Wednesday, May 30, 2012
it would be something of an understatement to say that running the croton dam marathon was a major change in race distance for the memorial day weekend. i had planned to run the jim fixx 5 miler on monday (and had still been undecided about the weston 5k on saturday). then, on wednesday, michael oliva posted to the new york trail & ultra running meet-up group that he was organizing the weekend event (together with the shorter distance race). weather concerns aside, i was in!
the course, which started and finished on top of the croton dam, was essentially a 6.55 mile out and back. roughly a third was on pavement/macadam roads and the remaining two-thirds on dirt road. most of the dirt road portion was tree shaded. in addition to the water and aid at the start/finish there was another unmanned water/aid station a the 3.275 mile turnaround point. despite the "relatively" short distance, i carried a 22 ounce water bottle with me.
runners parked in croton gorge park and walk about three quarters of a mile up a series of dirt switchbacks to reach to top of the dam. as we approached the start, about a half dozen runners went by - we were late a bit late to the start. there were about 5 of us who took off in what could be called the second wave - with mike taking up the rear in case there were any last minute starter. most of the runners in the first wave, as it turned out, only ran the first leg (6.55 miles).
i briefly toyed with the idea of a 4 hour target. that would have meant sub-30 minute 3.275 legs (or an hour for each of the four out and backs). when the first 3.275 leg took 31:13 and the return leg took 30:24, i quickly readjusted my sights to a 4:15 marathon. that said, even the 4:15 target eventually proved to be overly optimistic given the heat and humidity. mid-way through the first leg i was soaked to the bone in sweat - and remained sopping wet throughout the entire race!
here are my splits:
at the half marathon point, with a 2:05 split, it was still possible to run a 4:15 marathon. but once i started off on the 3rd out and back, that quickly became unrealistic. the second half split, 2:35, pretty much summed up how much the weather negatively impacted my overall performance. i took in plenty of fluids (in addition to drinking at the aid stations, i went through more than half of my hand held between the two locations). but is still managed to get dehydrated. nutrition-wise, it didn't help that all i had to eat was a chocolate gu and a pack of welch's gummies! i had no appetite - and couldn't bring myself to eat.
still, despite the seeming death march of my last out and back- i was incredibly happy to have done the full marathon. at one point i would have been more than pleased to just finish the half. but once i headed out on the third out and back, it really turned into a challenge to finish the thing. that said, the 4:40:54 turned out to be my slowest road marathon ever. it easily eclipsed my previous personal worst at the 4:27 at sri chimnoy marathon - multiple loops of rockland lake in the heat of august!
these two pictures of me (finishing and done) are courtesy of ben ko :D