I completed the Dallas White Rock Marathon on December 14, 2008. I had a great deal of family support and want to especially thank Paige and Allie for their understanding and sacrifice during my 6 months of marathon training. The Tenery's were also in full effect that day. Thank you Jim, Jane, Chad, Jami, Scott, Kelly, Greer, Karlie and Annie for all your support and encouragement. I'd also like to thank Darryl and Marisol for making the long trip from Mexico to see me cross the finish line. Thank you to my friends Eugene Anthony Hoppe IV and Ashley for being there. Y'all are awesome for braving the windy conditions to meet me along the course and offer encouragement, water, and food.
Most people know by now that the race did not go as planned. I trained for and expected to come close to a 3:30:00 finish. My actual finishing time was 4:02:00 - a disappointment to say the least. Here were my splits:
Mile 1 - 8:39 Mile 2 - 7:46 Mile 3 - 7:48 Mile 4 - 7:44 Mile 5 - 7:49
Mile 6 - 7:49 Mile 7 - 7:56 Mile 8 - 7:51 Mile 9 - 7:51 Mile 10 - 7:55
Mile 11 - 8:12 Mile 12 - 7:55 Mile 13 - 8:12 Mile 14 - 8:08
Mile 15 - 9:04 Mile 16 - 9:22 Mile 17 - 9:31 Mile 18 - 9:33
Mile 19 - 9:19 Mile 20 - 10:57 Mile 21 - 10:28 Mile 22 - 10:59
Mile 23 - 10: 23 Mile 24 - 12:20 Mile 25 - 13:20
Mile 26 - 10:22 Mile 26.58 - 13:05
Total - 4:04:41 (I walked around at the end for a few minutes before turning off my Garmin)
I began to slow at mile 15 and during the next 3-4 miles the wheels completely came off. During this time, I began experiencing numerous muscle cramps. These included both calves, left quadricepts, and right groin. The left calf and quad were by far the most severe. Each completely seized up on numerous occassions causing me to stop and massage until the cramp ceased.
There are a number of important lessons I learned about racing, training, and myself during this experience.
1. I like running marathons and plan to continue running. Marathons are long, and so is the time it takes to improve marathon performance. I plan to be conservative and not race another marathon until the fall/winter of 2009. Between now and then I'd like to increase mileage while introducing cross-training (weights and biking).
2. 60 degree temperatures and 25-35 mph wind is not optimal marathoning weather. Because this was my first marathon I never would have considered not running, but in the future I will consider sitting out and signing up for a different event so as not to waste the 6 months of training on a sub-par performance. Given that not running was not an option, I should have significantly changed my goals. To achieve my 3:30:00 goal, I needed to average 8:00 min/mile. Looking at my splits, I definitely went out way to fast - even if conditions had been perfect. In hindsight, I should have shot for 9:00 min/mile for at least the first half of the race.
3. Traveling out of town prior to the race is not a good idea. I spent 5 days in Washington, D.C. prior to the race. I spent too much time on my feet and ran few quality miles.
4. Keep training hard during the last month prior to the race. My peak weeks were behind me at this point so I began to relax mentally. This lead to more days off than I should have taken. Next time I plan to keep to my schedule much more closely during this important time.
5. Follow a detailed nutrition plan during the last week of training to ensure proper nutrition and hydration during the race. I simply winged it and feel that this is too important not to take seriously.