Monday, November 7, 2011

Santa Clarita Marathon

Usually things come in halves, this race came in roughly quarters, three on the front end and one on the back end…and so on with the show!image

Pouring rain, not LA Marathon 2010 pouring but nevertheless wet enough to merit a NorthFace jacket for at least the first two hours of the race accompanied me as I wound my way along, up, over, back, down, through and around Santa Clarita. Ironically the rain didn’t make it cold, it was the wind that blew the rain away that then made things cold, but wasn’t the weather that killed my race.

Nor was it my nutrition or hydration, in fact I was so well hydrated that I stopped to pee, although it did cross my mind to just go while moving but I avoided that. I am not sure but I do think I took on several liters through absorbtion!

Nope what got to me was the good old fashioned classic wall!

My target was sub 3:15 a BQ, my training plan predicted a 3:08 which was always going to be too fast so I was aiming for a 7:15 pace which would give me a 3:10 finish and some wiggle room for the 3:15 which was a 7:26 pace.

Miles 1-8 in 57: 03 an average 7:07 pace; no problems, my pace was solid, it varied according the terrain, which was deceptively rolling.

Miles 9-16 in 1:56: 21 pace dropped to an average 7:16 still on target, rain had eased and stopped, I stopped to take a stone out of my shoe.

Mile 17-20 in 32:36, now the pace was slowing fast; for average for these four miles was 8:09 and overall I was at 7:26.

marathon splits Then BOOM! the wall…I plugged away for another couple of miles to 22 and with that I was toast!

Mile 23…8:58, Mile 24…9:13…Mile 25 9:40 and with the smell of the finish Mile 26 11:28 (WTF!!!) a couple of wiggly bits to make up the .20 and it was all over bar the screaming…mostly from my quads, with some background from a hip.

So what went wrong, well let’s talk about that, truth is I went out a bit fast, but only a bit, yeah the weather was bad, but not that bad and maybe an extra gel might have helped…maybe.

The truth is, as best I can tell, is my long runs were not as many or as long as they should have been, I did three 20 milers, one slow to cover the distance and two at not race pace (one was +20 and the other +15). The success I had with the Half Marathon training had me training at either race pace or race distance albeit that was my own deviation from the plan but one that paid off and I just didn’t have that this time around, I personally believe that at least one more 20 ideally a 22 miler and a 23/24 was needed, the bridge from 20 to 26 at the pace I want/need is just to0 big a gap to bridge without training runs.

Now the question is what to do in the Spring (or sooner) now I know (think I know) what the problem was! Surf City is an option in early February, given that potentially my first Tri is not until March…ugh well right now growing my legs back in time for my 50K in two weeks is my priority!

Anyway it was not all bad news, I did PR, taking nearly 15 minutes off of my Marathon PR which I have had since June 2007 and I was 47/390 OA and 14/44 in my AG!

That's three PRs out of the last three races so I must be doing something right!



  1. Well I know you're not totally happy but I still think a PR is a great accomplishment and a 3:30 marathon is awesome. Congrats on 3 PR's in 3 races!

  2. Dang, that's a HUGE PR!!! Congrats, Stuart! Sorry it didn't happen in the fashion you would have liked, but it sounds like you've taken the best away from it. I think you should do Surf City. You're on a roll with the PR's. Go for it!

  3. Stuart, you are a BAMF! Congrats on an excellent PR. That is an insane improvement. Glad that you seem to have some ideas on how to improve. Great job!

  4. Whoa! A PR in those conditions. i think you are def doing something right.
    COngrats! Loved watching your training on DM.

  5. Great job on the PR; your HR had a big leap from mile 8-9, but sometimes it's difficult to make changes to the plan on the fly. Can't wait to hear how well you do on your next race. All the best.

  6. you are definitely doing something right! It's not just about doing the training. You have to execute, to the best of our ability. and you learn. and then there's weather, and you know, CIRCUMSTANCES. You takes whatcha get... NICE JOB!! That's still a splendid effort, and I'm sure you learned tons!!

  7. a 15-min PR is huge! i would like to say that the more you work at it, the less of a factor the wall will be? but what do i know ... :)


  8. Always be happy with a PR! Your turn for BQ will come soon. Just stick to your plan like you do so well! Awesome job! That wall suck when you hit it!


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