“Race” Report: Denver Marathon

In short, the race was a great experience and a lot was learned, but I have to admit that I ran quite a bit slower than my goal.  I was aiming for a finish of 3:30 and ended up at 4:08.  I based my goal time on my 24 mile run that I completed in 3:08.  Ultimately, I think I have something to learn about hydration levels and salt balances.

We gathered with the other runners just before sunrise for the 7:00AM start of the Marathon, Half-Marathon, and Marathon Relay.  The weather couldn’t have been more cooperative starting out at about 50 degrees.   I finally crossed the start line about 2 minutes after the official start of the race.

I started out very conservatively at around 9:30 mile pace.  Over the next couple of miles I moved up to my 8:00 mile pace.  All was well in my world for the next several miles, but I think this is where my troubles began. I don’t pay much attention while I’m running, and I breezed past a few of the early hydration stations.  But feeling great, I didn’t let it bother me.

I took my first Clif Shot at about 45 minutes and from then on tried to drink at each hydration station.  I felt great up to mile 13.  Miles 13 and 14 were a gradual uphill, so I slowed a bit.  Miles 15 and 16 were flat or down hill, a welcomed relief.  At the end of mile 16 urination was necessary, and it was an awfully dark color (for my urine at least).  At that point I realized I was in trouble.

I drank a cup of gatorade and a cup of water at each station from that point, but I think I was already in too deep of a hole.  The cool temperatures of the morning were giving way to a warm, sunny 70 degrees.  The gradual stiffness in my legs had turned to cramping at mile 18, and I had to stop and walk at each water stop.

Miles 22 – 25 were rough.  Walking had become marginally more comfortable than walking.  I think I managed 10:00 minute miles with a combination of runing and walking.  The last mile was grueling.  My stride had turned to a short choppy waddling effort, but there’s something about that final mile that makes it tollerable.

Four hours and eight minutes after I crossed the starting line, I finished.  Legs cramping and feet aching, all I wanted to do was sit down and eat.

After a bit of reading (thanks Internets) I’m pretty sure I wasn’ t managing my water and electrolyte/salt intake well.  I think I’m going to start experimenting with salt tablets on my long runs.

Here’s  a good post on marathon cramps.

Short list of upcomming races:

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