26.2


The Avenue of the Giants

Race report

It’s been a couple weeks since I ran my first marathon.  I wanted to write down a few thoughts before they fade…

Training

I felt very well prepared.  The distance that had once seemed completely out of the question slowly moved into the realm of possibility as, over six months, I finished the Stinson Beach 25K, the Sequoia 30K, a couple 20 mile training runs, and lots of early morning miles.  I received solid counsel and encouragement from ultra-marathoners Jeffery Johnston and Tony Overbay and long-time friend Steve Henning (who ran The Ave this year as well).

Set Backs

I think I hit my peak 4 or 5 weeks early.  During the last month before the marathon I missed a week of training due to a bad cold and another with an Achilles issue.  also spent most of the week prior to the run in the hospital with my son. 

Mind Set

Ironically, rather than distracting me from the run, a week of living on the 6th floor of Sutter Memorial brought a whole new perspective to this previously-unimaginable goal.  I was surprised at how totally relaxed I was at the start.  I wasn’t even a little bit nervous.  As recently as 36 hours before the marathon I was thinking I’d probably have to miss it.  So as the sun began to break through the clouds and awaken the redwoods and I kissed my kids and wife, I walked to the start just grateful for life and God’s goodness. 

The Run

My plan was to start slowly – I wanted to run the first 6.5 miles at a 10 minute pace.  I felt great and made the first turnaround at 1:04 – right on target.

I found a sweet spot from miles 7 – 13.  I felt strong and slipped down to between 9 and 9:25 miles. 

I got to see the kids and Carm at the halfway point, which was a great boost.   They handed me a Payday which I consumed during the next mile.

I started “feeling it” for the first time just prior to mile 17.  My left knee began to stiffen and I stopped to stretch.  Even though I’d been drinking a lot up till now, at mile 19 I started drinking a water bottle every two miles. 

By mile 20 I’d slowed considerably to the low 11s.  And I slipped to a 12 minute mile at 21 and at 23.  I was walking about 20 seconds each mile from 17 – 24.  My lungs felt fine but my legs were really beginning to hurt.

At 24 I realized that I would have to run the last two miles in just over 10 minute pace (a full minute faster than I’d run the last 5 miles) in order to finish under 4:30.  Though I hadn’t actually set a time goal before the race, for some reason finishing over 4:30 felt totally unacceptable to me at this point.  So I resolved to do what it took to make that goal. 

The Payoff

In the final 20 minutes I reached a place physically and mentally that I haven’t experienced for 18 years.  I was totally out of gas but found more.  It’s an surreal experience: your body is screaming for mercy but your mind is refusing to listen and – somehow – winning the battle.  Both body and mind crossed the line at 4:29:22. 

Retrospect

While completing this marathon was the accomplishment of one of my few identified “life goals,” and I’m feeling a real sense of accomplishment, I’m surprised at how much smaller this goal appears in retrospect. 

I’m also impressed by how significantly the other much-more-real challenges of my life motivated me in training and especially in the run itself.  The strength and courage exhibited by my son and others, who don’t have the choice of slowing down or quitting, renders any race a mere illustration of the greater challenges and truths of life.

 

The Splits

Avenue of the Giants Marathon

3-May-09




 

 

Nate’s first marathon

 

 

 

 

mile

mile time

total

1

10.05

0.10.05

2

9.5

0.19.55

3

9.34

0.29.3

4

9.46

 

5

9.48

0.49.03

6

10.2

0.59.23

7

9.15

1.08.39

8

9.02

1.17.41

9

9.16

 

10

9.16

 

11

9.16

1.45.32

12

9.24

1.54.57

13

9.15

2.04.13

14

10.13

2.14.26

15

9.3

2.23.56

16

9.44

2.33.41

17

10.44

2.44.25

18

10.13

2.54.39

19

11.3

3.06.09

20

11.2

3.17.3

21

12.19

3.29.5

22

11.28

3.41.19

23

12.14

3.53.33

24

11.38

4.05.12

25

11.31

4.16.44

26

10.37

4.27.22

0.2

2

4.29.22

 

 

 

 

Advertisements