Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The First Marathon - A learning experience (10/17/10)

Race - Bay State Marathon
Location - Lowell, MA
Goal Time - 3:45:00
Actual Time - 3:45:42

The last mile -

I was walking for the fourth time probably. I felt I reached the limit of what I could do. In my mind I was thinking of just quitting. I didn't feel I could do anything. But two things stopped me from quitting.

1. What the hell was I going to do when I quit - Walk the rest of the way? I don't require an ambulance. If I'm going to walk, I might as well do it on the course.

2. I got to the "1 mile to go" sign. There was a couple - probably in their late teens standing there. The guy looked me in the eye - "c'mon 339 (my number), One mile to go. You can run one mile!"

I looked at my watch - right at 3 hours 35 minutes. If I ran the rest of the way, I could break 3:45:00. So, I turned my hat around backwards (because then a switch goes on and I feel "like a truck") and I went Over the Top.

While I immediately realized that I was never going to run this last mile in less than 10 minutes, I did know I could "run a mile." (Maybe it was because of the hat?). I put everything I ad left into it. At 26 miles (0.2 to go) I knew I had it. There was a quick right turn into the baseball stadium and then a lap around the warning track. As I went down the right field line, I could see the finish line and was ready to sprint - only to realize that before that I had to run over the pitcher's mound and plate in the bullpen (really?).

But I crossed the finish line at 3:45:42. 42 seconds slower than my goal, but I finished (and had run the entire last mile)!

The first 13.1 Miles -

At 10K - I had run my fastest 10k - 44:35

At Half Marathon - I had run my fastest ever half marathon - 1:35:30

Never running a marathon and never running a "long race" that had a reasonably flat profile, I didn't know how fast I would actually run. If one multiplied my fastest half marathon by 2, it would be 3:18:00 minutes. So, like a genius, I decided that maybe I could keep up with the people running a 3:10:00 for a while. Well, I did! For half of the race.

13.1 miles - 30K -

At the Nahant 30K, I ran a quick 13 miles (around 1:40:00) and then "hung on" in the last 5.6 miles to finish at 2:26:26.

Well, this was quite similar! I ran a quick half marathon and then "hung on" in the last 5.6 miles to pass the 30K marker at 2:23 or so. Unfortunately, I then had another 7.5 miles to run!

It was at the 30K marker that the wheels came off!

30K - 25.2 miles -

Every step from 30K on was a fight. I alternated between jogging and walking and stretching out my hamstring. Somewhere in the 24 mile range, a spectator gave me the worst look - as if she felt sorry for me. Eventually I got to one mile to go and pulled my Over the Top impersonation.

Once I had finished and was laying in Center Left of the Spinners' field, I discussed my implosion.

He simply asked: "Is it your first marathon?"


"That's how mine was. It's a learning experience."

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