Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Race Report: Carmel Marathon 2012

ORN:  26.2 miles, 4:33:25, R/W 6/1, 10:27/mile

Quick Summary

The Carmel Marathon went wonderfully.  A cool day on a flat course following adequate training miles added up to my fastest marathon since October 2006.  Even better was holding a steady pace throughout.  Photos and story below.

The Gory Details

The Carmel Marathon is in its second year, a flat, straight-forward run through this tony suburb on the north side of Indianapolis.  It fell nicely into my spring schedule and, since it is only an hour from my home, was essentially local.  

Race morning routine for runs in Indy is now very familiar.  Up at 4am ish, out the door and head south.  A local running pal picked up my packet the night before and we arranged a meeting spot at 6am near the 19 mile mark of the marathon.  This also provided a creative spot for me to stash a banana and some trail mix and still have time to score a really good parking spot one block north of the start/finish line.  With no real rush, I was able to get set and amble over to the Marathon Maniac and Half Fanatic photo op.  I'm in the last row, on the left.  It was fun to see a lot of Hoosier MMs gathered.

From Running-General

It was also a treat to run with the indefatigable and photo-driven Dave Mari again...Dave's ability to put names and faces together is amazing.  And he's everywhere!!

From Running-General

The race started right on time at 7:30am.  About 1,700 marathoners and half marathoners flowed seamlessly onto the city streets.  Temperatures were cool, in the mid 40s at the start with a 15mph North wind.  It was a perfect day to run, even though volunteers were really chilly.  

Race strategy looked like this:  With the cool temps, I decided to push it (for me, pushing it) which means a run/walk ratio of running 6 minutes and walking 1 minute and during the run segments holding a 9:45/mile pace.  I used this same strategy last November on a similarly cool day at the Veteran's Marathon, which panned out well.  Could I do it again?  The real test was just how deep into the race I could hold that plan.  

The course was, frankly, unremarkable.  Carmel is a lovely suburb with gracious homes and fine parks, all of which we wound around and through.  But, what more can I say??  It was a flat suburban race.  So, let me give you the stats.  

I held back early and hit the 10K mat in 1:05:14...on pace.  Temps stayed was mile 11 before I pulled off my sweatshirt and stashed it under a bush to retrieve later.  And I kept the pattern, hitting the half marathon mat at 2:16:44.  And it continued into the second half of the race.  I kept holding the 6/1 and had to work, regularly, to keep from running faster than 9:45 when I ran.

From Running-General

It was still chilly by mile 17, as you can see in the photo above.  The wind had its impact but didn't really bother me much.  By this time, I could feel my left IT band a bit but not to the extent I felt it at the Kal Haven race four weeks earlier.  There were a few folks to talk to but the 560 or so of us marathoners were pretty well spaced out.  I simply enjoyed the run.  At mile 19, I pulled my banana from the landscaping of a hotel, did it taste good at that point!

Mile 20 hit at 3:29:40.  I checked my Universal Marathon Pacing Chart and noted I had nearly 2 minutes in hand on a 4:40 finish.  Could I hold this pace and get well under 4:40??  Even, gasp, under 4:35??  I kept the 6/1, 9:45 pattern, still having to hold back during the run segments.  I decided I'd hold the pattern through mile 24 and then "let go" (as much as a slow 58 year old engineer can "let go").

A little way past the mile 24 marker, it was clear the Wall would not show itself on this day.  Around 24.5, I turned off my 6/1 timer and ran the rest of the way home.  Here you can see me around mile 25.3, in the artsy part of downtown Carmel.  A buddy of mine is fond of saying "I've never seen a jogger smile, so that's why I don't jog."  Well, here's proof, my friend!  I felt truly this relaxed and good with less than a mile to go.

From Running-General

The end sequence resembled that of the Chicago Marathon, consisting of a gentle incline to mile 26, then a corner leading to a downhill finish line.  While having nowhere near the numbers of Chicago, it was still a nice finish.  I continued to accelerate, feeling strong, and hit the finish line, genuinely excited.

From Running-General
Kaboom.  Marathon #27 in the books.  I find the finish of a marathon never gets old and is really, really fun every time.  

And the numbers were fun too.  My finish time was 4:33:25.  During the entire drive home, I was trying to do mental math to compare the first and second half times...but there were too many numbers.  It was worth the wait, though.  My first half time was 2:16:44.  My second half time was 2:16:41.  A negative split by 3 entire seconds!!  Sweet!

A further stat from the organizer was even more encouraging.  I ran the last 10K of the race a full 90 seconds faster than the first 10K of the race.  I've never seen anything like that in a marathon.  I guess I held back well enough.  

So, the race went well.  I had fun running.  And one more fun thing.  

As I was pulling out of the parking lot, I saw a familiar face walking from the finish line.  It was Jim Simpson, the veteran marathoner who I met when he ran the Circular Logic Marathon in March.  I had heard he was running and was so pleased to see him.  We had a wonderful chat.   It turned out this marathon was his 898th lifetime marathon.  He was headed to Ohio the next day to run the Earth Day Marathon, then on to Delaware the next weekend for his marathon #900.  Wow...900 marathons.  It's amazing.  We reflected on the gift of health, the ability to get up each day and the even better gift to be able to run.  It was a wonderful chat with an amazing guy. 

Next race for me is the huge Half Marathon in Indy on May 5, where I'll run with a buddy I used to work with and 35,000 of our closest friends.  Then it's to Traverse City, Michgan on Memorial Day weekend for the Bayshore Marathon.  Two weeks after that, a trail marathon in southern Indiana.  

It was a good day to run in Carmel.  Thanks for reading along.  




Wes said...

only somebody who smiles while jogging would be happy over a 3 second negative split :-)

Well done, Joe! You celebrate health in fine style!

Darrell said...

Way to "let go", Joe! Congrats on such a well run race. I can see why you'd be smilin'. Lovin' the new MM tech t. I'm looking forward to seeing what you think of Traverse City.

Sarah said...

Nicely done Joe! Congrats on a great race!

My friend and 10 start maniac, Cyndie from Oregon was there. Did you meet her? In the pic she's to the far right...wearing a blue bandana.