On January 5th, I was 5'7" and weighed 204 lbs. As I tapered for my 5/26 marathon I had trimmed to 172 lbs. I had run 607 miles during training and worked up to 4 runs of 19 miles or more, culminating in a 22-miler done in 3:31 (3 weeks prior to the marathon). I was able to do that training run without stopping, so I was confident going into the Med-City Marathon in Rochester, MN. My main goal all along has been to finish my first marathon, but based on my last few long training runs, I had a goal finishing time of 4:15.
The drive from the Kansas City area to Rochester the morning prior to the marathon was relaxing and uneventful, stopping for a lunch at Fazoli's to start the carb intake. I ate some leftover spaghetti from what my wife made the previous night, as I sat in my hotel room the night before the marathon. My father was along for the trip and we scoped out some viewing spots along the course.
I got about 5-6 hrs of sleep, but woke up about 4am and couldn't sleep anymore beyond that. I'm not a morning person so it must have been the anticipation of the 8am start. By 6:30am I was hungry, but during training I never found anything that I could eat on the morning of long runs that would enable me to run without a port-a-potty stop, so I simply just "ate" one Gu pack.
The weather as far as temperature was perfect with the starting time temparature of around 55 degrees. It finished somewhere in the upper 60's. However it was very windy during the entire race (16-25 mph) with much of it directly facing me. I lined up near the back of the pack and this seemed to work well, as my first mile time was 9:18 which was very good considering I haven't run a mile that slow in a long time and that my goal starting time was 9:20. I settled in for the next few miles and just tried to relax and run slowly. After about 3 miles it started to drizzle and it actually felt pretty good. By 6 miles, I noticed that my time was 54:00 and I realized that the person I was following must be going a bit too fast for my expected pace (56:00), so I started to slow down (even though I felt fine going the pace we were doing). By about the 8 mile mark it started to pour down raining and I could feel the blisters forming on my wet feet, but that didn't bother me too much. Af the halfway point, I was at 2:01:50, which made me feel pretty good because my goal was 2:02:48. I had planned to run a slower last half than first half (as that was how my long training runs were done).
It was right after the half-way point however that I started to tell that I wasn't going to be able to run the whole way without stopping (my secondary goal). My legs were starting to feel dead and I was very suprised and disappointed. My 22-mile training run had gone so much better than this. After a mile or two of the dead leg feeling, I walked through a water stop and realized that the second half was going to be much slower than the first. I would try to walk about a 1/4 mile and then run to the next mile marker. Sometimes I could run farther, and sometimes not. Although the course was very flat, I would walk any short, slight hills, and anytime I was running directly into that brisk wind. By the 19 mile mark I was 3:10 hrs into the race and knew that my 4:15 goal was gone. Even my 4:30 original goal was now seemingly leaving my reach. I continued with my walk/run approach and was able to finish in 4:41:14.
I am very happy that I finished since that was my main goal. But feeling like I could have done so much better based on my training success, I will probably strive to run another one and get that 4:15 mark. Hopefully this fall, if the Kansas City summer humidity is not too brutal on my training.
Now that I've lost the weight and achieved my long-time goal of finishing a marathon, I will focus on keeping the weight off and possibly losing a few more pounds. I'll run a few shorter races this summer/fall, and maybe go for another 26.2 in November.
Thanks to all the help that is provided in these bulletin boards from the more experienced crowd.
Any ideas on why I was wasted at the half-way point, beyond what I have already speculated, would be appreciated. If I had to do it over again, I think I would have only left 2 weeks from my last training run, as I seemed to recover very well when my long runs were spaced 2 weeks apart.
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