So the plan after Cleveland was to relax for a bit, reset my training cycle and start adding in some speed work. That was the plan. That plan has since been shredded, burned, swept up, and tossed in the trash, for what, albeit even I would call crazy. The Thursday following CLE I had yet to run a single mile since my pacing fail, but early that morning I was presented with an opportunity to run another marathon... that upcoming Saturday! In defense of the case for my sanity, when I agreed to run, I thought I would be running a 1/2. Argument for the prosecution shows that even after I found out it was the full marathon, I still agreed to run. I mean c'mon, who could turn down a free race, with forcasted near perfect weather, a flat, out and back course with some gorgeous scenery? That's what I thought, and I didn't even tell you about the AFTER PARTY! Another argument to defend my sanity. I figured I had better get a short 5 miles in Thursday night just to make sure my legs still worked. I have a strange affinity for even numbers that occur by chance in my run details so imagine my excitement when I stopped my watch and looked at it to find this set of stats:
|Just look at all those pretty zeros!|
5AM came quickly and I devoured my french toast bagel from Panera (I think I plug that place enough to warrant a sponsorship any day now!) a banana, and started to hydrate. I was going into the race with hopes of redemption, thoughts of PR's and a goal of just finishing sans puke face! As forcasted the weather was perfect. Overcast skies, mid to low 50's at the start and I don't think it even hit 70 while I was running. Like I said. Perfect. The course was also just as advertised; beautiful. The lake was on my right on the way out, and mansions on my left.
This time I was going be sure to even out my water and electrolyte consumption so I didn't run into the same problem as CLE. I also adjusted my GU schedule to every 5 miles. I took it fairly easy for the first half, just trying to feel myself out (not as creepy as it sounds) and see how my body would react to running long again so soon. The last stretch before the turn around was probably the steepest hill on the course, naturally, but when I made the turn I felt energized! That is to say, I felt great and carried the speed I accrued on the downhill for the next few miles. My first half was 1:39:00.3... I know. Damn. So close to a perfect 1:39! haha anyway moving on from my apparent OCD. That was an average pace of 7:33 which if kept up would have given me a PR by 7 minutes. That thought wasn't going through my head though. Going through my head was seeing how hard I could push myself the second half and still hang on to the finish.
About a 1 mile after the turn I passed my buddy Brett who was still on his way out and he shouted that our friend Leslie was just up ahead of me. Good I now had a foreseeable goal. Catch Leslie and try like hell to hang on with her to the finish. It took me a couple of miles but before 18 I had finally caught her. An ironicaly similar situation to the Chicago Marathon last fall only it was me catching her this time. I asked her how she was doing, because after enough long runs together over the past year I could tell she seemed pretty worn. She confirmed my apprasial with a grunt. I asked her if she needed anything. Another grunt with a no attached. She also said I was looking good and to keep going. She probably just wanted me to stop asking questions! I was feeling good though so I carried on my merry way. I had been pushing at or below 7 minute miles for the most part since the turn.
|It looks as though I'm pushing an imaginary lawn mower...|
At mile 21 I passed our group of EPIC spectators to the welcome sounds of hoots and hollars. I love when I see my friends out on the course and the race is going well. It always gives me a boost of adrenaline and radiates through my body and propels me along! It would have been nice if that adrenaline had lasted all the way to the finish, but by mile 24 I was beginning to tire and could feel myself falling into a slow and haggard pace. Then I saw him as he began to pass me. The guy in vibrams. Suddenly I felt renewed vigor and my hatred of these foolish footies propelled me back down to a mid to low 7 minute pace, but it wouldn't last. Lucky for me part way into the last mile I saw Rob, the manager of the local running store walking back out onto the course (he had run the 1/2 marathon). Rob turned and began to run with me, and spoke words of encouragement, and helped me pick my pace back up. "Just keep pickin em' up and puttin em' down" Rob's mantra coupled with pointing out someone and saying "let's get that guy, or catch this lady" all the while gradually picking up the pace and before I knew it I felt like I was flying to the finish. As I neared the track where the finish line was a scant 150 yards away, Rob shouted a final message of encouragement and peeled off. There I was churning out my fastest pace of the day on seemingly the last bit of energy left. 100 yds. Closer and closer. Pick em up, put em down. 75 yds. pick em up, put em down. 50 yds. 25 yds......10 ft......New PR, by 14 minutes! IF ONLY IT WERE IN MY OWN NAME! AHHHH hahaha. No worries, I knew there would be another chance to PR as myself and not someone else.
My second half split was 1:35:06. I will say this much, negative splits for a marathon is definitely working well for me. I just need to figure out how slow to start and how fast I can finish.
3:13:24. A time that less than a week ago I would have been the first to tell you that I could not run. Cleveland left me feeling bitter about marathon running. Just like GR in 09' and again like Chicago in 11'. I got my redemption for Chicago a month later in Indianapolis with a 3:27. Thankfully I left my feelings of anger with 26.2 on the course in CLE and instead turned them into fuel that would, along with the help of amazing friends and family, give me the drive and determination to once again conquer the beast that seems to beat me every other race.
At least it did......