National Marathon 2011 Race Report

Goal heading into the National Marathon was sub 3:20. Missed it by 2 minutes. A result which may have been based on my cramping early on in the race. I began to cramp at about mile 6 in both calves. This I need to examine further. Possibilities: compression socks, lower volume than may be warranted, pacing, nutrition, shoes??? By any means this all comes with experience. This year marks my third year of active racing. I am very thankful for my achievement thus far.

Race start weather was 34 degrees felt like 28 with the 8mph wind chill. This may sound cold, but made for perfect running conditions. The National Marathon activities are all done in the DC Armory: expo, race start assembly, bag drop off and pick up, pasta dinner. This is a definite advantage over other races where you have to deal with the outdoor chill. Having us indoors waiting for the start was awesome. I grooved to the DJs music while doing a bit of race visualization.

Race start was at 7am. The DC metro was only opened an hour early 6:00am for the race, so we decided to take a cab instead. (It will be opened at 5am for the Cherry Blossom next weekend)

Based on my splits I may be leaning towards my pacing being a result of my cramps. My splits were faster than my goal pace though I felt great up to mile 6. This mistake almost caused me to DNF or opt for the half marathon finish because once the cramps started they continued throughout the race.

My nutrition definitely helped ease the cramp somewhat. I took my salt tablets at approx 30 minute intervals. Also took fluid at every aid station. I took a total of 3 gels. I thought my nutrition was perfect!

I choose to go with the Newton Distancia as my race shoe due to the cold. My Kinvaras tend to get much colder due to its lighter weight so running in them would call for 2 pairs of socks which may have lead to blistering. I was quite happy with the Newtons performance today.I started using them in January. I am beginning to see the pros and cons of this shoe. When fatigue sets in you really have to pay attention to form and stride. It works great as recommended if you keep your strides short and fast.

The National Marathon course is not hilly by any means, but when you’re cramping up any bump or incline could feel like K2.

At mile 24 or so I passed a runner and had to acknowledge him. On the course I had to stop for a “quick” pee at the porta potty. It probably felt like an eternity. I made it imperative that I keep a tail on a runner who was running about my pace or better to make up for lost time at the porta potty. I trailed him for the entire time until about mile 24. Did the pass and said my sincere thank you! He may have think for what? I did try to explain.

Mile 25 a new burst of adrenaline, high, whatever came over me. May have been when I glanced at my watch and I saw 3:11:xx. Immediately I thought I may still get my sub 3:20 if I pick up the pace. I pressed the pedal down at that instant – pain just a thought – a glitch – and off I went at a 10K pace. This last 1.2 miles felt like it would never end. A complain shared by many including the course pacers. A pacer told me it may be that the 25 mile marker was a bit “too short”. Oh well! So much for trying. Either way I am very content with this finish given my struggle.

As per mile markers, they were not visible in most places on the course. An issue the event organizers need to address for next year’s race. With so many underpasses – lost of satellite issues for GPS watches. You have no sense of pacing.

Otherwise great race, thank you’s to the volunteers as always and the people of DC. Oh and by the way Anh BQ’d today. Incredible job babe! More drinks and celebrations to come.

Finish Time: 3:22:12 7:43/mile
311 overall out of 2867 finishers
5 minutes PR from my last marathon. Chicago Marathon October 10th 2010 3:27:27



  1. Great race report! Your nutrition sounded perfect. Seems a bit strange that your cramping would happen so early on. Has that happened at all with any training runs? Nevertheless, you are speedy! Nice job and big congrats to Anh. She is a Blazin’ Asian πŸ™‚

    • Thanks. The cramping may have happened on some long runs but not as early and severe. This is one of those things I just have to play close attention to on longer tougher runs I guess. I am so proud of her. She definitely gave herself an early birthday gift today πŸ™‚

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