Thursday, February 5, 2009

Carlsbad Marathon 2009



I've received numerous emails to do a post-race review of the 2009 Carlsbad Marathon I completed recently. Honestly, the highlights of the race were minimal. It was, what I call a JAM (just another marathon). However, I will try to recap the day's events and offer a few suggestions:

My ultimate goal for doing the Carlsbad marathon was to qualify for the upcoming Boston Marathon. Honestly, I don't really care about actually running Boston, just qualifying for it is succinct for me. The marathon started at 6AM and my hotel was approximately 1 mile from the race start. Purposely, I woke up extra early and decided to jog to the marathon start so that I am warmed up and don't waste any energy in the beginning of the race. I started jogging, only to found out that I was going in the wrong direction. After running for about 10 minutes, I see no cars, no crowds, and no fellow joggers. I became slightly alarmed and decided to walk into a 7-11 to find out where the Westfield Shopping Center was (race start and finish). I was informed that I went completely the wrong direction. If I was slightly nervous then, I became very nervous upon hearing this. With only about 20 minutes to the race start and being about 3 miles away, I literally sprinted those three miles. While I was running at a good pace, I actually felt pretty strong throughout my journey to the start line. I got there a little after 6 and was really glad to hear that the race is being delayed for 15 minutes due to technical difficulties.

I met a few runners, made some friends, and as soon as the clock hit 6:13 AM, the gun went off and the 2009 Carlsbad Marathon had officially begun. The first 6 miles went really well. I was at about 6:30 average pace, with a faster sub-6 on the downhills and slower on the inclines. Feeling great, I decided to step it up a notch. For the next few miles, I was going at about 6:15 pace. At about mile 9, there was a long incline, which lasted for a couple of miles. Wanting to conserve some energy for the flats and the downhills, I decided to tackle this hill quite slowly. Could've gone much faster, but I dropped my pace down to 9-10 minutes per mile for the next 2-3 miles. As soon as the hill was over, I picked up the pace again to average about 7-7:30 pace for the next several miles. The only highlight between mile 10 and 16 is when the half marathon pros zoomed by me at about 4 min/mile pace. It was an incredible thing to watch as the motorcade passed me along with two black runners (possibly from Ethiopia or Kenya).

Starting at mile 17, I started to become fatigued but still kept a decent pace of about 7:30 a mile. I was about 10 minutes ahead of my goal for doing a Boston Qualifier. Realizing that I can probably do a sub-3 marathon, I picked up my pace again (even though the fatigue was setting in and my knees and ankles were beginning to ache). I crown my decision to keep faster speed even though my body didn't want to, the dumbest decision of the day. Around mile 21, I developed a twitch in my left hamstring. It became increasingly painful as the miles progressed. This, in addition to achy joints, made me realize that I am in for a very painful 5 miles. However, I was still able to run the following 2 miles, although not very fast. Starting just over mile 23, my hamstring twitch made me stop running. I physically could not!! Every time I tried to take a step with my left leg, my hamstring would contract rapidly, which made me lose my balance. These last 2-3 miles were probably one of the more painful marathon experiences in my life. It took me nearly 40 minutes to cover the last two miles, shattering my goal of qualifying for Boston.

Even though I tried to stay hydrated throughout the race, I realized that the lack of electrolytes may have caused the cramps in my hamstring. Most liquid I drank on course was plain water. However, I think that the biggest mistake I made was going out too fast, too hard. That may have worked as I got a boost of confidence knowing that I am ahead of my goal. However, it was a short-lived hope. As the saying goes, "Slow and Steady wins the Race". I will try this on my next marathon.

Speaking of next marathon, I will be running the Napa Valley Marathon on March 1, 2009. I will take everything I learned from Carlsbad and applying to Napa.

Before I conclude, I would like to thank a few people... My running partner and good friend, Angela Brunson. If it wasn't for her, I would've never done this marathon. Having run 25 marathons and numerous ultramarathons (including the world-famous Badwater), she knows exactly what she's doing, both in terms of training AND injury prevention. In fact, her softball trick is what really helped me to get over my IT Band Syndrome two weeks before the race. In addition to running, she has also inspired me to take up rock climbing, ice skating, adventure racing, and even learning how to ride a motorcycle. So, Thank You Angela.

Next... My Brother, Harout. Harout recently moved in to Los Angeles to live with me. Being fairly inactive and a smoker, as soon as he moved to Los Angeles, he began his path to healthier him. In the first two weeks of being in Los Angeles, Harout has taken up Aikido & Jujitsu, Ice Skating, and he is training for his first ever Marathon with Team in Training. Way to go Bro!!

Last but certainly not least, my girlfriend and my best friend, Cynthia. She has been very supportive of me throughout my weight loss, Ironman training, and overall understanding. If it wasn't for her, I would've never started running, which means I would've never been doing a review of Carlsbad Marathon nor would I have become an Ironman. I am in the best physical shape of my life and I owe majority of my success to Cynthia. Thank you Love!!!

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Great Review. I've been thinking about Running Carlsbad next year. My first marathon.

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