Sunday, May 24, 2009

NCM 2009

I ran in the 35th Running of the National Capital Marathon (NCM) in Ottawa on Sunday May 24, 2009. Here is my recap of the day.

Preamble : This would be my 6th marathon and 4th NCM. Previous best was 3:08.58 two years ago. Last year didn’t go well at all, I ended up walking the last 12km. This year’s goal was to break 3hrs. Training leading up to the marathon had gone very well

Race Day:

Woke up to pouring rain! Weird the weatherman didn’t say anything about rain! As I drove in from Manotick I could see the sun breaking through over Ottawa, hopefully a sign of things to come. I parked at World Exchange and made my way over to Confederation Park. As I was stretching, Lioudmila Kortchaguina (the days 2nd place female came to the bench next to me for some stretching as well. I knew elite marathoners were “small” but I felt like I was standing next to my 5yr old son!

20min to go before the start and I was a bit nervous but everything went well during my warm up, 5min of running with drills, and I felt ready to go.

Right before the start they had an ex winner of the race (whose name escapes me, hey it was right before the marathon!) address the crowd, which I thought was a cool idea. The main piece of information I retained from his speech was “Race smart, race hard!”

At the start felt calm with everyone around, but there was no 3hr pace bunny (Rick Hellard where were you J), I guess I would be on my own for pacing!

National Anthem, starting gun and we are off!

1km 4:04 a little fast HR was a little high, but I made a decision before hand to ignore HR. 2km 4:01 oops still too fast, but that is to be expected with the adrenaline of the start and the downhill of Wellington.

The goal for the next 3km was to settle into race pace, which I did.

Through Hull (5-9km) I felt great and seemed to have found my “groove”. I was feeling very strong and kept reminding myself of that.

I hit the 10km mark at 42:09, right on track: my target goal was between 41-43min.

For 10-15km the goal was to start fueling up for the back half of the marathon. I was also mindful to keep on the fluid intake (because of the heat). My nutrition plan was simple (a gel before I started) two gels on the run, one at 15 and one at 30km, I also took a flask of maltodextrin mix of about 350cals it also had a couple of electrolyte capsules in there.

At the new section along the Rockcliffe parkway, I got an idea of the how the wind was going to be for the rest of the day.

Through New Edinbrugh, I had a couple of quick km’s but I was feeling great so I just put those into the “bank”.

Back to the halfway point at 1:28.50, on track for my goal!

Up next was 21-30km along Colonel By (this is really where I ran into to trouble last year), but I went through this section feeling strong all the way along Colonel By. We did seem to be running into a head wind, so I tried to tuck in behind the group I was running with but being 6’4” I can’t hide from the wind a well as the vertically challenged can J

30-35km: the plan was to pick up the pace if I was feeling good (which I was) so I did, but I made a decision to back of on the on the bridge. We were running straight into a strong head uphill, so that was a 4:41 km and looking back on it I think it took a bit out of me.

Once I made the turn onto Prince of Whales I was very happy because I felt like this was the home stretch with 7km to go. At the turn there was a water station and I was moving in to get a cup of Gatorade and water when in the hustle and bustle of the station someone cut in front of me. I had to shorten my stride so as not to trip up him (and myself), as soon as that awkward step happened I felt my hamstring tighten/cramp up. I didn’t panic I just decided to slow down (a lot) but I didn’t want to walk, I figured that would be worse. So the next couple of KM’s were well above the desired pace at 4:30per km, but I was still moving forward.

The downhill towards Dow’s Lake didn’t help the hamstring but I managed to make it down in one piece.  I tried to pick up the pace on the flats through 37,38,39km’s but never got back to the desired race pace. With this I thought that my sub 3hrs was gone but I wasn’t going to give up without a fight!

Went through the 40km at 2:51, quick math: I still had a shot at <3hrs, style="mso-spacerun:yes"> ahead of me. I made my “move” and pulled up to them.  I didn’t have much of a final kick left (I guess fighting the hamstring had taken a lot out of me over the last 5km) but I was giving it everything I had. With about 500m to go the hamstring acted up again and I had to throttle down. Crossed the line 3:00.53, so close!


Thoughts on my race:


Given the conditions (wind and heat) I am happy with my time, even if I didn’t break 3hrs, times seemed slower overall than last year.

I was very happy with my mental game, I never gave up and was able to focus pretty well.

I was also very happy with the way I fought through the hamstring problems.

I “Raced Smart”.


I think I made a bit of a mistake in not bringing more electrolytes with me (I hade some in my flask mixture) but I didn’t bring a back up batch for the rough spots.

I probably could have used another flask for  just 32-35km given the heat and conditions.



Neal said...

sounds awesome brosef
i'm proud of you!
how were you legs feeling the next day??hee hee
Sounds like you battle hard and stuck to your plan which must be so difficult given all the unknowns in a race.

Anonymous said...

Ewan, very impressed I am...especially with your planning and discipline which I expect is what is necessary to perform as well as you did. And you told the story well keeping the suspense to the end.

It is such a gruelling endurance test I'm sure. The fact you took 8 minutes off your previous best (if I read your blog correctly) is admirable. Congratulations. I feel confident you'll make it the next time.
Best wishes to all. Bill and Sue