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My First Marathon
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Mommy's Little Monster
 
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My First Marathon - March 20, 2012, 09:06 AM

Sometime when I was a kid, I decided to add completing a full iron-man race to my list of life goals. I think it was just watching the pure emotion pour out of people as they crossed the finish line that got me, and I just knew from that point on it was something I had to do before I die.

Iím a swimmer, I swam competitively my whole life, I bike a lot too, but running (distance running), well running is by far my weakest of the three sports. Iím not the kind of person to do something just to finish it either, I get competitive with myself and make goals to go after, itís not enough for me just to finish, I have to race the clock. I knew that if I had any hopes of not only completing an iron man, but in a respectable time, Iíd have to really focus on my running. So last fall I signed up for my first running race of any kind, a marathon. (No, I do not count fun runs like the warrior dash as a running race.)

For lack of any better option or knowledge at the time, I decided to follow one of Hal Higdonís free online marathon training plans. It was 18 weeks long, and would take me farther that Iíve ever ran before. I was nervous about the weekend distance runs, but had no other option other than to tackle them head on and learn from my experience.

Youíll be amazed at how fast your mind switches on you as to what is considered a distance run vs. a short, easy one. When I first got going I remember thinking to myself ďokay, 9 miles, you can do this, you can do this!Ē Ė then about a month later after I had gone into the 15-16 mile range, I thought to myself, ďonly 9 (or 11) miles today? Thatís easy!Ē

I battled a couple injuries, did research on them, talked other runners with more experience than myself, and got myself through it. About 3.5 weeks ago, I peaked with a 20.6 mile run, which was tough as hell. I ran it with Eric and was glad I did, because the last 4 miles of that run were incredibly tough (though I had no idea at the time what pain would actually feel like on race day) and it made me a little nervous about not being able to even come close to my goal of a 3:45.xx marathon. I kept with the plan though, and eventually tapered down and rested my legs accordingly.

Race day came and I was surprisingly calm. I kept expecting butterflies to fill my stomach in the days leading up to the race but they never came, which I was really thankful for. Also, the weather ended up being perfect last week and on race day, which helped a lot. Before I knew it, I was in my corral and the gun went off. The first few miles were a little tricky to find my pace because of all the people around, but I just focused on controlling my excitement and trying not to go out too too fast. The one thing I didnít really enjoy was running alongside Ĺ marathoners at the same time. They were speeding up, slowing down, speeding up, stopping, etc. and then a lot blew by me at mile 12 as they were heading to their finish. I never really got used to it, but after I made my turn to start my second half of the race, it was a totally different race. There was very little crowd support for the full marathoners, and it became totally mental. Iím glad I trained without any music because not having headphones in let me settle into a rhythm amidst the (mostly) empty course.

Once I hit mile 21, I was encouraged, because I ran 21 miles much faster than I had ran my 20 mile training run, and I was still feeling alright. Mile 23 was a different story. I really started to struggle to keep my pace at this point, and while I never hit or found ďthe wallĒ I did begin to feel the pain. Miles 24-26 were probably the most pain I can remember feeling in a long, long time. I would keep closing my eyes so I wouldnít see the road stretching out in front of me, and Iím pretty sure I went to some pretty dark places in my mind. But I didnít stop. I knew I had to keep moving forward if I had any hopes of nearing my goal.

I kept hoping there would be a mental burst of energy that would kick in towards the end, but unfortunately that never happened. The last .75 miles were tough, but I was able to pick my pace back up closer to my race average. Eventually I turned the last corner and could physically see the finish line about 100 yards straight in front of me, and dug as deep as I could to try and finish strong. Iím pretty sure my form was way off and I looked like a total goober, but I finished. I came in at 3:46.17Ö..18 seconds off my goal. But you know what? Iíll take it! I came far closer than I thought I would, and despite 2 slow miles towards the end, I ran a pretty good and consistent race that went almost 100% according to plan.

Of course now I have my sights set on higher goals (will be shooting for roughly 3:35.xx next time around), which I think is absolutely obtainable with my new knowledge and experience of what it will feel like in those closing miles. I also now know that I need to focus a little more on running hills during my training. All in all the entire process was a fantastic experience and one I canít wait to repeat, over and over again.

Iron man, here I come.



DC Rock & Roll Marathon by sk8nsanta at Garmin Connect - Details <--- click for mile by mile stats

(The Garmin read-outs are a little off, because my watch would lose the satellite signals running through tunnels.)



Also, If anyone ever wants to go for a run this spring/summer/fall let me know and I'll be glad to join you at whatever pace you feel comfortable at.




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I'm a llama again!
 
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March 20, 2012, 09:11 AM

God damn congrats!!!! 8:38 is a great pace. I hope to get under ten for the MCM.
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March 20, 2012, 09:12 AM

Haha... I was used to running about 3 miles before wanting to walk (whether I did or didn't, I wanted to). Then I did a half marathon with thousands of people and I was just surrounded by the energy of the event and all those people. I ran 6 miles non-stop without even thinking about it. The next 3 miles I was thinking about it. The next 2 miles I was struggling through it. And the last mile I was hating myself for putting this torture on myself. LOL But totally worth it.
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March 20, 2012, 09:17 AM

Good job Rob.

I know you wish you'ld gotten a hair less time to get to your goal, but still thats nothing to sneeze at. Excellent effort and you should be proud of knocking down that first marathon. Im glad I was able to come our death march, I mean training run the other week.

My first marathon will be the MCM in October. My goal is for a sub 3:30, but we'll see how I do between nhow and the Fall. Anyway, if you need a training partner for the MCM, you know I'll be around.

Good luck with the tri.

Last edited by Too40gawlf; March 20, 2012 at 09:22 AM..
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March 20, 2012, 09:19 AM

Awesome!
Kick ass!


Everytime you cook up...a little boy gets crushed by a bridge. -JTG40cal



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March 20, 2012, 09:20 AM

Congrats Rob! Ill be team ROB for Iron man KONA!!!


ay ya yay
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March 20, 2012, 09:21 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by nootherids View Post
Haha... I was used to running about 3 miles before wanting to walk (whether I did or didn't, I wanted to). Then I did a half marathon with thousands of people and I was just surrounded by the energy of the event and all those people. I ran 6 miles non-stop without even thinking about it. The next 3 miles I was thinking about it. The next 2 miles I was struggling through it. And the last mile I was hating myself for putting this torture on myself. LOL But totally worth it.
Lol, you accounted for 12 miles, where did the other 1.1 go?
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I'm a llama again!
 
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March 20, 2012, 09:21 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by onel0wcubn View Post
Congrats Rob! Ill be team ROB for Iron man KONA!!!
Shit if he get's into Kona I will join you
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March 20, 2012, 09:24 AM

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Originally Posted by Slider View Post
Shit if he get's into Kona I will join you
I went in 2010.. shit was nuts!!


ay ya yay
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March 20, 2012, 09:37 AM

Good job!
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I'm a llama again!
 
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March 20, 2012, 09:43 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by onel0wcubn View Post
I went in 2010.. shit was nuts!!
I have watched it before looked like hella fricken fun time. Lance is now getting back into tri's so we will see what he does.
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March 20, 2012, 09:59 AM

that's great Rob! Congratulations.


E che cazzo!
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March 20, 2012, 10:09 AM

NICE ROB!!!!


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↓ dn ʎɐʍ sıɥʇ ↓
 
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March 20, 2012, 10:42 AM

Hell Yea!! Congrats Rob!


-Ryan
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March 20, 2012, 01:09 PM

Double your time and that's what I ran both times I did the Marine Corp Marathon... Congrats man! My time was slow as fuck (years of skatboarding) but my only goal was to complete the distance (before the lame train caught up with me). LOL!



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