10/29/2012 Update

Even though it’s only been one day over two weeks since my last marathon, it feels like it could be two years.  I have not run since the marathon.  In retrospect, I think both my body and mind needed a break after the race.

I’ve enjoyed spending the extra time with family and friends.  I appreciate the support that both have given over the past eight months.  This marathon has taught me quite a few life lessons, especially being the first race that did not improve my personal best time.  Maybe I’m just getting older or perhaps I’m just trying to make myself feel better, but this was one of those times in which the journey was much more meaningful than the destination.  I didn’t reach my goal, but I learned a lot about myself.

It would be impossible to list all of the thoughts that have crossed my mind over the last two weeks, but here’s a little taste:

What went wrong?
What went right? 

Five marathons are enough, no more.
Maybe one more.  Seriously, I could run the Kansas City marathon (six days after the Prairie Fire marathon). 

It’s time to slow down and enjoy the experience, the finish time is not important.
What’s my training schedule to prepare to reach my goal in a marathon next April? 

Maybe I should try a triathlon.
Maybe I should try a half marathon.
Maybe I should just run lots of shorter races. 

What if I never feel like running again?
I can’t imagine waiting much longer to start running again.

Mom has been on mind quite a bit lately as well.  It would be an understatement to say that the last few days have made me realize how much I miss her.  As our children grow older, I appreciate all of the sacrifices my parents made for me and my siblings.  I will be forever grateful for their patience and positive influence in all of our lives.

During this period of self-reflection, I discovered one item that I don’t even remember but seems a bit poetic at this point in my life.  As I was looking through some old items from running in high school and college, I found an English paper I wrote my high school sophomore year.  I don’t claim that its great writing or even makes much sense, but I simply loved the subject:  the benefits of marathon running and reasons why people are so attracted to marathons.

Whether you believe in destiny, a higher power, or karma, it’s moments like discovering this paper that gives one a sense that sometimes the universe works the way it’s designed.   Even when things don’t work like you think it should.  Even when you lose a loved one.  Even when you fail to reach a goal that you’ve work so hard to reach.  It’s then when you realize those loved ones and dear friends that you can always count on no matter what happens.

Reaping the Benefits of the Art of the Marathon

2012 Prairie Fire Marathon: #5

Race:  2012 Prairie Fire Marathon
Location:  Wichita, KS
Date:  October 14, 2012
Time:  3:23:28
Pace:  7:46/mile
Overall Finish:  53rd out of 721 finishers
Age Group Finish:  7th out of 63 finishers

While it’s still fresh in my mind, I wanted to share a few thoughts about yesterday’s race.  The irony the day:  I am sorely disappointed that I missed my goal of running a sub-3:15 marathon, but at the same time so ecstatic to finish my fifth marathon.

I am disappointed because I put so much effort into this training session and thought I was better prepared than any other marathon.  I also thought running the same course as last year would have been a benefit as well.

I am thrilled to finish because there were so many times along the race that I simply wanted to quit.  Strategically, I probably ran about the worst race I could imagine.  I stayed with the 3:15 pace group for the first five miles, but broke apart from them before mile 6 fearing the pace was too slow.  I was pretty much on my own after that break — not a brilliant idea on a windy day.  I kept my pace fairly consistent but the 3:15 pace group caught me around mile 15.  I struggled but managed to stay with the group until after mile 18 and then things started to fall apart for me.  My legs felt like they weighed 500 pounds each and the miles seemed to go on forever.  It didn’t help that this was about the same area that I faltered last year during this race — I stayed with the group a little bit longer this year.

One bright spot of the race was my support.  I appreciate my friends and family that were able to make it to the race.  Seeing familiar faces in the crowd always helps, no matter how bad you are feeling.  On the course, the two friends from my office helped tremendously.  In fact, in the last four miles when I was looking for any excuse to stop and call it quits, seeing my friend, Len, in front of me encouraged me to keep going.  Although it wasn’t quite as dramatic as the training partner finish in the 2012 10,000 Olympics meter race, our back-to-back finishes are a testament to the power of training and racing with others.

My mile splits for the race were:  8:04; 7:51; 7:33; 7:20; 7:20; 7:17; 7:11; 7:12; 7:19; 7:18; 7:19; 7:16; 7:16; 7:24; 7:20; 7:28; 7:21; 7:28; 7:45; 7:52; 8:26; 8:45; 8:58; 8:37; 9:04; and 8:49.

Today I’m trying to recover physically and mentally.  I keep searching for some perspective.  Although the race was about four minutes off my personal record, I am consoled by thinking the wind was much more challenging than last year’s race and I was able to better my 2011 time by nearly five minutes.

One Last Post Before Marathon

Getting close to one hour before the race! I woke up around 5:30 and ate a small breakfast consisting of a piece of bread, banana, and water. Logan and I are spending the remaining time in our hotel room. Absolutely love being only a few hundred yards away from the start and finish.

I’ve spent some time this morning looking over my training notes from this training session. I’m hoping the big mile weeks in April and May while I was building my base carries me to my goal today. Thank you to everyone for the great support!

T Minus One Day and Counting

Logan and I arrived in Wichita last evening. Logan had a half day of school and I left work early so we could avoid rush hour traffic. Leaving early from work felt like getting released early from high school for a cross country or track meet. The only thing missing was wearing a uniform covered by sweats. Even in my books, that would have been taking it a little too far!

We had a good time with my family and was even able to sneak in a high school football game in Rose Hill in between watching the disappointing Orioles and Nationals baseball games. I was hoping for a BWI World Series.

I had a great night’s rest and I’m looking forward to enjoying the last 24 hours before the race. I plan to meet up with a few running friends from my office later today at the health expo for the Prairie Fire Marathon. Otherwise, I’ll try to sneak in a few easy miles and continue concentrating on staying hydrated and carb loading.

The weather here is cool and rainy. Forecasts show the rain moving out later today, so I’m hoping for dry but cool weather tomorrow. Temperatures should be around 54 at the start of the race and climb to near 70 by noon.