Article by Michael Ellenberger and Jeremy Marie
Race Reports! Michael runs 2:23 at Grandma’s, Jeremy goes half Ironman scoring a 1:23 half PR along the way in Vaporfly, recovers in OOFOS, and tests Craft Pro Endur.
2022 Grandma’s Marathon Race Report (2:23:27, 56th overall)
PC: Marathon Photo
I wrapped up my “spring season” (including 9 races over 14 weeks) with my first ever Grandma’s Marathon in Duluth, MN. I went up with my friend and old college teammate Garrett Patrick, who just earned both his MD and PhD at Johns Hopkins, and is in the blissful month before residency begins. Garrett is fast (something like 50:30 for 10 miles) but had never put together a comparable marathon, and given how hot-or-miss my training had been, we were both interested in a conservative start – aiming for a solid day, rather than a home run.
We registered pretty late, and were seeded in the “sub-elite,” rather than “elite” field – but we all started at the same time, so really a difference in name only. Garrett and I figured that we’d aim for 1:13:high for half, and try for a negative split – we knew the forecast looked good, so we thought 2:25 was possible, but preferred caution over self-destruction.
When the race started, we went out quicker than planned – putting miles in the 5:20s rather than 5:30s – but were literally in the last place amongst the elites running 2:24 pace! I’ve never had an experience like that. Fortunately, the first 15-18 miles were tons of fun; the views were terrific, it was fun to catch up and goof around (to the extent you can do so in a marathon) with Garrett, and the crowd support was great – plenty of funny signs and high-fives.
At about mile 16, I started developing a side stitch, which had really haunted me all season. Fortunately, with double-doctor Garrett beside me, I got some tips on opening my diaphragm, and even though it scared the hell out of me (I really didn’t want to be slowing down that early in the race), I was able to shake it. Between 19 and 20 miles, Garrett and I had mostly stopped talking (as had the other couple guys running in our pack), we had clearly begun passing runners who went out too aggressive (or were otherwise having bad days), and I just put my head down and started focusing in. Over the last 6.2 miles, I passed 17 runners, and was not passed by anyone – and, for the first time ever in my marathon experience, I felt as if I was racing and not just hanging on for dear life.
I ended up (in a major surprise, when I saw the clock) just missing a PR, and finishing in 2:23:27. Garrett put together a huge PR of 2:26:01, and similarly passed double-digit runners over the last 10K. We joked (though I think it’s true) that Garrett is now the fastest MD-PhD in the country… If you know of a faster one, let us know! We’ll arrange a race.
For me, the race was a big confidence boost in that my previous 2:23 marathon wasn’t a fluke, and (considering I didn’t run further than 18 miles in training), means I have some more time to gain, if I get a little more serious with mileage this summer.
I raced the New Balance RC Elite v2 (RTR Review), Garrett the Nike Vaporfly Next%. The RC Elite v2 is a really fun and bouncy shoe, but I don’t think it would necessarily be my preferred choice, all told, were I not on a New Balance-sponsored race team… but it goes without saying that it certainly did not hold me back in this effort! I did spy a few of the yet unreleased New Balance SC Elite 3 (RTR Preview Video) on the starting line, and would love to give those a whirl (alongside, of course, many, many Nikes).
I’ve always been hesitant of Grandma’s, insofar as Duluth is a small town welcoming thousands of runners, and logistics stress me out. Fortunately, the race is extremely well run and – especially if searching a fast time! – I’d love to return!
Half Ironman Race
At the end of May, during the Ascension holidays, I’ve finally was able to race my second Half-Ironman distance. Why “finally”? Well, I’ve got my bib for this race at the end of 2019, just before the big C-19 arrival! So it’s a two-years old bib…This was on the plan leading towards my first Ironman which was scheduled before I turned 40, so in June ’20…with the same success…
As we say, when life gives you lemon, make limoncello…so fast forward two years to 2022, it’s two years more of triathlon training in the bank, which is kind of a new discipline for me.
You can’t compete about swimsuit looks!
My fitness is good this season, and I had no pressure on the time (actually I never settle for time goals in races, it takes a part of the fun out for me…it’s too stressful…I just try to do my best with the day’s feelings)
(Left) Ready to transition
Long story short, it was the first race where I used the famous Nike Varpofly 4% (first version), probably 2 years later than every shoe reviewer! And as strong as the “natural” runner feeling in me can be…I’ve no other choice than to bow down in front of those shoes. They run.faster. I’ve figured this out during some training runs where I ran faster than perceived effort without even noticing it…It simply is astounding!
“Vapor” I don’t know, but “Fly” I can attest!
And they delivered the goods during the race after a fast 90kms bike leg, where I was running faster than 4’/km (my HM pace record – quite old….) in all smoothness.
I’ve ended up with the 7th AG time for the run leg (39th overall for the run leg), with a 3’58/km pace, shaving my HM PB to 1:23 and clearly appreciate the superiority of modern bouncy foams doubled with carbon plate…
Be it in the ease of maintaining a high pace, long term legs freshness…
This was a very nice experience, and the Vaporfly will be on my feet for my Ironman next week…hoping for an equally successful race!
I’ve received some recovery sandals from Ofoos. The brand is not well known in France, where Hoka and Salomon make up the main offerings in this niche market.
I personally have a pair of Salomon RX Break slippers, but they’re more of everyday, rigid and firm walking slippers than real recovery ones.
The Ofoos are incomparably more cushioned, soft, squishy and are a delight to wear with tired legs.
Despite the thick sole/midsole, they remain very flexible.
Craft PRO Endur Distance
My RTR colleagues have already written the English review of the Craft Pro Endur, and I’m finishing writing my French thoughts on this very nice trainer.
Craft CTM Ultra (RTR english review , RTR french review) was one of my favorite shoe of 2021, combining a barely there upper with a more minimal foot hold (I like that), deep dynamic cushioning that is far from being mellow, and a geometry that simply works with my stride.
The Endur Pro uses an all expanded beads TPE midsole called Px Foam with no plate or outer sidewalls of EVA. It’s on the firm side, but not harsh at all and is very energetic and protective.
The shoe is stable, adequate at different paces and it has a versatile traction. I have some tiny niggles with the fit but so far so good after about 70kms in them.
Note that as Sam described in his review, the PxFoam is made with a deep environment-friendly focus, which is something becoming more and more common for brands and I something I cannot encourage enough.
Those shoes are perfect for every kind of run, considering that you lean more towards a bit more firm ride than a soft one.
Tested samples were provided at no charge for review purposes. RoadTrail Run has affiliate partnerships and may earn commission on products purchased through affiliate links in this article. These partnerships do not influence our editorial content. The opinions herein are entirely the authors’
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