Marathon Week

Week 16
Tuesday
I planned a short 2 mile run. I got lost and it ended up as a 4 mile run. Ran through Greenfield, Indiana.

Thursday
I got an Amphipod belt to hold my gels. I had planned to make my final run on Friday, but felt I needed to test out the new equipment. The run really was just 2 miles this time. No getting lost.

Friday
I did not do a run, but went out for a late evening walk with my son. We walked by the old fashioned soda shop, but could not pull together enough change between us to get a fancy float. Maybe before we leave we will find enough change to get a sundae or a float.

Both Thursday and Friday I went to bed early. I got good sleep on Thursday night, but Friday night was typical in that I looked at my watch every 15 minutes to see if it was time to get up. That started about 3:00 in the morning on Saturday.

Saturday: Indianapolis Marathon Day

Pre-race
I got to the race start early enough to drop off my backpack which held my extra clothes and shoes. Since this was my first big race, I was a bit unprepared for the number of people there. I knew there were going to be about 6000 runners for the full and half marathons combined. But then there were the thousands of spectators hanging around the start. It was pretty exciting.

I got to my pace group of 10:00 minutes per mile. When we finally got started it took about 4 minutes to get across the starting line. Since we had timing chips, there was no real hurry to get moving.

Early Miles
Because we were in pace groups, there was not too much congestion at the start. Of course there was some, but I have dealt with more traffic in a 200 person 5K. Things moved very smoothly through the first mile. Somewhere around 3 things thinned out some. But there were some places on the course that were narrow and we bunched up again.

I planned a run/walk program for the race. I was going to run a mile and walk a minute. When the first mile marker came along, I felt awkward pulling over to the side and walking. I kept my pace up during my walk breaks and really did not lose too many places. I missed my walk break at mile 4. I just did not see the sign.

Miles 1-6 averaged 9:56 per mile.

End of First Half
I was pretty cold through the whole race. The temperature was 46 at race start and 55 at the end. I was wearing 3 shirts with the top one being a long sleeve that I did not want to toss (I originally had a sweatshirt on top of everything, but ditched it at the beginning of the race). My gloves were off and on several times throughout the race. Finally by mile 11 I pulled my long sleeve shirt off and tied it at my waist. I was still pretty cold and a few times considered putting it back on.

The half marathoners turned off at mile 12 and the crowd thinned out significantly. I finished the first half of the marathon in 2:11:16. That is a half marathon PR by 5 minutes.

Miles 7-13 averaged 9:58.

Beginning of Second Half
I just cruised through the first half knowing that I needed to stay on my plan and not try to go too fast. I was running faster than planned, but I felt very good and did not feel like I was pushing things too much. My calves tightened a bit around mile 16, but did not get any worse until mile 21.

Miles 17 to 21 were not as scenic as the rest of the race. It was still nice, but the whole race is, with the exception of some early miles, run through a park and greenways. It was a very beautiful course. I would like to go back and get some pictures before we leave the area.

My family met me just before mile 21. My brother and his family along with my wife and kids were there with signs. It was a pleasent surprise to see the signs. I hated that I did not take the time to talk much with them, but my race was going very well at that point and I was just getting the feeling that I might be able to break 4:30 if I kept the momentum going. I dropped off my long sleeved shirt and all my gels. I forgot that I still needed one more gel to finish out the course.

Miles 14 to 21 were at 10:15 pace.

Final miles
Mentally 21 to 24 were very hard miles. I did not want to push myself to the point of not having fun, but I also knew that I could maintain 11 minute miles and still finish in under 4:30. I finally left my gloves at the 24 mile mark. I was warm enough to think I would not need them any more.

Mile 25 was when my legs started getting stiff. I never got into cramping, but I was getting close. I took a bit more time to walk than I wanted. Mile 26 was also a hard mile. I just ran when I could and walked a bit more. When I hit the 26 mile mark I knew I could coast the rest of the way in, but I already knew that a 4:30 finish was not possible. I just took it easy and was able to smile through the finish line.

Miles 22 through finish were at 11:21. Maybe that final gel would have helped. I don’t really know.

Final time was 4:32:10 with a 10:22 pace.

Finish
I was met at the line by my family. They packed a picnic lunch and we sat on the ground and ate our meal. I had a meal provided by the marathon, but was really not too hungry.

At mile 18 I got a pleasant surprise. One of my college friends, and former supporting pastors, called my name. He has a unique voice, and though I never really saw him, I knew who it was. We heard his name called as he crossed the finish line and went over to meet him. His wife and family joined our mob and then we got another surprise. A mutual friend from college heard his name as well and came to see him. The third friend finished in just under 4:00:00, which was a first for him. We ended up with a group of about 8 alumni gathered shivering and congratulating one another. It was a really fun surprise.

Post race
I was pretty sore in my calves, but agreed to go run around in a corn maze with the family. It was probably the smartest thing I had done all day. As I write this all the tightness in my calves are gone. We will see if I can still walk tomorrow. But other than being tired, I don’t have any soreness.

8 thoughts on “Marathon Week”

  1. Great report! Congratulations on knocking out your first marathon! So much we could talk about.

    Your time is really a solid performance. You can be very happy with that. The grind of the last four miles of any marathon is tough…and that long, long upgrade from 24.5 to 26 was tough by almost any standard. You did well to motor up it so well.

    Walk breaks are key. Glad you found a system. Yes, it feels weird to pull off and walk…particularly early. You get used to it. I passed an awful lot of folks in the last five miles…and I was mindful of that early!!

    Congrats…this is a special day to knock out your first marathon!!

    1. Yes, I passed quite a few people the last several miles too. It was really encouraging to know that even though I was struggling to keep pace, I was still doing better than many others. I did have one lady pass me at the 25 mile mark that I had been trying to beat for the last few miles. I could not quite catch her in the end, but without her pulling ahead of me at the end, I might not have pushed as hard as I did.

Leave a Reply