Tag Archives: Marathon

My first marathon

It’s finally over. I ran my first marathon yesterday. I finished the 2008 Marine Corps Marathon.

To start off I’d like to say that the Marine Corps had a first class organization going and I can’t say enough about how awesome all the marines were. What I’m about to write might seem like the most miserable experience in the world but it wasn’t. They were very encouraging and motivating. Even at the worst parts I caught myself smiling and laughing at something they said. I’ll never forget when we crossed mile 19 and I was hurting bad. There was a marine on a bullhorn telling us our time. He said it had been 4 hours and “That’s what you get for walking!” I laughed my ass off for a few minutes.

I also spent some time alongside the guy who wears the Teddy Roosevelt mascot gear at the Nationals game. RESPECT to that guy. I don’t know how he did it. That head is huge. It was hard to feel sorry for myself when I saw him chugging along.

Anyway, on to my run……

I woke up at 6am yesterday and managed to get out of the house at 6:45. If I didn’t know any better I would have thought that I was gonna be really early for the 8am start. This was my fourth race though so I knew that getting to the starting line was gonna take a lot longer then I’d expect. I was right. I got there with only 10 minutes to spare.

It was really cold yesterday morning. I went out with a t-shirt and shorts so I was REALLY cold. I knew, though, that once I started racing I would warm up considerably. It’s just another example of how important having some experience can be. I can’t overstate how important running those earlier races was. Every little thing that I worried about in the past was completely settled in my mind. What to wear, how to do my bib, my chip, where to line up, etc. I knew what I was doing. It was actually kind of bored as I made my way to the start. No jitters.

We lined up in a huge line according to our expected finish time. The faster you thought you were, the closer you were to the start. I picked the 5:30-6 hour corral which was in the back. I figured that since I ran a 2:30 half marathon a 5 hour marathon was unrealistic.

By the time that I crossed the start line the sun had broken and the temperature had risin considerably. I wasn’t cold at all. A few minutes in and I was already sweating. I don’t think I passed too many people in the beginning. I just wanted to keep a slow steady pace.

The first 13 miles were pretty uneventful. I cruised along without much difficulty until mile 14 when my legs started really getting tired. Things got worse every mile afterwards. I ended up with a mix of running and walking until about mile 20. That’s where I hit the wall.

I’d pretty much reached my goal by that point. The only concern I’ve ever had about this race was beating the bridge. You have to reach the bridge at mile 20 in 5 1/4 hours or they put you on a bus and you’re not allowed to finish. I spent a lot of time in those miles leading up to the bridge constantly telling myself that I had to beat the bridge. It turns out that I beat it with an hour to spare.

With my biggest motivation gone it was hard to keep running. Every part of my lower body was hurting. My feet, my knees, my calves, my quads…. EVERYTHING. After mile 20 I’d say I had a mix of about 95% walking and 5% extremely slow jogging. I didn’t feel too bad about it because I was surrounded by hundreds of people doing the exact same thing. I never had any doubt that I would cross that line but it seemed like it would take forever. Every step hurt but there was really nothing to do but gut it out.

I crossed the finish line at a few seconds over 6 hours. I wish I could say that I had some huge feeling of accomplishment but I didn’t. I was miserable. I just wanted to go home.

When I did get home I acted like the biggest baby in the world. My wife is an angel. She helped me take off my gear so I could take a shower. Then I sat on the couch and she brought me food and drinks while I moaned and groaned like I was gonna die. After I ate I went to bed and slept 14 hours. My night was spent alternating between shivering cold and profuse sweating. It was pretty rough.

It’s been 24 hours since the race and I feel MUCH better now. Almost good as new. Today I’m really happy that I ran that thing. Today I feel really proud. Today I can say that it was all worth it.


Hal Higdon’s Marathon Training, week 18, day 3

2 miles.

I went out of town this week for a few days and managed to find an excuse to miss the first two runs of this week. I just barely snuck this one in. How’s that for a taper?

For better or worse I’m officially done training for this marathon. I’ve already been to the expo to pick up my bib and shirt so there’s nothing to do but wait until Sunday morning.

Wish me luck.

Hal Higdon’s Marathon Training, week 17, day 4

Planned – 8 miles.

Actual – 3 miles.

Today just wasn’t my day. I got on the treadmill and had a bunch of complaints. Ankle, leg, stomach, etc. You name it.

I ended up splitting it up into a run/walk. I probably ended up running half and walking half.

Hal Higdon’s Marathon Training, week 17, day 3

3 miles.

Another day on the treadmill. This time I increased the incline to 1.0. Speed was at 6.5 as usual.

Nothing to it.

Hal Higdon’s Marathon Training, week 17, day 2

6 miles.

Did this one on the treadmill late tonight.

I don’t know why but it was pretty tough. I did the first four miles at 6.5 mph. Then I slowed it down to 6.0. That lasted three quarter miles before I had to break it down to a walk. Spent the rest of the time alternating running and walking.

Hal Higdon’s Marathon Training, week 17, day 1

44 minutes.

I got back on the trail for the first time in a long time. Felt good to be back.

I had hip issues for the first five minutes but that cleared up for the most part afterwards. Otherwise nothing to report really. Good run.

Only six more training runs to go. The marathon is in 11 days. I am very nervous.

My first half marathon

I just got back from Baltimore. My first half marathon is in the books.

I got to the expo to pick up all my stuff late Friday night. The race was sponsored by Under Armour so we all got some really cool shirts. Every level got a different color. The half marathoners got blue. I like it. It’s pretty sweet. We also got a bib and a disposable chip which is nice.

Later we went to eat at a restaurant near our hotel. They were having a special pasta buffet for all the runners. I ate until it hurt. Pasta, salad, cookies, fudge, wine … you name it. Leave me alone. I was carbo loading – LOL.

I worried that I wouldn’t be able to sleep but I had no trouble. To be honest, I wasn’t really worried about the race. I’ve run this distance quite a few times. I’ve never been worried about achieving a certain time. I just want to finish. I knew I would.

I woke up and ordered room service from the hotel. Had some eggs and sausage. Didn’t eat much of it but then I grabbed a few pastries from the lounge on our floor. No trouble eating that. Mostly, though, I focused on getting hydrated. I drank a TON of water.

I drank so much that by the time I got to the starting line I immediately got in the bathroom line. Probably stood there for 30 minutes but it was worth it. Bathroom issues weren’t an issue afterwards. There were port a johns all along the race and the lines weren’t that long. I stopped once and it probably took me one minute.

I was assigned to the third and final wave of runners. I decided that I was going to go to the very back. No pressure, no anxiety. I just wanted to finish. I was literally one of the final two or three to start the race. This made things difficult to start. People were literally walking before the first mile. I probably passed a hundred people in the first few minutes. It was ridiculous. Afterwards, things cleared up and I had plenty of room the rest of the way.

As for the race, I’ll say this – it was tough. Baltimore is VERY hilly. It felt like I spent the majority of the race going uphill. It was the main topic of conversation with everyone I talked to afterwards. That being said, it wasn’t too big of a deal. I never felt like I couldn’t go on. The only time I walked was during water stops.

I think the people of Baltimore are a big reason why it didn’t feel so bad. They were really cool. They lined the streets and cheered us on. Everywhere we went people were standing on the streets or on their stoops encouraging us. Every once in a while we’d run into a group playing music really loud. It felt like we were invading a block party. I liked it.

I chuckled my way through most of the run. I heard “eye of the tiger” more times then I can count. Cracked me up every time. I also really appreciated the guy in the chicken costume telling us to run if we weren’t too “chicken”. The biggest laugh was from some random guy at mile 12 who said that we should all “run his wife out of town.” I don’t know if that was really funny or we were just delirious from all the mileage. Nevertheless, we were smiling as we hit the home stretch. I crossed the finish line in much better spirits then I did when I ran my 5K and my 10K.

I ended up running 2 hours and 29 minutes. Not too shabby for me. I picked up my medal, got some fruit and water and walked to my hotel. I was a little shocked at how good I felt. The funny thing is that when I got to the hotel I pulled off my shoe and discovered that my left sock was covered in blood. All my toes were red. I didn’t even feel it! It still doesn’t hurt. Weird.

All in all, a great experience. I could definitely see myself running another half marathon again. Unfortunately, now I’ve got that marathon staring me down. That will probably be another story…..