Friday, August 25, 2017

2017 Sri Chinmoy Marathon: Race Report


This was my third time running the Sri Chinmoy Marathon at Rockland Lake (albeit the last time was way back in August, 2009).  Previously, it had been called the Self-Transcendence Marathon.  Despite the official name change to honor Sri Chinmoy himself, my race bib still used the old name.  There are very few official marathons run mid-week, such as on a Thursday (and the 2009 edition was actually held on a Tuesday).  That made running the Sri Chinmoy Marathon feel as if I was playing hooky from my day job :D

I will say that entering the race was a last minute decision.  When I missed the Escarpment Trail Run at the end of last month - a 30k trek up and over a few mountains that typically takes me 5+ hours to complete - I figured the easiest way to atone was to spend 4 hours or so running a marathon!  Since Rockland Lake is 30 minutes from my house, just over the Tappan Zee Bridge, it was a very easy decision.

Despite the relative convenience, I haven't run a marathon since the 2016 NYC Marathon!  In fact, the longest training runs I've done in the last few months ranged from 15-18 miles (with half marathon distances more likely on the weekends).  So my initial plan was to treat the event as a long training run.  I wanted to run 20 miles at roughly an 8:40 pace (around 2:50) and then walk/jog the remaining 10k.  Given the tough heat/humidity that surrounds a late-August event, I thought that was a more realistic objective.

Luckily, the weather Gods smiled upon us yesterday.  While the humidity was pretty high throughout the morning, we started off with temperatures in the 60s!  The course itself, a just under 3 mile loop around the lake, is mostly shaded.  There are a few open patches of road, but very manageable combination.  On the plus side, the course is basically flat! Altogether we did 8 full loops of the lake and 3/4 of a ninth loop.  There were 3 aid stations spread out along the course.

This event reminds me of the typical 6 hour ultra than your typical road marathon.  A good number of runners had drop bags and chairs lining the start/finish area.  Most of the runners were focused on completing the distance, rather than a particular time objective.  It was much more a social atmosphere than would be found at more commercial races.

As for my performance, I ran the first 8 loops in a relatively consistent pace.  After the first two loops you pretty much knew what to expect, what was ahead so to speak.  I was positive that the course was long.  Each mile was clearly marked with a placard (that also listed the loop # in addition to the actual mile itself).  My Strava/MapMyRun programs were consistently reeling off the mile marks before the official markers.  In fact, at the end of the race Strava had 26.6 miles as the distance (and MapMyRun came in at 27.7+)!

That said, I reached 20 miles between 2:50/2:55 and felt pretty good.  Not sure what to attribute that to, but I reckoned that I had just over an hour to finish the last 10k and come in under 4 hours.  I went for another 2 miles in that mindset - then boom, I hit the wall!  At the start of mile 23 I just fell into a dark patch and switched over to walking (this happened without warning, as if someone had simply flipped a switch).  I wallowed in that mood for about 5 minutes or so, then just as suddenly it lifted.  I started to shuffle along - and by the end of mile 23 was back to running!

Except for that patch in during mile 23, I kept moving at roughly the same pace.  During the last few miles, beginning at 22 and continuing straight through to the finish, I was beset by some calf cramping.  I wore compression sleeves to forestall that issue.  From prior experience, I'm sure the cramps would have been much more pronounced/worse without the sleeves!  Other than that, I had no physical issues.

I finished in 3:56:43, a 9:01 pace for 26.2 miles (slightly faster for 26.6 - haha).  Afterwards I filled up on watermelon - and then headed home.  The traffic Gods must have been on board with the weather Gods because the traffic back across the bridge was surprising light!  All in all it was a fun morning!  Many thanks to the Sri Chinmoy Marathon Team and volunteers for putting on another fantastic event!

Here are a few of my race photos.


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