LooseCrew-JeffO: Steamboat Marathon


Ramblings of an adventurous guy living in Denver and playing in the mountains.
For my trail adventures, visit my Trail Bum blog

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Steamboat Marathon

I had several goals...
Cut 12 minutes off my very best marathon time for a sub-3:30 finish.
Qualify for the Boston Marathon at the same time.
Set a new PR for the Steamboat Marathon, which is also my marathon PR.
I was very proud of last year's 3:42 finish! I didn't see how it was possible to meet my goals, especially after two 50M races in the past 4 weeks.

The drive in was faster than expected. I didn't stop at all and arrived with plenty of time to get my race packet.
I ran into Justin Mock, who is a speed-demon that occasionally runs with us on Tuesdays. Justin seems to always either win, or finish in the top three. He was the only person in town I seemed to know.
That night, instead of driving 8 miles out of town like I'd planned, I found some townhouses under construction and set my sleeping bags up inside the foundation of one. I parked in a parking lot a block away. In the morning, my sleeping bags had frost on them. I admit I slept poorly. I'm not used to being in a town. I should have stuck to my original plan. I got 7 hours of lousy slumber.

The shuttle ride wasn't as bad as my last experience, but it still was the least enjoyable part. I never have liked shuttles. I was telling Justin how I didn't really feel great - not bad, but certainly not like I could hope. but he reminded me that you often don't feel good and it all comes together.

The temps at the start had to be in the 40's, but I stripped down to my lightest sleeveless top. I sucked down two gels, and I took one Ultimate Direction bottle.
I never got cold, and as the temps rose, I never got overheated. The sun was intense, but I sprayed on lots of sunblock.
And for the first time ever, I used albuterol once before the race, and again at 15M. Wow, what a difference. The jury is still out as to possible placebo affects, but I swear it makes a very big difference. If nothing else, my sinuses no longer annoy me for the whole race!
I feel like Pinocchio - "Oh boy! I'm a real BOY!!" It's almost like I'm normal... except that I'm really weird and a knucklehead. But let's pretend that doesn't matter!
My lungs didn't stress out and start foaming up. The coals in my windpipe didn't flare up.
But it's still high altitude and I was pushing so hard - I guarantee I was sucking for air - couldn't get enough - but it was for all the right reasons.

The aid stations were awesome! There were tons of volunteers at each, which works well with my bottle strategy. I ran every last step of the race. No potty breaks, no stopping to drink. I just grabbed cups from a long line of volunteers holding out cups and poured them into my bottle. I didn't care if it was water or Gatoraid. Twice, I almost collided with runners who stopped to drink, but managed to barely dodge them.

I didn't bring my GPS - I knew that if my goals were possible, I had to push - so hard. No excuses, no making deals with myself, no trying to do math late in the race (I can't do math very well sitting at a computer, how dumb of me to try to do math during a race!) I concentrated on cadence. No matter the uphill or downhill, or how steep, CADENCE! Like automated pistons.
I started to fade at 22M. It took all sorts of determination to keep going at full speed. My hams and butt were hurting. I just concentrated on cadence.
With a 2.2 miles left, then I started doing math. That's when I realized I was nailing it.

I thought my spront at the end would kill me. It didn't I coulda/shoulda started sprinting with a quarter mile left, but I didn't. And now it's too late.

My finish time at Steamboat was 3:30:06! Okay, so I missed the 3:30 goal, but Boston gives you the 59 seconds after that! So...
- 33rd overall
- 4th in my age division
- Only one woman ahead of me. She passed me at 23M and I could still see her when she crossed the finish. That's a FIRST for me!
This is such a boost for me! I've had so many ups and downs this year, and my training/racing has been brutal. It has paid off so far.

Estes Park Marathon is next, in two weeks. Then the SJS50 in three weeks.


At 6:44 PM, Blogger Meghan said...

JeffO, you are getting so very fit. 3:30 at Steamboat's elevation! A huge congrats! At this fitness level, you can run 3:20 at Boston I think. You should be proud, especially of only getting chicked once! Hah! ;)


At 7:11 PM, Blogger olga said...

Wow, Jeff, way to kick butt so hard and with great results!!! You mastered the joy of pushing! :) Congrats.

At 9:04 PM, Blogger Kevin said...

Jeff, congratulations on qualifying for Boston and running your new marathon PR! That was an incredible performance, especially with all of the racing that you've been doing of late. Great job!

At 10:46 PM, Blogger Justin Mock said...

JOR, excellent race. After chasing Saitta for the first 9 miles, I was cooked and dropped at half. Check the blog for the full report. Prob bailing on Estes to regroup in time for Pikes. See you on Tues.

At 5:56 PM, Blogger Jamie Donaldson said...

Congrats Jeff! That's pretty awesome!

At 9:22 AM, Blogger RunColo said...

Nice work! A PR on a tough course at altitude.


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