Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Marathon Man: Carlsbad Marathon 2013 Race Report

Ok...  so maybe not a "thriller", but I have to say my first marathon on Sunday was certainly an experience!!

Since Sunday it keeps hitting me that I just ran 26.2 miles!  I don't know that it's really sunk in, but I keep getting congratulated, so I'll go with it!  It's really cool to know that I'm in the .5% of the US that has run a marathon. I really didn't know what to expect from the race, which made it exciting and scary at the same time.  By the time race day came, I was so done with the lead up, I just wanted to get out there and get running!

Picking up my goods on Friday before the race

So, for those of you interested...  below is my race report... I'll try to stick to the highlights so you don't fall asleep!
5:45 am...  more coffee!
We arrived in San Diego Thursday night, and surprisingly enough, we had rain almost constantly up until race day on Sunday.  When we got to the start on Sunday, it was still very misty and sprinkling, with temps around 53F.  The forecast was for it to clear off a bit that day and not rain.  I couldn't find the 5 hour pacer, so just settled in near the back of the pack, a bit behind the 4:45 pacer. 

Around 5.5 mi

We started off in the dark, but it didn't take too long for the sky to lighten and the rain to stop.  The pic above was somewhere around 5.5-6 mi, just as the course turned East to head up Palomar Airport Rd.  I was feeling really good here.... On pace to finish right at 5 hours. I was glad the sun didn't come out til close to the end of my run, as it was plenty warm for me!

As you can see, from mile 6 up to about 9.5 is straight up that road, and it was a decent climb all the way.  Normally, a hill like this of that length would slow me down quite a bit up here at altitude. I would probably even speed walk parts of it.  But this is where, in retrospect, the low altitude came back to bite me.  My lungs felt great, so I kept on my pace, maybe even a little faster as I made the climb to 9.5 miles..  On the way back down I began to feel twinges in my right hamstring, glute, and ITB.  I didn't push it faster on the way down, but at that point I think I had pushed my legs harder going up than I ever did in training, just because I didn't have my lungs shutting me down earlier and making me slow down.

around 14-15 or so.. smile is fading

Once I made the 1 mile up and back leg and started to head South again on the course, the wheels started coming off. During mile 16 the pain got really intense and I had a hard time running through it.  By mile 17 it became long stretches of walking interspersed with 15 second chunks of trying to run, but my leg basically telling me NO WAY.  Ugh...  this was the low point... I had watched my pace fade away and realized I would not make my 5:30 goal, and worried about missing the race cutoff of 6:00. At mile 18 and the final turn around point on the south end of the course, I grabbed a first aid guy on a bike to see if he had any tape or wrap for above my knee for the ITB issue... he didn't, but said he had some ibuprofen.. so I grabbed two packs.  Not something I wanted to do, but I didn't know what else I could do.  I popped those and between 18-20 the pain started to subside.  By 20 I was running again....

Around mile 21?  One foot in front of the other... 
By this point, I had at least gotten back to knowing I was going to finish this thing, and finish before the cutoff and getting relegated to the sidewalk!!  What was also interesting was that between 18-21 there seemed to be a lot of shuffling/walking wounded like myself... in one section it reminded me of a zombie movie the way we were all listlessly moving forward!  But after getting a great boost and cheer from my wife Caroline, and my friend Lorraine (who drove several hours just to cheer me on!), I decided enough was enough and I was going to finish this thing strong.. 

As I approached miles 22-23 I looked at my watch and realized that I still had a shot at making 5:30.  This surprised me as I had written that off a while ago.  I kept on pushing hard, but at this point the rest of the leg fatigue began to catch up with me.  My feet were getting tender, and my legs heavier so it was harder to keep the cadence up.  I do have to say though that the B2R Road Performance shoes were awesome.. combined with some new Injinji 2.0 toe socks (review coming), I had no hot spots, blisters or any foot issues other than just plain fatigue. 

When I got about .4 from the finish, my friend Lorraine popped off the sidewalk to join me.  She told me how close the time was and wanted to help me get there.  That was an awesome boost, and helped me dig down to see what was left..    If you see the guy just behind me, we had been going back and forth for the last 6 miles...  with him being way ahead several times.  I decided there was no way I was finishing behind him..

at last!

I came across the line with an official time of 5:33:09.   Missed it by that much!  I really had hoped to break 5:30 so I could enter the Pikes Peak Marathon this year, but honestly, I was not that upset.  I gave it everything I had, and I was happy with that.  And, I learned a lot in the race... all good lessons I can apply to my next outing.  After having such a rough time in parts of this race, the thoughts in my head after crossing the line were all about doing another marathon, and doing it better... and looking to run even longer races.  Crazy..  I know.. but I know many of you can relate. 

I know I don't have other marathons to compare this to, but I thought this was a well run event, with tons of amazing volunteers.  The aid stations were well stocked and the course laid out well so I had no question as to what my route should be, even in a haze. Great music from live bands along the way as well! I really liked the marathon finisher's jacket as well... cool stuff!

I also have to give a big shout out to my wife... what an amazing support crew!  She found a spot to see me 4 times during the race, delivering much needed smooches and cheers to keep me going.  And afterwards, taking care of my recovery needs (feet up, red wine, good food)...  for that reason alone I'll do more marathons!!  :-)  

And we have some rock star friends at home too!  Came home to find this on the door, plus balloons and other decorations... so cool!! 

Anyway, recovery is going well... was a bit hobbly on Monday, but today I'm feeling really good... just a bit of fatigue in my legs, but no permanent injuries from the race which is great.  Still on the 120 day running challenge I started on the first, so grabbing at least 1 mile every day to keep that streak going. 

I also have to give a shout out to INKnBURN for providing the way cool tech shirt I ran in... so comfortable, and I got a lot of comments on it during the race.  And thank you Injinji for the amazing 2.0's that worked perfectly...  look for full reviews very soon. 

Thanks for taking the time to read about my adventure... and stay tuned to see what races are next, and a bunch of great reviews/giveaways coming up!

Finally, don't forget to tune into "Shark Tank" on ABC Friday night to see Steven and Lena Sashen from XeroShoes try to convince the Sharks to invest in their amazing minimalist huaraches!!  And... shh.. but there will be a 20% off sale during the show.. just giving you an early heads up :-) 

Happy trails and have a great week!



  1. Jeff, a great recap of the race and again, congratulations on your accomplishment. :)
    Karen T

  2. Congrats on your first Marathon!! How cool. Congrats to Caroline too for being such a great supporter and wife. You guys are awesome :)

  3. Loved the recap (and it brought back tons of memories from last year :)). I'm sorry you hurt so much - but welcome to the world of marathoning....if you feel good in a marathon, you ran it all wrong :). Well done. Very happy for you and loved all the smiles in the pics. Don't worry about PP, as I mentioned on FB, it's not going anywhere and in the meantime, you get to run more marathons. Very cool that your wife and friend were there to help you out!! And from what I can gather, you didn't do a classic Jill move at mile 16 and turn with the half masses and add on additional mileage :). Congratulations, I am so stinking proud of you!

  4. Congratulations! I know as runners we're really tough on ourselves but cheers to a job well done! You finished and you toughed it out! I can relate to this in so many ways! I have suffered from IT Band for years. I've soaked thousands into physical therapy only to have it come back. I have found only 2 remedies and I'll share them for you for what it's worth. I wear a strap around my knee, you can find them at most running stores and I find races that are flat and I also use the Jeff Galloway method when running a marathon. Those three things keep the IT Band monster away. I've found the trigger for me is that the coming down off a a big hill or multiple hills inflames it and when that happens, there's no going back. The strap keeps the IT Band from rubbing. Anyway, I hope some of that is helpful to you.

    Enjoy that first marathon!! It's a pretty special one and you rocked that shirt!

  5. So happy for you Jeff!! Great recap and love the poster on your door when you got home! You have some very thoughtful friends. I hope my first marathon this May goes just as well as yours did. Take care and hope your recovery goes well.

  6. JEFF!
    You look so much like your dad and mine in these pictures, LOL
    This,along with the other things in your blog are very very inspiring!!,
    I myself am trying to lead a more healthy life style
    not sure I can run but I'm walking alot and love Hiking,
    1/2 marathon for me Feb 24th. YIKES
    Cuzin Lori ;)

    1. Thanks Lori! I appreciate it... and good luck on Feb 24! Love to hear about it!


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