Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Anatomy of a Positive Split

Bear with me as I exercise my instinctual geek love of numbers. If I could find a way to bathe in a percolating hot tub of statistics, I would do so. The more numbers to the right of the decimal, the better (and I find the numbers in the hundredths position really cleanse the under carriage). I look at statistics these days the same way I used to look at the Farrah Fawcett poster on the back of my bedroom door.*

I’ve spent a few posts recently outlining my marathon strategy because (a) I knew you were dying to read about it and (b) it was a convenient way to mock Vanilla and Viper and their ridiculous negative split strategy and (c) there wasn’t a better way to reference the Revolutionary War ass whooping Washington laid on lethargic, overconfident General Cornwallis. And who doesn’t like a Cornwallis reference with their morning coffee?

When reviewing my Detroit Marathon splits, you can see a well developed positive split in full effect. This positive split is so well developed that it might as well be called the Nitmos Split. If that wasn’t obvious enough, what I’m saying is that I’m well developed. The War of Posts against stubborn General “Cramp” Cornwallis becomes obvious in those post 20 miles.

My Garmin could not get a satellite signal before the race. I didn’t fight it too hard as I figured it would probably lose signal in the underwater tunnel anyhow. So, I hit the lap button at most mile markers. Those markers I missed are averaged across the mile splits and shown in italics.

Behold a steadily declining pace:


1 6:53
2 6:53
3 7:03
4 7:48 (Ambassador Bridge going up)
5 6:41 (Ambassador Bridge going down)
6 6:48
7 7:12
8 7:12
9 7:12 (somewhere in here the tunnel down/up happened)
10 7:12
11 7:04
12 7:06
13 7:10
14 7:13
15 7:13
16 7:16
17 7:23
18 7:17
19 7:21
20 7:41 (First signs of a twitchy calf and reactionary easing of pace)
21 7:34
22 7:39
23 7:40 (Notice how I’m bleeding seconds every mile since 21??)
24 7:52
25 8:10
26 8:13 (Miles 21-26 = War of Posts and the defeat of the marathon!)
.22 1:44

This is one steady decline in pace. If charted, it would go up from start to finish almost in a straight line except for a flat part in the middle.

You might think this was a long way to go to compare myself to George Washington again. It’s true I am a lot like George Washington but considerably more developed (remember previous discussion above?) Besides the obvious though, you can see that, once again, I chose to completely ignore my pre-race strategy to run easy for the first 5 miles in the 7:20 range, pick it up to 7:10 miles until about the 16 mile mark and then settle back into a 7:20 to 7:30 range from there on out and as long as I could. Basically, this rabid cheetah took off all hopped up on high energy adrenaline and completely ignored the carefully considered race plan.

Those two 8 minute miles really stick in my crawl. They cost me my PR and, really, I felt pretty good coming down the home stretch to post those numbers. I think I coasted in not wanting to blow the race out due to recurring nightmares of knotted legs and staggering to finish in my recent past. I blame Cornwallis and the British if you want to know the truth.

So, there you go, if you don’t have enough numbers from your own Garmin to ogle…to love…and caress…and, well, whatever your fancy, feel free to make sweet analysis on my numbers. I’ve been soaking in this statistical bath for a few days now. I’m going to try to ween off of it by reading a baseball almanac over the weekend.

Happy trails.

* I always thought nerdy Kate Jackson was the cute one but they never made posters of her.

So that you know, the Parents defeated the Kids in the annual grudge/soccer match 6-5. My colt had 2 goals despite my best efforts to slide tackle into his ankles. This was the first running I did since the marathon and it was painful. Yes, of course, I also scored 2 goals (thankyouverymuch) but, since the format of the game was a Parent would play goal for the Kids team and vice versa, I ended up letting in the winning Parent goal. So, shame on me. The full box score is as follows:

Parents 6
Kids 5
Broken Tibias 0
Parents with Pulled Hamstrings 2

My filly also played on the side of the Parents team. I didn’t think she would be allowed to play so she showed up wearing sparkly gray slipper shoes. With every kick, a sparkly gray shoe flew into the air. She might have had difficulty running around the field but, with just a few clicks of the ankle, she could have transported to Kansas on a moments notice!


Marcy said...

So does this mean you have wood teef too? (Actually I think they figured out recently that Washington's teefer's weren't actually wood)

Xenia said...

I have a feeling that whether I start out too fast or with a medium steady pace, I'm still going to have some pretty dreadful increase in splits times. I'm even making a concerted effort in my runs for the last few weeks to finish strong in the last few miles, but I don't think it's going to amount to jack come race day.

Btw, I simply adore your filly. She's my new hero.

Vanilla said...

Admit it. You totally "made sweet analysis" all over your Farrah Fawcett poster.

tfh said...

Did you know it's Kate Jackson's sixtieth birthday today? Speaking of numbers, it's always slightly alarming to see one's teenage dreamboats get up there.

Nice job handicapping the filly just in case she would be called into the kids' team at the last minute...too bad it backfired on you. Ah, well, doesn't sound like it stopped her!

AKA Alice said...

What good is a pre-race strategy if you can't completely ignore it?


Who doesn't play soccer in sparkly shoes...I thought it was mandatory.

Glaven Q. Heisenberg said...

Only two goals? Way to phone it in girl-Nitmos.

Is the trade deadline past? You might want to consider trading her for someone who is more productive. For her own good, of course. And yours.

You could end up with a filly who loves you, on average, at least 1.5 more goals per game. Plus, what does it say about your parenting skills if you don't trade up? What kind of sentimental, loser message are you sending her?

Glaven Q. Heisenberg said...

Oops. Just noticed it was the colt who scored only 2 goals.

But, after correcting for gender, I still stand by my advice. Plus, trading the colt will put the fear of god in the filly. Win-win.

Viper said...

I bet if you didn't have that useless Garmin lashed to your arm, you wouldn't have had those TERRIBLE 8-minute miles at the end.

*aron* said...

i love numbers :)

Marlene said...

You want to talk positive split? I ran the first half of my marathon in 2:10 and the second half in 2:32. EEK! I blame you. Just kiddin!

Jess said...

Sounds like soccer was a good time. Nothing like analyzing some numbers to make me happy on my lunch break!

Chad in the Arizona Desert said...

I actually prefer a General Thomas Gage reference in the morning. I save the Cornwallis references for late in the day.

MCM Mama said...

Your numbers are so pretty. Mine look a bit more like a roller coaster. Up, down, up, down.

BTW, I thought of you in mile 21 of my marathon when my calf did the weird cramp and kick out to the side thing. I was like "oh, that's what he meant. Ouch!"

joyRuN said...

I'm looking at your numbers thinking I can come up with some ingenious statistical analysis. I got nothing.

Glad to hear everyone made it through with their tibia intact. Your prior post had me imagining a field of wee Nancy Kerrigans mewling "WHYYYYYYY?"

Big said...

you call this statistical analysis, this is nothing but a list of mile splits...I need the total average rate of slowdown, the average rate of slowdown before the calf tweak and the average rate of slowdown after the baby cows came to play. moreover, I fully expect 5K splits to be thoughtfully analyzed. lastly, I expect a comparison to previous marathon splits. now get to it!

Cindy said...

you're right to blame the brits. just look what they did to madonna.

Marathon Maritza said...

I have number envy.* I wish MY numbers looked as good as yours!

*sin reference, since we both seem to be on a roll.

Marci said...

I don't know how people pull negative splits, but I have never been able to. The first 20 miles were perfectly even but my last 6 miles were so dismal.

Ms. V. said...

You're heroic!

(it's craw...right?)(I like to put my grammar corrections right between two positive comments.)

Your numbers are phenomenal...

They are!

KimsRunning said...

This is NOT a post on the lust sin. I'm very disappointed, Nitmos.

Vava said...

How do you explain wooden teeth? Are they positive or negative? Or was Washington a grinder while running, and that's why he needed them replaced? I am so confused!!!

Blyfinn said...

Nice analysis. I think many members of the running community are currently practicing the positive splits during fall marathons.

Roisin said...

Since numbers a not my bag, I kinda just looked over your splits and thought to myself, "gosh that's fast".

The end.

Spartan7 said...

I continue to work towards a negitive split, and find myself geting more even. So working on negitive splits to even out my overall splits is my training stratagy.

I would slow down more in the begining if I wasn't trying to get in front of all the other nerf herders who are doing the exact same thing. I want to pass them now, not 2 hours from now.