Monday, October 16, 2006
Columbus Marathon with Smiles & Hugs!
I ran the Columbus marathon back in 1994 with a time of 3:29:00. But today was different...
As I looked around at the starting line of the Columbus marathon I was impressed to see an excitement among the runners that I don't remember noticing at any other running or triathlon race. The runners seemed to be full of high energy jumping up and down, arms and legs going in all kinds of directions, and chatting up a storm. It must have been the few weeks of running low mileage leading up to the race that we all were ready to explode out of the starting line.
Just before the gun went off at the start of the race we were greeted with a C-130 military plane fly-by overhead. That was exciting.
To help organize in my mind the unfathomable distance of the marathon I chose to break the 26.2 miles into various mile segments. The first 5 miles I planned to go out at a comfortable pace while sipping water and Gatorade from all the water stops. After 5 miles I was warm enough to pull off my extra tee-shirt. I think it was also around 5 miles I met fellow blogger Lloyd who had good words of encouragement and smiles. He has a short movie clip at the start of the race on his blog. He also took the one photo I have from the race. Thanks, Lloyd.
5 miles in 32:57
At the half way mark I spotted my wife and son in the crowds and I had to shout to get their attention. I was glad to see their big smiles while cheering me on.
13.1 miles in 1:25:05
Then into the 20 mile range it was all down hill. My legs felt thick and heavy. The legs didn't cramp up but they just didn't want to keep my 6:30 pace any more. The good thing was that I didn't have to walk at any point like I had to in my previous 4 marathons. I felt well hydrated and fueled from the many water stops and the two gels I took at 7 and 18 miles.
20 miles in 2:11:22
At the finish area I met Brian and got a big warm hug. We worked hard for this race and have encouraged one another throughout our training. I was so glad for him and that he broke his 3 hour dream barrier.
My wife and son met me at the finish area and I got a nice hug from them too. She wrapped her quilt blanket around me and put her arms around me to help keep me warm.
Final time in 3:03:03
This time was about 26 minutes faster than what I did back in 1994! Yes! I guess with old age you can still get faster.
We walked up the street to watch more runners come in for the finish. And about 30 minutes later we got to see our friend Sheri, finish in her projected goal time of less then 4 hours. She came in 3:55. She was smiling! Good for her!
Then it was a long 3/4 mile walk (which seemed longer) to the car. I needed the walk though.
To train for this marathon I used the FIRST to the finish training schedule and felt it worked great for me. I will use it again to train (which starts Dec. 26th) for the Boston marathon. However, I would modify the long runs a little different. Rather than going out at planned marathon pace (PMP +) I am going to try and run the first half of my long runs easy and finish the second half faster. I think running negative splits on long runs, is good training for the mind and body, and if anything, it will be a good mental booster in preparation for the marathon.
I really appreciate all the great comments and compliments from all those visiting my site. You all are my encouragement. Thank you. With smiles and hugs, Papa Louie. See you in Boston, April 16, 2007
p.s. if you click on the picture you will see my big smile.