Monday, May 30, 2005

Vermont City Marathon Race Report

Vermont City Marathon, Burlington 8:05am

Temperature (Humidity) : 60F(75%)-65F(56%)


The race expo was pretty small but I spent a significant amount of time at a certain stall (Ben and Jerry's - I am now officially addicted to their Strawberry Cheesecake ice-cream). I did make it to some of the seminars - Mental Skills, Injuries, Course Preview, Runner's Panel and the heart rate training (None of which helped me at this race but hopefully it's stored in the data bank for the future). The FE at the expo was one of the highlights of my trip - It was great meeting SkidmoreRunner, godogo, RunningFatMan, The Beast, Doughboy, Hungry Crouton, Obscure Reference, Mike, Ic, Patty and others. Doughboy's baked goodies were just amazing! I capped off the day by going to Bart Yasso's dinner speech. He made an interesting presentation about his adventures at a bunch of races - Badwater 146, Antartica, Bare Buns etc.


Before the race start I still had not managed to line up - there was no space to get to the front. So I stood separated from the runners by a small divider. I had two options - either to start with the 13:00 min/mile runners or to jump across the divider at the start and join the 8:00 min/mile group. So stood with the spectators and waited for the start.

mile 1: 8:26 (Avg HR: 167)
So the race started and I adeptly jumped across the divider (in the moments before this I envisioned twisting my ankle before even getting to cross the start). Even with the hill it was a slower start than I had wanted to get off too. It did feel hot. I did not know that it was already in the 60s with 75% humidity at that point.

mile 2: 7:43 (Avg HR: 177)
I had just gotten my HRM about four weeks back and I had never seen my HR go so high at this pace. After all this mile was all downhill and the race had just started. I continuously tried to relax.

mile 3: 7:44 (Avg HR: 177)
We passed through Church Street for the first time. Very nice crowd support. My heart rate was not coming down???!!! I had also become aware of the fact that with all these turns (and with many more to follow I was not exactly cutting tangents and running quite a bit more than I needed to.)

mile 4: 7:14 (Avg HR: 176)
Onto the Northern Connector. Hitting the mile 4 marker was a WTF moment for me. There was no way this mile marker was in place (others later confirmed that it was out of place). Here I was with my heart rate going bonkers and I was supposed to have hit a sub 7:15 mile!

mile 5: 8:09 (Avg HR: 172)
The cambered road surface felt a bit odd for me. Probably the first time in my life I had run on such a surface.

mile 6: 7:49 (Avg HR: 172)
Turnaround. It was nice to see the leaders and the others ahead of me on the out and back. Doughboy (Chris) yells and waves to me from the other side (he's a few minutes ahead of me).

mile 7: 8:01 (Avg HR: 170)
Finally my HR was getting lower but I was also slowing down...

mile 8: 7:59 (Avg HR: 169)
Like Philly here again I felt a little bad for the runners who were starting the out and back. To make matters worse for one of the ladies a couple of runners around me were kind of heckling the charity runner - "Yo yo. Who's your team? Do they train you to run slowly?"

mile 9: 7:54 (Avg HR: 173)
Another uphill mile as we headed back to the start area and Battery Park. I felt a little jealous of the fresh relay runners dashing off.

mile 10: 7:56 (Avg HR: 162)
Even though this was a downhill I took this easy and tried to get things under control...

mile 11: 7:54 (Avg HR: 167)
mile 12: 8:06 (Avg HR: 168)
mile 13: 7:58 (Avg HR: 169)
HALF: 1:43:50
Until this point I did think I was pretty motivated and still had hopes of a sub-3:25 but seeing my half split pretty much left me deflated. There was no way I was going to be able to negative split given the effort I had to put in for the first half. While I guess I kept on running as fast as I could I no longer cared much about the mile splits. No more WTF moments at the mile markers :)

mile 14: 8:04 (Avg HR: 167)
As we are running by the Champlain someone asks me what pace I was going at. I told him nonchalantly probably 3:30. Then he introduced himself - it was RunningFatMan (Henry). It was pretty lucky that we ran into each other. He looked strong and was ahead of his goal pace but mentioned that he was slowing down for the mile 15-16 hills. I was happy that at least someone was having a good day.

mile 15: 8:10 (Avg HR: 168)
I remember being impressed by the number of spectators out there cheering all over the course. This was no Boston and just a city of 50,000 but they did support their race.

mile 16: 8:10 (Avg HR: 177)
The Assault on Battery: I had been looking forward to seeing the Taiko drummers so even though this was not my day this was one of the nice moments.

mile 17: 8:00 (Avg HR: 171)
mile 18: 8:08 (Avg HR: 173)
We headed into the neighborhoods. While the people there were so nice to come out of their houses to cheer the runners it was getting a little irritating to be going around in circles and not getting anywhere.

mile 19: 8:06 (Avg HR: 171)
Just when things were becoming eventless my left shoe suddenly flew off. I caught up with it and squeezed it back on and continued running. A couple of relay runners shouted out to me - "Tighten your laces it's just not worth it". I thought - It's easy for you to say. I will save the "bend then untie and tie your shoe laces after running 19 miles of a marathon experiment" for another day.

mile 20: 8:07 (Avg HR: 172)
mile 21: 8:20 (Avg HR: 172)
mile 22: 8:15 (Avg HR: 180)
The Bike path - on a better day this downhill to the finish would have been really nice. At this point my quads had started hurting and killing myself over a few minutes did not seem to be worth it. I would live to fight another day.

mile 23: 8:24 (Avg HR: 170)
mile 24: 8:24 (Avg HR: 170)
Here I see Ic (Victor). He did not look good and mentioned that his calfs had cramped pretty badly. I muttered that my quads weren't doing well either. We'd both seen better days.

mile 25: 8:36 (Avg HR: 169)
mile 26: 8:25 (Avg HR: 169)
I knew when I enter the Battery Park loop that I still had half a mile to go. I needed to save something for some sort of a kick for a decent finish snap.
mile 26.22: 1:45 (7:53) (Avg HR: 175)
The one good thing about this marathon was that I think I spotted most of the cameras and made sure I looked good for them. I normally don't notice them when I am focused on my mile splits. I have noticed that my best snaps are when I don't smile at the camera but look at it seriously and frown a bit (it looks like I am deeply focused on my race - almost like a real runner)

Overall Avg HR: 171

I got my chip off and picked up my medal. Quite a solid medal (2-3 times more meat than any other medal I have). You can knock someone cold with this piece of iron. Then I headed to the massage tent. I was lucky to get my massage without having to wait. I apologized to the volunteer for all the salt on my legs. As I headed out Victor came into the massage area. His remark to my comment on how my race went was that - "We take what we can get". I was kind of surprised by the scarcity of water at the finish. I was in good shape but if someone were struggling it would not be a nice experience. I did not find any race food that I felt like eating (I would not be eating cheeseits or Donkin' Donuts munchkins after a 'thon) so after a shower and lunch I headed out on a seven-hour drive to my sister in New York State. The next day I drove
another four hours home. A good way to experience the joy of DOMS.

Race Stats:

Chip Time: 3:32:03 @ 8:05
Gun Time: 3:32:38
Overall : 326/2460
Male : 275/1424
Div M25-29: 40/154


The race did not go the way I wanted it to go. However, knowing what I know about the outcome now, I would still have done it - the overall VCM 2005 experience was worth the trip.
- I could not adapt to the mild heat/humidity on race day. After the Boston marathon we had quite a stretch of cold weather. I think I had very few runs in the last 3 weeks that were not in rain or sub-50 cloudy conditions
- Trying to run two marathons all out is almost asking for failure. The next time around I will always run one of the 'thons in a back to back for fun and take what I can get and be happy.
I have now run my first four marathons in a seven-month window. While I feel OK this is bound to have taken a toll. I had promised myself before this race that I would give myself a chance to recover in June. So I will take a month to heal physically and mentally before training for
a fall marathon (perhaps Steamtown but I am now getting scared of the hills in the last few miles).

Thanks for reading!


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