Going back to the original Marathon Event


americantobaccotraillogoThe American Tobacco Trail is also the location of the event that provided me with my 1st opportunity to Marathon experience. Even thought this trail is near my home, I trained a lot of the long run at Umstead Park. The importance of that is that the trails at that park are more challenging and has very hilly routes. Making this trail an easier route. Also for my training plan I continued to do back to back long runs, with at least 12 miler on Saturdays and again 12-16 miles on Sunday. In theory those back to back long runs were suppose to help me be better adjust to run with tired legs. Since December I have not participated in any races or events. I focused my time in mostly training runs and workouts. Since I target this event for my marathon PR, I started with Yassos speed work back a 4X Yassos, increasing the reps every other week and ramp up to 11X Yassos. Concentrating to do each one of then within 7:00 minute mile. I continued with back to back long runs mostly on Saturdays and Sundays. My weekly volume was hovering around 45-50 miles for the past few weeks leading to the marathon. My main target was to improve my PR to get close to 3:40, second target to finish under 4:00 and lastly to finish.

2016ATTM8The Expo was really nice and decent size. Like last year vendors providing advice, freebies and goodies. From shoe, running equipment to beer and bread. The Tuna challenge was there again, I talked to the person manning the table about the possibility doing the challenge this year. 12 runners doing 200 miles from Raleigh to the Coast.  I also talked to Paula a bit, she was volunteering at one of the table. Paula organized the first Triple Crown Challenges a couple year ago. It was nice to see her. Talk a little bit with the race director, he has been always very friendly and always provide good advice.

That morning the usual, oatmeal, latte and a banana for later. I checked my sugars are were on the high side of the running range but holding steady. Bolus for the food and minor adjustment. The temperature that morning felt ok, with 62 degrees but high humidity. If it stayed like that for a while it was a least going to be decent. Not like last year perfect running conditions with 46 degrees and low humidity.

2016ATTM62016ATTM3I met with a few of my friends some doing the half other doing the full. Chong was there to complete his first full and try to beat his wife’s time marathon finish from November. Met also with a few of the guys from the Raleigh Trail Runners (RTR). Checked my sugars one more time before turning the drop bag, they were still just above the running range.

The runners started to lined up in a small stretch of road that held the starting and finish line. Both the Full and Half marathoners were going to start at the same time. Huge flag above the start makes this event unique. I lined up next to the 3:55 pacer. I asked to make sure it was for the full and he said yes. The plan is to start with the pacer and slowing catch up with the 3:45 and easy the pace just a little bit faster than that pacer. At the start all went well, first couple mile my legs were there for me, the first mile an easy mile just a bit slower than the target pace. At the entrance of the ATT the full turned right. I am very familiar with the route. I started then that pick runners in front of me. Mile 4-6 were really good miles, slowly passing runners and making my way to the 3:45 pacer. At 40 minutes in I look at my CGMS, sugars still high but within range. I took my gel and did a bolus for it, the adjusted running bolus.

Mile 7-8 were also solid miles, brushing with the 8:00 mile per minute pace. Feeling good I felt I could push the pace more, but it was still too early to do that. Getting close to the turn around I see the 3:30 pacer passed on the way back from the 1st turnaround and a little bit later and closer to the turn around the 3:45 pacer. I am on track and feeling well. I also saw a few of my RTR friends and another Strava friends. They were running solid. At the turn around grabbed some water and continued with the solid pace. A mile or so later I am getting close to the 3:45 pacer. I caught up with that group and hanged around a bit with them before pushing the pace a bit. About mile 9 1/2 it was time to take another gel. Another look at my CGMS and still high and trending up. Another bolus adjustment soon after I finished my gel. Body and legs feeling pretty good, I keep targeting runners just ahead of me. As I continued I saw many of my other running friend not too far behind getting close to the turn around.

At the mid point, they had the clock available for runners to see the time as we passed the floor mat registering our passage on the way back from the turn around. 1:50 for the half way point, I need to either sustain this pace for the rest of the event. Thinking that my 1st mile was conservative slow and I was feeling good brushing with the 8:00 minute mile pace, I continued picking runners to pass.

It started to feel warm. No more breeze and the sun is out. Although there is mostly shaded you can still feel the sun hitting and warming up. Mile 14-15 were good but I had to do a quick stop to visit porta-potty at the aid station. They had ice, water and Gatorade. I took ice and water and quickly continued. The next miles were good also, but I am starting to feel warm. I took another gel this time with caffeine. It gave me some needed energy. Mile 16-17 were not good to me. Although I have not stopped to walk I slowed down below the pace I needed. At this time, 3:40 not an option, now I am considering 3:45 marathon a target. As I continue, I am only matching the pace of the runners in front of my with much difficulty. About a mile away from the second turn around I see a few of my RTR friends. At the turn around at mile 19, my lungs were good, legs were good but I was feeling so warm. I poured water over me at the aid stations but I felt like I was not able to cool down.

2016ATTM72016ATTM8On the way back the 3:45 pacer passed me as I grabbed some water and walked for a few. Next target adjustment, forget the 3:50, let’s just finish before 4 hour mark. Around mile 20 I saw my friend Vassu, he was taking a few pictures pictures a long they while he was doing the Marathon. I can believe he was running, he did over 13 miles the day before. There are some crazy people running this event, lol.

The next couple miles were hard, sugars were high I decided make another bolus adjustment with my next gel. It is just hot/warm.  At mile 23, as I was walking for a bit the 3:55 pacer group caught up with me. The pacer saw me a asked me to go ahead and try to start running a keep up with the group. That gave me another push. The breeze picked up a bit as we turned into the road back to the finish line. I kept the pace for the next couple miles until the water station about a mile shy to the finish. I did grabbed some water and walked for couple minutes and started once again to run, making sure the pacer was in sight to be able to finish under 4 hours. One final increased of pace during the last 3/4 miles to finish fast with a 3:55:37 net time. Where was that speed earlier? I do not know. Missed a course PB by 27 seconds, lol.


[vtftable cols=”{0}0-4:c9daf8;{/}”] {f1}Month/Year;;;{f1}Event;;;{f1}Location;;;{f1}Type;;;{f1}Time;nn;
Mar-16;;;American Tobacco Trail;;;NC;;;Full;;;3:55:37;nn;


[vtftable cols=”{0}0:c9daf8;{/}”] Event Highlight & Learning Points;nn;Highlights:

Course: Great ample road right of the start, narrowing a bit at the entrance of the trail around mile 3. With the exception of couple small hills during miles 1-2 and 25-26 the course is mostly flat with long rolling hills.

Venue: At finish, excellent food, plenty to drink and good music.

Expo: Nice expo at the conference room at a near by hotel. Many booths and freebies.

Weather: Clear skies, great 63º with just 75% humidity.

T1D: Sugars at higher edge of running range at start. Trending up during event and holding later on the high side of the running range.

Fueling: Pre-Race: 1 serving Hot Cereal and Latte. A banana about an hour before start.

Race: Water at the water station. A Gel every 4o minutes, 1st two gels no caffeine high calorie followed by two with caffeine. Carring fluid with E-fuel.

Post: Slice of Pizza and water. Protein shake about 45 minutes later.

Learning Points:

    • Targeting running slowly is a good way to steady held pace
    • Having more than one target in mind is crucial.
    • Sometimes is cool, sometimes warm and sometimes insane.