Wednesday, June 3, 2009

minneapolis marathon: 3:55.22

pre-race: thursday

once i had my car packed thursday evening, i didn't see any reason to not hit the road. i knew the anticipation of leaving in the morning would keep me awake. i departed from springfield around 10:30 p.m. it wasn't until after i had made it through kansas city that i found myself ready for a few hours of sleep.

pre-race: friday

i crossed the border into minnesota around 10 a.m.



having some extra time on my hands i decided to drop in and visit my aunt videl and uncle jerry in prior lake. i was surprised that i found my way to their home without getting lost. when i arrived my uncle jerry was painting their garage. i offered to provide some assistance, but he made some comment about not wanting me to mess it up :)



after an enjoyable visit and lunch with my aunt and uncle, i got back on the road heading for new hope. i arrived at my host home around 5 p.m. i was hosted for the weekend by phi and marvin griffith. phi and marvin were my childhood neighbors and still live in the house next to the house i grew up in. given that my parents have moved to north carolina, staying with the griffiths was very close to going home. after visiting for awhile and getting my stuff squared away for the weekend, i headed to a local cafe to visit with a some of my old skateboarding friends: chad jasper, kurt decker, and steve hibbs. these are guys i spent a lot of time with in junior and senior high. i hadn't seen chad since maybe 1999, and i hadn't seen kurt since around 1992. we had a great visit and before i knew it i was past my curfew :)

pre-race: saturday

saturday morning i took advantage of the opportunity to run a three mile route around my old neighborhood. this was the route i use to run back in my old "junior olympics" days when i was eleven and twelve. very enjoyable run. the old neighborhood looked great. the trees have grown immensely and the streets and sidewalks have been noticeably widened. when i finished my run i walked to my old elementary school so i could use my gps watch to measure the distance from the school to my old driveway. i had informed my boys that i use to walk a mile to school when i was a kid. it turns out it was .3 miles :)

saturday afternoon i went to the running store that my bud kurt decker manages: "twin cities running company". it was fun to visit with kurt in his work environment and to make a couple of purchases, including another pair of drymax socks (finally). [thanks kurt for the discount]




after my "twin cities running company" visit, i headed to downtown minneapolis to pick up my race packet and attempt to tour the marathon course in my car. i got to see a good portion of the course, and was impressed with the sites.

around 3 pm i met up with another friend i had not seen in years: brett riewe. brett was participating in the half-marathon (his first). after he had his fill of the expo we took our visiting to a local mcdonalds. it was great to catch up with the brettster.




saturday evening i enjoyed dinner with the griffiths and got to bed at a decent hour. i slept great.

pre-race: sunday

i was up at 5 a.m. showed, dressed, and ready to drive to minneapolis by 5:30 a.m. marvin took the below picture of me in my racing apparel. he requested that i make an expression of how i might feel at 20 miles into the race, and the face is what i came up with :)




i got downtown and parked near the starting area close to 6 a.m. i did drive the wrong way down a one way for a few yards (whoops). it was nice to have an hour to warmup, use the porta-potty, etc. i was hoping to run into people i knew but was not having much luck. i settled into the starting area around 6:50 a.m. around that time i saw kurt decker and we visited for a litttle bit. then steve hibbs showed up. steve and kurt went up towards the "elite" area as i settled into the area marked for 7:30 pace. i met a couple other "marathon maniacs" in this area and we chatted a bit. a high school friend, kevin supple, got my attention from amongst the spectators and we got in a quick hand shake before the gun went off.  it only took me six seconds to get over the starting mat.

the plan

in the days leading up to this event, i bounced all over the place with regards to how i was going to approach it. at one point i was thinking of taking a similar approach to the one i took at the "flying pig" (which seems to be a perfect fit for my present running fitness). i finally landed on a NOTHING-TO-LOSE approach. i am interested in finishing a marathon in boston marathon qualifying time (b.q.). for me that is 3:15 (about 7:28 per mile). i have been thinking that i will be ready to accomplish this goal at a 2009 fall marathon. i decided to use the "minneapolis marathon" as an experimental lab. i intended to get on my b.q. pace and see how many miles i could log at that pace. there was part of me that was dreaming of actually accomplishing my boston qualifying goal six months ahead of schedule.


the marathon

the race started beautifully. i did not experience getting boxed in. i did not encounter runners who did not respect the pace signs.   having opted to not wear my gps watch, i had some anxiety about not going out too fast and getting on my targeted pace.  i was pleased to hit my first mile split in: 7:23.  i noted to myself: one b.q. mile in the bank.

the second mile went by very smooth.  everything felt right and running along the mississippi provided some excellent scenery.  second mile split: 7:09.  two b.q. miles in the bank.

during the third mile a runner came by that looked like my old cross country teammate dave kleyman.  the runner was holding his arms a bit different than i remember dave holding his, but i attempted to stay with the runner for a few yards to possibly get a closer look.  third mile split: 7:14.   three b.q. miles in the bank.

during the forth mile i found myself running alongside a couple very talkative marathoners.  i had flashbacks to the two talkative marathoners during the "little rock half-marathon".  i was committed to running my race and if i had to run next to these guys for a few miles, i was willing.  fourth mile split: 7:28.  four b.q. miles in the bank.

the 7:28 gave me the impression that i might be dropping the pace a little.  i attempted to pull away from the two talkative guys.  i enjoyed crossing the stone arch bridge.  the fifth mile marker was on the bridge.   fifth mile split: 7:04.  five b.q. miles in the bank.

the sixth mile was amongst a healthy portion of spectators.  i appreciated some encouragement from kevin supple during this mile.  sixth mile split: 7:15.  six b.q. miles in the bank.

i felt great during the seventh mile.  i actually was dreaming of being able to write this status update on my facebook: "rob horton is a boston qualifier, six months ahead of schedule".  seventh mile split: 7:22.  seven b.q. miles in the bank.

the eighth mile include a very significant climb.  i attempted to stay relaxed and just glide up the hill without over exerting myself.  some minuscule doubts started to emerge in my mind during this mile.  eighth mile split: 7:38.  not a b.q. mile, but i knew i had more than nine seconds in the bank to make up for it.

during the ninth mile i got to witness some of the half-marathoners heading back.  it was cool and encouraging to slap five with my bud kurt decker as he went by.  i was still relaxed and feeling pretty good.  ninth mile split: 7:18.  i had made up for the 7:38 and now was nine miles in and still on boston qualifying pace.

during the tenth mile the marthoners parted ways with the half-marathoners.  i liked knowing that all the runners around me were traveling the same distance.  tenth mile split: 7:29.  still on pace.

eleventh mile split: 7:19.  eleven miles and still on boston qualifying pace.

twelfth mile split: 7:38.  a bit of a climbing mile.  still on pace, but starting to feel a little worn.

i managed to miss the thirteenth mile marker.  i could feel myself slipping a little bit.  over the next couple of miles i noticed a couple of runners coming past me.  i spotted the fourteenth mile marker and got a split for miles thirteen and fourteen combined: 15:14.  that confirmed that i was sliding off pace, but i was hopeful that i might stay close to 7:30 pace for a few more miles.

over the next two or three miles things started to fall apart.  as i was running around fort snelling lake i observed some of the lead runners passing us on the other side of the trail.  i noticed that many of them still looked very strong.  i started to wonder where the turnaround would be.  then i noticed the 3:20 pace group come past and i was a little discouraged.  i thought i was ahead of that group a bit.  when i saw the 3:40 pace group come past, i finally asked a runner next to me: "are these runners ahead of us?"  he informed me that we had gone the wrong way around the lake.  i inquired if we might be disqualified and he responded that it is the same distance.  at this point i stopped trying to keep my splits - i had missed the fifteenth mile marker and i was aware that i was sliding further off pace.  i took my first little walk interval after the sixteenth mile fluid station.  i had not intended to walk for this marathon, but i think at this point i kind of knew that i was pretty much spent.  a little after my walk segment i was thankful to see another classmate come by: mike mcmahn.  this was his tenth marathon and his wife was running her first.

i took another little walk segment after the eighteenth mile fluid station.

when i saw the nineteenth mile marker approaching, i resolved to start one minute mile walk intervals for the remainder of the event.  so after a one minute walk i completed the twentieth mile running.

at the twentieth mile marker i again walked, but one minute seemed to go by very quick and it was getting very hard to get the legs rolling again.  at this point i had already let go of finishing close to boston qualifying pace and i was starting to let go of attempting to run a personal best.  looking at my watch i was convinced that i could probably walk the majority of the last 10k and still get in under 4 hours.  i decided i was ok with that.

i believe it was during the twenty-first mile that i had a honda civic come up behind me.  somehow the driver had gotten onto the course and was having difficulty getting off.  the car had no front plate, but the back plate read "genius".  i noticed the spectators were very much entertained by the irony.

over the last five miles i found myself primarily walking.  someone who appeared to be out for their morning jog stopped when they saw me and said: "robby horton".  it turned out to be dan lindberg, another robbinsdale armstrong high school graduate and runner.  

at one of the fluid stations during this last few miles a runner came up past me and walked a few steps while she drank.  i was pretty sure it was dara, another armstrong runner.  she was wearing black and looked very familiar.  in talking with her on the phone after and seeing the race pictures, i am now sure that it was dara. 

over the last few miles i had fun informing spectators that i was looking for a relay partner that i could tag in to finish the rest of the race for me.  that seemed to get a few laughs.

with a mile to go, mike mcmahan came past me and invited me to run the last mile with him.  i ran with him for about three minutes before i encouraged him to go on without me.  he finished in 3:48.51 and had time to snap the below picture of me coming into the finish.




summary regarding the marathon

i was pleased with a sub-4 hour performance and i was pleased to make it through the first fifteen to sixteen miles at my boston marathon qualifying pace.  this event was a confidence builder for me.  i am confident that by 11.22.2009 i will be ready to smash the 3:15 boston qualifying standard for males 35-39.  

given that this event had a timing mat down at the 15k location, i now have a 15k personal best of 1:07.33.  this 7:15 average is faster than my second advent p.r. pace for the 5k and the 10k.

my fueling at this event involved primarily relying on the water, sports drink, and gel provided at the fluid stations.   i did wear shorts with pockets to carry along a couple vanilla bean gels, some thermolyte tablets, and a handful of swedish fish.  i fueled on the swedish fish throughout the race and hit the gels every forty-five minutes.  i had no stomach issues and will probably take a similar approach to fueling in future road marathons.

regarding my feet: blister free!  (drymax socks and vaseline prevail again)

regarding the event itself: very impressive.  this was an inaugural event.  the only kink i encountered involved snelling lake.  possibly a well placed directional arrow would prevent that from happening in the future.  the schwag was awesome.  the spectator support was awesome.  the gear check was excellent.  i would very much be interested in participating in another "minneapolis marathon" in the future, and would recommend the event to other runners.

results for classmates and friends

pictured below is mike mcmahan and his wife krista.



this was mike's tenth marathon and he finished in 3:48.51.  this was krista's first marathon and she finished in 4:49.25 (excellent).  i got to visit with them a little at the finish and i am hoping to see mike at the "route 66 marathon" in tulsa on 11.22.2009.




dara dalthorp 3:35.40 (6th in her age group out of 129)



dave connaker 3:50.53



steve hibbs dnf (three stress fractures)



kurt decker (half): 1:27.15 (1st in age division out of 156)



jody kleyman (half): 1:38.06 (5th in age group out of 268)



dave kleyman (half): 1:39.51 



jen riewe (half): 1:27.42 (1st in age division out of 268)
brett riewe (half): 1:57.17 (first half-marathon)

the schwag



finisher's medal and finisher's jacket




sunday evening

via facebook i invited friends to join me at marcello's pizza and pasta in plymouth, minnesota on sunday evening.  maracellos was a favorite restaurant of mine as a child and i even worked there for a few months when i was sixteen.  i had a great time visiting and eating.  steve hibbs brought his family.  chad jasper brought his boys.  also in attedance: jed and kelly pulvermacher simi, jodi rabin kuretsky, matt preston, tim quenemoen, guido ebert, and rick kleyman (my high school running coach).

below is a picture of me and coach kleyman.



below is a picture of 5 of us that shared the kindergarten journey together.




monday

on the way out of new hope i snapped the picture below of my childhood house (on the left) and the griffith's house where i stayed for the weekend.





on the way home i picked up the magnets pictured below.  these are the states i have completed marathons in.



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