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I was following the pack all swallowed in their coats

August 25, 2009

It’s been a couple of days since the race and my legs are coming around. I walked quite a bit the last couple of days as I did some cheering for Tara in the marathon on Sunday and then some sightseeing yesterday in Dresden. Walking and recreational biking will be my only exercise for the next two weeks. It’s nice being able to take a proper rest after this marathon.

CanadianMenMarathon-WC09

The race lined up right by the Brandenburg gate, I didn’t bother trying to get up front of the three deep starting line as I knew I was going to pace myself conservatively. The atmosphere was quite amazing as there were big grandstands, a ton of spectators and big screens. The gun went off and the race got going pretty quickly right off the bat. I felt I was running quicker than my planned 3:10-3:11/km (under cooler conditions I would have attempted 3:09/km).

In the first couple of minutes I wanted to slow up a bit but when I looked behind me there were only a few stragglers so I kept up enough to stay with some bodies. I hit the first km in 3:04 and felt good but knew I had to get into my pace soon. I felt that others would now realize they were running too fast and slow down a bit. I hit 3:10/km for the 2nd km. Soon after that Dylan, Andrew, Giitah and myself were now in a fairly big pack. The pack consisted of three Aussies, three Russians, one American, three Germans, one Kiwi and a few more.

We passed 5km in 15:46 and I was in 75th (not much further ahead than my 85th ranking). We finished the first 10km loop in 31:34. At 15km we were 47:32 and then at the end of the second loop (20km) we hit 1:03:30. Throughout that whole time the pack stayed intact with two Russians doing the majority of the leading. Other than not getting my first bottle at 5km I got all my other bottles, picked up other aid station drinks and used wet sponges to cool myself off.

Berlin1stlap

Towards the halfway mark Dylan started to push the pace a little and started to gap the pack of 15 men. I hit halfway in 1:07:03 and stayed in the pack as Dylan moved ahead. I wasn’t planning on making any move until 30km. I timed the next km in 3:12 and decided to forge ahead to Dylan and try to stay on 3:10-3:11’s for as long as possible. I used a little downhill to start my move and ran the next km in 3:07 to catch up to Dylan. It was just the two of us now and we hit 25km in 1:19:23, 20 seconds up on the pack we had been running with.

marathonPACK

Dylan did more leading than myself for the next 5km and he even had a little gap on me for a bit. We hit 30km in 1:35:29 and by 32km I was doing more of the leading and I was also starting to hurt. The hot weather and strong sun was taking its toll and my legs were also starting to feel the pain. By 35km Dylan was a few seconds back when I split 1:52:03. Dylan and I had passed quite a few runners, some just standing on the side of the course. Right before the 40km mark I went to pick up my bottle and noticed that all four Canadian bottles were touching each other. I knew if I went to grab mine from the side I’d knock down other bottles. So I tried to pick it up from the top and it slipped to the ground (bottle drop!). I stopped, retracted a couple steps, bent down and picked it up. Not surprisingly it took me a little while to get back up to speed at that point in the race.

I hit 40km in 2:09:10 sitting in 27th place and knew the last 2.2km was going to be a challenge to keep an honest pace. I passed three guys but Dan Browne from the US eneded up passing me in the last 150m and beat me by 5 seconds (bottle drop!) and I finished up in 25th. Three guys from our pack (Dent, Pollmacher and a Russian) ended up passing me in the last 10km of the race.

I’m happy with my 25th place although my time of 2:16:53 doesn’t really do anything for me. I wondered afterwards what would of happened if I stayed put in the pack for a few more km’s and paced myself with Dent or Pollmacher. I don’t think my move was too detrimental, except for the one km to catch up to Dylan I didn’t run anything under 3:11/km, so nothing crazy. Running with that pack and not injecting the 3:07 would of been smarter. Seeing as this was my second marathon and my first championship marathon I’m still learning.  The overall experience was awesome as the crowds were very supportive and I got to line up against the best marathoners in the world.  Now I have to close that gap between me and top guys.

My 5km splits:
15:45
15:48 (31:33)
15:58 (47:32)
15:58 (1:03:30)
15:53 (1:19:23)
16:05 (1:35:29)
16:34 (1:52:03)
17:06 (2:09:10) (bottle drop!)
7:43 for 2.195km

We beat the Americans and Mexicans in the World Cup competition and finished 11th overall. We were only 5 seconds off of France (bottle drop!). If you’re asking why on earth did I bother picking up that bottle, it’s because I was afraid of my muscles cramping by dehydration and not having any electrolytes in the system. It’s never happened to me but I’ve heard from others that it can be deadly…

I don’t plan on ever running two marathons in 90 days again. I know with a longer build-up and more time on my legs I will be able to run a good marathon one day. That day will probably not happen for at least another 12 months. The plan for the fall is to get back into 10km XC shape and then next year I will focus on the 10 000m during the track season. I see 2011 and 2012 being marathon focus years.

The marathon coverage can be viewed here http://mzungofire.blogspot.com/2009/08/marathon-men-final-berlin-iaaf-2009.html  Once I get home I’ll probably watch the whole thing…

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2 Comments
  1. Dwn permalink
    August 25, 2009 3:17 pm

    fleet foxes. well played.

    Thanks for the recap. Probably a good idea not to risk finding out what leaving that bottle behind would’ve meant. Great race dude. Looking forward to watching you in the next one.

  2. Skuj permalink
    August 26, 2009 10:51 am

    Awesome report and pics, Man. Thanks.

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