Sunday, May 3, 2009

My First Marathon Race Report

My First Marathon Race Report

It was a cool Spring day about 55 degrees dark clouds in the sky hinted that we would have a long drenching day about an hour into the race. I arrived about 50 minutes early and after catching up with a few friends I ran into by chance and doing my bag check I got in line for the porta-potty with about 30 minutes until the start time. The line moved slow and I was nervous that I would not make it in time in both cases. So, the moral of the story kids is give yourself plenty of time to get to the bathroom when you arrive at a race.

I found my 3:50 pace group and quickly got claustrophobic with all of the people running near me so I broke away and found myself near the 3:40 pace group. A few miles in I got a little annoyed with conversation the women around me were having and my legs wanted to run faster show I got about 5 minutes ahead of the 3:40 pace group. I heard quite a lot about my pace group bib being so far behind and got into a conversation with a lady, her friend and her husband who hadn't trained but was fit enough and kind enough to pace his wife to the half marathon mark. By the time Bobby left us for the finish line I had run my fastest half-marathon by about one minute 1:50:33.

The guys kept me company from mile 8 to mile 16 or so. The conversation was good though I felt like a little bit of a braggart with my marathon expectations. I remember once saying, "what if I qualify for Boston in my first marathon?" Susan and Jeanne have already run Boston and trained to qualify this race. They let me in on this little secret while hearing my speed fancies in the coolest way. At one point the pace was putting a cramp in Jeanne's style and she gave me the most awesome (and polite) brush off so she could run her own race. Jeanne said to me, "Can I bore you with my fastest marathon ever? It was 2:58..." then she took off to find the pace she was looking for. Mind you we had maintained an 8:23 min/mi pace up to mile 14.

Susan stayed with me until mile 16 when it looked like Jeanne was getting almost a half mile ahead and bid her adieu to me saying that she'll be back to check on me. I said I hope you don't have to. I have to say I love runners. In my experience the average runner is polite, thankful for the fans and peace officers that made our race safe and possible and we genuinely look out for each other.

Since this is a long post I will say how the tough parts began. Mile 18 began the two largest hills I have had to run - 142 feet of incline over one mile followed by 147 feet in the next. It was brutal but I maintained a fair pace. By the end of mile 19 the 3:50 group had caught me. Pacer Josh remembered me from my forum posts and our meeting at the expo on Saturday and he reminded me to glide or bounce down the hill we descended. He was a great motivator asking us to give a little something to finish the last 10-K I kept up for another mile putting in an 8:44 at mile 21 but by mile 22 and the return of the hills I was spent.

I never walked, but I was never the same from mile 22 until the finish. My legs tried to cramp, but a little sprint pushed those back. My diaphram felt that familiar stitch, but I wouldn't let it get me and I tried to put down more water at every rest stop. I ran double digit miles all the way to the end taking an hour to complete the last 5 miles.

I must give a shout out to the car full of the cutest kids ever who cheered me and other struggling runners on as we closed in on mile 25. They kept saying, "Go Kris!" and "Keep going Kris!" I actually saw them at the finish line and they said to me great job and I was very touched. I would thank them personally for what that meant to me if I could, but I'll pay it forward instead. Another shout out goes to my big brother who showed up to the race just in time to see me finish and helped me to my car as I was in bad shape at the end and to my wife and kids who met me at my hotel room with an old favorite - Fox's pizza.

I finished in 4:03:27. I did not meet my goal, but I tried to sprint to the finish line and I will be more smart about keeping a conservative pace all the way up to mile 20 and try to make up no more than 10 or 12 minutes at the end. Hey, its my first marathon I had a great time and met cool people. I am going to learn from this race and try to be better for my next marathon at Baltimore October 10.

Happy running and thanks for reading. I'll be back.

Split, Total Time, Elevation Gain, Elevation Loss
* 1, 08:18, 142, 62
* 2, 08:06, 63, 131
* 3, 08:22, 102, 79
* 4, 08:12, 57, 77
* 5, 08:37, 240, 224
* 6, 08:16, 101, 102
* 7, 08:10, 13, 54
* 8, 08:19, 68, 88
* 9, 08:19, 62, 52
* 10, 08:13, 65, 41
* 11, 08:11, 41, 85
* 12, 07:58, 41, 33
* 13, 08:13, 62, 33
* 14, 08:14, 177, 169
* 15, 08:32, 84, 137
* 16, 08:59, 87, 22
* 17, 09:04, 33, 58
* 18, 09:27, 142, 60
* 19, 10:18, 147, 33
* 20, 09:58, 52, 79
* 21, 08:44, 65, 185
* 22, 11:21, 95, 47
* 23, 11:46, 114, 80
* 24, 11:41, 58, 129
* 25, 12:24, 82, 73
* 26, 12:30, 52, 73
* .2, ???


jeanne said...

Dear Kris: What a beautiful commentary on the marathon. Jeanne, Susan and I are pleased to have been able to share those priceless minutes and miles with you. I am now more motivated than ever to train for next year's Frederick Marathon, as I have yet to run a happy full marathon. It is tough to live up to Jeanne's capabilities... You are inspirational. One thing I have learned from years of racing (all distances)is that each race day is so unique that you should never be too suprised or depressed at how you hit or miss your expectations. I am always just thankful that I can be out there enjoying life to the fullest. I hope we get to see you again soon on or off the race course. Our email (Jeanne and Bobby) is

robert said...

The "jeanne said" comment was actually posted by me- Bobby. We would love to hook up with your family some time.