Regardless of my desire to participate again, my December travels hindered me from returning to this event in 2009 and 2010. This year my schedule was favorable and with the aid of parental Christmas generosity I got myself registered for the marathon.
As this event approached I experienced increasing excitement due to the many Marathon Maniacs planning to participate. Due to the size of this event it does not feature an expo, but this year the race director put together a panel discussion at packet pickup. Scott and I planned to go to the panel discussion with the intention of hanging out and with a few Maniacs.
The panel discussion was pretty cool and very inspiring. I was specifically inspired by Camille Herron as she shared about her 150 mile running weeks. I was hoping to see Chuck Engle, but he opted to not participate this year. Scott and I did enjoy a few Maniac connections. We regretted that we did not plan some sort of Maniac meal gathering.
Marathon day was a bit different for me because of the 1 PM start time. I woke up feeling ready to run, but then had to attempt to navigate a good resting and fueling plan for the next few hours. My wife prepared me a very nice bowl of oatmeal that I consumed about 3 hours before race start.
The Griffiths picked Robin and I up and we all got over to the Missouri State University campus with about an hour to spare. This allowed us to relax, fellowship with other runners, and get in the Maniacs and Fanatics photo.
I was really encouraged by Robin coming and offering her support and encouragement. It was cool that she did this on her own initiative as I had decided to not put any pressure on her to come.
Before the race started I was very amped up. I was not gunning for a personal best but I was hoping to finish this one very close to 3 hours and 30 minutes. With so many local runners and Maniacs in the field, that made it even more tempting to try and do something reasonably impressive (and I was dreaming of some age division hardware). The plan involved a repetitive cycle of 8 minutes of running and 1 minute of walking (of course with the optimistic possibility of dropping the rejuvenating-walk-segments in the later miles).
As we got started it was noticeably perfect long running weather. From the get go I initiated my 8 and 1 cycle. I encountered a bit of an issue. The issue was that I found myself very mindful of the runners that I was yo-yo-ing with due to my walk-segments. I could not resist the temptation to attempt to pass back runners that passed me. I was not sticking with Coach Kleyman's guidance: RUN YOUR OWN RACE!!! I am not sure exactly what pace I was running my run segments at, but in retrospect I now know that it was too fast and was negating the benefits of the walk segments.
The course itself was a 3.275 loop. Much of the course is geared to sidewalk running, but whenever possible I would opt to run on the road regardless of if this added a some extra distance. I would much rather glide along on a road than concern myself with catching a toe on a sidewalk lip.
For the first 4 laps I really enjoyed all the Maniac camaraderie and experiencing my wife's encouragement coming through the start/finish area. I did check my watch coming through the half and my split was right on target for a 3 hour and 30 minute marathon.
I saw Robin as I came through at 5 and I informed her that I was starting to hurt. Her response was: "just 3 laps to go". I am not exactly sure when the wheels came off but it was somewhere out there during lap # 6. I came up on Scott and he was running with Susan and her running partners. I was thinking I would just hang with them for awhile, but I was walling out so extensively that I was not successful at that.
I believe I walked almost all of lap #7.
The last lap I started looking at my watch and two things motivated me to mix in some running segments: (1) getting in under 4 hours and 30 minutes, and (2) thinking Scott was going to catch me [sometimes finishing before Scott does matter to me].
In retrospect I regret not approaching this one more recreationally. After a nice 30 mile long run the day before thanksgiving I basically took 3 weeks off from running. It would have been wise to be more realistic about where my fitness was at following my little hibernation period.
Official results: here.
Finishing time: 4h:27m:29s
Overall: 88th/172 finishers
Male 40-44: 14th/23 finishers
Marathon/Ultra-Marathon event completions: 23
Marathon event completions: 19
Ultra-Marathon event completions: 4
Marathon US States: 17
Ultra-Marathon US States: 4
Marathon/Ultra-Marathon US States: 18
Marathon & Ultra-Marathon US States: 3
Sub-4-hour Marathon US States: 14