Monday, March 22, 2010

Virginia Beach Shamrock Marathon

Wow! Where to begin...I finished!

Going into the race day, my mind was very uncertain as to what to expect. You've read about my hip issues for the past month. I bailed on my final 20 mile training run, and drastically reduced my mileage in an effort to keep my hip healthy. I took up aqua jogging and strength training.

This weekend, I gave myself a tiered goal approach, Gold (finish in under 4hrs) , Silver (finish in under 4:20), Bronze(just finish on my feet).

The race started out well, I was determined not to go out too fast, even though I was very excited.

Mile 1: 9:23-nice and easy, almost too easy...congested start spread out quickly

2: 9:16-trying to keep it slow

3: 9:12-still trying to slow down and yet speeding up

4: 9:11-okay, held this pace well

5: 9:04-a bit faster, the leaders passed me on their turn around, they were on mile 7ish (yikes!), ate package of Clif Shot Blocks

6: 9:08-first turn around, feeling as though this was a good pace

7: 9:07-held pace well, ran through Camp Pendleton, cool greeting by National Guard

8: 9:08-held pace well, back onto the main road

9: 9:08-pace still good, feeling good, heading back towards the beach

10: 9:09-good pace, turn onto the boardwalk, good number of people here cheering, including one of my supporters (!), ate package of Clif Shot Blocks

11: 8:59-a bit faster, lots of supporters out, got me moving faster

12: 9:06-back into pace, still decent amount of supporters, run still feeling good

13: 9:09-pace good, half way point (2:00:20), right on schedule for a 4hr time, more of my supporters (hi wifey and father-in-law!)

14: 9:11-a tad slower, but still okay, running away from the boardwalk and away from the crowds

15: 9:20- feeling myself slow down

16: 9:26- slower still, tried to push a little bit, but legs not responding

17: 10:23-YIKES!! Wheels coming off now!

18: 10:59- feels like I'm running through sand, also the most boring part of the course, isolated from the crowds

19: 11:07- survival mode, lots of self talk hear, lots of runners dropping off and walking, I'm determined (at this point) to not walk

20: 11:43- can I do it? really questioning myself and wondering what the hell I was doing...still not much to look at, nothing really around to take my mind off the pain. Left quad screaming, balls of feet hurting.

21: 12:01-more pain, more suffering, starting thinking about what I wanted to eat after the race. Trying not to think about distance left.

22: 13:04-heading back towards civilization, but hurting more and more.

23: 12:49-got a bit of a boost here from a friendly runner. We joked about how slow we were and shared stories about how we got started with running. He pressed on after awhile, but it was nice while it lasted.

24: 13:11-back to the grind and suffering, a took in so Gatorade from the water stations trying anything to pick me up, also had a mini-Snickers from a supporter.

25: my Garmin crapped out here...but I walked for 1/2 mile starting at a water stop, the .92 miles that was captured was at 16:09.

Finish: 4:38:50 (10:38 pace)

So, didn't hit any of my time goals, but did finish on my feet, including a final kick with some great supporters.

Highlights of the Race:

1) Team Hoyt: This father/son combo has run marathons, triathlons, etc. (father pushes his son in a wheelchair throughout the race). I don't think the actual Hoyts were there, but there was a father/son duo representing this incredible group. Check it out, very inspirational.

2) Blind Runner: Seeing a blind runner tethered to another runner is incredible. More inspiration for me.

3) Inspirational T-Shirt: "You think this is hard (i.e. running this marathon) try chemotherapy"

4) Supporters: Very supportive community. The race bibs had the names of the runners on it, which was awesome, because the spectators shouted out my name as I ran by. It helped a lot! A special thanks to my supporters: my wife, father-in-law and Karen! Thanks!!!

5) The Leaders: As I was passing my 15 mile marker, the leaser was passing his 23rd. His time 2:20 and change suggested that he could have lapped me!

Other Observations:

Weirdest Place for Pain: Top of my feet

Food Craving During Race: steak, pizza, tacos, milkshakes

Post Race Meal: Burger, Fries, Milkshake

Most Annoying Part of Race: Water Stations (stop and go people traffic)

Best Part of Race: Names on bib for spectators to encourage members

Proudest Moment: Last kick on the boardwalk into the finish line when minutes before i could barely lift my feet off the ground.

Lowest Point: .5 mile of walking around mile 24-25

What next? RECOVERY!! I figure I'll take a week off of everything and let my body recover. Then it's back to training. This certainly won't be my last marathon, I still have many goals to reach. I'm eyeing the BPAC 6hr run in April and Cleveland Marathon in May.

Thanks to everyone for their support!


  1. Awesome job, FGR! I'm so glad that your marathon experience was a good one. I knew that you'd do just fine, and I'm sure you'll see your marathon times drop in the near future. It's quite an accomplishment --- and an inspiration, too! I'm thinking I might just give the 'ol 26.2 a try next year! Again, congrats. Enjoy your hard-earned rest this week.

  2. Nice job. I noticed Team Hoyt as well and was trying to figure out if it was really the Hoyt family or someone associated with them. Regardless, it is quite inspirational.

    I find it interesting that you hit your wall near mile 17. That's precisely where my splits broke down as well. I don't know what it was but that part was definitely the beginning of the end of the "good part" :).

    Congrats on finishing.

  3. Fantastic job! It's amazing what our bodies will do. I definitely agree with taking a break, but during recovery week take some nice walks with your supportive wifey. It will speed the recovery along.

  4. Thanks for all of the positive comments! This was definately the toughest thing I've ever done physically, and I'm glad I can share my experiences with you all.

  5. That's great...I know how the doldrums hit around mile 20...It happens. Good for you, you owned that!