A.M. Ogden Marathon, 2:32:28, 2nd place. Fast Running Blog sweep of 8 places in the top 10 in the men's plus 2nd place in the women's (Michelle). Not perfect score but getting there. Did some FRB recruiting to fix that. Stay tuned for updates...
The morning started at 4:00 AM with a short scripture study, then I followed Michelle in my car to the bus pick-up. On the bus sat next to an older runner named Ryan. We had a good talk.
The temperatures were quite comfortable at the start, which was a bad sign of things to come as that meant it would be too warm later on. It was nice seeing a crowd of uniformed bloggers. I took advantage of every opportunity that turned up to promote the blog. When none turned up I would create one. "Hey guy, how are you? Do you want to get faster? Go to our site - FastRunningBlog.Com!"
Examined the competition, found Ken Pliska and Seth Wold, invited them to run with us. Pretty soon Seth, Logan, Clyde, and I separated from everybody else. During the first mile we had a guy with us whose name I forgot, I think it was Ken, (I hope he finds this post and reminds me) that was targeting 2:40. After we found out his background and his goal we recommended to him to ease off and join the 2:40 pace group (Ogden Marathon race directors did not know that they had one, courtesy of the Fast Running Blog :-)).
I love those first couple of miles of a marathon. Time for introductions and chit-chat. But it ended too soon. Clyde and Logan were a bit edgy, and Seth was playing along. As it would turn out that pace was just right for him. I noticed Clyde was struggling and suggested this could possibly be a bad sign that our pace is too fast. My thinking was that a pace that is too fast for either myself, Logan, or Clyde could easily be too fast for all three, except the other two might feel too excited to notice it. Clyde said he was OK. I said : "OK for the half, OK for 15, OK for 20, or OK for 26?". Clyde said: "we will see at the end".
In the beginning we agreed that we may try a joint effort for Paul's course record (2:26:24) as there were rumors about a possible bonus, and if we were going to do it, the honest way is that all three of us try. Otherwise, the one that does not will have an unfair advantage at the end. So even though the pace started feeling too fast, I decided to go along with it for a couple of miles. At around 4 it really started not feeling right. I wish I could have sat down right there with Clyde and Logan and presented my reasoning for backing off, and to convince them to back off with me, but I did not have the time. I just said that it was too fast and I needed to ease off.
The mile markers were messed up in the early miles due to the last minute course adjustments, but I think by 5 miles they were correct. My 5 mile split was 27:41, with Clyde, Logan, and Seth a bit a head. When I eased off, I think they did as well after a while, and also with them being ahead I felt some pressure to keep a faster pace as I did not want to lose contact in case we started getting gusts of head wind.
Finally Clyde came to grips with the idea that the pace was too fast and let Seth and Logan go. That was nice because now I could work with him better. At first I tried to do trading leads, but it did not work. Clyde's mind works better when he is up front. This was fine with me, I like drafting.
One we turned into the valley, on the 9th mile all of a sudden 6:00 pace became a chore. Then I knew it was getting warm enough to make a difference. This was going to be a survival race. Those are both good and bad for me. The splits are depressing, and the projected finish time is disappointing. I do not like slow pace when racing, well, who does? On the positive side, however, I am very good at survival games, this gives me an edge over the competition.
56:03 at 10 miles, 1:14:45 at the half. I started moaning to keep the momentum and just because it felt right. Sorry Clyde. Learn to moan with those that moan :-) We did a 6:10 mile from 12 to 13 and it felt too good all of a sudden. So I figured it was time to put the pedal down. With a few moans I was able to accelerate and thought I was going at least 5:45. Good luck, 5:53 on a mildly downhill mile. OK, it must be hot. Clyde is falling back pretty quick, and nobody is coming up from behind or is even close.
Moaned my way up the hill, tried to get into a good rhythm afterwards, but still cannot break 5:50. That's OK, just focus on good rhythm, good form, glide along, stay in the money position, don't try too hard to upgrade it, let it come naturally if it is supposed to happen today. 1:26:34 at 15 miles.
Got past the dam, still feeling strong, but it is not showing in the mile splits. But at least they are all under 6:00, and I am even hitting 5:40s on some downhill miles. Passing half-marathoners and scaring them with my moaning. 1:55:45 at 20 miles.
Getting different reports on the gap with the leaders, figuring it is 2-3 minutes. Not much additional info. I want to know if it is 2 or 3. Finally at 24 Josh Steffen, who was on the course, yells at me that Logan is only 30 seconds ahead. I caught up to him in what seemed like forever, and asked him what was wrong. He felt good enough to run with me and answer that his legs were cramped up, but then had to stop and massage them. This happened to me in my first marathon.
Having moved into 2nd cheered my spirits, but I still did not feel secure. Based on how well Logan ran when he was actually running, he could possibly find an extra gear that would allow him to block the pain signals and start running sub-6:00 pace. And somebody like Ken Pliska or one of the bloggers having a miracle race could all of a sudden come from behind.
I was able to keep my miles under 6:00 until 24, then had a 6:04, and a 6:10 in spite of trying to pick it up. I did not feel bad but I guess being out in the open sun on the last mile did not help. Kicked in 1:15 for the last 385 yards, and ended up with 2:32:28 in second place behind Seth Wold who finished in 2:27:43 in his first marathon. Logan came in third holding off Clyde who was 4th. Then Jeff Shadley, Chad, Kory, then Ben VanBeekam created a hole in the blogger dominance which we hope to fix soon, rumor has it that he has been learning and has entered the "almost thou persuadest me" state, after that Cody, Walter, Jon and the Lost Sheep Bill Cobler, a picture with him holding a Lost Sheep sign is on its way.
After the finish three ladies one at a time insisted on giving me the finisher medal. I said, no thanks, I think I had to do it three times for each of the ladies. They could not understand why I did not want a finisher medal. I hope some of the readers will. Suppose you could sing well enough to be paid to do it. How would you like to get a medal every time you sang on key? While singing on key is a feat for a lot of people, myself very particularly included as those who have heard me sing would testify, and the ability to do so is a gift from God which should not be taken for granted, nevertheless for a decent singer this is a basic element of performance, not a stellar accomplishment. For a number of obvious reasons he would not want to pile up token awards of this kind and put them up on display for his friends to see.
So it is with finishing a marathon. To get a finisher medal all you need to do is get to the finish under 6 hours. In some marathons you can be even slower. For some people such a goal is not trivial. It takes a lot of preparation and focus. Others would be able to do it with ease and with no prior preparation. I believe that if you would able to run a sub-6:00 marathon comfortably even you did not train at all or very sporadically you should not take a finisher medal. God gave you a gift and He expects you to do more with it than just finish a marathon. At least that is what I decided to do for myself. For as long as my health makes it so that just to finish before the course closes is not a challenge I will not be taking finisher medals anymore.
As far as the reward for running a race is concerned when the budget of the race does not permit the race director to reward my performance with cash, a mention of my time in the race results means more to me than any kind of a trophy or a medal. In the context of the competition it speaks for itself, and does justice to what I've done that day. That is all I need as far as recognition is concerned.
T4 Racer - 81.17 miles.
P.M. 3 miles with the kids. 1 with Jenny and Julia in 10:10. Jenny pulled ahead a bit - her time was 10:05. Then 0.5 with Benjamin and Jenny in 4:09. This gave Jenny 14:14 for 1.5. Then 1.5 more with Benjamin to finish his 2 miles in 15:56.
Five Fingers - 19.63 miles.