Ran the Frederick marathon Saturday which of course is held in Frederick, Maryland. I ran this marathon last year with a disappointing 3:57, where I barely survived finishing and hoped to do much better this year. They changed the course this year for various reasons and after looking at the new elevation chart, could tell it would be a very challenging course with some big hills from miles 16-20...but...I like hills...yeah right! I had just run the CMM marathon a week, which was also billed as a "hilly course" and thought it was rather tame with it's rolling hills. A more pressing concern than the hills was doing two marathons in a week and how much the first would take from the performance of the second. I ended up running CMM in just over 4 hrs, which was a bit more than a minute per mile slower pace than my last two marathons, so reasoned that I could be fairly ready for this weeks marathon. I still placed high expectations on my performance and set some goals: 1. Sub 3:10, 2. Sub 3:20, 3. PR 3:22:56, 4. BQ 3:35:59, 5. Finish sub 4 hrs. I planed to start off slow with a 7:15 pace for the first few miles and then step it up to 7:10 and then 7:00. I do a lot of ladder training runs in most of my speed sessions and thought this strategy would be fine. On to the race.
Drove up the day before and picked up my race packet and then checked into the motel. I needed to do my daily workout for my Kindzia challenge and was in luck to find a fitness center in my motel. It had two treadmills, an elliptical and a stationary bike. My last training run was Thursday and I had some issues and shortened the run from 8 to 6.5 miles because of some foot pain. It was puzzling and I didn't know where it came from since it was fine on my 9 mile run a couple days previous. So I didn't want to run on it again until race day. So I did 30 minutes each on the elliptical and bike and the foot was feeling fine. The race starts at 6:30, so I woke up my usual 4:00 and was able to prepare for the race without being in a rush. Parking at the fairgrounds was easy and I roamed around looking for people that I knew. I found two runners from Virginia Beach...one was doing the half and the other the full...and talked with them a bit before making my final pit stop and headed to the start line.
The weather was forecasted to be sunny skies with temps around 51 at the start with the temps climbing into the mid 60's at the finish and winds in the 12-15 mph range. A bit warm and windy for my taste but still reasonable.
While waiting at the start line I see fellow runner and blogger Steve and went up to him to say hello and wish him a good race. Usually I like to start with Steve and run a couple of miles with him but today I really wanted to start slower than his sub 6:30 pace so backed up in the crowd between the 3:10 and 3:15 pace groups so I wouldn't be tempted to go out too fast.
The race has both marathoners...about 1200...as well as half marathoners and relay teams ..about 3500... all starting at the same time with the halfers spliting off at 13 miles like CMM the week before but a whole lot smaller. The race starts with the wheel chairs being sent on their way and a few minutes later we are on our way. As we get settled in our paces the first quarter mile I see this lady runner running past me and on her top she has "TARA" imprinted. Last year I had run almost 21 miles with a runner named Tara who had just given birth four months prior...she paced me with her Garmin and she had had some issues around mile 21-22 and she never finished. I waited around the finish and went back up the course to run her in but never found her. I knew her husband and family were out on the course tracking her at various spots so was certain if something had happened to her, her husband would find her. This year while I was at the grocery store around the corner from the motel getting some stuff for the next morning I see this lady talking to the cashier about running a marathon. Her voice was familiar and she looked familiar but at the time I just couldn't place where I had seen her from. She had a name on the front of her shirt...Bebe...but that didn't ring a bell either because I didn't know any Bebe's. At last year's race she had worn a shirt that had "Tara" on the front and everyone on the course would yell out her name, so Bebe just didn't ring a bell. She must have thought I was a weirdo staring at her chest. So I go back to the motel and in the middle of the night I realize who she is. Back to the race...So I catch up to her and tell her who I am she tells me how she had to drop out of the race last year because of leg pain that later turned out to be a fracture that took her out of running for almost six months. We decide to run with each other for a few miles since her primary goals are about the same as mine...3:10-3:15. We miss the first mile and the second mile reads 14:33, so a 7:16 average...right where I want to be. Mile three split is 7:12, mile four is 7:23 and mile five is 7:15...so far so good and I want to speed it up a bit to 7 minute mile splits and she falls back with the 3:10 pace group as I go on out ahead.
Mile six split is 7:02
Mile seven at 6:55...ops, too fast but it's still feeling good.
Mile eight back down to 7:00
Mile nine is 7:04
Mile ten is 7:02
Mile 11 is 6:52...where did that come from? The hills are coming and I need to save some for them, so I try to slow it down.
Mile 12 is in 7:14
Mile 13 is in 7:46...didn't feel that slow...pick it back up. The half marathoners split off to their finish and we continue on through the fairgrounds where we started and out the back. The half split is 1:33:58...and felt a whole lot better than the 1:30 half split at Shamrock in March.
Mile 14 is 7:21
Mile 15 is 7:40
Mile 16 is 7:35, but here comes the first big long hill.
Mile 17 is 8:33, and after a bit of a down hill here comes the second long hill.
Mile 18 is 8:19...not bad but then my problems start. My legs apparently didn't like the two long hills and start to rebel and cramp up as I make a turn after 18 to go up another steeper hill. I have to stop to massage the leg and walk a bit and mile 19 shows it with a big fat 12:14. I am devastated...I only have about a mile to go until most of it is down hill and I limp across mile 20 in 11:59 with a total time of 2:37:04. If I can recover the last 10K I could still make 3:20 but it's not to be, as at every downhill or uphill and changes of direction my leg cramps stop me, so mile 21 is in 9:27
Mile 22 in 9:24
Mile 23 in 9:12
Mile 24 in 9:32, even though most of the course is now mainly down hill, we still come to some roller and another rather long climb and mile 25 is in 10:02. I only have 1.2 to go and most of the hills are gone and I try to speed up as best as I can and mile 26 is 8:52 and crossing the finish line the clock reads 3:35:55...Chip time 3:35:51. Hey at least I still made another BQ by 9 seconds! I waited around near the finish for Tara and she arrives a couple of minutes after...she also had problems with the hills and ran out of gas.
I don't like my final time. I feel at my current training and level of fitness I have no reason to be over sub 3:30 but then I have to factor in that I just ran 26.2 last week and this week's course was very challenging with some very tough hills from 16-20. And I did run it 22 minutes faster than last year. I like the course...I like hills...I will come back next year on fresher legs and see what I can do. Now that's what I call Hills!
There were 75 finishers in the Male 50-54 age group and 928 total finishers
Overall finish place was 116 of 928
Age group finish place was 11 of 75
Time: 3:35:51 for an overall pace of 8:14 per mile
Mon: 35 min Elliptical, 32 min Cycle, 25 min Stairstepper
Tue: 8.82 miles run, 20 min Elliptical, 10 min Stairstepper
Wed: 35 min Elliptical, 35 min Cycle, 10 min Stairstepper
Thu: 6.75 miles run, 21 min Elliptical, 25 min Stairstepper
Fri: 50 min Elliptical, 46 min Cycle, 10 min Stairstepper
Sat: 30 min Elliptical, 30 min Cycle
Sun: 26.2 miles run, Frederick marathon 3:35:51
Next week there are no races scheduled so a time to regroup for the Historic Marine Corps Half Marathon on 18 May in hilly Fredericksburg, VA.
A special shout out to Steve on his awesome 3rd Overall finish! Go read his post...Now that is how a marathon should be run! Congratulations Steve!
Happy training all!