This was my 5th marathon – the Glass City Marathon in Toledo. It was my goal race, and the biggest push for a sub 3 I’ve ever made (PR of 3:12 going into race). I started training for this in November by doing a 4 week base phase, and then built into my training using the Hudson plan, which I LOVED. In the past, I’ve faded in the latter stretches so I made a point of having as many miles I could, including a peak week at 109.2 miles. I also had some good indicators throughout the cycle, particularly a 29:23 5 miler and pacing a 1:30 half that felt good. Unfortunately, the last month wasn’t my best training. Even in the last two weeks, my breath felt labored and I had some aches in my knees that I didn’t like. My confidence was suffering, and I had pretty well reconciled with the fact that sub 3 wasn’t going to happen for me.
So, with that as subtext, here’s what transpired:
Get to race site…rain starts. Awesome. But here we go!
Miles 1-5 6:56, 6:45, 6:45, 6:47, 6:49
My plan was to run the first 3-5 miles of this race slower than goal pace. The biggest thing was just to not go out too fast, which is so tough when starting near the front of race (or starting anywhere really). I was really happy to see my first mile where it was, and although I sped up a little for the next 4, it wasn’t by too much. This was a nice area with some very beautiful homes for scenery. The crowds were awesome, and I got to see my mom at mile 4. She hoofed it pretty hard from the start to get out there before me, and she’s an awesome race buddy. I spent these miles mostly taking stock of all my key indicators …I was breathing mostly through my nose and feeling no real aches or pains - goodness.
Miles 6-10 6:52, 6:46, 6:54, 6:48, 6:51
These miles left the neighborhoods and headed to some more major streets. I was kinda on my own, but also keeping track of a couple runners from the Columbus Running Co. Race Team as well, figuring they’d be fast and finish strong. One guy was about 6’7, quite easy to follow! I also wanted him nearby if the wind ever picked up. I was hoping to see my mom again at mile 8, but unfortunately she wasn’t able to get there in time. I think she’s as sore as I am from trying to do it though, so I really appreciated the effort! The rain was picking up in these miles and the front of my feet felt fairly squishy, but other than that these miles were just about focusing on pace and moving along.
Miles 11-15 6:47, 6:50, 6:43, 6:41, 6:48
The rain had really picked up by now and it was steady, staying that way for the rest of the race. I was surprised to see the Race Team guys pull off for the half, but I kinda teamed up with another guy here for a few miles. My half time was called out at 1:29:40, and I was pleased to be right around my goal pace and not very far under. My plan for this race was to really negative split it, so I knew I had given myself a chance. I lost my running buddy along here and was pretty much solo for the rest of the run. Similar to the other early miles, these were just about keeping the legs going and starting to think about strategy for the finish.
Miles 16-20 6:43, 6:44, 6:35, 6:36, 6:37
This is where the race really began for me. I knew I was feeling great, so I tried to balance that with not wanting to go too soon. I felt like I could pull back if I needed to, so I started to push a little. This is where my race became incredibly focused, and I developed the mantra “WIN THIS MILE” along the way. That mantra was great as it kept me entirely in the present. The miles just kept ticking by easily, and I was starting to pass a lot of runners. All the spectators were telling me I looked strong, and I took a lot from that. I really felt that too and my form just felt right.
Miles 21 – 23 6:40, 6:39, 6:35
At this point we hopped back on the bike path, turning into a little headwind for the first time. We also started to double back on slower half marathoners, but for the most part they stayed to the side and were easy to pass. They also gave a lot of encouragement, which was nice. These miles were the first ones where I started to get ahead of myself and think about the end result. I got back on track mentally pretty quickly though, and just focused on each individual mile, keeping the legs turning over and giving what I had. I never did pull out the pace band I brought, just because I didn’t want to see how far under sub 3 I was and give myself an excuse to slow down. I knew it was going well though
Miles 24-26 6:35, 6:38, 6:35…6:03 pace to finish
These were the final miles and I knew I had it. I just wanted to make it as good of a time as possible at this point, so I gave everything I had. The pace didn’t differ much from the previous miles, but they were still good miles. I passed lots more runners and was the only one not fading. There was one guy ahead of me by a fair amount, but I wanted him. Unfortunately, with about a mile out, a biker rode up to him and told him I was closing! It didn’t matter, though, today was my day and I made my last push right before we entered the stadium to finish. He didn’t have a kick left to get me as I pressed to the finished. I cried and smiled at the same time as I crossed the line! I was honestly shocked by the time…I knew it was good, but I didn’t expect this:
Time 2:56xx Pace was about 6:43, and I negative split the 2nd half by over 3 minutes. PR by over 16mins!
I don’t think I could have executed a better race today. This course was flat and fast, like advertised, and I took full advantage. It was just one of those amazing runs where it all came together. Had you asked me before the race if I had this in me, I would have said no way. I’m just so happy that all my hard training paid off, and that rough patch I hit at the very end didn’t impact me at all. Thanks to all of you for keeping me motivated to get out there this winter – I definitely feel like I owe a lot of my time to you all.
PRs: Marathon (2:49xx; '13) Half (1:25xx; '12) 10k (40:26; '11) 5mi (29:23; '13) 5k (17:33; '13)
You killed it! I like the mantra. Isn't it funny how they just come to you during the race? And, way to just lay down the hammer at the end and go after a faster time. Congratulations! I'm so happy for you right now. Rest up!
The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now. – Chinese Proverb
Awesome job, SIAR!!! Really great work with the pacing, and way to finish strong! That's great that your mom was there. Nice negative splits and congrats on the huge PR and sub-3 (and by a good amount, too!)!!
PRs: 5K: 22:31, 10K:46:43, 15K: 1:10:35, HM: 1:42:49, M: 3:38:20
You have no idea how thrilled I am for you! I was thinking about you and Julia both a lot yesterday and kept checking my phone to see if either of you reported back. I live vicariously through both of you speedy runners. Your victories are my victories too!
Great job on this race. I mean WOW, you executed your plan perfectly! Your splits were really amazing. I did a little quick math and came up with the following variances between your fastest and slowest mile times.
Miles 01-05: 3 seconds ( I tossed out the first mile. It's 11 seconds if you count mile 1)
Miles 02-10: 8 seconds
Miles 10-15: 9 seconds
Miles 16-20: 9 seconds
Miles 20-26: 4 seconds
All that hard work and training really paid off. Congratulations!
"Address the process rather than the outcome. Then, the outcome becomes more likely." - Robert Fripp
I commented on the B&B, but again, congratulations!
Damaris, Marathon Maniac, Ultra Runner
Next: San Francisco Marathon
"The most powerful weapon on earth is the human soul on fire."
SIAR, I commented on the other forum but came back to read it again.
What a superb effort and well deserved personal victory!!
I'm really happy your Mom could be there to share that special moment with you.
Whoo hoo SIAR! I had a huge smile on my face the entire time I was reading your RR. I am very, very proud of you and happy for your success! Way to go! And what an awesome mom you have working so hard to support you.
Wow, that's probably the best executed marathon I've read about! Huge PR, sub-3, and a negative split. You put in the work and it paid off big time!!