Monday, January 10, 2011

Happy New Year - 2010 in review

Well Happy New Year!
2010 sure was a great one. I ran in some good races with no regrets.

Well I am going to start off with a post that should have been put up 2 months ago.
This is my race report for the 35th annual Marine Corp Marathon.

I woke up and was very excited. This was my second Marathon that I was running. The summer was hot and the training was hard. I don't like running in the heat, but I was happy when I saw that the temperature was forcasted to be in the low 50s. NICE!

So I got myself dressed and organized my gear. I had already arranged to hook a ride with a buddy who was running as well. I met him at the local shopping center and we drove to one of the DC metro stops. We talked about the training that we did, how hot the summer was and how great the weather was going to be. We also chatted about what our goals were. My goals were as follows:
Always to just finish - or beat the bridge in this case.
knock it out of the park 4:30
main goal: 4:45
what I would live with: 5:00

So just to cover it, the beat the bridge is getting to the 14th Street Bridge just after mile maker 20 at a quicker then a 14 minute per mile pace. If you are not able to keep that pace then you will be required to board the straggler buses, taken to the event finish area and thus not completing the marathon.
Well that was not going to happen to me! And it didn't but we will get to that later.

So we get to the Metro stop and I felt a little like I had to pee but decided not to for what ever reason. This will come back to haunt me a little.
The ride on Metro was fine. A lot of other runners and spectators were riding so it was empty but not jam packed either. We had to switch trains and that went fine, no issues, except my bladder was starting to feel full. There are no public restrooms available in any of the Metro stops we were at and with the amount of people that were around there was no way to tastefully relieve myself.
So we get to the final stop and I am starting to look for a place to pee. We were let out at the Pentagon and I just did not feel comfortable just peeing anywhere. The good news if you will, was that I was moving and not standing still so I could distract myself a bit.
We walked for a while and then had to go through a check point. No big deal. The lines moved very quickly. Then we got to the runners village and the portapotties where I got in line.

Well I was finally able to get into a portapotty to relieve myself, but not without missing most of the pre-race events. The one thing that I was able to see was the flyovers of the F18s and CH53s. I almost missed the UPS truck that I needed to drop my bag off with. They were closing the back doors as I was coming up to them.

Now on the way to the start line.

As I was making my way there, along with a lot of other folks, I was slowing getting my warm up cloths off.
I had a very baggy sweet suit on that my wife wanted me to throw out months ago. I don't much like throwing things out but I will save that issue for another time.
I was using this as a throwaway/donate outfit. It was keeping me warm but it was now time to get the blood moving.
I discarded the old sweet suit as I was very close to the start line. Music was blaring. Spectators were cheering. Blood was starting to flow. I kept telling myself "not too fast. not too fast. keep it slow."
My last marathon I went out too fast and could not keep the pace going and had to walk a lot of the second half of the race. I was not making that mistake again.
As I am getting close to the start line, what do my ears hear? Justin Bieber singing Baby.
Well my daughter is in love with Justin Bieber. So I crossed the start line listening to Justin Bieber, with A smile on my face as I had a picture of my daughter in my mind. What a way to start a 26.2 mile run in and around our Nations Capital!

So here we go. The first couple of miles were nice. I was going at a nice easy pace keeping in mind that the first 3 miles go up for an elevation gain of about 120 feet. As the elevation starts to go down we come to one of the most secluded parts of the marathon route. This is part of Spout Run Parkway and it is very wooded. There are not many spectators along this part of the route, but there are some. Now we are coming up to mile 4 and crossing the Key Bridge into Washington DC.
We come into the area know as Georgetown. I started looking for my Brother in law who was also running. He is one of the main reasons why I got into running and why I still continue today. Again, this we will hold off for another time. Well as luck would have I saw him. He was coming down from the Georgetown Reservoir and I was going on my way up it. This was just after mile 5.
Now, in my opinion this is one of the harder parts of the course. From mile 6 to mile 7 your elevation goes up just about 40 feet. That is not so bad, but then from mile 7 to mile 8 you go up about 80 feet. If that was not bad enough then you start to come down. From Mile 8 to mile 9 the elevation drop is about 100 feet, then you drop about another 40 feet to mile 10. We are now on part of the course for the Cherry Blossom 10 miler, which I have run before so there are really no surprises.
From here on out the elevation change is minimal, however we are now coming to East Potomac Park which is typically the dead zone. Not very many spectators. True to form, there were not many.
Well we come out of East Potomac Park and come around the Tidal Basin and head toward the Lincoln Memorial. This is on the Western part of the mall. We come around the Lincoln Memorial and start heading east down Constitution Ave. Just after mile 17 we pass by the White House on our left and the Washington Monument on our right.
What do my eyes see? My family and friends. What Joy! This was a good boost and pick me up that I needed. I was starting to feel tired and seeing them definitely picked my spirits up.
From here we are making our way on the mall toward the Capital Building. Here we had to deal with pedestrian cross traffic. It was not that bad. I had heard horror stories from some runners about how some people will walk right out in front of you while they are pushing a stroller and not even try to get out of the way. Well I did not see any of that here, of course I was also trying to pay attention so that I did not run into anybody.
Well we round the Capital and start heading back west. I was hoping that I might see some of my family and friends but I did not. The streets were really lined with people now, everyone was really cheering. It finally dawned on me as I turned the corner on to 14th street. We were headed toward the infamous Bridge. Here it is. Mile marker 20 at the start of the bridge. Well it was safe to say I beat the bridge, and no I really did not have any doubt that I would make it this far, but I am also smart enough to realize that anything can happen.
There was a sign that said something along the lines of "this bridge is your bitch". Well I could not help myself. I ran over and high 5ed the sign. I felt great. I accomplished one of my goals. By this point I was around 3:45. With just under a 10k left to go, I could see that my goal of getting in under 5 hours was there. Just needed to get over this bridge.
Well I am not really sure what happened after that. My feet started to hurt. My knees started to hurt. I was getting really fatigued. I did not feel like I was loosing energy, it was my body feeling tired. I tried pushing on but I felt the need to walk a bit. It did not help at all that the bridge was void of any spectators.
Well here I come into Crystal City. I am still hurting and now I am starting to look at my watch and focusing on the time. I was looking at my watch for most of the race, but earlier I was not looking at time, I was looking at my heart rate. I was trying to focus on keeping it as low as possible. For the most part I thought I did a good job at that. But now I was starting to get upset. As I was coming out of Crystal City, I started to see my goal of a 4:45 vanish, but I could still get under 5 hours. Had to press on.
Coming up on mile 25 near the Pentagon and the original start line my legs were really feeling it and I started to see the under 5 hour slip further and further. I started to get really down on myself.
After a brief absence of spectators while we were passing by the Pentagon, the streets started to fill up again. It was helping. I had taped my name on the front of my shirt and people were giving me encouragement. It was helping. There was a time where I wanted to sit on the side of the road and pout and cry like a little kid that did not get their way. I did not. I knew my wife was waiting for me at the finish, and so was my metal. I was going to finish!
Rounding the corner and up the incline to the Iwo Jima Memorial and the finish line.
I DID IT! I finished the 35th Marine Corp Marathon.
My official time: 5:05:37

My wife asked me if I would do another one. I was quick to answer. I said NO. Well, I have since changed my mind. I will do another marathon. I don't plan on in 2011 but I might in 2012.
I am going to change my focus now. I am going to work on improving my speed.
My PR for the 5k is 27:04. I would like to get down to 25
My PR for the 10k is 59:19 and I am really happy with that. Looking at getting under 55.
My PR for the 10 mile is 1:42:26. I would like to get it as close to 1:30 as possible.
My half marathon PR is 2:15:35. My ultimate goal would be to get it down to 2 hours.

So there it is in writing for me to look back at and say WHAT WERE YOU THINKING?!?!?!
No seriously. I feel that all of these are obtainable, but it is going to be a lot of hard work and cross training. I will get there.

Look for more posts from me. I plan on posting once a week.

thanks for reading. Any and all comments are welcomed.