Sunday, October 10, 2010

10/10/10: The End of the Marathon

I'm done with the Marathon. At least for now. Since I started training again in 2007(my Marathon PR is from 2005-after 2005 I stopped training for a while)...I have had 1 out of 6 marathon races go well. There is a similarity with all of them. The first was October 2007 when I ran the Baltimore Marathon and slowed/faded very gradually after 10 miles...ended up finishing 3:04. BUT I was also just getting fitness back so it wasn't expected I would PR or anything in my first year training again. The following spring of 2008 I had an excellent half at Shamrock and ran 1:17, again not a PR at the time but nonetheless improvement that I was getting my fitness back. Then in June of 2008 I jumped in the San Diego Marathon and went through 1:19 at the half and then slowed gradually and at mile 17 I stopped to walk for a few I ended up crawling in at 3:29 for that race. The Fall of 2008 I concentrated on 8K-13.1, and ran some improvements and a PR at the time in the 10K(34:16). Spring of 2009 I took yet one more stab at the Marathon at Frederick. I also ran a 1:16 half in March which again wasn't a PR but still moving in the right direction, and the Frederick Marathon went terrific. I ran a 2:43 on a hilly course and finished 2nd place-finally I thought-I have this together again! I followed the 2009 spring with a new 8K PR at the Twilighter in July running 26:52. Fall of 2009 I furthur lowered my 13.1 time to 1:15 at Va Beach while training for Marine Corps Marathon. Now Marine Corps was a definite dissapointment, as I slowed considerably the second half of the race-running a modest(for me) 2:57. So Winter of 2009 I got back to the 10K and lowered my PR to 33:29. This is when I saw a change in my training and progression. It catapulted me into the most successful season I have ever had: the Spring of 2010. It started off with a nice 1:12 13.1M PR at the Colonial Half(which is pretty hilly as well). I then ran the Shamrock Marathon 3 weeks later(I am laughing out loud as I am typing this)-and that was again another disaster-ended up walking 4 miles of the course and as a result my time ended up just like San Diego-3:27. Now, at this point I started to assess my training methods and realized that I was in great 10k-13.1M shape at the time but NOT in marathon shape(the mileage just wasn't there either) 3 weeks later HUGE PR at the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler in 54:16...5:25 pace! This was my most impressive PR yet. Just 6 days after Cherry Blossom I run another half marathon in 1:13, and then a week after that I run another huge 10K PR of 32:54 at Pike's Peak(which yes, is downhill-but it was still a PR by 35 seconds!)

So after a very successful 2010 spring(every race was a PR pretty much with the exception of Shamrock), I said to myself, ok-the spring was successful and I was in shape for 10k-13.1-so now lets try to get this marathon thing right-as if it would work?! I went ahead and signed up for the Chicago Marathon and I focused solely on the distance and made sure not to race too close-I chose Parkersburg Half 7 weeks out which was the same time between Shamrock and Frederick in 2009. I also got the mileage up. So training on high mileage I used some races as good workouts as well over the summer. It was great, I had a great summer and I have gained so much fitness. I ran 115 MPW and have remained injury free for 3 1/2 years(I used to have a lot of injury problems-especially pre-2005). I have run the most I ever have by the end of this year by far. I mean, I did some awesome training runs! 20 miles at 6:00 pace to feel EASY?! Holy shit.

So the Chicago Marathon was to be the day where I would run the great marathon I had been hoping for. It was going well for a while...and I really thought I was going to have a great day. I went through the half in 1:16:50 and that felt fine-but once 16 came I just started falling apart. At mile 19(1:53) was when I really had some problems. A HUGE cramp in my left side told me to stop and walk-I kept running-it got so painful I was screaming-I tried to rub it out-it forced me to stop eventually...from then on it was murder. I just couldn't get back into my rhthym. I tried-boy I did try. I knew I would finish no matter what-but I wanted to at least have a DECENT RUN-maybe 2:39?? I also started gagging a few times. My body was NOT processing this distance. It just got worse and worse. I stopped and walked several times(although this was the least walking I did compared to Shamrock and San Diego). I mean, I was done. I was just running the rest/jogging.

It wasn't RACING. See, I love to race. I love running all out and yes, maybe I'll slow a LITTLE-bit in a 10K or Half Marathon-but not completely crumble like in the marathon. The Marathon is either "On for me or REALLY Off". Why couldn't I just have a content race like Reaves or someone else had instead of completely crawling the last 10K in 1:04? Excuse my French but "What the fuck?" Why does this keep happening to me? And this time I realized, it wasn't the weather(although it was warm enough today), it wasn't the training, it wasn't the mileage.......its just my body is not cut out right now for pushing myself over 26.2 miles at the pace I know I can run(if that makes any sense at all) I could analyze this any way I want, but at the end of the day my body is just saying quite clearly, "NO". It does not want this-at least right now. Maybe if the Marathon was 20-22 miles, I would be a killer at it right now...but 26.2 is just too damn long.

I was having fun out there earlier in the race-and this is what perhaps frustrates me the most. I was running perfect 5:45-5:50 splits(after mile 1 anyway-which was 6:10???), and was rolling with a nice pack of guys. It was fantastic-the crowds-the adrenaline- the pace felt so good! I was excited. Halfway was a huge wave of adrenaline-the crowds were deafening. When you are running well, it is such a great feeling with all the support around you.

So, here I am now. Another disastrous marathon. It just sucks when you are running well and then the wheels completely fall off and you go from running in the right place to the wrong place. So I am done with the Marathon, at least for now. I have basically had enough. There are always dissapointing races, but this is different. This is one after the other after another. I'm basically sick of it. At least in 13.1M races and under, if I have a bad race, it usually isn't THAT BAD. The Marathon translates to REALLY BAD-I mean, if I had an off day in the Marathon and ran a 2:40-fine, but damn, 3:29, 3:27, & 3:04??? I'm fed up. I'm better than that. I have tortured myself enough having to finish these bad marathons. I'm tired of that too. I will not drop out of a race, simply because I love to run. That doesn't mean I do not respect others who drop out of races. Finishing is a personal decision I know I make within myself. I love to run, and even if I slow to a crawl in a race, I will finish it running or jogging or whatever-it's just running-it sucks though at the same time because you are "in the event" and it seems bigger than what it really is. So it really isn't fun, it kinda sucks lol, so I can see why people drop out. It's tough.

So, I am going to continue training the way I have been training, but not jump in any Marathons. I will race no longer than 13.1 for the time being. It is just the way to go right now. I do not have the strength yet to run another GREAT marathon.

As for the rest of the year, I will do my favorite 10K winter trio of Veterans Day, Turkey Chase, and Jingle All the Way.


  1. You might consider a trail race, maybe a 50k to start. The hills and terrain force you to slow down and it would put to bed the idea that you can't do distance.

  2. Hold your head high dude. Better days will come.

  3. it is okay, we all have good days and bad day in running. like pr said, hold your head high, take some time off to recover, then shoot for marathon with down hill course. I know you can do it...

  4. Guys, I appreciate the support, I really do. You all are what keeps me pursuing my goals.