Thankful, and More Determined

It has taken me over a month to write this recap about the Columbus Marathon. Despite a late decision to switch my registration from the half to the full, I had been doing a full training program with some of my teammates, so I felt prepared for my fourth full marathon, and my second time running the Cbus full.

Rather than go into a painstaking mile-by-mile recap, after mulling this over for several weeks I can summarize with just a few bullet points:

  • Perfect running weather, temps in the upper 30s at race time, rising to upper 50s in late morning
  • Miles 1-16: I was under my target pace (4:45), sticking to 5 minutes running and 1 minute walking intervals (which is how I trained)
  • Miles 17-20: I started deteriorating  and told my teammate to go on because I didn’t want to hold her back. Switched to 3/1 intervals
  • Final 10k: I appreciated teammate Sarah keeping me company for a couple of miles, but I was walking more than running. I had some knee pain in the last mile, reminiscent of what I experienced in Chicago at mile 19 in 2011, but I gritted my teeth and at least ran the final quarter mile.
  • At mile 20, my time was 3:41, but it took me an hour and a half to do the final 10k, missing my number one goal for the race of getting a sub-5:00. I did manage a 2 minute PR.

I was sore and tired after the race, but not so much that I wasn’t able to drive back home later in the day, and by Wednesday of the following week, I was able to run a few miles at a normal pace, and by Saturday I felt almost completely recovered. As I said, I felt really prepared for the race and confident I could achieve the goal, and over the past month, I have been analyzing my training and the race to determine what went wrong. My conclusion:

  • I need to do more than just running, such as more strength and core workouts. This has been a goal all year, it’s just hard with my schedule to fit in much more than running.
  • I don’t think I had enough mental toughness to overcome the pain and tired muscles for the last 7-8 miles. I let my mind convince me that it was okay to walk, that I would feel better if I just walked. Instead of thinking, I should have just ran. Maybe this is where I might have benefited from having music to listen to.
  • I am a believer now in Jeff Galloway’s Run/Walk program. Out of my four marathons, this is the first time where I did two 20 mile training runs. And the fact that was not too sore the following week means that I am getting more acclimated to running longer distances. This also may illustrate that I didn’t “leave it all out on the course”, that I should have pushed myself more.

In the spirit of the season, there are many things to be thankful for. I am thankful that I am not only capable of doing a marathon, that I was also able to have my best time ever. I am thankful for my team, and all the miles logged with them this year. It is so much better marathon training with others, versus doing it by yourself. I am thankful for all the support and encouragement of my family, friends and co-workers, and those who supported our Running for Eli campaign this year. Finally, I am thankful that I am a passionate and determined runner. I have already committed to running the Flying Pig full marathon in May 2013. So, after Ragnar Florida Keys, I’ll resume marathon training. Since the Pig is a challenging race with one gigantic hill, I may not be able to get my elusive sub-5, but I plan to enjoy the moment, and just enjoy the race with my team. Oh hey, look, Team G is a one of the charity partners of the Pig! We’ll be announcing what our charitable cause is for next year in early January.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that Team G had three first time marathoners in Columbus, and they all did great!. Two other teammates did the full, and several more did the half. Columbus is a really good race, and I would consider making it an annual tradition (at least the half, which I’ve done several times).

Despite my overall disappointment that I didn’t hit my goal, I am glad that I was able to PR, and I’m happy that I’m seeing some improvement with each race.

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2 thoughts on “Thankful, and More Determined

  1. Great summary, Brett. Your objective candor re your performance speaks volumes about your maturity as a disciplined runner. Perhaps it’s time for me to get serious about doing a half or full marathon. Cheers!

  2. You did well. My many years of experience (and what I do in halves and did in my full) has made me a believer in walking when I eat and drink. I need to re-hydrate often so I schedule my walks around that instead of time. So in a half at mile 5, 8 and 10 I walk while I eat/drink. In full 6,10,14,18 and 23. In both cases mentally it is just another 5K to finish. That helps me mentally!

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