Won't I ever learn...apparently not! I had been happy with the training and races since the beginning of this year and was really looking forward to this marathon. All the training and races leading up to this point indicated that there was a potential for a very nice marathon with a nice PR. I was hoping for a finish in the 3:10 to 3:15 range. And if I had run it like I should have, there would have been no problems. The race is run in Virginia Beach first going south on Atlantic Ave and General Booth Blvd for about 6 miles, looping back onto the Boardwalk, then North along Shore Drive to the west entrance of Ft Story, going South again out the east gate, down Atlantic Ave and finishing on the boardwalk near the Neptune statue. The weather forecast for this morning was showers stopping around 7:00 am temps in the 40's with 19-22 mph NW winds. Not ideal but at least it wasn't going to rain. Woke up to some pretty good rain but checking the weather radar, it looked like the last of it was passing through so it should clear up by race time. Left the house in plenty of time to get to the 8:00 race time. Parking seemed to be an issue but I finally found a private lot and walked a couple of blocks to the starting area. There are a lot of hotels in the area and I ducked into the Hilton to use their restroom...beats using port-a-potties! Inside the crowded restroom I find my running buddy Jon from the MCM and Richmond marathons. I found out he was running the marathon and planned to look for him but hadn't expected it to be so easy! After finishing we head back to the starting area and he goes off to stretch and I go into another hotel to use their bathroom and I meet up with Brian...the guy I roomed with for the MCM...I also had planned on looking for him and was pleasantly surprised to meet up with him. It's amazing the people you meet in bathrooms! About the time we finish we have about a minute before the start of the race and hurry out to line up...he planned on a 3:40 finish so he ducked in line right there and I headed up front as close as I could get looking for fellow blogger Steve but never found him before the starting gun sounds. The starting gun sounds and we're off to the races and I follow the fast crowd out heading south with a nice tail wind. I end up with a group of women and around the 1 mile mark...that I never saw...people from the crowd are yelling..."First Females" and I know that I have gone out too fast. I finally get to the second mile marker and it comes in at 12:42...way to fast but it felt sooo good. We start going over the Rudee Inlet Bridge and catch up with Paul with his hand crank and I greet him as I pass. Going down General Booth Blvd, mile three is in 19:20 and mile four in 25:51. I'm still way to fast but it's hard for me to back off and mile five is in 32:24. About this time I hear Steve behind me yelling out to me and just before the turn around he catches me and we head into the wind and greet Paul again and mile six is in 39:36. We make a right turn heading towards Camp Pendleton and mile seven is 46:37. We enter Camp Pendleton exposed even more to the heavy head wind and mile eight is 53:41. I get a boost from a group of soldiers cheering us on from their barracks as we loop through unsheltered Pendleton and mile nine is 1:00:47. I have the pace I want but it's too late because with the fast start and the stiff headwind, I am laboring. We finally start going back over the bridge and loop back to the southern end of the boardwalk and mile ten is 1:08. The wind on the boardwalk seems brutal and I try to put my head down and run through it. I miss mile eleven but mile twelve is 1:22:41...starting to slow down too much. We finally get off the boardwalk and back onto Atlantic and get a nice lift from Steve's wife Ally and her Mum...I think...cheering me on. Here is the picture she took...Thank you Ms Ally!
The wind seems to be blowing just as strong here even with all the buildings and mile thirteen is 1:30:09. We keep going north on Atlantic and mile fourteen is 1:37 and mile fifteen is missed but mile sixteen is 1:54:04. We finally get to Shore Dr which is sheltered by trees and mile seventeen is 2:01:56 and mile eighteen comes in at 2:09:55...losing energy real fast and trying to hang on. We enter the west gate of Ft Story with a nice tailwind and mile nineteen is 2:17:56 and mile 20 is 2:25:56. About this time I feel a twinge in my right hamstrings and I know that feel well...my legs are trying to cramp up but I press on and mile 21 is in 2:33 and mile 22 in 2:41:20. I get my first cramp and I stop along side of the road to massage the leg until I can walk and then gradually back running and mile 23 comes in at 2:50:18. I get another cramp, this time in the left leg and have to stop to massage and stretch until I can again walk and then gradually get back to running and mile 24 is 2:59:02. I get another cramp in my left leg and again stop to massage and stretch but this time it lasts longer before I am able to even walk and then eventually start running again and mile 25 is in 3:10. We finally get to where we make a left to get on the boardwalk for the finish and just as I make the turn my right leg cramps up and I am forced to stop to massage and stretch...it seems so evil to get a cramp there when the finish is so close. I finally get running again and mile 26 on the boardwalk comes in at 3:21:04 and finish in 3:22:56 gun time and 3:22:51 chip time.
Not the finish that I had imagined for myself but it was still a PR. I saw all my goal times disappear one by one every mile for the last 3 miles...first the 3:10, then the 3:15, then even 3:20...but I was determined not to let the PR go...I was just hoping and begging for my legs not to cramp up the final 1.2 miles. All my training long runs...even the 24 miler in 2:53...I had no leg cramps and was sure that they would not haunt me again...but I learned today...again...I go out too fast...My legs are going to let me know about it. Hopefully my next marathon I will be a lot more conservative at the beginning and slowly get up to pace speed instead of starting off at a crazy pace trying to keep up with the young bucks.
I will remember and learn!
There were 133 finishers in the Male 50 to 54 age group and 2273 total finishers.
Overall finish place was 190 of 2273
Age group finish place was 6 of 133
Time: 3:22:51 for an overall pace of 7:45 per mile
Mon: 30 min Elliptical, 70 min Cycle, 10 min Stairstepper
Tue: 6.5 miles run, 20 min Elliptical, 20 min Cycle, 10 min Stairstepper
Wed: 31 min Elliptical, 30 min Cycle, 28 min Stairstepper
Thu: 7.1 miles run, 12 min Elliptical, 25 min Lifecycle
Fri: 30 min Elliptical, 31 min Cycle, 30 min Stairstepper, 14 min Treadmill
Sat: 21 min Elliptical, 21 min Cycle, 15 min Stairstepper, 15 min Treadmill
Sun: 26.2 miles run in 3:22:51
It was good to see everyone out there today!
Have a great week!