I was hoping to run a strong race, to feel good at the end and to enjoy the day. Instead, I made quite a few mistakes and paid the price.
My finish time: 5:10:34. It's easily the slowest of my marathons. Everything seemed to fall apart after the halfway mark. I ran much too fast in the early going, as I was at the halfway point in 2:02:19. Simple math tells you that it took me more than three hours to finish the second half.
I'm not quite ready to re-visit the whole race so I'm not quite ready to write the race recap, but I will give some of the
- I suffered. The biggest problem wasn't necessarily physically... well, muscular I guess you could say. It wasn't that I wasn't pushing myself or that I wasn't running hard because it was too hard. My head felt off. I felt woozy, lightheaded. And I felt that way around Mile 15. I just felt off.
- Like I said, I started too fast. I was on pace for a 4:04 finish, and even by allowing for some slowdown in the second half, I was on pace to threaten my PR. Given that I was under-trained for the race, that was a mistake. I should have gone out conservatively but I met up with a friend before the race and we went with it, ran hard and fast and were pretty happy with ourselves early on. It wasn't meant to be.
- Between Miles 15-20, I walked a lot. Felt like I had to or else my head would get worse. I also talked to Mrs. LB and my brother Danny, who was at Mile 20 set to pace me the last six miles.
- Once I saw Danny, right before the Mile 20 marker, I laid down. Had to. He was ready to run but the first thing I said to him was "I need to lay down." He helped me down onto a patch of grass and I laid there for about two minutes. It was such a relief to do that and when I got up I felt... better isn't the right word... not as bad. I don't know how I was able to do it but I ran most of the rest of the way. I suppose "running" doesn't properly describe it but I was moving forward at a slow rate of speed. I guess I was making up some ground since Danny said that, around Mile 24 or 25, that I was catching up some of the people who he'd seen go by when he was waiting for me. I walked between 20 and the finish of course, but I did so at Mile 21, 22, 24, 25 and 25.5 (when my calf started to protest). Not bad considering I couldn't get through one mile between 15-20 without walking multiple times.
- I felt bad afterward, not the normal I-just-ran-a-marathon-so-my-body-feels-bad bad but a wow-I'm-kinda-embarrassed-with-myself bad. It's taken some time to shake it off, well, haven't shaken it off yet, but I'm going to use this as a learning experience. I have to take pride in the medal, have to take pride in how I did the last six miles, and have to take pride in the fact that I know I will be out there again, conquering the 26.2. That's the great thing about running, there is always a chance for redemption. Always. Maybe I won't redeem myself at Long Beach (part of the problem with this whole race was training for it in the summer heat) but I will redeem myself at the distance. I know that. I guarantee that. This experience ruined the day for me but it won't ruin more days (well, maybe Monday and Tuesday of this week but hopefully not much more beyond that). I can and will learn from this and will come back a stronger person because of it.
- Props to my brother Danny. I can tell you with near certainty that I would not have made it without him. I convinced him to pace me down the stretch, partly because I thought I'd need it (didn't think I'd need it as bad as I did) and partly because I wanted him to experience the final of a marathon. He's the athlete of the family but not a runner. I think it would be fun for him to run a marathon one day. He's busy swimming these days, he took classes and now swims like a fish apparently, so perhaps he'll tackle a triathlon. I'd definitely go out and support him during a triathlon, whether it's to act as his support crew or just to cheer him on. I think that would be exciting.
- I guess the one thing that will stand out for me is that I persevered. I made a lot of mistakes before the race and during the race itself but I made it to the finish. I was cautious when I needed to be, focused on my well-being instead of my time and finished not strong but in better shape than when I was halfway in.