able to do a longer, harder effort like you can simulate in a half-marathon, for example.
  • More strength training for my admittedly weak hamstrings and hips

Race Weekend

As I am working in the Twin Cities these days it was an easy choice to stay the weekend and make the drive to the St. Cloud area for the race. My girlfriend (ok, fiancée Wink ) made the flight from San Diego to support me during the race too. I was excited about this for a number of reasons but mainly because this was the first time she was going to watch me race. And given the layout of the course I knew she could continually leapfrog me in the rental car to support me numerous times.

With it being a Saturday morning race we made the drive from the Twin Cities to St. Cloud on Friday afternoon. We checked in to the hotel, found a nearby dinner spot, loaded up on water, Gatorade and breakfast food and tried to go to bed early. My legs weren’t feeling great during the morning shakeout run, but I felt OK.

Race Day

With a 7:00am start 26 miles away from our hotel I woke up at 5:00am to ensure I could scarf down my breakfast, which as usual consisted of a bagel smeared with PB, a big glass of orange juice and a banana. Then Sam and I hopped in the rental car to head for Holdingford High School where the race started. Lake Wobegon is a point-to-point course along the Lake Wobegon multi-use path. It is entirely paved and shaded for probably half of the 26.2 miles..

With it being such a small race I was able to park no more than 50 feet from the actual start line which was a nice treat. Arriving at probably 6:15 I quickly changed in to my race gear and then used the bathroom one last time before standing around and talking with Sam for awhile. Then just before 7:00 I walked over to the start. No warm-up was necessary though I probably should have woken up my hips a bit more in hindsight. At the last minute I opted to toss my shirt to Sam as I prefer running shirtless and it felt warm enough to not worry about it.

The Race

Just after 7:00 the 354 of us in the race took off.

First 5 Miles

The course started with a lap around the Holdingford High School parking lot to get things going. I lined up near the front thinking I might be one of the faster runners in the race so when the race began I was probably in about 15th place after the first half mile running around the parking lot. At the half mile I looked down at my watch to see 6:2x pace and immediately tried to back off. I really wanted to start off slower this race to see if I could not bomb as much the second half. So I tried my best to keep the adrenaline at bay but didn’t do so well running the first mile in 6:28 it seems. Probably 20 seconds faster than I wanted.

After the first mile we met up with the Lake Wobegon trail which would be the course for the next 25.2 miles. This entirely paved multi-use trail was about 10 feet wide with very little cant. It was also very, very flat. So given that I don’t run very well on flat courses I have found, I prefer rolling courses, I really tried to relax at this point and slow down. At mile 1.7 I saw Sam for the first time on the course as she jumped in the rental car to see me at the first trail crossing. I was also running with a couple of other runners at this point but not much talking was going on so I just focused on trying to stay relaxed.

I decided the day before that my plan was to try and run between 6:40-6:35 pace because 6:30 pace just didn’t feel easy enough these last few weeks in training. Plus, while this wouldn’t allow me to shoot for 2:50 it would still give me a chance to run a PR.

By mile three I settled in to somewhat of a groove and just tried to take it one mile at a time. Running alone at this point I could see a few runners ahead of me within half a mile so I just tried to keep them close and not let them pull away from me. I was also mentally preparing myself for the inevitable bad stretches I would encounter at some point during the race. I always tell myself that I’ll have three bad patches during a race and if I can just push through them then I have a chance to run well.

Between miles four-to-five I probably passed two or three people who appear to have started too fast. I would guess I was probably still top 15 at this point as only one runner had passed me I believe.

Splits according to the Garmin: 6:28, 6:37, 6:41, 6:37, 6:38

Miles 6-10

I saw Sam again just after mile five and she kept cheering me on. The main thing I remember during this stretch was how perfect the weather turned out to be. Trees line both sides of at least half the trail making it very nice to run in for the early miles. I would guess the temperature was 45 at the start and low 50s during these miles.

During this stretch a guy passed me going through a water stop. I remember this very well because I would end up following him about 200-300m back for the next 18 miles. With sporadic water stops being only one table long I made sure to slow down going through each aid station to take in as much water, Gatorade and/or gels that I could.

I hit a bad stretch during miles 7-10 as I felt a stitch coming on. I tensed up because of it as well and this only made it worse as my back started to tighten up then. This was the first time I thought I wouldn’t be able to PR and realized it was going to be a battle the rest of the way.

Splits: 6:35, 6:38, 6:43, 6:34, 6:33

Miles 11-15

By mile twelve I was starting to feel good again. I saw Sam again at mile 12 and she was jumping up and down cheering me on. This was pretty cool and I made sure to tell her how much I loved her as I ran past.

My mantra approaching the half was “Relax, get through the first half comfortably”. Easier said than done though as I realized the first half was anything but easy and I was already starting to work pretty hard. This really shouldn’t have been a surprise though given I never ran more than 8 consecutive miles in the 6:35ish pace range in the couple of months leading up to the race.

I believe I hit the half on the course, 13.2x on my watch at exactly 1:27:30. This meant I would have to run 1:28 (or faster) the second half to PR. I knew that probably would not happen given how my legs felt but I wasn’t going to give up. No matter what I wanted to give it everything I had on the day.

Splits: 6:40, 6:29, 6:43, (official time at the half: 1:27:30) 6:31, 6:33

Miles 16-20

Now I started to bargain with myself. At one point I remember telling myself if I could maintain the effort until mile 18 that it would be OK to jog it in. But some good things started to happen. I caught a guy I had been following for over 10 miles during this stretch as he seemed to be going backwards. So I got some motivation from that. Plus, I saw Sam again right at mile 18 and I didn’t want to be a baby by jogging in sight of her so even though I passed her saying “My race is over…legs are shot…” I didn’t give up. This is why mile 19 was one of my slowest of the day in hindsight I think. I was so focused on just getting to mile 18 that I gave up a little bit before rallying again.

Splits: 6:49, 6:31, 6:39, 7:16, 7:00

Miles 21-26.2

The last 10k was tough, as usual. My legs were pretty much dead and I wasn’t completely in to the race mentally. I’d have a slow mile when there was an aid station because I slowed to take in lots of fluids and a gel each time but then I would pick it up a little bit the next mile or two. Similarly to before too I would just focus on getting to mile 22, then mile 24, etc. By breaking the race in to chunks like this I was able to keep going. Had I not done it I would have certainly jogged it in.

Sam pulled up alongside me on the highway paralleling the trail during mile 22 or so and jumped out of the car to run with me for 100-200m so that was awesome too. She’s pretty great.

It was a real battle to keep going. Every half mile I wanted to jog it in but then I would get my wits about me and realize I needed to at least give it everything I had. Sam flew all the way to support me so I wasn’t going to be a baby no matter how bad I wanted to give in. So I just kept going.

The race actually finished directly on the trail so I could see the finish at about mile 25. I really like races where you can see the finish from a distance as I’m a landmark runner. The guy who passed me at mile 7 or 8 was also in sight now and looked to be struggling so I made a serious effort to try and catch him. With a little over half a mile to go his lead on me was down to 200m and I was gaining fast.

So I made one final push and gave it everything I had the final 400m. I ended up going by him with less than 150m less I would guess and he couldn’t match my pace it seemed. I even went way over to the other side of the trail when I went by him so he couldn’t latch on to me. Pretty funny tactics considering when I ran past him he actually cheered me on and said “great job!” or something similar. After mile two I think only two people passed me while I ended up passing one of them back, this guy, and five or six other people. Giving it my all here ended up being good enough for 9th place. I was pleased.
.

Splits: 7:20, 6:58, 7:00, 7:19, 7:07, 6:59, 6:20 (guessing – for the last 0.45)

Official Results:

Time: 2:58:58 (previous PR of 2:55:36)

Place: 9th (of 354 starters)

Lessons Learned

Racing a marathon is still really hard (duh) and nearly everything has to go perfect if you want to continue progressing. I think I kind of take this for granted and need to step up my training now. That didn’t quite happen this training cycle but I kind of knew that heading in to the race on Saturday. While I was as consistent with my training as ever I didn’t have the 1 or 2 really hard efforts in training that I probably needed.

But I did pretty well on this flat course when in the past I have struggled on these types of courses. I think I have a pretty good strength routine now based on some changes the last year.

Mentally I was reminded how strong I am in a race situation too. I always try to prepare myself for three bad stretches each marathon and tell myself that if I can get through them then I have a chance to PR. I gave myself that chance today and pushed through the bad stretches, which were numerous, but couldn’t run a negative split like I had hoped. But I also didn’t fade as bad as I normally do by going out too fast the first half. I’m getting close to finding that happy medium I think where I could possibly run a negative one minute split second half.

Still in search of a 2:50…

Happy running everyone.
Ben Z
Ben Z
Regular
Regular

Posts : 698
Points : 3974
Join date : 2011-06-15
Location : Bay Area

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Lake Wobegon Trail Marathon Race Report Empty Re: Lake Wobegon Trail Marathon Race Report

Post  Michele "1L" Keane on Sat May 19, 2012 11:55 am

Congrats, Ben. Any sub-3 effort is a great one!
Michele
Michele "1L" Keane
Explaining To Spouse
Explaining To Spouse

Posts : 4895
Points : 12118
Join date : 2011-06-15
Age : 57
Location : Cleveland (Bay Village), OH/Atlanta, GA

View user profile http://1lranthere.blogspot.com

Back to top Go down

Lake Wobegon Trail Marathon Race Report Empty Re: Lake Wobegon Trail Marathon Race Report

Post  Chris M on Sun May 20, 2012 7:51 pm

Funny, I just read a big article on Garrison Keillor today and then saw this. GREAT job. Your running and race times and training is something I follow closely and try to aspire to. I would kill for a marathon executed as well as that one. I think you got the fiancee bump in this one. No chance you keep this one under 3:00 without the boost from her being out there cheering you on.

The part you said about bargaining with yourself during miles 16-20 reminded me of lyrics in a song by Bad Books (the Manchester Orchestra guy and Kevin Devine)

"Later on when you bargain with your mirror and you ask 'Is it really that bad?'

....well, if it wasn't, you wouldn't have to ask!"
Chris M
Chris M
Explaining To Spouse
Explaining To Spouse

Posts : 1061
Points : 4303
Join date : 2011-06-14
Age : 50
Location : Washington, DC

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Lake Wobegon Trail Marathon Race Report Empty Re: Lake Wobegon Trail Marathon Race Report

Post  fostever on Sun May 20, 2012 8:04 pm

Solid race especially on the trails, Ben! Congrats on another sub 3:00, you inspire!
fostever
fostever
Explaining To Spouse
Explaining To Spouse

Posts : 1401
Points : 6170
Join date : 2011-06-16
Age : 60
Location : Chicago

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Lake Wobegon Trail Marathon Race Report Empty Re: Lake Wobegon Trail Marathon Race Report

Post  Alex Kubacki on Mon May 21, 2012 7:47 am

Great job on the sub-3. Congrats.
Alex Kubacki
Alex Kubacki
Explaining To Spouse
Explaining To Spouse

Posts : 1252
Points : 4547
Join date : 2011-06-23

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Lake Wobegon Trail Marathon Race Report Empty Re: Lake Wobegon Trail Marathon Race Report

Post  jon c on Mon May 21, 2012 9:44 am

Great job, Ben. Sounds like a lot came together for you here. I'm sure having your fiancee there was great motivation. Congrats on an outstanding effort!
jon c
jon c
Regular
Regular

Posts : 507
Points : 3546
Join date : 2011-06-16
Age : 62
Location : Nebraska

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Lake Wobegon Trail Marathon Race Report Empty Re: Lake Wobegon Trail Marathon Race Report

Post  Ben Z on Tue May 22, 2012 5:45 pm

@Michele "1L" Keane wrote:Congrats, Ben. Any sub-3 effort is a great one!

Thanks Michele!
Ben Z
Ben Z
Regular
Regular

Posts : 698
Points : 3974
Join date : 2011-06-15
Location : Bay Area

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Lake Wobegon Trail Marathon Race Report Empty Re: Lake Wobegon Trail Marathon Race Report

Post  Ben Z on Tue May 22, 2012 5:45 pm

@Chris M wrote:Funny, I just read a big article on Garrison Keillor today and then saw this. GREAT job. Your running and race times and training is something I follow closely and try to aspire to. I would kill for a marathon executed as well as that one. I think you got the fiancee bump in this one. No chance you keep this one under 3:00 without the boost from her being out there cheering you on.

The part you said about bargaining with yourself during miles 16-20 reminded me of lyrics in a song by Bad Books (the Manchester Orchestra guy and Kevin Devine)

"Later on when you bargain with your mirror and you ask 'Is it really that bad?'

....well, if it wasn't, you wouldn't have to ask!"

Thanks Chris. I suppose I should try to post my training each week then. Pretty sure you can copy what I did these last two weeks Wink One run of 5 miles since the marathon! Feels good!

Pretty sure you are faster than me in 5k/10k type races but I might be more suited for the marathon. We should set up a virtual race contest and pick a distance in the middle - say 10 miler or a half? Would help motivate us I bet Wink
Ben Z
Ben Z
Regular
Regular

Posts : 698
Points : 3974
Join date : 2011-06-15
Location : Bay Area

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Lake Wobegon Trail Marathon Race Report Empty Re: Lake Wobegon Trail Marathon Race Report

Post  Ben Z on Tue May 22, 2012 5:50 pm

@fostever wrote:Solid race especially on the trails, Ben! Congrats on another sub 3:00, you inspire!

Grazie!
Ben Z
Ben Z
Regular
Regular

Posts : 698
Points : 3974
Join date : 2011-06-15
Location : Bay Area

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Lake Wobegon Trail Marathon Race Report Empty Re: Lake Wobegon Trail Marathon Race Report

Post  Ben Z on Tue May 22, 2012 5:51 pm

@Alex Kubacki wrote:Great job on the sub-3. Congrats.

Thanks Alex.
Ben Z
Ben Z
Regular
Regular

Posts : 698
Points : 3974
Join date : 2011-06-15
Location : Bay Area

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Lake Wobegon Trail Marathon Race Report Empty Re: Lake Wobegon Trail Marathon Race Report

Post  Ben Z on Tue May 22, 2012 5:51 pm

@jon c wrote:Great job, Ben. Sounds like a lot came together for you here. I'm sure having your fiancee there was great motivation. Congrats on an outstanding effort!

Thanks Jon. Proud of the effort I put forth and I know what I need to work on next training cycle so I still think I have room to improve with the marathon.
Ben Z
Ben Z
Regular
Regular

Posts : 698
Points : 3974
Join date : 2011-06-15
Location : Bay Area

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Lake Wobegon Trail Marathon Race Report Empty Re: Lake Wobegon Trail Marathon Race Report

Post  Dave-O on Thu May 24, 2012 11:17 am

Solid race Ben. Way to tough it out. And aren't we all chasing an elusive sub-____. Running
Dave-O
Dave-O
Moderator
Moderator

Posts : 1736
Points : 5038
Join date : 2011-06-14
Age : 37
Location : Chicago

View user profile http://www.fleetfeetchicago.com/

Back to top Go down

Lake Wobegon Trail Marathon Race Report Empty Re: Lake Wobegon Trail Marathon Race Report

Post  Sponsored content


Sponsored content


Back to top Go down

Back to top

- Similar topics

 
Permissions in this forum:
You cannot reply to topics in this forum