Friday, May 20, 2016

Monday, March 21, 2016

Yokohama marathon: The good, bad, and ugly


My first marathon in 2 years is in the books. Including ironmans, I have now done over 18 marathons in 17 years, most between 3:10 and 4 hours. Instead of the usual February Tokyo Marathon (7 times in the past 10 years), several of us that missed the Tokyo lottery decided to do Yokohama in March. It being Tokyo's sister city and a flat course, we reckoned it was a decent substitute for Tokyo. I also had the Boston Marathon qualifying race in the back of my mind....

Little did I know that Yokohama is not a qualifying marathon despite the large size at 24,000 runners.  There was a measurement mishap last year and so this year somehow this race was unofficially 42k and not a sanctioned race. I realized this fact about 2 months before the race which dampened my motivation. Still I trained somewhat hard with several long runs over 25k, but only averaged 46k per week for 2016 (January-March). I thought that was enough to get me under 3:30. Boston qualifier for my age group is 3:25, so this race was going to be test of sorts.

Race start: A 9 AM start meant I was up at 5 AM and on a 6:10 AM train to Yokohama. No worries, similar drill to Tokyo marathon. Although 7-8 of us Nanban Rengo runners were in the first A gate, we were substantially far back from the start line. We started with a slow jog as we crossed the start line, a good 3-4 minutes after the start gun. The first 1k was slow and a bit frustrating to weave around runners. I did 5:25 the first K, than 4:52 the second K, both slightly under the goal pace. After the 2k point it was pretty much smooth sailing for the first half of the marathon. I ran with Keren and Jesse for about 7k before Jesse peeled away. Keren and I both took toilet breaks at 10k, costing us 40 seconds, and ran together for another 7-8k. Keren starting to increase the pace to 4:30 from 4:45, so I let him go at about 18k, figuring I would reel him in later....



At about 25k things started to go pear-shaped though. I began to feel fatigue and the effects of the headwind and highway. At 21k, we climbed a entrance ramp to a highway, now well outside downtown Yokohama. With little crowd support on the elevated highway, a stiff headwind, tilted highway surface, I started to fade. At 28k nature called again, this time in a big way. During the break I noticed that my legs were super tight. The stop took about 90 seconds. The next few kilometers were normal 4:50 pace, but after 30k I was really struggling to hold 5 minute pace. At 31k I was happy to get off the highway, but I think the damage was already there in my body. I felt like I was barely hanging on. Probably a bit dehydrated also. I did take sips of half a cup of sports drink every 2-3k, but I guess this wasn't enough. From 35-40k the pace got even worse and my sights on a sub-3:30 marathon seemed to be a pipe dream. Deja Vu all over again. 2 years ago in Tokyo I ran sub-5 minute pace for 30k before the wheels came off, finishing at 3:33. Same thing happened this year. The legs just didn't have enough long runs in them and began to unravel at 33k, which is exactly the distance of my longest run this year. I was putting in more effort but slowing down. Quite frustrating but that's how marathons go. You have to do the heavy mileage to get results. At least I do. In my case, that means 60-90k per week which is a high risk activity given my knee and hamstring injuries. A quick look back at my PB 3:08 training regime reveals a peak week of over 100k. That was 10 years ago so my recovery time from that kind of hard training has surely slowed. 


The last 5k were torture. From 38k I was hobbling along at 6 minute pace just hoping to finish without walking. I came in at 3:37:31, a big positive split. The second half was nearly 2 hours. 1:39 for the first half, 1:58 for the second half. A tale of 2 races. They say a marathon really starts sometime after the first half. How true. Splits and other data are below for those with cares. 

Kudos to the guys that ran PBs: Keren and Jesse. Well deserved.
Dave and Connie had a stellar races as well. 
Good to run with Sumie, Nick, Engin, Yasuo, Brad, and the Chado unit. Big UPs. 




Splits TimeCumulative TimeMoving TimeDistanceElev GainElev LossAvg PaceAvg Moving PaceBest PaceAvg Run CadenceMax Run CadenceAvg Stride LengthCalories
15:26.55:26.55:251.0014105:275:254:361611681.1475
24:54.310:214:521.00----4:544:524:251631741.2575
34:50.015:114:451.0029214:504:454:101641721.2674
44:45.619:564:391.0015134:464:393:011651721.2774
54:37.824:344:341.0011164:384:344:021661701.3076
64:25.929:004:201.00--74:264:203:341681721.3573
74:36.333:364:341.00494:364:344:161661701.3176
84:37.838:144:321.007--4:384:324:071661701.3074
94:27.042:414:231.00--44:274:232:491671721.3473
105:26.948:085:231.00455:275:234:171521721.2174
114:46.352:544:361.00--24:464:363:341641681.2871
125:00.857:554:551.004--5:014:553:201651701.2179
134:21.71:02:174:161.001064:224:162:181671701.3777
144:24.01:06:414:191.00--64:244:193:571661721.3775
154:41.31:11:224:371.00----4:414:374:221661721.2875
164:37.21:15:594:351.00----4:374:353:391651701.3175
174:44.81:20:444:401.00544:454:402:441661701.2776
184:29.91:25:144:251.00--54:304:253:571671701.3376
194:41.21:29:554:351.00834:414:351:441651681.2977
204:32.51:34:284:281.00--14:324:283:361651681.3374
214:35.51:39:034:281.00----4:364:283:221651681.3275
224:59.51:44:034:581.00624:594:583:201651721.2280
235:10.51:49:135:081.00--45:105:084:251641681.1877
244:51.91:54:054:471.003--4:524:474:411641681.2676
254:52.61:58:584:481.00--34:534:484:381651681.2574
264:55.42:03:534:511.00--34:554:514:441641681.2475
276:05.72:09:596:051.005--6:066:054:541401681.1773
284:44.22:14:434:411.00684:444:412:581661681.2873
294:56.42:19:394:561.00644:564:564:131651701.2376
304:54.32:24:344:481.00--34:544:484:371641701.2474
315:02.02:29:364:581.00----5:024:584:441641681.2177
325:22.92:34:595:211.00----5:235:214:541641691.1375
335:12.22:40:115:051.00--35:125:054:291611661.2076
345:26.12:45:375:251.003--5:265:254:591641701.1274
355:25.82:51:035:241.00----5:265:245:081641681.1274
365:34.62:56:375:301.002--5:355:304:241631681.1075
375:20.73:01:585:141.00--35:215:145:091641661.1474
385:44.53:07:435:431.00----5:455:431:551631661.0775
396:10.63:13:536:111.002--6:116:114:591621661.0074
406:15.33:20:086:101.00856:156:104:401601651.0078
416:52.33:27:016:381.00----6:526:381:201411641.0380
426:20.33:33:216:161.00426:206:165:421601650.9877
434:09.73:37:314:030.69----6:005:504:341621681.0351
Summary3:37:313:37:313:34:2142.691601515:065:011:201621741.213,212