Training Motto: Four (hours) for Four
PERSONAL RECORD @ RICHMOND MARATHON
Official Time: 4:09:03
Marathoning: the triumph of desire over reasoning
Going into this race I was very scared. I was very undertrained for this race. With the injury to my hamstring, I had not started training when I had wanted to and thus did not get the high mileage in that I was hoping for. I was well under 100 miles of training under what I had done for the previous marathons. It was not until Gray (like the color) reminded me that it is better to be undertrained then to be overtrained. Point Taken!
Race day found it to be a little warmer than the year before, somewhere in the upper 30s. My “plan” was to walk the first minute of every mile, thus allowing me to have a strong finish for a PR time (under 4:15). Also, the course was slightly changed due to a change in hotel sponsorship, so now it would be a long downhill finish, but the course would be essentially the same. My goals were to 1) Not hit the wall until after mile 16 (where I had hit the wall the previous 2 marathons); 2) Have a PR time of under 4:15; 3) The Ultimate Goal – Under 4 hours!
I started off the race slow, my first 2 miles where averaging 10 min miles. I also shed my sweatshirt by mile 2. There was a sign for the the dad that was running his 24th Richmond Marathon (iow: he’s run ALL of them). At mile 4, I saw Jen P and Christiana and I was feeling pretty good, I was running about a 9:35 mile. Nothing exciting happened until Mile 8, when we saw a deer bolting in the opposite direction, alongside the river. At Mile 10, I surged up a steep hill that is not on the course elevation map, a surprise to unsuspecting runners. It felt good and it gave me a time to work my legs a little. At Mile 13.1 (Halfway) I estimated my time to be 4:20, which would not get me a PR, but would be better than my Myrtle Beach time. Not concerned about the estimated time, I thought if I could make it over the bridge, I would be doing pretty good and would be happy with the race.
I met Gray at Mile 15 just before the bridge. We ran across the Bridge where we saw Jen P, Christiana, Kat, John, Jo and Deanna! Thanks Guys! At mile 18, I told Gray, “This is the point where I am usually pissed off” but not today. I successfully ran past the bridge, past where I stopped to walk in previous years. I had pushed the wall back (which was Goal #1). The question now was “when will I hit the Wall?” I was still managing a good 9:35 pace. After the hill at mile 20, I started to think that possibly a PR time was evident. I was running strong, I had not hit the wall yet, and I was “feeling” good. I did decide that I would consume more Ultima at the water stations, not water, which was making me feel “heavy”. I had about 3 Ibuprofen at Mile 22. I figured that if I was going to make it, I would need some medication, so why not 3 and why not now? I still managed to keep the 9:35 pace going, what helped was that there were plenty of trees shading the runners from the morning sun. Gray told me that at Mile 24 he was going to wait for some of his runners that went through the RAC training program, that was fine with me. I was more into the groove and not really concentrating on talking, I was using Gray for motivation and for pacing (thanks Gray). Just before the Mile 24 water station, we came out into the full sun, which I was worried about the sun draining too much energy. Doing the math in my head on whether I could make a PR or not, I worried that the sun would drain to much out of me too soon and that I would not be able to keep the pace needed be under 4:15. At mile 25, it was just before the 4 hour mark and I figured out that I could do a 15 minute mile and still make the 4:15 mark. I ended up flying on the downhill finish, because I could not slowdown and cruised into the finish line at 4:09:03 (net). Thanks to Jen P for keeping me upright and filling my belly with food and drinks. Now… to break 4 hours.