Sunday, March 30, 2008

Race Day!!

The story how I ended up here at the finish line begins about 4-5 weeks ago when I mentioned to Kristen (one of my running partners) that I would be traveling to Georgia in March/April for work. She queried if I had looked if there was a race when I’d be in the area…hmm hadn’t thought about that.

By the time I got home that night the question was stuck in my craw and I had to find out…marathonguide.com and sure enough…the ING Georgia Marathon March 30, 2008.

I slept on it over night but it kept coming back to me…when would I really ever get the chance for the company to pay for my airfare to a marathon again? By the end of the week I had signed up for the race and was not sure why I had done it.

I trained rather well for the next few weeks but my longest run only capped out at 18 and that one I walked for the entire last 3!! I only wanted to finish the race but I was feeling good up to today and thought that I stood a chance to get back into a good pace. I’ve told most of you that I had abandoned the standard thought about training…a minute slower than race pace…and would run the race the way I prefer to train, all out and walk when I need to.

When I got up this morning and looked out the window I saw that it had indeed rained last night as predicted and I was hoping that the weather would hold to the 40-50’s as well. The hotel I stayed at was picked because of it’s proximity to the start and finish but never dreamed that my corral would be right outside my hotel!! I had to walk all of a block this morning to get there!!

Race time was 7:00 A.M. I assume we started on time but it took me nearly 21-23 minutes to cross the starting line and boy was the wind blowing by this time!! It took me a little while to settle into a good pace but once I was there the race was pretty good!

The course was very nice…it started off near the World of Coke and took a short jaunt around the downtown area. We then headed East out of town and into the suburbs. We ran past the birth place of Dr King and saw the neighborhood he grew up in all the while winding in and out of residential areas with some gorgeous homes.

The entire course had rolling hills…nothing to big or small but as the run wore on so did this up and down motion!

I was doing great my wife was able to see me at a number of spot n the course and was surprised at how well I was doing…in fact she kept telling me that I was “way ahead of pace” but she could obviously see I was feeling good because she never warned me to slow down or to take it easy. My pace felt great. My legs felt good. And the support on the course was fantastic.

But then I hit mile 19…from this point until mile 25 it was nothing but relentless hills. I felt as though I was constantly going up and never going down. I know that is not the case but it felt like it! I struggled to keep running when I could but the up hills had become nothing but walking.

I kept my spirits high and trudged on knowing that this race was in the bag and all I needed to do was keep it up. When I hit mile 25 the course became flat as a board but I had very little left after all of the hills so I tried to run (waddle) when I could and kept a brisk 15-16 min pace on my walk.

Up until mile 23 I was sure that I would break the 5 hour mark but after mile 23 and the hills that kept coming I was finding it harder and harder to imagine that happening. At 25.7 miles the 5 hour pace group passed me…how sad.

I managed enough power in my calves (which were just burning from all the hills) to run the last .3 miles and to cross the finish line in 5:02:35.

Well that makes 10 marathons in 10 states…I can officially join the 50 state club now!

I have 2 marathons coming up in May…Cincinnati, OH and Fargo, ND…I might even try to do a 5th one this year in Las Vegas in December!!

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