Archive for April, 2011

My First Marathon

Posted: 2011-04-17 in Running
Tags: ,

On Saturday, 16 April 2011 I ran my first marathon. Finish time was 4:18:15.

My goals were as follows:

A – Finish in under 4 hours.
B – Beat Oprah (4:29:20) Check!
C – Finish! Check!
D – Don’t crap my pants. Check!

The marathon was an official satellite run of the Boston Marathon that will commence on Monday, 18 April 2011. I trained well for this. Here in Afghanistan we are sitting at an elevation of 4500 feet. There are no asphalt roads. Just gravel and dirt trails covered in potholes. I got used to it and it’s not so bad. The elevation took a while to get used to. Before I got to Afghanistan, my normal training pace was about 8:00 per mile. When I got to Afghanistan my training pace immediately dropped to 10:00 per mile. 3 months later I’m down to about an 8:30 pace in normal training runs.

The weather was perfect! Overcast, cool, and just a slight breeze. I thought I was going to nail my A goal with time to spare. This was not to be. My stomach was clearly upset and got worse as the start approached. My plan was to run the first 6 miles at a 9:30 pace and the remaining 20.2 miles at a 9:00 pace. The course was 7 laps around the airfield; each lap approximately 3.79 miles. As soon as the race started I was in jeopardy of not achieving goal “D.” I was forced to make a pit stop for the first three laps. Still wanting to finish sub-4 I increased my pace to an 8:30 pace. This was a mistake that I would pay for around mile 22. I had used GU during all of my long training runs and don’t think that was the problem. The problem was likely the gatorade or a combination of GU and gatorade. Laps 4-6 went by fairly well. The last lap, however, was brutal. I was literally running water station to water station telling myself if i had a cup of water in my hand I could walk. Each time I stopped it became harder and more painful to start again. I was literally screaming as I began running again. After the final water stop with about a mile to go I dropped the hammer. Unfortunately, it was a jeweler’s hammer and not a sledge hammer.

I finished with a respectable 4:18:15 achieving goals B-D! Since it was my first marathon I also PR’d!! I really want a sub-4 and will be looking to achieve that in Kansas City in October.

Now for some pics!

Before the start. Me and my running partner in the middle.

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The starting line. This is the BEST section of “road” on the entire course!

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First lap complete! 6 more to go!

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Smiling for the camera! I’m NOT smiling on the inside.

Dscn1968

Making the turn into the finisher’s shoot! That’s not a smile, it’s a grimace!

Dscn1979

Crossing the finish line!

Dscn1981

Posed finishing photo. The photographer was indisposed the moment I crossed!

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