Most of the marathons I participate in involve travel. I enjoy the travel, but it is also enjoyable to participate in local marathon events when possible. I really got prepared for this one at a casual pace and arrived at the starting area with only 15 minutes to spare. I missed out on the group Marathon Maniacs photo, but I did get to spend a few minutes visiting with a runner friend of mine who I first met at the starting line of the Frisco event in 2009: the Ultra Monk.
Part of my excitement about this marathon opportunity was to have another go at employing my (re)creational marathon strategy [see this post: here].
I used my first rejuvenating walk segment to take some pictures, fuel, and to post some content. When it was time to run again I gave into the temptation to take off a bit too fast (this is apparent in the mile split data gathered by the MOTOACTV).
The first 13.1 miles went smooth. I knew I was not being totally conservative, but I felt like I was still positioning myself to run a negative split (i.e., 2nd 13.1 more efficiently than the 1st 13.1).
During Miles 11 through 15 I was primarily occupied with taking photos of the runners I witnessed going the opposite direction of me on the trail. This also included me communicating words of encouragement to them as we passed. It was a blast to actually encounter runners that I knew (a bonus of a local event).
Once the picture taking job was done it was kind of nice to put my phone away and settle into the race a bit. In retrospect I started pushing up the pace a little too soon. A few of the runners I passed during miles 15 through 20 got to enjoy returning the favor during miles 22 through 26.
I was hoping to at least stick with my cycle of 27 minutes of running and 3 minutes of walking all the way to the finish, but even more I was hoping to feel super fresh and drop the walk segments totally for the final 10k. The dream is: 20 mile warm-up and 10k race.
Into the first mile of the final 10k I could tell I was not going to be discarding the walk segments. The battle at that point was dealing with the temptation to throw in bonus walk segments. About 8 minutes before my scheduled walk segment I shift into a walk. I quickly reconfigured my interval timer and changed it from 27 and 3 to 8 and 1. When I got running again I was hot, fatigued, and my heart rate seemed exceedingly elevated. 8 minutes at that point felt like too long, so I again reconfigured my interval timer. I landed on 4 and 1. I was able to keep 4 and 1 rolling for a few cycles. I found myself longing for an aid station. I desperately wanted to pour some cold water over my head.
An aid station appeared about 2 miles from the finish. The water over the head felt great. The last two miles were pretty pathetic. I was primarily a walker with bursts of 40 yard runs. I saw a few runners pass me that appeared to be in my age division, but the desire for age division hardware was not strong enough to get me out of my walking gear.
Finally the finish line appeared and that helped me shift back into a run. I popped my 360 over the finish and enjoyed seeing the Lakin family at the finish handing out hardware, water, and encouragement. It felt great to get another marathon finish and I refused to be disappointed with my performance. It was not my dream day per se, but it was close enough.
I was excited to see others experience various accomplishments: first marathons, first 50ks, first 50 milers, and new personal records.
I have already shifted to thinking about me next event: the Brookings Marathon. I would like to give this strategy another go and see if I can get me a sub-4 hour negative split performance (I have only had 1 negative split marathon performance).
A note regarding the MOTOACTV: I kept the display asleep for most of the event and at the finish I had 50% battery remaining. Impressive!
Finishing time: 4h:04m:49s (9m:21s per-mile)
Clock time: 4h:04m:59s
Overall: 25/104 finishers
Male 40-49: 6/29 finishers
Marathon/Ultra-Marathon event completions: 26
Marathon event completions: 22
Ultra-Marathon event completions: 4
Marathon US States: 18
Ultra-Marathon US States: 4
Marathon/Ultra-Marathon US States: 19
Marathon & Ultra-Marathon US States: 3
Sub-4-hour Marathon US States: 15