Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Final Recap of Twin Cities Marathon

              After missing the Olympic Standard by sixty-five seconds at the 118th Boston Marathon, I set a goal to go after the Olympic standard of 2:18 at the Twin Cities Marathon. Why Twin Cities? The weather is consistently ideal, the course is fast and being a US Championship was an extra bonus.
(un) Lucky bib no. 13
               With this year’s race being a U.S. Championship, the hospitality was superb. The Twin Cities in Motion people sure know how to host runners! With the race being on Sunday,  I arrived on Thursday in order to give me time to relax before all other athletes arrived Friday. I followed though the same tapering phase I had done for Boston. I felt pretty relaxed on the days leading up to the race.  With the way my training had gone, I believed anything was possible on race day. I believed I was capable of not just running under 2:18, but also competing for a top 10 spot. 
             After a traditional pre marathon four-day caffeine depletion, waking up at 4:55am for Caribou coffee was greeted with such excitement. At 6:00am, I joined some three dozen other runners on the elite bus headed towards the Renaissance Hotel, where we would stay until the race. At 7:30am, we made a half mile walk from the hotel to the bag drop-off location which was adjacent to the starting line.  The warm up was short and quick. By 7:55am, I was on the starting line finishing up my last minute strides. Five minutes later the gun went off and it was all business.
8 bottles and Gu (5 water, 3 mixed)
Leading the pack at mile 7 (5:10)
          Unlike Boston, this race was a tightly bunched pack from the start. We went through the 5k at a “pedestrian” 16:27 – maybe the 35 degree start had something to do with it. Soon after, the next 5k was hit in 16:03. I stayed near the back of the pack and several times found myself near the front by accident. The pace varied from as slow as 5:17 to as fast as 5:04 as the pack began to thin out. After hitting the halfway point in 68:08, I made a decision to slightly back off as to not get caught up in the fast pace too early. I worked with another athlete told him “Let’s work together and we will reel them in later”. I found out that athlete was Nathan Martin, who would later go on to finish 5th.
                 We worked together from miles 13 to 16 and were hitting our paces right on. At about 16.5 miles, I felt a sharp pain come from behind my left leg. I stopped immediately as I completely lost my leg turnover. Knowing that the pain felt very sharp, I didn’t mind stopping and taking the time to stretch. It certainly didn’t feel good even after the stretching. I tried to restart the motor one more time and my left leg didn't cooperate. I put my hands on my face and sat down on the grass in disbelief about what had just happened in matter of seconds. Soon I walked to the medical area at mile 17 and was transported to the finish. A day later I would eventually find out that I tore my left adductor muscle. At the time I dropped out from the race, I was still on 2:15:57 pace.  Even without being able to finish the race, there are some positives I will take form this training block: the training program. This was the fittest I've ever been for a marathon and I'm excited to rebuild for the next one. The chase for 2:18 will have to wait until spring 2015...