02 November 2008

JoongAng Seoul Marathon 2008

3:11:31 (chip time)...

Overall, a slightly sub-par performance given:

1) All running calculators (VDOT, Mcmillan, 2 x HM + 10mins etc) predict 3:05-3:07 based on my last HM race in hot, humid Singapore.

2) The cool weather in Seoul (10-15c) should make that target easily achievable or even faster.

But today, I under performed because of :

1) I got beat up by the undulations. While there were no heartbreaker hills, but my legs were not just accustomed to the terrain. I trained exclusively on pancake flat terrain in Singapore.

2) Legs were heavy despite 2 weeks taper. Don't know why, could be due to stiff muscles from the cold temp or perhaps I did too much walking-cum-shopping in Seoul with my wife.

3) Erratic pacing, a combination of fast start, undulations, and Garmin inaccuracy (maybe time for an upgrade to 405 ??)

4) Carbo loading wasn't very optimal. Had burger, fries, BBQ chic, ice creams, & lots of donuts the day before the race.

5) Last reason, plain and simple, my general aerobic training pace (5:00-5:30) is simply too slow to warrant a low 3-hours marathon and the fact that I often make rest stops during my long runs contributed to the inability to run continuosly for a long time.

Nonetheless and on a positive side, after a dry patch of 2 years without a PB, I finally managed to PB by 6mins and also beat BQ by 4mins :) Hence, about 80% happy.

Official split times:
10k 43:56 (av pace 4:24)
Half 1:34:30 (av pace 4:29)
30k: 2:14:16 (av pace 4:29)
40k: 3:01:17 (av pace 4:32)
Full 3:11:31

As you can see, my pace got slower towards the end. The last 8k was a torture with my pace slowing to around 4:40-5:00 min/km. I positive splited by 1.5 mins - 1:34:30 vs 1:37:01

Now, the race report:

This week, I did about 40k before the race, including a 6k MP run on Wednesday. We took the Wednesday midnight flight to Seoul, arriving on Thursday morning. Friday was raining, so I ran in the gym for 30mins, followed by 10mins run outside. Saturday was an easy 25mins jog from the hotel to the start point and back.  We stayed at the Intercontinenal, a bit pricey but it is only 1.5k jog to the start. On race day, I woke up at 5am and had a bagel and cereal bar then went back to sleep until 6-ish. Jogged/walked to the stadium at 7-ish, about 40mins before the start, Met David, Anthony and Max from Singapore running forum at the start. Did a bit of stretching and went to the toilet. Before I knew it, it was 7:40 and all the runners were marching to the start point.

The gun went off at 8am and the cool temperature made the running really easy. Also, we had a long downhill in km 2-3 which made the pace faster than planned. For some reasons, my legs felt a bit heavy. Could be due to the stiff muscles from the cool temp (warm up was done 40mins before the start) or simply I walked too much in the last couple of days. It took me about one hour before I felt that my muscles got warmed up. The course itself was a bit on the dull side in terms of scenery. 

As predicted in last week's post, the undulations proved to my undoing given my habit to exclusively train on flat terrain back home. While the hills are not steep (long & gradual), but I still got beat up (from the downhills too). It also made even pacing difficult. To make things worse, my Garmin was really erratic today. In short, after a faster-than expected start, I hit the 10k mark averaging 4:24 pace, 21k averaging 4:29 and 30k averaging 4:29. As you will see the split times below, my split was really all over the place.

After 30+km, I simply got beat up and my stride got shorter and shorter. I felt that I was still okay aerobically, but my legs were heavy. My pace then snailed to 4:40-5:00 after 35k. It seemed that my slow training paces and habit to make a lot of stoppages during my long runs in Singapore led to my downfall. From km 35, it was virtually a damage control. My aim was keep my pace below 5:00 because I knew that even with a 5:00-5:10 pace for the last 7k, I would still got a PB and BQ. We ran back towards the city and I crossed the 40k mark in 3:01, so I still got a shot to get under 3:10. However, my legs just didn't want to run fast no matter I tried. The last 200-300m was done on the track inside the 1988 Olympic Stadium.

Had no complaints. I knew where the mistakes were done (see above). Also, I simply was unprepared for the undulations today.

Although, my hotel is chosen purposely so that I could jog for a mile to the start point (warm up). The walk back to the hotel after the marathon was a torture !!

Km splits (not accurate splits since there was a 30secs difference between my watch and chip time)

km 1: 4:22
km 2: 4:15
km 3: 4:18
km 4: 4:27
km 5-6: 8:59
km 7: 4:33
km 8: 4:27
km 9: 4:39 (marker was off)
km 10: 4:10 (see above)
km 11: 5:09 (drink, hill)
km 12: 4:06 (downhill)
km 13: 4:28
km 14: 4:30
km 15: 4:21
km 16: 4:43 (drink)
km 17-18: 8:58
km 19: 4:27
km 20-21: 9:18 (drink)
km 22: 4:16
km 23: 4:41
km 24: 4:28
km 25: 4:13
km 26: 4:27 (drink)
km 27: 4:29
km 28: 4:30
km 29: 4:20
km 30: 4:59 (drink)
km 31: 4:39
km 32: 4:39
km 33: 4:17
km 34: 4:38
km 35: 4:47 (started to feel it)
km 36: 4:53 (ouch)
km 37: 4:48 (ouch)
km 38: 5:00 (ouch, ouch, hills)
km 39: 4:25
km 40: 4:43
km 41: 4:42
km 42.2: 5:32


Clown said...

Hi Widi,

Great to see you get the pb by 5 mins,very well deserved. Good effort re the splits, as mentioned by sms, marathon is a beast.


Epi said...

Congrats on the PB Widi (and congrats on being a father-to-be!)

I dont think you paced it too badly - looking at the stats in Lore of Running - even the elites slow by a minute or two in the second half on average.

So how will fatherhood affect the training?

by7 said...

sling... good race... too many mental reservations about your fitness.
So you felt "weak" legs...

congratulations about becoming father... it is a very tough start but maybe it will be the drive to improve yourself (once you are out of bed at 4am... you can go running).
For sure you need to work out on the training schedule, forget about those 6pm runs...

Hamburglar said...

Congrats SR. It may not have been an 100% day, but it is not often that it is. You got a lot right. Well done. Congrtas on the PB. BTW - what is a BQ?

Ewen said...

Well done on the PB SR. 80% happy is a pretty good outcome. With the adjustments you mention and a longer build-up something close to the magical 3 hours is surely possible.

It looks like you might have overdone it a bit with all the walking, as well as runs. Maybe a day or two with no running would have left your legs feeling less 'heavy' in the early kms?

trailblazer777 said...

Well done Widi! A Pb is a Pb is a PB! ditto for Boston Qualifier.

1.34/1.37 is pretty even splits too...A lot to like about that one.

I can relate re the whole pregnant wife and young child thing, makes it just a whole lot harder to focus on the marathon, and many times results in the day before being less than ideal, but hey thats part of the adventure of life, and being a Dad is something even more special! Way to go!

My brother flew back from Seoul after his sister-in-laws wedding the week before you ran.
sounds to me like better prep for the hills, and maybe better quality long runs + better day before lead=in are the big 3 that could have given you another 5-10minutes.

Double Congratulations! Inspiring to read!

Anonymous said...

I love your blog. Well written and interesting. You are almost 40. and you still mantain such a good pace. You'er an inspiration. Well done. Keep going. And stay injury free. God Bless.