Monday, October 24, 2011

2011 Chuncheon Marathon

I ended up with seven predictions for my marathon, five on this blog, one from Twitter and one emailed by my loyal friend and sometimes editor The Seadog. Most people were optimistic and thought I'd run between 3:29 and 3:38, but The Seadog knew better. Getting into the race, I thought that about a 3:25 would have been a perfect day, and 3:30 a very good day.

I started conservatively and let the pace fall where it did, which was 26:30 at 5k. I found my legs at that point and picked up the pace to 51:11 (24:41 5k), which was right where I wanted to be. I was 90 seconds behind on a 3:30 goal (25-minute 5ks) and I thought taking 10-12 seconds off every 5k was the way to do it. I hit 15k in 75:35, so I was doing really well.

Unfortunately, time spent looking for and going to a bathroom knocked me off that rhythm, and I didn't hit 20k until 1:47, halfway in 1:52. I was back on pace to hit 25k in 2:12, but the pace wasn't nearly as relaxed as it should have been. With a margin of error at around zero, all it took were the hills at 27k to finish me off. I reached 30k in 2:42 and that was that. I wasn't too concerned with a second-rate time becoming a third-rate time, and the course was still beautiful (the last 8-10k are not breathtaking like the first 30-32)

It was really tough from 32k to 36k because the pain in my quads kept me from jogging, even. I was able to get back on a relaxed albeit slow pace, which meant passing about a thousand of the thousands of people who had been passing me for an hour now. I finished in 4:04, which means that the Seadog wins the prediction contest with the 3:42 (slowest of all predictions) for never believing in me, and rightfully so.

The Seadog wrote, quite prophetically:

"I think you'll have a strong first half, but halfway through you'll start regretting not filling your pockets with Gu and Sport Beans. You'll try to power through, but ultimately, your electrolyte balance will be thrown off just enough to cause you to waver (at 31K)."

Chuncheon has usually gotten better reviews than the Seoul International Marathon as the best race in Korea. I can agree with that, having run it. The course is very beautiful. The race is one loop around the North Han River, with half of it along a narrow country road, the river on one side and high colourful cliffs on the other. The big hill leading to the dam at 27-28k is tough, but the view of the river and the hills around Chuncheon is breathtaking. It is, of course, very well-organized and doesn't quite give off the impression of being a race for 20,000 people in a small city.


Jennifer said...

Good summary of what happened, although I would have liked to see an honest assessment of why. ;)

Alex said...

I'm so proud of you! Way to finish, Adeel! You're a champion.