Summary of the Ogden Marathon, May 4, 2002
Weather: nearly perfect; about 33 degrees at the top of Ogden Canyon at the beginning of the race; about 60 degrees in downtown Ogden at the end of the race; and clear, blue skies the entire way.
Course: mostly a gentle downhill, with a few uphills here and there, nothing serious; very scenic with high-valley farmlands, lake, river, and pine-covered snow-capped mountains.
Organization: Excellent. The bus ride to the start, the aid stations, the mile markers, the volunteers, the finish line--all were great! My goal: 3:35 (an 8:12 pace), to qualify for the Boston Marathon for my age group 55-59.
My time at 22 miles: 3:00:32, right on pace to finish in under 3:35. See the pacing chart below.
My injury: Between miles 13 and 14, I felt a sharp pain shoot up my right, high Achilles tendon. I nursed the injury by slowing down, stopping at times, trying to work out the kink. I increased the pace back to 7:56 (mile 17), 8:00 (mile 18), 7:59 (mile 19) when the pain got to me. I tried to work through it, and even ran mile 22 in 7:53. But then the pain became unbearable and I threw in the towel and walked/jogged the last four miles at about a 13:00 pace.
My final time: 3:53:14 (unofficial). By the way, my son Russell also ran; it was his first marathon. His time was 4:42, as I recall. Considering his small training base (15-20 miles per week), he did well.
What I Learned
- My training program basically worked (with the proviso listed below). I felt fit and strong the entire way. Even with the Achilles problem, I felt little pain elsewhere, no excessive muscle fatigue, and no cardiovascular fatigue at all. I was especially happy at how good my quadriceps felt during and after the marathon, a sign to me that an 8:00 marathon pace is within my fitness ability, that my training program, including the taper, basically worked.
- Although my cardiovascular and muscle fitness was good, obviously my tendons were not quite ready for the heavy training I put in during the past 16 weeks. After all, this is only my second marathon since coming out of retirement 2 1/2 years ago, after a break of 19 years from marathoning. I just need to stick to a consistent running program to build my tendons and ligaments.
- I discovered (okay, maybe I already knew this) that little twinges become magnified while racing a marathon. During the marathon, I was surprised by the Achilles problem, because I couldn't remember having any previous right Achilles problems. But in retrospect, I did feels some twinges and slight pain there after a training run last week. I was much more worried about my left hamstring. Maybe I favored my left hammy, which contributed to the Achilles tendonitis.
Disappointment and Joy
Of course I'm disappointed that I didn't BQ, and I'm disappointed that I have an injury. But overall, I feel great about the marathon because:
- It was my 10th marathon, which is milestone in my running career.
- It proved to me that, with a little luck, I can qualify for Boston within the next year or two.
- It showed that my training program works. My body responded well to the mileage and speed work.
- It showed me that my preparatory diet (main meal at noon the day before the marathon, continued snacks for the rest of the day, a light breakfast, and sports drink along the course) worked well to keep me strong and fresh (and more importantly to keep me from having to stop to use the restroom, which has been a problem in my training runs and was a problem in my previous marathons).
- My 25-year-old son (who's married and has a little daughter) finished his first marathon. His older brother (married with 2 kids) finished a marathon with me last October. These two sons and I are signed up to run St. George together in October.
- I loved meeting new people, including two Internet friends whom I had never met in person, and loved the organization and scenery of the marathon course.
- Finishing the marathon, and particularly doing well the first 22 miles, again makes me thankful for being able to come back from obesity and heart disease to become cardiovascularly strong and fit.
So these are some questions left in my mind.
- When I first felt the sharp pain in my Achilles, after mile 13, what should I have done? Quit? Jogged and walked the rest of the way? Just walked the rest of the way? Was I being too stubborn by trying to keep the pace for the next 8 miles?
- How long should I wait to try to BQ again? I signed up for a marathon in three weeks, and obviously I'm not going to run it because I want my Achilles to heal up. I'm also signed up for the St. George Marathon in October. Does that give me enough time to recover and train?
- What really caused the Achilles problem? Training during the cold of winter? Training too hard without sufficient tenure in my "second running career"? The cold temperature at the beginning of the race (my first mile was a 7:46) with insufficient warmup?
|Mile ||Pace ||Split (actual time) ||Goal Split |
|1 ||7:46 ||7:46 ||8:12 |
|2 ||7:49 ||15:35 ||16:24 |
|3 ||8:25 ||24:00 ||24:36 |
|4 ||7:51 ||31:50 ||32:48 |
|5 ||7:58 ||39:48 ||41:00 |
|6 ||7:59 ||47:48 ||49:12 |
|7 ||8:11 ||55:59 ||57:24 |
|8 ||8:12 ||1:04:11 ||1:05:36 |
|9 ||8:06 ||1:12:17 ||1:13:48 |
|10 ||8:33 ||1:20:50 ||1:22:00 |
|11 ||7:32 ||1:28:22 ||1:30:12 |
|12 ||8:05 ||1:36:27 ||1:38:24 |
|13 ||7:56 ||1:44:23 ||1:46:36 |
|*14 ||8:41 ||1:53:04 ||1:54:48 |
|15 ||9:10 ||2:02:15 ||2:03:00 |
|16 ||8:31 ||2:10:46 ||2:11:12 |
|17 ||7:56 ||2:18:42 ||2:19:24 |
|18 ||8:00 ||2:26:42 ||2:27:36 |
|19 ||8:00 ||2:34:42 ||2:35:48 |
|20 ||8:27 ||2:43:09 ||2:44:00 |
|21 ||9:30 ||2:53:39 ||2:52:12 |
|22 ||7:54 ||3:00:33 ||3:00:24 |
|23 ||11:41 ||3:12:14 ||3:08:36 |
|24 ||14:40 ||3:26:53 ||3:16:48 |
|25 ||13:09 ||3:40:02 ||3:25:00 |
|26.2 ||11:00 (13:12) ||3:53:15 ||3:35:00 |
*This is when the Achilles tendon started acting up.
Notes: Most of the variation in pace before mile 14 was due to the variation in the terrain; I went slower on the uphill grades and faster on the downhill grades. Most of the variation in pace after mile 14 was due to nursing my Achilles tendon. I started walking after mile 22, walked the entire mile 24, and jogged/walked the rest. My half-marathon time was about 1:45, an 8:00 pace. The last 1.2 miles took 13:12, for an 11:00 pace.
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