Final Gansett reflections

Three rest days later, I’m going to discuss what I think went wrong at Gansett last Saturday. And then I’ll shut up about it and move on.

First, though, I have to say that I’m not crying a river of tears about this race. For all of my disappointment, it was my second-fastest marathon. And if it had been a half, I certainly could have gone under 1:40 and would have had a good shot at beating my best grown-up time, which was a 1:38 at Shamrock last year.

But of course, it wasn’t a half. And the fact remains that I failed to achieve what should have been an attainable time goal of 3:35. Why not?

Not enough training miles. Plain and simple. Frustrating…this should be such an easy fix (why didn’t I just run more?) but of course that’s easier said than done. But I’m a firm believer now in relatively high mileage training (for me, 60-70 MPW). That’s the only thing I did differently from every other marathon I’ve run when I was training for CIM last fall, and I got a much better result out of it.

It’s funny: I’ve been racing and running marathons for so many years and I still have a lot to learn about what works and doesn’t work for me. I seem to have decent leg speed regardless of my training, which allows me to knock out pretty good speed workouts and 5Ks, but endurance is something I really have to work for. And those fast workouts and shorter races give me a false sense of confidence about my own fitness; being able to crank out 400s on the track isn’t going to help me much at mile 20 of a marathon. More mileage, please.

Weight gain. God damn you, beer.

Seriously, though, while I know I’m not overweight, I have gained a couple of pounds this spring and I do think it makes a difference in my racing. Even though I just ran a (fairly respectable, by most people’s standards) marathon, I feel soft and round. Like a big, fluffy pancake. With butter and syrup. Mmmm…

FOCUS, SHELBY. Before my next marathon (which won’t be until 2013), I should definitely pay a little more attention to what’s going on with my diet.

Weather. I’m not going to complain too much about this because I heard some other people did this other marathon recently where it was, to put it mildly, MUCH hotter. But it was warm and sunny (I heard mid-70s at the finish) in Narragansett on Saturday morning, and most of the course ran along exposed roads with no shade. Obviously it wasn’t the inferno that Boston was, but nonetheless, it wasn’t ideal.

Poor race strategy/going out too fast/crashing and burning/etc. You know what? I’m not getting too upset with myself about this one. So I went out at 3:25 pace and couldn’t bring it home. You never know unless you try.

And on that note, let’s talk about the things that went right.

Small races are great. Gansett is an extremely well-organized, friendly, and fun race. There were no hassles whatsoever; I could see the start line from our hotel window when I got out of bed an hour before the (metaphorical, as it turns out, as there wasn’t one) gun went off. No dealing with parking issues or corrals or port-o-potty lines. Smooth as butter. (On pancakes…?)

No agony of da feet. I don’t think I even thought about my feet during this race, which is probably a first. My Brooks PureFlows were light and comfy and gave me zero issues.

I’m not sore. At all. Kind of weird. Maybe it was all of those walk breaks in the later miles…

I’m still taking this week completely off of running (I need the break mentally, more than anything) and then thinking about mixing up my workout routine a little for the summer. More on that later!

Final taper week details:

And OMG! I almost forgot about the OMG contest. I counted 20 correct entries. says lucky #13 is the winner, and that is Lori! Hooray for random giveaways that I write up while day-drinking. I’ll email you, Lori!

15 responses to “Final Gansett reflections

  1. well, first of all, I think you did great, especially considering the major life upheaval that happened while you were training! I laughed about the buzzards though. That’s ALWAYS my thought when I’m out in the sun getting tired.

    So, I also have the speed but not necessarily the endurance for the marathon, and since I’ve been very cautious about mileage what has helped me the most so far is to move away from the fast track workouts and long slow runs model and do a higher percentage of work closer to marathon pace as the race approaches. In my last big month of training, aside from strides, I only did maybe 3 miles total worth of running at 5K pace or faster, but in any given week I’d have a good 5-15 miles in the HM-marathon pace range. I know everyone’s different, but food for thought! (Of course, I also would probably have been screwed in 70-plus degrees, full sun.)

    Can’t wait to hear how you mix it up this summer!

    • I think you’re absolutely right. Some long runs with a few miles at GMP would have been really helpful, and tempo runs? I think I did like one tempo this spring. It’s the old “keep the goal the goal” principle, right? If you want to run a strong marathon, get used to long grinding efforts, not track sprints.

      Next time…

  2. Whoa it was 70s at the finish! UGH. I thought it felt warm. I could feel the sun zapping my energy nevertheless…

    I really want to try those pure flows!! I think I will go buy some :)

    I think racing a marathon three weeks before might have negatively impacted me a bit, although I actually felt stronger overall? SO many variables, so complicated. You are right though..the more you do, the more you learn about what works for you! I have sketchy ideas about trying to race another one soon, but I should probably just, you know, train…

    • That is what I overheard someone say. It was definitely warm, although I think the breeze helped (when it wasn’t a headwind, anyway…)

      You’re nuts with your back to back races. I’m not even thinking about another marathon until 2013!

  3. HOLYSHIT I WON?!?!?! I never win! Yippeeeeeee!

    I don’t have the Pure Flows but I do have the Pure Cadences and love them a whole hell of a lot. Hopefully they love me back and help me run a sub 1:50 half this weekend…

  4. I suppose 70s isn’t as hot as “some other marathon” was, but that would still take its toll on me! I was sweating bullets on a run in 60 degrees last weekend. (Lucky for me it’s still in the 50’s a lot here right now.)

    I think you’ve got some good, honest reflections. Maybe not a perfect marathon, but you still ran a strong (and fast) marathon in my book. Hope you enjoy whatever training variety you’ve got in mind for the summer! Are you thinking Boston in 2013??

  5. I think there’s a lot to be said about how well you did with a massive MOVE in the middle of training. Sure, you were able to fit it in, but stress definitely does a number on someone. You did well fighting it…

  6. OMG! Shelby! Nooooooo! I thought I was going to have you on the “less is more” side regarding logging miles! Crap. I did a grand total of ONE week at 50 or above in training for Boston. And, granted, Boston did not go swimmingly for me. But it didn’t go swimmingly for most folks, from what I can tell. I am going to try to stick to my low-miles, but I am SUPER GLAD to hear that PureFlows are cool on long runs! I had my half PR in March in Green Silence and have never done more than 5-6 miles in PureFlow or PureCadence but I looooooove them. So, when my insane soreness chills out, I will give them a go!

    • Well different things work better for different people, I’m just going off of my own (somewhat limited) experience. I’ve done ten marathons off of mileage in the 40s and run in the 3:40s and 3:50s during all of them…and crashed around mile 18. I’ve done one marathon where I ramped my weekly mileage up to the 60s and ran 20 minutes faster and didn’t really crash at all.

      But I’m definitely keeping my mileage lower for the rest of the year. Lower miles, higher quality! I want to run a fast 5K/10K/half this fall.

      See you out at the track in a couple of weeks?

  7. I have the same trouble with short/fast stuff vs marathons. My 5K times tend to stay pretty respectable (though not AMAZING) even when I’m not really training, and I let it lull me into a false sense of security. I really have to just do LOTS of miles to translate speed into endurance/strength (and, as it turns out, I’m not very good at that….:P ).

    Still, you should be proud of the race you had in that (relative) heat!

  8. It really is so different from one person to another. Some people try to run high mileage and injure themselves it’s really what works for you. I feel stronger on high mileage , but I’m not sure how that’ll translate to the marathon. Training is a learning process. Good luck on your future races!

  9. 70s and sunny would destroy me at the end of a marathon. Good race. Definitely plenty of fitness to take into your next cycle.

    Hope ATL is treating you well.

  10. Don’t forget you’ve been in the middle of a move and that’s stressful enough without adding marathon training on top of it. It sounds like you know where to make changes though so rock on my friend!

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