Saturday, April 26, 2014

Boston Marathon 2014 - Race Report

The Big Day finally arrived

San Diego Track Club Training Group 2014

Mark Kelley
Net Time
In Gender
7123/17575 (Male)
In Division
818/2475 (M50-54 Age Group)

  • Overall: dead, tired legs all day long.  
  • Time: 1 min/mile slower than expected
  • BQ: well, yes, by 38 seconds - but it does not matter as my CIM time of 3:05 run in December 2013 still will work for 2015
  • Injuries: While my left tendon and hamstring were sore, they did not appreciably slow me down, in my opinion
  • Nutrition: I ate what Kim (FuelFactor) recommended and felt well nourished and hydrated throughout the race
  • Pace: The first 10K were at about 7:10/mile as planned, but then I faded to 7:30, then 7:45, then 8:00 and finally cruised the second half in 1:50 (8:27/mile) bad day. 
  • Next big race: Chicago Marathon in 24 weeks (Oct 12)

Background...could it be...overtraining??

I've known for most of this year that I was not really ever recovered from CIM 2013. Something about my PR (3:05) and the very cold temperature seemed to have a real effect on my legs.  Most of this entire season I've felt exhausted after (during) workouts that should be a bit easier than they are. (This was documented in other areas on this blog.)

I've been reading about the symptoms of "overtraining" and believe that I may be suffering from it.  Or at least "under-resting":

  1. decreased performance YES (see below)
  2. Heavy legs YES (see above)
  3. Increased resting HR YES (for months it has not been in the 40s like last year...more like 54)
  4. Susceptibility to illness - NO (not yet)
  5. Slower Recovery - YES 
  6. Increased perceived Exertion YES (that is, perception vs. speed has changed a lot)
  7. Loss of enthusiasm for running NO (loss of enthusiasm for running slowly only ;)
  8. Change in sleep patters NO
  9. Loss of appetite MAYBE

While the Saturday long runs were ok, they seem to have slipped from the 12 weeks preceding CIM.  For example, coming in to the last 12 weeks prior to CIM I had some great workouts that I was recovering from and building on.  On 10/17/13 I ran 12 miles with 7 miles at 6:40/mile - which I recall being hard - but manageable. Compare that with 2/20/14 (roughly the same remaining time to Boston as 10/17 was to CIM) and I could not even manage more than 2.5 miles at 6:41/mile.  That was the "long slide" downward of 2014 that included:
  • Lower total mileage than the CIM build up
  • More V02Max and track work
  • Kook 10K @ 6:34/mile (slow)
  • SD Half marathon time 5 min slower than last year (1:35 vs. 1:30)
  • Carlsbad 5K of 20:47 (granted after a long/hard run up Nautilus the day prior)
While my tendon was still troubling me as it was last summer, it was manageable and not really the key contributing factor. Also, I made an effort to lose weight during the build up to Boston, and dropped to an average of 168 about 8 weeks out compared with 175 lbs 8 weeks out from CIM.  My measured body fat of 9%.  I was doing a mini-fast every week on Sunday night - Monday afternoon (18 hours) and running during it.

All of this led to what must be considered the validation of a diagnosis of over-training syndrome. I basically countered increasingly bad performances with more training. I'll be needing a full recovery despite not having run all that fast, perhaps even more.

Marathon Week

I had pre-paid for an apartment through airbnb that was really nice and nearby the start/finish line (see google map below)

I went out to the red lantern the first night I was in town.  That place was a candidate for our dinner, but a tad too expensive - and also a bit small for our large group.  It was cold walking around that night too.

On Friday the 19th, I went to the Hynes Convention Center to get my bib/tshirt/bag for the race. It was a bit of a zoo there as I arrived around 12:30 and they'd just opened for the first time.  That went smoothly and I picked up a backpack and some shirts for the kids in the expo.  But that's it.  Bailed as soon as I had the purchases.  While waiting in line to pay I jotted the note (above) on the writing wall

Back to the apartment.  But not before I went on a wild goose chase trying to find a charger for a lenovo laptop (a new Lenovo Yoga PC). Seems I made a rookie mistake by forgetting the charger for my new laptop at home.  No problem - right? Just head down to Radio Shack...ooops...they don't have a charger for a new Lenovo. But they suggested I head over to BestBuy "the one in Cambridge that's two floors".  Ok.  Sounds good.  Well, they were no help either.  Worse - they suggested I purchase one of their universal chargers...except as I pointed out to the sales guy "this won't work with the new Lenovos - you know - your best selling laptop?".  Geez. Bizarre that you cannot get one of these on the road.  Have to sort of ding Lenovo for that actually with their rectangular/new connectors.

I mostly took the T back and forth to the stop that was right near where I was staying near Tufts Medical Center.  The map below is near 1 Nassau where I stayed in Boston.

I took as many naps as possible to try and recover. I think I must have slept an average of 10 hours/day from Friday - Sunday.

Light Exercise

I took off Thursday and Friday.  On Saturday I did my one and only pre-marathon run (I did walk quite a bit Friday - Sunday).  My hamstring on the left side had been sore for about 10 days, and Saturday was no different. I ran about 5 miles along the Charles river and ran into Jim McNevin off all people.  There was quite a wind that day (>10 mph) and I felt it going east, but it was a tailwind on the way back.  It never felt all that good that day, consistent with the prior three months, but I felt tired/fatigued even during the run.  Oh it always starts great, but rapidly fatigue sets in and i'm pushing hard after about 10-15 minutes.


Thursday : Grilled turkey sandwich (airport), 2 cliff bars, dinner - red lantern chinese noodle bowl and two  large sushi plates (16 pieces)

Friday: breakfast: oatmeal, bread, fruit, latte. Snack: bread x 2, latte, dinner Taglietella, bread (w/Hutch)

Saturday:  breakfast: naked juice, apple, rice, bagels, granola, pasta dinner with bread (with the girls)

Sunday: yougurt/granola (300), , rice x 3 (1800 cal), juice (250), bagle/jam (300), gnocchi (400),

Monday: Naked Mango juice (400cal) at 5 am, chewed on a bagel at the HS, and some gatrade drink, and a banana

Race Day

View from 1 Nassau a 5:30 am on Race Day 2014

I woke up at 5 am without the alarm (set for 5:30) all ready to go.  Put on my jersey and "throw away" clothes for the bus trip to Hopkinton and walked over to our SDTC meeting location near the gear drop off location in the Boston Commons.  It was a really nice morning - not all that cold (maybe high 40s) and I had the disposable  gloves on, my blogger sweatshirt and some leg warmers and old sweats.  We all were wearing clothes we could toss, except Pat McBride who wore over his new jacket and some other clothes to check.

We met our group and goofed around a bit until everybody showed up for the bus and then we took off. We actually had a pretty large group including Vic, Pat, Lisa, Shambra, Jessica, Karen, Garth, Hector, Jim and some others.  Our bus driver went a bit too far and took us all the way to the starting coralls so we walked back up and hung out at the high school until about 9:00 am.  We all walked down and used the porta potties near the starting line. and went to our corral and watied.  We had a large group in Corral 7: me, Jim Goss, Karen Wheaton, Nate Melster, Pat McBride and some others.  Never found Emily Joller.

The Race 

It all started ok. I had to go to the bathroom again so I stopped for 30 seconds with a large group of others and used the nice woods about 1 min into the race on the side of the road. I was running about 6:30/mile and it seemed that was the right time to take care of business so I did not have to think about it. 

I felt ok the first mile or two. Not super comfortable, but ok.   I averaged 7:03/mile for the first three miles and felt good about it. Then the now familiar "troubles" began about mile four, right on schedule.  It's been happening since mid-February and the Boston Marathon did not get a reprieve. I began to feel tired and knew at once that today would be slow and difficult.  This would not be a 3:05.  Maybe a 3:10, but probably a 3:15.  As my watch was set on average pace/mile it still looked good through the next 5K.  

As I was not really pushing all that hard having already resigned myself to a slower race and opted to just see how I felt at the half way point (knowing full well that there are no such things as miracles, and, that i'd be running the second half much slower).  It was somewhat enjoyable nonetheless running through Ashland, Framingham, Natick and crusing up to the women of Wellesley college.  That seemed to go for a long time and I tried to high-five the screaming college girls, but after about 30 seconds my arm got tired - they were high-fiving really hard! I drifted back to the center and continued on to what had become the long, hard slog through this race. 

Somewhere around the 17 mile marker or so we began to hear "Meb won!" yelled from the sidelines.  Well, that was enough to actually begin speaking to the fellow sufferees around me.  We were all surprised as that was rather unexpected. I actually felt better as that lifted my spirits and, for a moment anyway, I felt a bit lighter. That continued for a while and then another sign appeared (my favorite) which read "MEB WON!" in giant letters...then at the bottom of the sign "Yes! Really!"  which made me laugh out loud - and was truly enjoyable.

As I ran through knowing that this was not going to be good time, I opted to high-five as many people lining the route as possible.  It was especially pleasing to find the smallest child with a little cup of water or orange to hand out and take one from them. There were so many smiling, cheering good people out on this beauty of a day in Massachusetts. The race was remarkably well supported and there were aid stations on both sides of the streets.  I've never seen a race more sell supported than this race.

Around miles 20-21 my fast friends from Wave 2 began passing me.  I never saw Lisa pass me, but Shambra passed me and waved.  Vic and I went back and forth (he of wave 1) for a short time and then he ran away.  Jessica passed me and urged to finish strong with her - but that was not in the cards. I ran along with Karen for a while - but then she disappeared  too leaving me to trudge on in alone...but...then she re-appeared just as I turned onto Boylston street - yea - and we finished together.

Concluding Remarks:

  1. While this training plan worked for the group as an aggregate, it was not really working for me for months and I should have jumped off it. 
  2. The signs were there of over-training back in late February and a break or slower training at that point may have yielded a better time. Even a longer taper would have worked better.
  3. trainign for Boston should include long runs (20 milers) where the second half has significant hills. I'm thinking that the best proxy is the San Dieguito Half Marathon course - or somewhere in the ranch.
  4. a longer break between marathons is needed for a man of my age. 
  5. Training with a much longer build up of very long, slower miles - with one day a week of speed - and one day of hills - seems like the best plan. even for chicago.