Sunday, October 28, 2007

Reflecting On My Tenth Marathon

Yesterday, I ran my third marathon of 2007 and tenth overall. It was my second fastest ever.

The Lakefront Marathon course is made up of three out-and-back equidistant "loops" (or lines, rather) of 8.73 miles along the Chicago lakefront path. The weather was comfortably cool in the mid-50's most of the race.

This race is actually an ultramarathon with both 50k and 50M distances. The organizers added the marathon distance as a result of the struggles all of us had in Chicago three weeks ago.

As I wrote my last post, I really did not have huge expectations of time going in. I decided I would try to run 3:10 pace and see how my body reacted.

I teamed up with two other guys I met in the early going who were both trying for a 3:10. The first half of the race went as planned, but I could tell I had a stomach issue developing. Disappointing, considering I ran both Chicago and Boston without a stop and followed a somewhat similar diet before hand.

One of the guys, Steve, had ankle trouble and needed to call it quits at about mile 15. The other guy, Lance, continued on with me. We finished the second loop on pace at 17.5 miles, when I felt the undeterrable urge to detour to the port-0-johns.

I knew with this stop, I wouldn't be able to BQ. After about a 2 1/2 min comfort break, I struggled to get my legs back. My body remembered the marathon I ran 20 days prior and simply started to slow up on me. The final 7 miles or so were pretty rough.

My final third leg was a mission to complete the race. For some reason, I felt I needed again to I stop off at a second bathroom, which had no TP, so I drove on. I stopped at an aid station close to mile 21 and indulged in some trail mix with my gatorade, which added more time. Even when I didn't stop, I couldn't put together a mile faster than about 8:15 at this stage.

The marathon is a humbling distance and reminds me every time that both physical and mental preparation are critical. I still do not have the desire to go the 50M or even 50k distance as many out there yesterday were doing. Kudos to the ultra-guys and gals!

As I finished my 10th 26.2M distance, I reflected again on my year and my running. I put in some huge training mileage earlier this summer for me - more than last year - and I couldn't muster anywhere near the marathon I had last October. Frustrating, but that's the way life goes sometimes.

First half: 1:35:10
Second Half: 1:47:41
Finish time: 3:22:51 - 2nd fastest (12:47 off from last year's PR)

I can't be 100% sure, but I think my legs hurt more after yesterday's race than many of my other recent marathons. My quads were beat to hell and it hurt to sit still.

It is somewhat dissatisifying that I didn't have a strong finish in either of these marathons. However, I need to keep positive and realize that I have had an outstanding year. The curveball we were thrown on October 7th happens in life.

Sure, I thought I would PR this year and even have a shot at sub-3, but cirmcustances changed. I went to China for 4 weeks during critical training periods and had a wonderful professional experience. I ran the hottest Chicago Marathon in history. I ran my first Boston Marathon ever in the Nor'easter. How many can say they ran two of the more memorable major marathons in recent history?

I may take a year off from the marathon distance. I've been quite mum about it, but my wife is 13 weeks along in her pregnancy with our first child. Her due date is May 5 and we are thrilled. She does not want me going to Boston as she's concerned she may go early. Plus, I don't feel I earned it this year, so I will not use my 2006 time to get in.

I will rest up over the coming week, then run a couple of holiday 5k's remaining in 2007 and maybe shoot for 2,000 in total mileage for the year.

Right now, I am looking at the St. George Marathon in 2008 to re-set my PR (which could be a challenge, given what I have read about the course). My parents are retired in St. George, Utah and are anxious for me run the race there. It is the same weekend as Chicago so I would need to give that up.

Before making any personal commitments for 2008, I need to finish out my 2007 and reflect in my successes both in and outside of running this year.


yumke said...

First of all, congrats to you and your wife! that's soooo exciting!

Yeah, marathons are humbling, aren't they? I'm still learning that, with No. 2 in the books I've got a while before I can say I understand that race... you've had an eventful year since last October, so it's good perhaps to take a breather... Other than that, great running as usual!

Perry said...

2 marathons in less than a month are tough. And the race with minimal crowd support makes it even tougher. Great time anyway! Remember they are called PRs because they are hard to beat.

Congrats on the new addition to your family.

LeahC said...

congrats on the baby! That's so exciting.'s a doozie (doozie? do people even say doozie?). Anyways, 3 marathons in a year no matter what your time is amazing, and you can't do anything about the weather. Perhaps it is good for you to take a marathoning breather. Congrats on Sunday's race, still a fantastic time even though it's not a PR!

Firefly's Running said...

Congrads, Ryan, on the upcoming arrival. So sorry that you did not PR for this marathon. Hopefully your next marathon will be bittersweet.

jen said...


First of all, Congratulations to you and your wife on the pregnancy!! How wonderful! :) I wish her a healthy and safe pregnancy and I know you guys are going to make great parents. :)

Second, congratulations on finishing your 10th marathon and with a second best time! Sounds like it was an interesting day, and I know you gave it your best shot. You've faced some big challenges this year with your running, but you've learned a lot and will come out of this a much wiser, stronger runner. Keep up the good work and the great attitude.

Fran said...

Congrats on the news! I wish you both well.

I know it's frustrating not to be able to set a PR, but you've done an amazing job in what you've been able to accomplish to date. Enjoy the year off or whatever time off you decide to take. You have more then earned it.

robtherunner said...

Congrats to the parents to be! Keep the positive attitude, Ryan. You will earn that Boston slot again.

Running Jayhawk said...

...even so, you had a top 10 finish. So congratulations on that.

I'm really looking forward to reading more about your adventure (both in running and in life) over the next few months. Things are about to get really exciting!!

Theoutofshapeguy said...

Congrats on the top 10 finish buddy! You did awesome

wayfool said...

congrats on the soon-to-be new addition to the family! That's very exciting news. Now you'll have to go shopping for one of those running/stroller contraptions.

I still can't believe you went out for a 2nd marathon and toughed it out to the end. I think you've got another good one in you in the near future. Also, I wouldn't discount the transpacific travel. It always wipes me out and takes me at least a week or two to recover, and you did it twice.

If you're up for it... there's always Austin in February.....

Darrell said...

Great perspective here on running two races close together. Much harder to do going for 3:00 or so.

St. George was my best ever and it was run just after my hip started bothering me last year. I don't think you'd regret it. Although it is a net down hill there are some rollers and you better be able to be on the same road for 24 miles with no 90 degree turns any where. Think about it.

All the best to the parents to be. Oh yeah St. George will give you a great excuse to take the little one to see his/her grandparents.