2015 Columbus Marathon Race Report: Mega PR

 

4:15.42

3:16.00

59:42

Those are the three numbers of the race for me.  The time of my debut marathon last year, also Columbus’s Sunday race, and the time in which I improved for a mega PR.  The 2015 Columbus Marathon addition to me was one of tremendous effort, dedication, and most importantly, learning.  I went from running a marathon all willy-nilly to obsessing about how to properly train, run and prepare for one.

NOTE: I divided this into sections so you can easily skip around.  Maybe next time I’ll fuck with you’ll with my sectioning, but not now.

determined poster girl -- achieving millennial

This year’s theme was “determined. Yes, she was!

2014 Columbus Marathon

Before I move onto the 2015 Columbus Marathon, I need to briefly discuss last year’s race.  You can read my race report here, if you’d like to read the full version.  I “successfully” ran my first marathon on my third attempt at training for one.  Looking back, I’m surprised I ran it as fast as I did on three runs per week, with a 40 mile peak week, an average that can’t be any more than 30, and a few times I didn’t even get in a run.  And thankfully my IT band didn’t preclude me from completing the race, even though it tried.  And I went out with a pace team, who started the race guns a blazin’.  I tapered, but I didn’t run enough for me to really feel the effects; I might as well have just continued to “train”.

2015 Columbus Marathon Prep

I didn’t know where my running would go after my debut marathon.  I kind of wanted to run a marathon, not necessarily as a bucket list item, but one to do because I’ve loved to run.  Immediately after my marathon I decided that after I recover I’m going to run it again next year, but this time with much more extensive training and smarter running.  Columbus Marathons are around the 18-20th of October and I know I took a few weeks off before I started to run, but I had a great deal of yoga in the mean time (and say what you will about Columbus weather, but she knocks the weather out of the motherfucking park on marathon day, every year!, but more on that later).

One of the first things I did was buy a nice GPS watch.  I haven’t had a watch since I lost my Garmin 610 in Chiang Mai, and purchased its predecessor, the 620.  The Garmin 620 is Garmin’s top of the line running-specific watch, that probably has more features than you’ll use (seriously, many are nice, but go in the category of “when will I ever use this?”).

From here, I’m going to write this race report in themes, since I believe that will be easier to follow than chronologically.  Enjoy!

Marathon Training Strategies

You can read, research, and argue all day about the miles you need to put into achieve the marathon time you want, but at the end of the day you need to put in the miles.  After completing my first marathon, I knew I needed an actual plan with actual miles and spend 2015 building up my mileage base.  I thought that finding a plan that tops out around 50 miles and aim for a 3:45 marathon goal.  I thought that I would achieve 3:45 for my debut, but learned to respect the distance, which is probably why I so obsessed with miles for endurance.

My first few runs in January and February were crazy fast, for my fitness looking back on it.  I ran a few times per week around 3-5 miles each time until my right ass muscle — the piriformis – became inflamed and I took the better half of a month off.  Upon returning to regular running in mid-March I decided to start running to the t to Higdon’s Intermediate 2 training plan.  It looks like a solid one as it had a few 50-mile weeks with a few 20 milers scheduled.  The time from March to October was waaay more than one cycle, but I thought that I would add more miles after I “completed the plan”.

Around mid-May I started to deviate from the Higdon plan, because I didn’t feel like I was getting enough out of it.  So, instead of running, say, 4-8-4-8-16, I’d run 6-8-6-8-16, or something like that to add more miles to the shorter days.  It kind of came naturally to me.  I didn’t want to add miles that I didn’t think my body about handle.  “Listen to your body”, is a simple, yet very effective technique used to tell how you are training.  Eventually I added a sixth day.  Why? Because I wanted to try it out and it’s an easy way to add miles to your week without adding miles to your run.  Adding a sixth day of 5 miles won’t add miles to the runs you already have schedule.  This also went into the “listen to your body” paradigm.

Running More

At the end of the day to get faster you have to run more.  That’s really it.  Stretching, cross training, eating, etc., etc., all help out, but to get faster at the marathon you have to put in the miles.  You don’t even have to run them faster, and until you’re really advanced you shouldn’t either.

In addition to running more for more endurance it helps you mentally.  During my 82 mile, pre-tapering run I ran 10+ miles five times and another day of 9 miles.  That helps you mentally that you can run  many times per week that far.  If you’re knocking out several runs per near near, at, or above half marathon length, it makes you feel “I got this!”  Running is a very mental game and just running more will lead you to experience better runs and races from a mental standpoint.

Biologically, well, I’m not going to pretend to have an advanced degree in running physiology.  But your VO2 max increases, which is oxygen capacity (yes, I know it’s overrated and only one component); your mechanics get better; your muscles adjust; etc., etc.  Running long and slow increases your endurance.  Some marathoners never run train faster than 2 minute/mile slower than race pace.  Think about that.

But, run more – not faster! – if you’re just starting out.  Then, later, you can see if marathon paced runs are your cup of tea.

Marathon Mechanics and Form

I can’t remember exactly how I learned this, but increased cadence, or steps per minutes, tremendously helped my running form and performance from running 165 SPM to 180+ SPM.  Why?  By running more steps per minutes, without increasing pace!, will shorten your stride helping to prevent you from overstriding, which causes many injuries.  In addition to my forefront landing, it’s fairly close to chi-running, I suppose.  If you want to look up how I run mechanically, it’s like this.  This isn’t a training/how to post, so I really won’t.

I’ve been a forefoot lander since I first slid on FiveFingers, which allows a much lighter landing.  Some people can heel-land fine, but that causes much more residual stress on your joints.  I swear sometimes on my runs my heels don’t hit the ground because of a high cadence with forefoot landing.  Because I have fairly good mechanics and am fairly light, I can also safely wear light running shoes — such as the 5.7 oz ASCICS Hyperspeed 6 for my marathon.

Building more Mileage

Yearly miles -- achieving millennial

A picture of my year miles per week. You can see my Tony Montana-like rise.

Around June I decided to go with Bill Rodgers‘s “more is more” plan.  By that time I knew enough about high mileage/advanced training to become a little very rambunctious.  If your body can support more miles, then why not run more, right?  I started running doubles.  Yes, two runs per days, which I actually found very, very helpful.  I would run my “normal” run in the morning, then if running a double, I would run a recovery run in the evening.  During the last week of June I ran 83 miles.  I’m not quite sure how I did that looking back.  I PRed my weekly mileage at 43 in May and less than two months later I nearly doubled that with 83 miles.  No one does that.  I started feeling it a little bit in my shins.  The 83 mile week was two weeks before a family vacation, so I planned on a high mileage week, a cut down week, then vacation, which would probably consist of a run or two (I ran twice).

I don’t believe at that point I overtrained, but I could feel like I was overreaching.  Have you heard of the 10% running rule?  Well I gave that the Johnny Cash bird.  I’m not the last person who ought to ever tell anyone to run less, but I will say to listen to your body.  If you can legitimately run more, why not?  You’re (probably) not an elite who’s paid to run, why if you just feel like running.

After my OBX vacation I had a good week, then the case of the blahs returned.  There was about a month between the Outer Banks and the Emerald City Half Marathon.  During that time from mid-July to mid-August I kind of winged my runs.  I tried the “Zen” approach of running by how I felt on a particular day.  It may not be built for performance, but I was at least a year ahead of my training schedule, after all.

Columbus Marathon Home Stretch

Remember, I’m not doing this chronologically, so you’ll have to skip ahead to read about my August half report! 🙂

I was told by at least one friend to follow an actual training plan after my half.  I had read Pete Pfitzinger’s Advanced Marathoning Mark I, and it became my marathoning Bible.  In it, he has plans of 55, 70, and 93 miles.  I wavered between the 55 and 70 before my half, but after I hit a home run during the half I decisively decided on the 70 week plan.  And by following the 12 week/70 mile plan I mean that I followed the daily mileage, not the specific workouts.  Ain’t no way I was doing a 16 mile run with 12 miles at goal marathon pace.

My recovery from my 1:32 half lasted until 0758 the next morning when I went on a 7-mile stroll.  Then next day I ran a 15-mile middle long run, with everyone and their grandma asking me what the fuck I was doing.  It felt right.  The following six days after Emerald City I ran 70 miles, bringing the seven day total to 84 miles, a current PR (a ran a mile warm up before the race if you thought I couldn’t add).  The half kicked my mind and body into high gear.  I perfected executed the half marathon, giving me confidence in my race performance and validated that I am pretty fast, especially for being new to running mileage.

The weeks between the half and marathon tapering averaged out slightly over 70 miles, with the last week being 82 (I wanted to do more, but my schedule wouldn’t allow it; damn, only 82 miles…).  The next weeks were 56, 46, then 15 (plus marathon).  My last run was the Wednesday before the race.  I though about doing yoga a day or two, but didn’t feel that was necessary.  I had a killer run Wednesday, so I didn’t want to fuck up a good thing.  Although I usually forget this, but fitness is gained through rest, and that’s what I wanted to do.  I spent the rest of the week drinking water like a fish.

How I Ran

At the start of the year I raced my runs, as evident by the heart rate data my Garmin collected.  Soon, I learned about running slower for more endurance.  Instead of running <8:00, I’d run 8:20s and boy, it helped.  It’s kind of a hodge-podge of data I could put here because of how quickly my fitness increased and what workouts I did.  For a few weeks in June I actually did speed workouts, such as fartleks — I’m not making up that word.  Here’s my Strava page, if you want to see every run for the year.

After Emerald City, I ran most of my runs by feel.  Zen, if you will.  I had an idea of how to push the pace based on if it was a medium long run, long run, recovery run, etc., but I ultimately ran them based on how I felt on that particular day.  I didn’t have the mileage to both run 70mpw and do the speed work.  Next marathon cycle.

Support Group

Before I move on, I have to say I have a great, great group of running friends.  Without their knowledge, support, and encouragement I’d probably still be running on the intermediate marathon plan, running no where near my potential for this year.  Their insight of literally everything has been invaluable.  Friends for life.  Thank you all.

Learning to Race

My second running objective this year, outside of running more, was to learn how to race.  I’ve run for years, on various degrees of success, but have only run a few races up to this year (five, if I have it correct).  Racing is an art as much of a science.  You have tapering, which is decreasing miles.  You have carb loading (well, for me I didn’t have to, but more on that later).  The races themselves are entirely different than a 13-mile training run, for instance.

Now, I’ll talk about my halfs (or halves? I dunno).  Capital City Half Marathon is a big, big deal in Columbus in May.  There as much hoopla as a full marathon.  I signed up to learn how to race and train as much as for the half itself.  I didn’t specifically train for the half, but rather as a “tune up” race.  I just had a one week taper, that is I decreased the mileage the week of the race; I also had a one-day killer party Monday with some friends from work.  Looking back, race week parties probably aren’t the best idea, but it was totally worth it: would do again.  I felt like my body didn’t have all the miles in it to need a tapering and that it would do more harm than good to not continue with training up to race week.  I didn’t feel spent.

The day of the race was okay.  I had some indigestion the night before.  I started off a little fast, 7:15 instead of 7:30 like I planned: pro tip, you have adrenaline at the beginning of a race.  Don’t ride that adrenaline!  It’ll wear out soon enough and you’ll crash at the end of the race.  I didn’t go out toooo fast, but it certainly didn’t help.  Long story short, I cramped up after using a portapotty.  I ended up crashing and burning.  Instead of a ~1:35, I ran a 1:43.  I don’t know if I went out too fast, had a bad day, played the facilities angle incorrectly, or ran above my fitness.  Too many variables.  But the experience was still a good one.

Fast forward to August.  Catch up on my Emerald City Race Report if you want.  Even though my training was so-so before hand, I perfectly executed the tapering, prep, and race perfectly.  I knocked the mother out of the park.  I had the weekend off, so I could spend all day Saturday drinking water and carbing up.  I had no problems with going potty during the race.  I had a nice warm-up mile before the race.  Unlike Cap City, I carried a handheld water bottle while listening to music.  Yeah, I moved over to the dark side.  But you know what, I run better with music and if the race allows it, I’ll listen to music on a road race.

I did do yoga and squats during the week of the half because I felt like my legs needed a little something.  The pacing was nearly on par.  I wanted to go out at 7:30, but I went out at 7:19 — but I was literally slowing myself down.  Starting with the third mile I ran ~7:00s for the remainder, with a 6:49 for the last mile and 6:25 pace at the closing stretch.  I finished in 1:32.36, or 7:05 pace.  I felt very confident in my race execution, training, and speed for my upcoming marathon.

I learned from my amigos about resting the previous three-ish days before the race, don’t eat anything after 5-6 the previous day (that way the food’s out of your system before the race), warming up before the race, etc., etc. (I’ve got to stop doing that, it’s even annoying me).  Basically theory meeting practice — and working!

Diet

The longer your runs and races, the more important your diet.  I made a stupid post about my diet earlier this year (basically I was thinking about a topic to write on).  Essentially, I read some books about diet, including one entitled Racing Weight, because I figured I ought to read what wear I should be for race day and make a diet around that.

First thing I did was I got a nutrition app on my phone that easily scans the bar codes on food, so you can keep track of the macros and micros of your food (using bro terms).  I’ll repeat what everyone says after they start to count everything they’re consuming: I didn’t believe that I was eating.  It wasn’t egregious, but it was surprising.  Those big breakfasts?  1000+ calories.  I only counted for a few weeks, but I kind of got the gist of it, and then went by “feel” as much as anything.

What I did take away from eating more carbs at the beginning of the day, then eating more protein toward the end.  But in practice, I was always eating carbs.  Fruit smoothie first thing in the morning, carbs for lunch, snack, and then pasta with chicken or meatballs for dinner.  Yeah, but diets pretty much always the same.  I may change up which frozen fruits I have in my smoothie or if I go with Alfredo or spaghetti sauce at dinner — and if I do with chicken or meatballs! — but I don’t have a large library of recipes.  Part of it is it’s convenient, part of it is works, and part is I’m too lazy to want to make stuff that takes more than that boiling water and stirring pasta for ten minutes.

And coffee.  That’s it’s own food group at my condo.  Right now I’m typing on a caffeine high.

I heart running coffee mug -- achieving millennial

My race day coffee mug reminding me that I heart running. Thank you, expo vendor.

I did take away a lot of processed food, such as pizza, from my diet.  Pizza’s processed and high in fat, which means it takes longer to digest.  But I still eat it at least once per week because it’s too damn tasty.  Mmm, pizza. I had two during the day after the marathon.  And a sixer of Leinenkuegel Oktoberfest.  Tasty Maerzen.

Which leads me to my next point.  I stopped drinking all booze about a month before the race.  Not as a pretentious athlete thing, but if I’m drinking beer I’m not drinking water.  Therefore, I just stopped drinking alcohol and would drink water instead.  So, no more beer, wine, spirits, et. al during training for me.  And it saves money.  I pay one flat fee to the HOA for water, so go crazy!

Two more brief things.  First, I’m not a medical doctor, nor did I stay at a Holiday Inn Express.  After Emerald City I started taking energy multivitamins and once-every-other-day-iron.  I’ve heard about men runners occasionally being iron deficient.  Maybe it’s coincidence or maybe that was it, but I’ve had much more energy since.  Along the same lines, my blood sugar would go out of whack, so I would literally have a protein shake after runs.  I stole that post workout shake from my days of lifting.  It helped to stabilize my blood sugar as well as well with recovery.  Boom.  Yeah, I eat a lot of carbs and apparently not enough protein…

And no more Advil ibuprofen.  Not worth it.

Rest

Fitness is gained through rest.  Now, what defines rest is a personal thing.  I can point to running luminaries who ran 120+ miles the week following a marathon.  For whatever reason, I recovery well just by running.  Easy runs do get the “gunk” out of your muscles.  And 7-8 hours of sleep as well.  Gotta have a good night’s sleep.  I don’t really know why I put this section in my RR.  Especially since I ran 70 miles after a 12-minute PRed half… But, … listen to your body, kids!

Expo

Columbus Marathon expo -- achieving millennial

A picture from my GoPro of the expo. Because my D800 wouldn’t cut it.

I almost forgot about this.  It’s really nice.  You could drop $1000 on running apparel and gear if you wanted.  I do have one story.  I stopped at the Western Reserve booth.  My December 50K is run with them, the Bigfoot 50K.  The guy really liked running and trails.  The display had most of their finisher’s medals, including the big kahuna, the Burning River 100M (yes, 100 mile!).  A 3-ish year old boy walks up and starts to grab it.  The guy, I think he said his name was Joe, so we’ll call him that, and I watch.  The BR100 FM is the largest, of course.  His mom walks up immediately and says, “No, you have to earn that!”  She’s my new fave. (And apparently the hardest part of the Bigfoot 50K is that it’s on Dec. 12, which means it could be 50* or 20 and snowing.)

Columbus Marathon: Gameday

Of course the day I have Saturday off Ohio State plays a night game in which I will only watch the first quarter.  I woke up at 0303 Sunday morning.  Since I had recorded the Penn State onslaught from the previous evening, I thought that I might try to wait to see what happened after the race, while I watched it.  But since a Google Card told me we beat the Nittany Kitties 38-10, that cat was out of the bag.

3 stop over exposed clear night -- achieving millennial

I took this picture handheld with my Nikon D800 and overexposed it by 3 stops to show your the starrage.

I made my daily fruit smoothie the night before and set the alarm for coffee (since the problem with morning coffee is you haven’t had your morning coffee).  Down the hatch they go.  I’m sure I took five pisses the first ten minutes I was up because all I did on football Saturday was drink water.  In fact, I bet I drank more water than tailgaters beer.

not over exposed clear night -- achieving millennial

This is the same picture, not overexposed by 3 stops.

I took my weight: 141.1  That scared me because usually I’m 143.2 (yes, .2).  Which meant I would run really fast or cramp up.   Or maybe run fast, then cramp up.  More on that later.

My marathon uniform would consist of this:

  • Yeller tech hat
  • UA green singlet
  • Yeller Arm Sleeves
  • Yeller Asics Hyperspeed 6 shoes (motherfuckers only weight 5.7 oz.; size 9 weight, of course)
  • Nike running gloves
  • Soffe Shorts (read the reviews)
  • Scarlet Calf Sleeves
  • Green Balega Hidden Comfort socks (the most comfortable socks I’ve ever worn)
  • Camelback Marathoner hydration pack (I didn’t tell anyone about this dandy)
Obligatory Columbus Marathon race outfit picture -- achieving millennial

Obligatory Columbus Marathon race outfit picture.

Did I mention it was 26* when I woke up?  It was also the clearest Columbus night I’ve ever seen.  Ah, man, you could ever see the stars so bright, we were deep at night.  You could dress for the start of the race or mile 20.  I chose mile 20 and to suck it up.  Many people dressed warmly at the beginning and were sweating like a whore in church an hour into the race.

I also did a quick prerun Yoga set.  It does magic for the hammies.  So, so, magical.

There was no wait whatsoever for traffic on my way there.  I got a parking pass for a parking garage right off the inner belt and up into the concrete cave my Cavalier went.  I decided to pull in into my parking spot forward while everyone else showed off their mad backing-into-a-parking-spot skills.  And my mad skills, I mean they had to straighten themselves out a few times because they couldn’t reverse worth a shit.  We all sat in our cars.  After a couple of minutes I braved the cold.

Upon walking to my Coral in hopes of finding warm, a young gentleman asked me where the fuck this bitch starts (my words, not his).  We chatted for a few minutes and led him to asking me of my goal time, of 3:15.  I mentioned I ran a 1:32 half in August and he agreed I would make my goal time based off that; I’m sorry I disappointed him.  The point of this story is I also asked him of his time.  His response, 2:20.  “So, you want to win it!” I said.  He played down his very, very fast time and remained humble, even those is marathon pace is faster than the majority of fast people’s 5K pace.

“You can’t come in here — you’re coral’s over there.” Apparently I tried to enter Coral A by accident. Subconscious at work.

I ended up liking Coral B more, because we had cooler people who hang out with my the heaters.  And trust me we needed them.  A smallish group of us huddled by one and a dude walking up asked up if, “we were on high.”  That confused the hell out of us because High Street is a major interior artery in Columbus.  Nope, he meant the setting.  Turning the knob a 45 degrees made a huge difference.

We reminiscent this play.

Eventually, I left my troop for my obligatory port-a-potty break.  I putzed around found another troop.  They weren’t as much fun.

The time finally came to enter my Coral, instead of merely looking at it.  Another member of my original troop was standing in the area and we made conversation.  It’s interesting how people attack and train for marathons.  This chap was doing the full, and that made our conversation more interesting because you can then talk about the half marathon, since that’s a natural gateway race.

I think the Mayor spoke or something, then the National Anthem, then the fireworks went off.  Then “Thunderstuck” played.  All of that in some order.

I do remember them holding us back fro Coral A could go through.  It felt like I had to wait on a marathon.

Now was our turn!  With seemingly everyone gunning it like a 5K or the zombie apocalypse.  Pro tip: DO NOT GO OUT GUNS A BLAZIN’!  You’ll thank me ten miles later.  Oh well.

Start of the Race (You can skip ahead to this for the actual race, ahaha)

The first thing I had to get right was my iPod, the band at the start drowned out my music so it was a few moments later before I could tell if it was actually playing and how loud it may be.  This is seem inconsequential, but I spend a lot of time getting my music”right” and I wanted to hopefully zone out to my tunes.

I did no such zoning out.  Ever. At. all.  When I registered in the spring I put my projected time at 3:45, thinking about I would get that time this time around.  Had I waited until this summer, I would have at least put 3:30, which meant Coral A, not B.  So, I ended up having to pass waaay more people to get to my pace, thus spending waaay more energy Barry Sanders Braxton Millering my way around people, forever.  (Note: I didn’t do any Madden spin moves, but I would have if needed.)

It was during this maneuvering that my worse feel became a possibility: ab cramping.  The same bullshit that killed my Cap City half during the first two miles of my marathon!  I think that was a combination of shivering in me timbers before the race and juking past people.  When I was on a straight away it was okay.  Massaging it also helped.  Nothing detrimental came of it, but because of this I didn’t want to stop unless because of an emergency.  Massaging and mental fortitude kept it from becoming an issue.

The plan was to run about 7:50, 7:45, then 7:25 to start the race, and hold on 7:25 until about the halfway point, then see how me legs were doing.  The first three ended up 7:59, 7:37, 7:22.  I honestly slowed myself down a little at the beginning of the third mile, 7:17 was too fast for me.  Unfortunately, I still hard to meander around the crowds.  I still astonished myself.  A few years ago 7:17 would have been 5K pace; I was slowing myself down during a fucking marathon at that pace.

With a few deviations I did run about 7:25 through the rest of the first half. I did bust out a 7:09 mile around Nationwide Children’s Hospital, the marathon’s namesake.  I took my first gel at mile 6ish.  I ate it on the run.  In fact, I never once stopped for shit.  The idea of a Camelback was I could eat and drink when I wanted.  I like that.

Around 7-8 miles into it I start noticing people sweating like pigs (very fit pigs).  I’m sure I was perspiring as well, but I was probably <140 at that point and dressed like it was 80, not 30. The weather was perfect if you dressed for properly.  Upper 20s at the start and lower 40s toward the end of the marathon.

My paced picked up around 7:15 when I started north on High, the street not the setting.  I started noticing some course deviations from last year’s map.  Nothing too crazy.  I don’t remember much of my music playing; I was so focused on running that it was background music unless a song I really, really liked came on.

I was really, really happy for the second half of the marathon.  All of the ~10,300 halfers and ~4,400 marathoners ran together until we hit downtown Columbus, then we went out separate ways, which meant that 2/3s of the field were instantly gone and everyone left was on pace to run a <3:20, which is fairly fast.  I still was negatively splitting, so I continued to pass fellow runners.

I forgot how annoying it was to run through campus.  Well, this year I at least was racing, not running the marathon.  It wasn’t hilly as much as the distance of the race and how it seemed like you’ve been going up hill, even if so ever so slightly forever.  During the 18th mile I remember this guy and I kept passing each other.  I knew I’d eventually drop him but he kept at it.  Once we were through campus and into Upper Arlington the the terrain leveled and my speed, although same effort increased.

I’m not going to lie, there was a time around the Shoe that I wondered if I’d spent too much energy passing people early. But I kept reminding myself that it doesn’t hurt any less running slower and pride last forever, and more macho platitudes.  I had a hard time putting down my third, and final, Gu gel at milepost 18.  I wasn’t worried about any wall because I knew I had enough fuel for the race, I had a lot of training, and I’m running fast during my LSDs during training.  I was determined to make the second half, the final 10K my bitch.

Miles 21 and 22 were my fastest laps splits during the race.  They were downhill, but they were 7:04 and 6:59.  Not sub-3:00 pace, but Boston Qualifying pace (we’ll use the fact that they were “after the wall” to trump they were downhill).  I think I had a power song or two come on during that time to help.  The pavement blacktop was new and very fast.  The sun was out, loosening up my muscles.  I had the idea that “it’s the last game of the year, Brett, can’t hold anything back now” going through my mind.  It would be all over soon.

Conversely, miles 23 and 24 were hard as shit.  They were a little rolling.  But I don’t know.  I think there was enough of a hill or two to slow me down some.  My mind must have turned on the “are we there, yet?!” channel.  It happens and it also kept me from a 60:00 PR.

That was short lived as mile 26 was 7:12 and the last .4 mile, per Garmin, was 7:04 pace.  I finished strong and my finishing video showing me galloping with my gazelle legs. I had on all of the neon.

I’m sure I missed a thousand things.  Like, the guy in the Marathon Maniacs hoodies in Grandview passing out bananas with me trying to make out, “I’ll be one of those too!” But came out, “ERJHsdgljhst girt9tndjksflshgdhgkntrt8 rhrfghr!”  Apparently I looked right at an old friend at mile 22; at least she told me later because I don’t remember any detailed shit from that point in the marathong.

And I saw everyone’s favorite Tigger, Derek, afterward as we both celebrated HUGE PRs!

Marathon Details

Columbus Marathon finisher's medal and Garmin 620 Watch -- Achieving Millennial

You’re not going to post spam a picture of your final time – with watch! – and Columbus Marathon finisher’s medal!

Miles Splits

  1. 7:59
  2. 7:37
  3. 7:22
  4. 7:32
  5. 7:27
  6. 7:28
  7. 7:25
  8. 7:24
  9. 7:09
  10. 7:23
  11. 7:21 Nice part of German Village
  12. 7:25
  13. 7:15
  14. 7:15
  15. 7:23
  16. 7:16
  17. 7:27 Motherlovin’ Horseshoe, y’all!
  18. 7:24 Least favorite mile
  19. 7:41
  20. 7:33
  21. 7:21
  22. 7:04 Judy
  23. 6:59
  24. 7:34
  25. 7:45
  26. 7:12
  27. 7:04

3:16.00

7:29

322/4435 marathon

290/2466 men

51/328 M2529 age group

I also passed 850 people during the race.  Only 36 passed me.

Columbus Marathon Review/Insight

This is the most interesting thing I found:

4,435 (2,466 men, 1,969 women)

There was a fairly close gap between the men and women in the full marathon.  Traditionally it’s 2/3 men for the full marathon, with the other, shorter races holding reverse numbers. I don’t know if it’s because women picked up their game or the  men are slacking, or everyone was hungover from the Defending National Champions’ game.  Although since I just checked previous years’ numbers, the last two CBus maries had comparable ratios: good job, ladies!  I know a disproportional amount of women marathoners, but I know a few who are scared intimidated by 26.2 miles.  Don’t be scared: go at it!  It’s all mental!

The half marathon’s breakdown was 10318/3728M/6590W — more typical breakdown.

The Columbus Marathon is a production and a half.  Tremendous, tremendous support.  Many, many volunteers EVERYWHERE! Many water and Gatorade stations.  Two gel stations (I didn’t grab any out of principle I’m wearing a hydration pack, although named “Marathoner” is really for ultras and LSDs).  A billion bands and DJs.  It’s a killer, killer marathon, but is smack dab in between Chicago and NYC.  Screw them, Northwestern and Rutgers barely have football teams.

Because it is a large half/marathon, there’s quite a bit of runner traffic.  If you hardcore negatively split, with only a few exceptions, like me you may become frustrated and exhausted.  Unless I would have delayed registration for a faster time, there’s nothing I could have done.  And it’s not the fault of Columbus Marathon.  It’s something you’ll (probably always) have with larger races.

It’s a fast marathon.  The elevation comes more via inclines than hills, although those inclined in elevation seem to last forever.

And Marathon Foto was everywhere wanting me to show them my “beautiful bib”.  A guy literally asked me that when I first arrived right after gear check.  It would have been ueber creepy if not so confidently said.

What Next?

OBX 5K/Marathon Challenge November 7 and 8!  Yeah, I’m doing a speed workout advanced shakeout run 5K race and another marathon three weeks later.  Boom, boom, and boom.  My sis is running the 6-mile fun run and my mother’s doing the half mary.  It’s going to be a runcation.  I haven’t run a 5K in years, so I have no idea how to pace myself.  Follow the leader I suppose.  And the marathon?  Sub-3:20 would be bitching.  I doubt I’ll PR three weeks later, especially the day after a 5K, the day after traveling.

Then the fun begins.

December 50K

January 50K

February 50M

Then Boston attempt in April if I don’t (metaphorically) die. At least the ultras will keep me in shape and serve as useful cross training for April’s marathon.  Plus, if I can run 50M, I can run half that, fast.

Race Pictures

I didn’t really take pictures at the marathon and don’t hold any copyrights to pictures taken of me during the race.  But trust me, I was there.  Although photography is my other thing, unless I’m encapsulated in it my pictures show I’m only doing a half-assed attempt.  I hope the written word more than enough satiated your race report appetite.

Afterward

I wanted to prove to everyone that you can accomplish what you want to succeed if you put your mind, soul, and body into it.  You would truly astonish yourself.  I PRed a marathon by nearly an hour.  Very few people do that, and even fewer go down to 3:16.

Running is the perfect metaphor for life: You get out of running what you put into running.

I hope that if anyone ever hears he talk about running that person doesn’t think of it as boasting, bragging, and showboating, but rather the results of tremendous effort.  While you were sleeping in Saturday morning, I ran 20 miles in the rain.  While you nursed your hangover, I was outside in a singlet in 26* weather (okay, I almost want to be with you on that one, dark out the Shoe).  It requires sacrifice but it’s all worth it at the finish line.  Which only finished that chapter, while another one awaits.

Thanks for reading,

Christian

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