May 5, 2014

Kalamazoo Marathon - A slog fest finish

My adventure continues. Took a little ride down the highway to Kalamazoo, Michigan. Yes it does exist, in fact there are 3 or 4 other cites named Kalamazoo across the country. This is my race report on how to run a 3hr Marathon when apparently you left common sense back home.

The whole write up starts out good, but dives bomb at the end.


A mere 23 days before I ran the best marathon of my short career thus far, Martian Invasion. I was in total awe of the performance days after, still riding the high. 

I didn't run much that week after, as I let things heal up. Mostly it was a tight knot in my right calf that was still being troublesome. I managed 9 runs of varying miles, nothing spectacular.

The week leading up to Kalamazoo was of course of heavy workload. We planted 3,000 + trees and shrubs for a wetleand restoration project Thursday and Friday. that left me soar. Ouch.

I arrived in Kalamazoo mid-day Saturday, still soar-ish. Hit the expo, and ventured my way around town looking for a place to run and shake the legs out. I managed to find the Bike path and get 4 miles. This was also part of the marathon route. Enjoyable run, mid 50's plenty of wind.

Stayed with Andrew from Ellsworth, Maine. Great to be with someone back from home and just talk about all the amazing runners who are up and coming back in Maine. Andrew had lofty goals to improve upon his BQ time, and after the horse race an beer, he was sure that something great would happen tomorrow. (little did he know he would perform exceptionally by running with the 3:30 pace group through 25 miles)

Race Day: 

Weather was predicted to be mid 40's and breezy. Breezy was an understatement. Before the race started, one tent blew over that hadn't been tired down yet. Luckily no one hurt.

The hotel served a simple breakfast and somehow Andrew and I managed to grab the last bagels at 6:15am. A cup of coffee and off we went catching the shuttle from the hotel to the race site, how easy! Loved not dealing with traffic and parking headaches. 7am, I bought a snickers cause my stomach was still hungry, nerves setting in, feeling cold and breezy.

8am: Gun goes off. A good group takes off down the straightaway. I glance down at mile 1 and see I've gone out waaay to fast. (jeeez, I think to myself that felt easy) Well yeah! Felt easy cause we were going downhill. Pulled up to a young woman who was looking for sub 3:10, we chatted for a sec but she was smart and dropped back. What did I do, pick it stupid. (6:17, 6:13)

Stupid was the statement of the day. It felt easy, but I was by myself, running into the wind, going uphill, and still clicking off faster mile splits than my PR marathon a couple weeks ago...(6:16, 6:19, 6:13)

A long gradual climb at 9 miles was a bit of a wake up call, the wind kept hammering, or so it felt. Probably only 15mph, but it felt like i was constantly running into the wind.  A quick loop through a college campus on relatively flat roads made it for a quick mile, only to return down that long hill i came up (6:20, 6:13, 6:09, 6:22, 6:02)

At this point (10.5ish) I passed Andrew and must have gotten some pop in my step. I was 1) passing people running in the other direction, which was nice to see and 2) gave a couple of high fives and finally it was mostly downhill. Downhill and adrenaline you ask? Fast mile splits. stupidly fast. (6:17, 5:59) I'm pretty sure I got down into the 5:30 range...I didn't look.

Things started to get lonely at this point. Running through neighborhoods, with rolling hills. Passed the half way marker in 1:21:41 ish (6:04 mile)

Out of no where I come onto a street packed with people and i get a whiff of something I never thought I would see or smell on a race course, BACON!? They were handing out bacon. Sticking it in my face, I frowned, stuck my head down and blew past em, ready to hurl. (6:17)

More lonely streets, more wind. No idea where I was but I trusted the cones. "Downhill mile coming up, than your almost there" an officer quips. Indeed it was downhill but fuck don't tell me I'm almost there..10 miles to go can be a long hour (or more in my case). ( 6:11, 6:07)

At mile 17 something changed. Mentally I didn't care any more. I'd like to blame it on the hills and wind early on but surely that wasn't it. Running alone for so long and running stupidly from the first mile. Yes that was it.

All I wanted to do was run a 3 hour marathon nice and easy. Why the hell go and dig myself into a hole.

From 18 on it was a true slog fest. Every 1/2 mile or so i walked. I walked through water stations, walked with walkers, got passed by people i had passed earlier. It was mentally all a game as my legs weren't arguing at all, it was all in my head.

17: 6:28, 18: 6:28, 7:38, 8:16, 7:59, 8:34, 7:52, 7:52, 8:59, 8:37

That my friends is no way to run a 3 hour marathon. That something like 16 minutes SLOWER the second half.

I guess i was due for a bad marathon after 4 or 5 straight good ones.

Final results:
8th overall
1:21:4x- first half
1:38:xx - second half

The plan now:

I'll be working with an even management company (3 Disciplines!) this summer, so i'll get to travel a fair amount and train in some sweet parks and cities. Heading to Ohio and Illinois just this month alone! 

I'd like to run come 5k's and possibly 10k's this summer. I'll be backing off on marathon training for now, and focus more on speed. 

Chicago will be next. Expect something big.  Expect nothing but the best.

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