I like to talk about my races on my podcast, “Jim and the Other Guy” but if you haven’t had a chance to listen I will get you some info on what I learned about myself out there last Sunday at the Surf City Marathon.

200 meters from the finish grinding it out

200 meters from the finish grinding it out


I was coming into the race curious to see how my fitness was coming along.  I had trained hard right into this race(30+ hours in the “taper week”) so I would not be totally devastated if I had a subpar day out there.  That being said, I ALWAYS want to toe the line and give it my all.  I cannot truely get a gauge of my fitness if I am not racing to race.

My goals for Surf City were to #1. Stay dilligent in taking in my nutrition. #2.  Stay dilligent in my pacing. #3. Gague my fitness.

#1.  My plan was to take in a gel every 2 miles.  I figured I would need approx.  1400 calories out on course.  I believe a lot of runners do not take in enough calories which leads to subpar performance.  It takes practice to be able to keep the gels coming in.  In my Ironman racing I DO NOT want to consume anything on the run and I suffer greatly from it.  I need to constantly practice taking in calories on the run so I can use my run to it’s fullest.  I was extremely dilligent and I took a gel every 2 miles.  Megan was waiting for me at mile 15 with a half full bottle and 3 gels dissolved in water.  In total I took 14-15 gels and water/electrolye beverage every/every other aid station.  I know I was on my nutrition becasue I did not wane the entire way.  I would start to feel my body slow as I approached my next gel comsumption.  As soon as I got the gel in I would feel the energy and be able to pick it up again and drive right through.  I crossed the finish line and felt great.  My hamstrings were a little tight, but I attribute this to not having run more than 14 miles at once since Ironman Arizona(and that was more of a walk-run).  I now know that this is the way I have to get my nutrition in when racing a marathon.  Yes it takes practice but it pays off.  Why do all of this training if I am going to throw it away because I cannot consume calories?

#2.  I took off at the start around 5:45/mile pace.  It felt easy, and I knew I could have run faster, but I kept telling myself, “it’s a long run, respect the distance.”  I was still in front around mile 4 when a lead cyclist came back to me and told me 2nd place was 200 meters behind me.  In many past experiences I would have put in a strong effort to stave him off, but in this instance I just remained consistant.  I had not run a marathon in a long time and I did not know how my body would hold up.  I was thinking 5:45/mile was aggressive but I took a risk and kept it around 5:45/mile.  The 2nd place guy came up and passed me.  I let him go.  I saw him keep looking back to see if I responded.  I did not.  We had too far to go.  I was taking a chance that he was going to hard and that I could keep this pace.  My effort felt maitainable.  In the Surf City Marathon you head North on PCH for 4-5 miles, head South on PCH 4-5 miles, head North again 5 miles and head South again 6 miles.  Every time we went South we ran into an increasing headwind.  By the time we headed South the 2nd time it was really strong.  I turned for my final 6 miles, still holding 5:45/mi pace and I was greeted with the increasing head wind.  I felt strong and I was pushing harder than I had pushed all day.  I could see the guy ahead of me and I thought, with a great effort, I could catch him.  No matter how hard I pushed, I was not moving any faster.  Slower actually.  I stopped looking at my pace watch because it was depressing me.  I was going so hard and my pace would not break the 6:00/mile mark.  It was a great feeling to still have something left in the tank to push that hard but the wind did not make it easy.  I never caught the guy, but I finished really strong.

#3.  I can say I am on the right track fitness-wise.  I have a focused, periodized plan that I am following and I am in no rush to progress through the stages of training.  It s a LONG season and I need to use a majority of it building base/strength which is what I have been doing since January 1st and I will continue to do through April.  I believe the strength I have built thus far allowed me to fight through the entire 26.2 miles.  I believe a lot of athletes/coaches are in too much of a rush to get “race ready” instead of getting “season ready.”   Sure I could have done a ton of speed work going into this race, but if my muscular system was not ready for it I would never had been able to go fast the enitre way through.

Thanks for all of the support out there last weekend from everyone who came out and gave me a shout as I passed by.  Sorry I didn’t acknowledge them, but I heard them.  Thanks to Skechers for providing me with the GoRun 3’s.  My feet are in perfect shape post race and I attribute this to the shoe.  Lightweight, comfortable, durable, and sexy-looking.  Thanks to Trifit Multiport for providing me with FAST treadmills to do insane hill repeats on.  Thanks to Powerbar for providing me with the delicious 14 gels to throw down the hatch.  Thanks to Champion System for the race kit that which made me the sexiest looking/most comfortable gorilla/runner out there.  Thanks to Cynergy Cycles for helping me maintain my stress levels by providing me with the BEST bike/bike maintenance/etc. in the business.  And thanks to Megan and my Uncle John and Aunt Dana for catering to my every need pre/post race.  You guys are the best!!!  For more jibber-jabber on the race and other extremely “interesting” topics tune into “Jim and the Other Guy.”  Talk soon.  RACE HARD!

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