Sunday, December 2, 2012

Macau Marathon

I'm too lazy to re-cap this race in full, so let me just describe some of the most important aspects.

After gathering at 4:30am onwards at the track in the Macau stadium, we finally set off at 5:00am. It took almost 30 seconds for me to reach the official start, at which point I started my Garmin. the next few minutes were still slow, and we seemed to be running very slowly through fairly crowded streets. I was trying to balance the two thoughts in my mind of "getting caught in a crowd in the first few minutes is a blessing in disguise" with the thought of just wanting to get running at a decent pace. After about three or four minutes, it seemed possible to settle into my target pace of around 4:30-4:40ish K pace. (In hindsight, this was really too fast, and I should have targeted 4:40-4:50).

Anyway, I was shocked to see that at the official 1K marker, my Garmin said 2.2K and there was about 10:30 on the watch!  Sure enough, at the official 2K marker my Garmin was at 3.2K...and so on. My mind couldn't help thinking that any time goal was nearly impossible when I was delayed by around two minutes by the crowded start, and another 5 minutes and an extra kilometers for some unforeseen reasons. Sure enough, after the race it was found out that the whole crowd took a wrong turn out of the stadium, and the race organization (staff/barriers) failed to prevent this. While I would say that much of the race organization was pretty good, this mistake was fairly costly and certainly preventable.

Besides this, I was feeling fairly ok at a 4:35-40ish pace, despite the fact that it was raining. However, soon we reached the first bridge, and just in time, the rain increased, and the winds were blowing really hard. the bridge was stepper than I had imagined.

If I had finished 5-10 minutes slower than goal pace, I could have simply just chalked it down to weather and poor race management. However, by around 30K, I was almost reduced to walking, and indeed, I did walk/run/jog most of the last third. With my eye on the watch, trying to salvage a sub-4 from this embarrassing outing, I ended up finishing in a slow 3:57:59 (albiet over 27.2 miles). This failure is more my fault only, and was caused by a few factors:

1) Lack of specific long-runs. Unlike past my last major marathon build up, I hadn't been doing my weekly 30K efforts (out and back to Shek Pik). Although i'm in better shape in general, I noticed the lack of long runs in my legs.

2) Lack of volume.

3) Insufficient calories.

4) Bad pacing (ie. went faster than I should have, and I probably should have even adjusted more due to weather).

While I'm disappointed, I'm not going to beat myself up about this too much. I feel I learned something through the race, and know I have valuable feedback for next time. Also, I'm excited to start training for the two 100K's coming up: the HK and Lantau 100s! These will require, more stamina, more trial training, more vertical, and more pole work. All things I'm excited about. Also, I'm excited at doing more real speed work, and after the 100's, my focus will move to training for the 1500m-5K for a while.