Tuesday, December 15, 2015

2015 Dallas Marathon

Dallas Marathon

2015-time: 3:56:24 (chip), pace: 9:01/M, Place 614/2747 overall, 97/288 in my age group, 499/1728 among men
Tentatively, I'd like to visit the 50 states over the course of my life. One thing I learned early, after a visit to New York in 2001, is that people and places aren't all that different. The American landscape is littered with the same corporate presences just about everywhere...the same stores in every mall, the same stuff in every store, the same food in every town, some tall buildings in every city...there is uniqueness out there, in pockets, but most of it hardly worth traveling for.
Even in keeping with my running theme, many races can just blend together. Looking deeper there has to be more to a race weekend to justify the types of travel expenses likely to be incurred.  Catching up with old friends and family is a strong motivator, so when we had a couple of our friends move near Dallas this past spring I kinda knew that I would eventually get down there to socialize, see how things had settled in and run the Dallas Marathon.
At the Expo

It is difficult to express any correlation between my training and my eventual finish time. I signed up for Octobers Peak to Creek Marathon and Decembers Dallas Marathon at around the same time back in the spring and had planned to just establish a cardiovascular base for that distance in the same way that I have routinely held a half marathon base year round for the past few years.

I anticipated that since I can hold a half marathon base with one 8 mile run and one 12 mile run per week, that an 8, a 12 and a 20 would keep me in shape to throw down a marathon whenever I wanted. 

It didn't work out too well. 

I hit a training peak waaay too early. By late September I was feeling good and in relatively good shape, so I spontaneously signed up for the the Belmead Trail Fest Marathon and ran rather well for that event.

In hind sight I probably should have ditched the Peak to Creek and downgraded to the Dallas Half, but I have a thing about commitment and I considered it a scientific obligation to subject myself to the race schedule as it was laid out simply for the sake of gaining the knowledge.

By early October I had lost any interest in running more than 12 miles, but I lumbered through a few longer ones and finished the Peak to Creek with a sub 4 hr finish time. I had no interest at all in a 3rd build up for Dallas and was actually following a walk/run training routine while silently considering if the half would be a better choice given my lack of enthusiasm.

I'm glad I stayed the course. Sticking with the full Dallas Marathon was a great experience for many reasons. The lake scenery at White Rock Lake Trail made the event a good combination of big city buildings, inner city small business streets, urban sprawl and recreational park land, so I'm left with a well rounded impression of what Dallas has to offer.

Most rewarding for me, however, is the numbers game. My Garmin data got corrupted, so I had to delete it, but I vividly recall how most of my pacing went...

Miles 1-5 had me holding a pace in the high 7's
Miles 6-13 had me in the mid 8's
Miles 14-24 had me alternating between a high 8 and a high 9 with the high 9's being miles that included 1/4 mile walk breaks.
Miles 25-26.2 were in the high 9's with no walking

As disappointing as it is to have lost the Garmin data, the Dallas Marathon is as good an event as any for such a thing to happen because they use plenty of timing mats along the course to document how the pacing is going. My times at the timing mats are close to, but not exact with what my Garmin was displaying because I don't run "line of sight" and the timing mats use line of sight measurements per USATF. My timing mat splits were...

5k @ 25:11 (8:07 pace)
10k @ 51:07 (8:21 pace)
15k @ 1:17:45 (8:35 pace)
Half @ 1:51:00 (8:47 pace)
20M@ 2:55:30 ( 9:22 pace)
Finish @ 3:56:24 (9:01 pace)

Course with timing mat locations.
Elevation Profile
 The oddest thing about the numbers crunching for me is that of the 3 marathons I did this fall, Dallas actually turned out to be my fastest...

By 1 second...

Peak to Creek chip timed me at 3:56:25
Dallas chip timed me at 3:56:24 

The spur of the moment Belmead Trail Fest Marathon was a single track technical trail event, so the slower 4:15:29 would be expected whereas Dallas is all asphalt and Peak to Creek is a mix of asphalt (first 6 miles) and gravel road. Peak to Creek is all down hill plus I had better training going into it so I would have expected it to be my fastest even though gravel road does not offer as good a footing as asphalt. 

But really...numbers aside...I was just there for the company. Much thanks to our friends, The Caldwells, for helping us through this event. Dinner, catching up, billiards, Jameson, Jurassic World, overnight, oatmeal, rising early, keeping Kneesee out of trouble while I ran, driving us back to the house after the race, shower, nap and pizza...these are the kind of things I can't put a price on and they made the weekend invaluable as a lasting memory.