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2005 Flying Pig Marathon Race Report May 7, 2005

Posted by shwaldman in Uncategorized.
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Ok, so here it is – my first marathon report. Cincinnati was to be my second first marathon – the first being what seemed like a lifetime ago – in 1998 MCM.

Having had a disappointing time in DC – I didn’t make any expectation adjustments when the temperature got to 80 degree and my sub 4-hour goal turned into a pure test of survival to get in before 4:30. With a lot of walking from 20 miles on, I survived that day, but knew the marathon had beat me. I was so disappointed, I didn’t run too seriously again for over a year.

So, in Janurary of this year, I made the decision to try again for a sub 4 hour marathon. I picked a training schedule, The Pig and with only a 5 mpw base, I got to work. Due to family and work constraints, the plan I choose called for 5 days a week (Mondays and Fridays off) and peaked at 55 mpw. I dusted off our treadmill and after our 8 month (now 12 month) old son went to bed and quickly got up to speed. It felt good to be focused on a particular goal again. I had run a couple of races here and there (even three dualthons) a couple of years ago, but this was the first time since ’98 that I had a plan.

And I stuck to the plan. I ran nearly every run the scheduled called for and until the first 17 miler, there were no mental setbacks. That day it snowed the whole time, accumulating about 6-8 inches during the course of my 3 hours out there. I came back soaked and unsure of myself. But I stayed focused and continued my progress. The next long run was another 17 two weeks later. The weather was much better, but the time was only slightly better. It was here, that I made the critical decision to stop eating on the run – gels, granola bars – it all just made me BLAH!

Two weeks later, I went for 20 and it only took a couple minutes longer than the 17 – now that was a breakthrough and I was back on track, physically and mentally. I did another 20 and then a 23, all feeling good. On the weeks in between these long runs, I did longish hill runs for 14-16 miles, just up and down a (4-5%) one mile stretch of road because I knew I had to be ready for some hills in Cincinnati.

Everything went well for 14 weeks. I read the forums nearly every day and picked up lots of good information. I felt both mentally and physically prepared going into the taper. I got the flu 10 days before the big day. As agonizing as those 24 hours were, I was happy that was all I had to deal with going from 5 to 55 in 16 weeks.

Then the weekend came… I drove down to Cincinnati on Saturday morning, picked up my wife at the airport who flew in from a work trip and headed to the expo. I was just trying to take it all in, but not make any mistakes. I had come too far to blow it now. I kept to the mindset that the work was done and it was now time to celebrate the 4 months of hard work.

Sunday morning came, the weather was marathon perfect as predicted and still everything was on track. I got started and tried to stay focused on not going out too fast – not dodging too many people. My times showed I was doing well with the former, but the GPS showed I was doing a lot of extra running. By Mile 5, I was already at mile 5.30. From that point, I tried to run the tangents and stay in line, which wasn’t too hard as we headed up through the Eden Park hills. I was prepared for this and felt good. On the way down, it felt real good and I put it in cruise control, but noticed my time was not on pace for sub 4. “Well,” I thought, “we are net downhill from here, I should be okay.” I tried to make up a little time here and there, but not remotely trying to pour it on. At the halfway point, was 2:03:51 Chip time, so I wasn’t far off, but it would have to pull the magical negative split.

After a quick pee break at the (aptly named) 13 mile porta-potty “oasis,” I settled into a good pace and found a couple attractive runners to stick behind… it worked for 3-4 miles, but as we got to Eastern, I lost a little focus and lost them. From that point, as much as we were supposed to be going downhill, it seemed to me that the road rose up to meet me – and not in a good way! The last 10K received quite a few damnations for the race director and anyone who had said “it’s all downhill from here!)”. Surprisingly enough, I caught up again with the “carrots” around mile 24 and finished 10 yeards behind one.

Final time: 4:06:05 (watch) and 4:06:04 (chip) and 4:08:22 (net) – I’ll take that extra second! Total GPS distance 26:55.

So, I ran a negative split, barely, but its gotta count for something, right?. 2:03:51 and 2:02:13 – maybe not, given the course. But given how much I felt like I was suffering the last miles (final 10K was 1:04 ish), I am a little surprised. But the first 10K was nearly the same (1:06:43 first 6.8). So, what was my error? I thought I was really on track for the sub-4 on this course, but I really ran out of gas and couldn’t give anything more at the end…. after hobbling back to the hotel room, I realized what my error was – I used my Camelbak which I used throughout training, but it was still half full. I didn’t take water or gatorage on the course (except on my head and down my pants!), so I literally RAN OUT OF GAS!

So, the sub-4 eluded me again, but not by much. I feel mostly satisified with my results, but now I have one more reason to try again – it’s still out there. I may be getting older, but this time I won’t wait another 6+ years. Two days after, I am already thinking about #3. That’s a good sign!

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