FINALLY! Finally back under 3:10 and a race I am quite proud of. My Personal Best is a 3:02:34 (3/43) from Alice Springs Australia in 2015. The Green Mountain Marathon on an island in Lake Champlain Vermont, USA in 3:06:15 (17/416) from 2010. My 3rd marathon and first Boston Marathon BQ 3:08:50 (41/783) at the Wineglass Marathon in Corning, NY from 2008. And an official but non-race, the Virtual Winelgass Marathon on my treadmill 3:03:24 Oct’20. So after 13 years of running marathons from full, Ultra, and Ironman, 45 in total, I just set my 3rd best “Officially in a race” time.
It’s 6pm and I am still on a high from the effort. So lets break it down from what I did since my very dissatisfying 3:19 Tucson Marathon just 3 months earlier.
After Tucson, I continued right into the mileage. With one poor performing week at Christmas where I missed several days due to flying to NC and NJ for Christmas and getting flights cancelled, and not wanting to run in the snow.
I came back sticking to Hansons Marathon Method increasing to a max of 63 miles but doing very little quality work because my plantar fasciitis was getting worse and I didnt want to do the quality with the volume. Longest run remained at 16miles.
At the same time I ramped up my training for the Ironman World Championship in St George, Utah in May. After qualifying for 70.3 Worlds at 70.3Arizona in October, I stopped all swimming and cycling to focus exclusively on running. Hours increased from 6-7hours per week to 16-19hours per week. Weight dropped from Christmas 189.6lbs to 179.6lbs in those 7 weeks.
Race week had me swim, bike, run taking an extra day off running since feeling tired on Thursday. I carboloaded for 2 days eating bread, doughnuts, Sprite, 7up, lollies, pop tarts. Dinner was 2 Ramen Noodle Cups, 3x 500ml full strength 7up. I slept fair the night before but took a while to fall asleep because of all the sugar. Also that Friday, Fiona officially became a US Citizen!
We woke up at 3:30AM. Ate banana, walmart choclate chip muffin, medium redbull, and 2 immodium. We drove to the lot, shuttled in, drove the 26.2 miles to the start. I never saw more loos before for a race and there were like 100 Fire burners for heat. We opted back to the bus till 5:55, hit the loo again and dropped off the bag. Kisses to Fi for her 3:30 goal and me to the 3:10 for my goal. I chatted with a nice guy wearing a 70.3 World Champ cap from Ohio looking to set a BQ who missed it last time by 5seconds. I saw him during the run who killed it. I think he went 3hr-3:05. The anthem was played, I thought of Fi now standing for her flag as well. There were rockets red glare and the MC was great. A sign of the most amazing, best executed race I have ever been a part of. 10 of 10 in their 10th year with 1,000volunteers, Thank You!!!. I had my new Torin 5’s on, WattieInk tri shorts, Hansons Brooks singlet, Kona Visor, prescription oakleys, new Beats Studio 3 wireless over ear headphones, 2 packs of Clif shot bloks (I ate 100 cal at mile 4,8,12,16), Hammer Electrolytes at miles 7, 14, 22 and 2 more immodiums. I ate 1 pack of ShotBloks 200cal with caffiened 30min before the gun. I had one of the immodiums in Q3 and never had any digestive issues.
The gun went off, a min to get across the line since there were 2,400 athletes in this race. It was dark but I wore my sunnies since they are prescription.
This huge BQ, net downhill course starts fast but I just said, “Dont push it” “Keep it steady”. The legs felt great, I mean just awesome. The PF was a pain of 2 or 3 at the start but my brand new shoes were the most cushioned Altras I could get. Some guy nearly bit it over a cone in front of me. Only issue of the day; no lights on those cones.
My goal was 3:10-3:20, have a fun day, but also not pressure myself. I wasnt ready to PB so I removed all expectations allowing myself to be humble during the run because 26.2 miles is a along way to run.
At mile 4, the turn up the only hill of less than 200′. I worked this section, knowing it was the only one I needed to, cutting the tangents so well a guy complimented me after the race. HR went from 131 Zone 3 to 142Max Zone 4. After the summit I held 6:43, my fastest mile and holding back due to my PF, and this is a marathon, I still had 19miles to go! After that the beauty of the cactus, curvy toads was great and legs continued to feel great as I churned out 6:51-7:17miles for the next 11 on very consistent HR of 130-132. Around 10miles PF pain was up to a 4/5 but I just kept it light, leaning forward, staing positive and putting a smile on my face every mile to tell my body “You want yo do this”. At mile 9 I saw my friend Alan because I knew his kit from his facebook post. He’s a 1:17halfer so must not have had his day but we gave a high five mid stride which was pretty cool. At 16 miles I thought “10 to go, i do this all the time, I got this” At 20miles the calfs and hamstrings started tightening. At some point before this I realized I hadn’t walked a single step and had a new goal- the non-walk marathon which I have only done maybe 3 times.
This back half of the section had endless roads of orange trees and then lemon trees. It was so cool and very pretty.
The back half is much flatter and its here where it gets harder because you have to actually push off the road now vs floating. And my calfs know it, now Sunday. Just before the half there were some old school planes flging with a huge mural off the road. Under a bridge, up a slight incline and you could see the arch for the half runners. This was a highlight as you could see where you would be clocking in. For me 1:31:30 and I thought I should be able to keep this under 3:10 by the finish but again, still another 13.1 miles to run so just kept ot light and focused. In the next few miles some ppl passed me probably at 6:45 pace and I was like “where the hell have these ppl come from?” One was a 63 year year old and I was like “Holy shit, this guy is flying”. I clawed back into him but he still went 3:10. I used the virtual racer on my Garmin Fenix to tell me where I was most of the time. And at the half it was around 3:35 ahead of pace. I started doing the maths every few miles as I saw the margin degrade to 2:30 but with 3 miles to go, still having not stopped, and picking up the halfers, I knew I had it. I made a video the last 100 meters crossing the line in 3:07:51 and kept walking and watch rolling just so I would record 26.22 miles in my Training Peaks.
I saw Alan come in at 3:25.
Fiona came in at 3:41
We also so several other friends and runners who smashed it.
We had fruit, pizza, beer garden, ice cream, and shuttled it to car and hotel. Fiona struggled having not done a marathon in a few years except for Ironman Couer d’Alene which was in 102F heat after a 2.4mile swim and 112 mile bike ride. So it makes me laugh when people said the it was getting warm at 70F. Relativity. But I am super proud of FiFi for getting it done and showing her mental toughness.
The PF grew to a 8 of pain throughout the day. We spent 30min in the hot tub back home and then a 30min Epson salt bath. It’s now Sunday and I am 48min into a 5hour bike ride with all focus for the IRONMAN World Championship in May and the San Diego Rock n Roll Marathon in June… Life is short.