Sunday, November 11, 2007

Reaching for a Goal

I'm so pleased with my performance at this past Saturday's Richmond Marathon. My main goal was to break 4 hours. My reach goal was a 3:35. I finished at 3:41:27! 6 minutes off my reach goal and an over 45 minute improvement over last year! I averaged an 8:27 per mile pace and was 75th out of 275 in my age group.

I'm also amazed at the tenacity of my good friend Chris's performance. He's been having some knee trouble and lately, hasn't been able to run very much in training. He wasn't going to pass on the Marathon, so his Physical Therapist told him to only run 10 miles and walk the rest. Chris ended up running 14 miles before having to walk the remainder. He posted a respectable Half Marathon time of 2:03:12. I admire his desire and never give up attitude. It would have been really easy for Chris to not run at all. Congrats to you, Chris! Way to gut it out!

Kevin posted a great time in the NTelos 8K with a 33:01! That's a 6:38 per mile pace! That put him 14th out of 247 in his age group (M25-29)! Way to go Kev!

Below is my race report.

The alarm goes off and I pull myself out of the warm bed, knowing that it's going to be cold this morning. As I reach for the door to let Allie outside, I see the moonlight reflecting off the deck. It takes me a few seconds to realize that it is raining. I could not believe that it was going to be cold and raining for this run. Immediately after breakfast, I head to the laptop to check the radar. I'm fully relieved to see the last of the rain moving out.

I arrive downtown at about 6:45am, plenty of time before the 8am start. I park in my building and head to the restroom. Don't have to find a parking spot and don't have to deal with the Port-A-Pottys. I love the local races, where I get to park in my building. Two race morning headaches I don't have to deal with!

Check my post race clothes in the UPS bag check and head over to find a place that is sheltered from the wind until it gets closer to the start. About 20 minutes from the start, I head over to the corral that I'm assigned to. I caught up with all my running buddies and wished everyone luck. I then talk pacing strategy with the guys that I'll be running with.

Much of the Marathon goes uneventful, which as many of you know, is the best way to begin a race. I was setting a great pace with my Garmin. Very steady and controlled. We reached the Half at 1:48:19 and felt really good. We spent quite a few miles of the first Half at just under 8 minute pace.

At about mile 21, I begin to fade just slightly, dropping my pace to 8:39 per mile. To compensate my fading body, I decide to take very short walk breaks at the Aid stations and push hard between them.

The 25th mile. This was the worst of the 26.2 miles. The one that my body wanted to shut down and call it a day. I guess I was about halfway through the 25th mile when my body just stopped. I actually remember stopping and placing my hands on my knees. "Had I been running too fast?" "Was this all I had?" At that moment I remembered my favorite inspirational quote.

"There will come a point in the race, when you alone will need to decide. You will need to make a choice. Do you really want it? You will need to decide." - Rolf Arands

Of course I really want it! I've trained too hard and put too much work into this to give it all up. I might not hit 3:35, but I'm not going to fold up and quit. I ended up with an 11:09 pace through the 25th mile, but mentally overcame a huge stumbling block was able to begin pushing hard again.

My body tried one last time, with only 9 blocks left to go, to shut down. My Hamstring locked up and I could no longer run. I hobbled over to the curb and stretched it out for 20 seconds. "We're not done yet!" I told my body. Taking a few steps, the Hamstring loosens up completely, and I'm able to grit my teeth and fly the 9 blocks down the hill to the finish of a great Marathon!

Upon finishing, I learn that my buddy Mark had qualified for Boston! He and I were running together and I was setting the pace. He pulled ahead at about mile 21 and finished in 3:34:11! Just under his age group qualifying time of 3:35!

I know that I can't waste any time and have to get all my things together. I have a long drive to Blacksburg ahead of me. After getting my bag from the bag check and grabbing some Papa John's Pizza from the post race food, I head back to my building to shower and change. I end up leaving Richmond about 1pm and make great time. I have plenty of water and food in the cooler riding shotgun, so I'm not in too much pain while driving. The first hour of the drive was the worst as all I wanted to do was sleep. I ended up on the phone talking to my Brother for a long time, just chatting, to keep me awake. My first restroom break turns into a trip to the bushes as I realize that I can barely walk and couldn't make it all the way up to the gas station.

I end up in Blacksburg having only missed the first quarter and got to watch my Hokies beat FSU 40-21. It was a great day!


Chris Hennesey said...

Thanks so much for the nice note on the blog Bryan! Great job again on the marathon. All your training and hard work clearly paid off.

Brandon R. said...

Deal, Great Job! I am proud of you that you set out on your goal and made it. Keep up the good work.

Dying Water Buffalo said...

okay second attempt to leave you a comment saying AWESOME JOB! Cutting 45 minutes off a marathon time is incredible! :) You certainly earned that pizza!

Matt said...

Man- what an awesome day for you. Congrats on shaving 45 minutes off last year's time... that's just incredible. Look out Lake Placid- HERE COMES DEALIO!!!!!

Amy said...

WOW! Brandon told me about your day, but reading it was better... 45 minutes off your previous time is incredible!