|Photo by Carl Cox|
Also doing this race were my friends and coworkers Cathy and Scott. It was to be their first marathon.
Tony wisely advised that I go out and do a cycle of 8 minutes running and 2 minutes walking from the very start of the race, and I took that advice. I am familiar with that strategy and know it produces results, but have never tried it because I simply prefer to run. However, I knew that I had to do something in this race or else I'll struggle through the second half of the race in an epic suffer-fest that I normally don't experience until after 40 miles as opposed to 14.
As it happened, I was able to keep up the run/walk cycle all the way until half-way through lap 7 (out of 9), averaging between 11:30 and 13:00 per mile for the first 22 miles or so. At about mile 22, I simply didn't start running again when I was supposed to, and walked the next 1.5 miles. Just before the start of my last lap, Cathy was finishing hers and I ran with her and watched her finish. I then resumed walking for about a mile, and then put on some music and ran most of the last two miles.
By the halfway point it was apparent that if I didn't crash too hard (which was a big if), I was destined to PR (Previous PR was 5:43:59) and was actually on pace to break 5:30, perhaps even 5:25. This was either really good news or really bad news - it could have meant that I went out too fast and might pay for it later. As it happened, we split the difference - I didn't break 5:30 (mostly because of walking that eighth lap), but also picked up a new PR with over 8 minutes to spare.
I've gotta wonder - what kind of time would I have produced in a marathon if I tried running 8/2s back when 10 minutes per mile felt like 12 minutes per mile does now?
Steve is taking a break from writing regular updates to this blog.