Tucson Marathon Post Mortem

It is Tuesday night and I've had 3 days, 2 nights to contemplate my marathon performance on Sunday.

But before I go there, let me tell you that Tucson has the coolest looking cactus growing all over town called saguaro. I immediately thought how cool would it be to have some of these growing in our yard. But apparently they only thrive in the Sonoran desert of Arizona a handful of other places. They are growing in center medians, the airport, shopping centers, yards, you name it. They are awesome.

And then there is the Tucson Marathon host hotel, the Hilton Tucson El Conquistador Resort. For only $145/night, it was quite a beautiful setting. The room was nice, clean and comfortable too. Plus, the busses picked us up directly at the hotel lobby that morning, which was nice (others had to drive to a parking lot for pickup).

Driving up to the hotel.View from the outdoor courtyard of the Hilton, near the pool areas.I ran the marathon Sunday morning and my flight got me to LAX at 7 pm. With some Advil in me, I was able to move along fairly well that night. I even managed a burst of energy to catch the parking lot shuttle bus.

By 10 pm that night, the soreness in my quads really started getting ugly. Comicly ugly. As I kneeled down to grab something out of the closet, I realized I was too sore to get up. It hurt too much to stand up, and there was nothing to grab on to to help me. So I literally shuffled on my knees across the room to the couch, and with some effort finally pulled myself upright. Now I know what it feels like to be an invalid.

The soreness was worse the next day as my coworkers laughed. I usually fly down the hall, but I was walking like a 97 year old man. Advil in moderation helped me, but I didn't overdo it - I limited my intake to 2 or 3 a day.

I did walk a mile on Monday morning and a few miles this morning to get the blood flowing. By Thursday I'm hoping I'll be able to do some light jogging.

A visitor to this site asked me what I thought caused the trashing of my quads (and by the way, every other part of my body feels just fine...hamstrings, calves, knees, arms, etc.). Here are my thoughts on the matter:

  1. First and foremost, I didn't do any downhill specific training, name downhill running on a paved surface, for this marathon. I do run on plenty of hills, but nothing anywhere near as significant (2000+ foot drop) to the Tucson course. Why? Well for starters, I only decided to run the race 2 weeks ago.
  2. My base mileage was quite low. It had been nearly 3 months since I ran as much as 50 miles in one week. This is more than most casual runners run, but to run a sub 3 hour marathon, most people need 50+ miles a week in running or possibly a lot of aerobic cross training.
  3. Though I felt pretty good only 2 weeks after the Malibu Marathon, I probably never FULLY recovered. But additionally, I spent 2 weeks recovering from Malibu and then had only 2 weeks left to train for Tucson. Those final 2 weeks are usually relegated to tapering, not training. So basically I was attempting to fool my body into a sub 3 performance...but there's no fooling this old body!
  4. Admittedly while I felt I was holding back the first half of the race, I didn't hold back enough. My half marathon split was 1:27, nearly 3 minutes faster than an even 3 hour pace. My average split was 6:39 but only should have been running at a 6:52 pace. I felt good and fine, but that pace on that course obviously was not sustainable for me.
  5. I wore my 5K racing flats because I discovered that my longer distance racing shoes were too small for me. That might have contributed to the hammering of my quads, though the alternative was to run in my training shoes, which I didn't want to do.

It is easy to point out your mistakes...but much more challenging to DO SOMETHING about them. The main thing I need to do to run a FAST marathon is...STOP WRITING and START RUNNING. I think I'll do that. But first, I'm going to bed. :>