Monday, March 13, 2017

2017 Newport News One City Marathon



Newport News One City Marathon

 Garmin Stats: HERE

View from our hotel window

Denise, Faith and I at packet pickup

Marathons are not my favorite. I explained it to my wife like this..."A half marathon will push you to the edge and then pull you back, a full marathon just chews you up and spits you out". Never the less my favorite weekend getaways consist of a road race followed by an evening of live musical entertainment. Sometimes (usually) preferences have to be compromised. If I really want to see an artist, then I will race a less desirable distance or if I really want to do a race, then any live music scene will do.

For the Newport News One City Marathon, I was in town for a Green Day concert. The marathon was on the same day, so I went ahead and signed up for that too. I had only committed to the events at the end of January so that gave me 6 weeks to up my training from 12 mile long runs to 20 mile long runs.I usually train for 4 months to run a sub 4 hour marathon, so I figured I'd increase my mileage, slow down my paces and plan on a 5 hour event.

I ended up surprising myself. I fell into a very comfortable groove in the mid 8's and decided to just hold it as long as I could. For 18 miles I just kept a steady and smooth effort of easy 8's going. I knew a crash was on the horizon though, so I wasn't entertaining any crazy thoughts of a PR or even of coming in under 4 hours. 

The real story of any marathon is the last 6-8 miles. That's when it starts to chew at you mentally and physically. When I started slipping into the 9's at mile 19 I remembered thinking "Maybe I can just cruise to the finish at this slower pace." and I did keep it up for one more mile, but my heart really wasn't in it, so when I hit the 20 mile mark I took my first walk break.

Walking felt really good!

I was just about convinced I needed to follow a 50/50 walk/jog strategy at 1/2 mile intervals to the finish, but the more I looked at Garmin and crunched the numbers the more I realized I actually had a shot at a sub 4 hour event. I took off in a jog after my first walk break of about 1/3 mile and even though I was sore, it didn't feel too bad.

I ended up taking 3 walk breaks, the second and third ones being closer to 1/4 mile, all while evaluating my chances at a sub 4. It wasn't until mile point 25 that I adjusted my strategy for the difference between the Garmin distance measurement and the course distance measurement. Garmin was about 2/10ths of a mile ahead, so I did the math and realized I had to stay under a 10 min mile for the last mile and a half. 

Me about 30 or 40 strides from the finish. I looked over and was so happy to see Denise! I had told her not to expect me at the finish till much later, so I figured she wouldn't be there.
It was hard work, but I found the energy for it. When the clock first came into view I could see the 3 clearly and the 5, but was that an 8 or a 9? A few steps closer and it was confirmed as an 8, but it was changing to a 9 in just a few more seconds. Picking up the pace ever so slightly I got close enough to realize that I was going to achieve another sub 4 hour marathon! I had cut it close, almost too close, but had what I needed!

"Warming" station.

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