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Twin Cities 2015 - Fighting a Fade for a Three Fifteen

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Twin Cities 2015 - Fighting a Fade for a Three Fifteen

Post  Mike MacLellan on Thu Oct 09, 2014 12:15 pm

I don't know that I enjoyed this race.  I don't know that I didn't enjoy it, either.  What I do know is that I'm - obviously - ambivalent about it.  

Those of you who followed my blog know that my taper was marked by emotional instability and a final week of GI issues.  I perhaps didn't realize the former...  At least until Aileen mentioned that my inability to eat was probably due to stress.  I looked up common stress indicators and, what do you know, I had the majority of them.  

Fortunately, this semi-restful taper wasn't semi-unrestful enough to unravel the training I'd done for this race: nearly 1,000 miles in the 20 weeks leading up to race day.  It was, however, enough to make marathon pace feel uncomfortable.

Minneapolis is a beautiful place, and this is a beautiful course to see the whole area.  The car's thermometer read 39 degrees as my brother and I were dropped off by his girlfriend on Sunday morning, and the breeze that marked Saturday had all but disappeared.  Pre-race porta-potty rituals complete, my brother and I sat somewhere on 6th while we waited for 8am to approach.  

A poorly sung National Anthem lightened the mood as runners began to move closer to the start line.  I waited for the 3:25 pace group, with which I would run the first mile before breaking away.  So I thought.

And then there was a wall of people through which darted the pacer, trailing whoever could fight the crowds who had obviously mis-seeded themselves.  It wasn't until close to mile 2 that I was able to make any sort of a move, which happened to coincide with Lyndale Ave, a short but punchy hill that sent me into the red zone as I forced myself past the pace group.  By mile 3, I was running 7:20s, according to my watch.

Of course, my watch is 1-2% too generous, and I never knew this.  Each beep, the markers moved farther and farther from me, so I ran faster.  I had hoped to be on 3:15 pace by mile 7; this milestone passed with me still close to a minute behind.  I found quite a few runners along the course who were all shooting for 3:15.  Each one I came to, I helped share the pacemaking before bridging to the next one.  At mile 13, I was still behind.  

Somewhere on Minnehaha - or was it W River? - a guy 50 yards ahead of me dropped a glove.  As he hesitated turning back for it, crowd yelling to him, I manged to swoop down and grab it, only causing myself minor discomfort.  He and I paced together until about mile 24.  

I had been completely ignorning Michele's advice (hold something for Summit) but felt surprisingly good coming to mile 20.  Well, maybe good is the wrong word.  Nothing about the run ever felt good.  The pace felt out of my reach, but it never got harder.  Oh, how soon things would change.

The hilly part of Summit was, surprisingly, no big deal.  I barely fell off pace (7:30s?) for it, but by this point had banked a minute, so I felt confident about the race.  Then at mile 24, out of nowhere, something happened.  The sensation of running was gone, left with the sensation of feet and legs pounding in repetition off of the pavement, torso twisting too hard to carry momentum for each step.  Any mental facade I had hid behind all day completely collapsed, leaving me with that do-or-die moment.  

I wanted to quit.  I searched my brain for some kind of motivation and found none.  My training goals weren't about this race: it wasn't a PR, it wasn't a qualifier, it wasn't anything but a single run.  My goals had been about rediscovering a positive relationship with running, building my endurance back to the point where 2hr runs were easily doable.  That had been long ago accomplished.  There was nothing left but 2 miles, and it really didn't matter how fast or slow I ran them.  

Ah, but it did.  As I calculated how much time I still had to spare (50 seconds) and contemplated dropping to a 8min pace, I remembered how many people were tracking this race.  Silly pride.  I was more than capable of finishing in 3:15, and now I had to do it.  Not to feel good, but to avoid embarrassment.  What a motivator.  

The last 2 miles were marked by thoughts of - warning: explicit language - "Where the fuck is the fucking cathedral?," "Are you fucking kidding me?  Another fucking roller?  No one told me about this," and "Don't poop."  Yep, that last one is for real.  Not that there would've been anything to poop, though; I had just lost all confidence in my ability to control any and all of my sphincters.  (C'mon, it wouldn't be a race report without a little potty humor.)

Finally, the (fucking) cathedral came into view, as did the "screaming downhill" to the finish.  Screaming it was... or maybe that was my legs.  But either way, I hit somewhere near a 6:00 pace down it and averaged 6:40 on completely obliterated legs for the final stretch. 

Crossing the line, I immediately guzzled down 2 water bottles, a banana, chocolate milk, and something else I can't remember.  I then nearly proceeded to vomit and had to sit for 5 minutes.  Ah, marathons.

In sum, I leave this race with a renewed respect for the distance, for training, and for the mental fortitude it demands from all of us who compete (in whatever capacity) at this distance.  Like I said, I'm still ambivalent, but I think that's a good thing to be.  Had it completely satisfied every fiber of my being, I probably wouldn't be motivated to keep training.  Had it been devastating in the way Boston was, see above.  

3:14:32. 

Not a particularly meaningful time, but under my goal, nonetheless.
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Re: Twin Cities 2015 - Fighting a Fade for a Three Fifteen

Post  ounce on Thu Oct 09, 2014 12:54 pm

I'm just glad you had enough carbs in your muscles to run the durn thing!  Good race.  Great report.  50 mile race next? Wink
Good luck with mom on explaining why you didn't hold something for the Summit.  Shocked Razz
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Re: Twin Cities 2015 - Fighting a Fade for a Three Fifteen

Post  Michele "1L" Keane on Thu Oct 09, 2014 2:55 pm

Thanks for the shout out - I would not have said something if I hadn't made the exact same mistake when I ran the course Smile   Nice job sticking it out as it sure is motivating when you know all of us are watching.  Excellent job getting things back together for the race.  I hope you have a renewed energy to keep running as you have one of the best places on earth to train (DC) and a strong team there in Kevin and Chris to meetup with and stay motivated with whenever you need them. (And of course we have Wendy to pace next year at JFK).


Now if I can only heed my own advice and not run so fast on 1st Avenue on 11/2.
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Re: Twin Cities 2015 - Fighting a Fade for a Three Fifteen

Post  mountandog on Thu Oct 09, 2014 4:00 pm

Ah -- the "where the F is....." thought.  Doesn't matter the course, the question is always the same at the end.  Only the landmark changes - lol.  Good race.  Always good to me a target.
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Re: Twin Cities 2015 - Fighting a Fade for a Three Fifteen

Post  Mark B on Sat Oct 11, 2014 1:14 am

Those last two miles were the most interesting -- and important -- ones of the whole race. That you lost your motivation but pushed harder anyway says more about who you are than the previous 24 miles. Well done.
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Re: Twin Cities 2015 - Fighting a Fade for a Three Fifteen

Post  nkrichards on Sat Oct 11, 2014 10:04 am

Ah...peer pressure...it's amazing what it can do! But you had to be prepared physically and mentally tough enough to get your body to respond to that peer pressure.

Way to stick it out and finish within your goal.
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Re: Twin Cities 2015 - Fighting a Fade for a Three Fifteen

Post  Alex Kubacki on Tue Oct 14, 2014 7:07 am

Nice come back race Mike. You found a way to take it to the end and get your goal when the motivation wasn't there. Congrats.
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Re: Twin Cities 2015 - Fighting a Fade for a Three Fifteen

Post  Jim Lentz on Tue Oct 14, 2014 11:39 am

Great job going sub-3:15!
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Re: Twin Cities 2015 - Fighting a Fade for a Three Fifteen

Post  dot520 on Tue Oct 14, 2014 6:16 pm

Love your reports as they're always so real and raw!  This was really a great race for you whether you believe it or not.  Congrats on reaching your goal!
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Re: Twin Cities 2015 - Fighting a Fade for a Three Fifteen

Post  JohnP on Thu Oct 16, 2014 8:48 pm

Really good job sticking with the plan when you could have easily given in. I wish I had that fortitude. I will say those thoughts are familiar though in the last few miles.
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Re: Twin Cities 2015 - Fighting a Fade for a Three Fifteen

Post  Julie on Fri Oct 17, 2014 9:07 am

Congratulations on a great marathon, Mike!
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Re: Twin Cities 2015 - Fighting a Fade for a Three Fifteen

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