Thursday, October 23, 2014

Final Thoughts on My First Marathon Experience

     If I was asked to give an overall grade to the Columbus Marathon committee on this year's race I would have to give the whole entire experience an A or A-.  Overall I loved the race, the course and all of the town support to go along with it.  Being as I have never run any other marathons you can take my recommendation for what its worth, but if you are trying to considering where to run your first, I would say to put it right at the top of the list.  Why I didn’t give it an A+?  Well, come on nobody is perfect! LOL! Seriously though, the layout at the expo didn’t make for a great experience and the problem with the overcrowding of the corrals at the start really bugged me.  Another was the temporary fencing they used seemed a little dangerous to me for those running along it with how the legs stuck out into the course. This was especially bad at the start, with all the runners crammed in I was running along the fence and I found myself high stepping a little to keep from tripping.  The last thing that I had issue with was the road during the 24th or 25th mile they took us down.   It was a road made up entirely of all brick and had a lot of ruts and high/low spots. Not that I think that kind of road is ever really good to use for any course, but at the end of the race where a lot of people are shuffling their feet vs. running normally made it a little dangerous.

     Other than those little picky things, I loved this race and would totally do it again some day.  Every water/fuel station was well maned and all the volunteers were great.  Plenty of port a potties to satisfy the size of the field and all the spectators alike. Out of the entire 26.2 the only boring part of the race, as far as the scenery goes, was a bike path with fields on either side that only lasted a few hundred yards.  I think the race committee new this because there was a lot of great signage featuring inspirational and funny quotes for a laugh and to keep us going.  This race seems to really pride itself on providing an "all about the runner" race experience and boy did they deliver.  

     While I was sitting here reflecting back on the marathon for this post, I couldn’t but help think back to my first ever race experience.  The idea of running a marathon at that time would have been crazy talk considering just running an entire 5K was a challenge to me.  That race was in April of 2013 and I finished the 3.1 miles with a 33:27 and an avg. mile pace of 10:46 and in just 18 months I completed a twenty six point freaking two miles averaging 8:53 per mile. 
     As amazing as that sounded to me I really wanted to give myself a little different perspective on this so I looked up what my weight was and what my marathon time would have been if I ran one 18 months ago.  Using the average pace from that first 5K I would've had a 4:42:05 finish time while I was weighing in at a whopping 260.5 pounds vs. Sunday's race which was 3:52:43 finish time at a weight of 177.5 pounds.  That is a difference of 42 minutes & 22 seconds and a weight difference of 83 pound.  I really don’t know what to say to that, just thinking about it out gives me a lump in my throat.

     As for my training, I will have to look back at it little more to decide what, if any, changes I would like to make.  The three 20 mile runs I think really helped me prepare for the mental aspect of the race, so I am sure those will defiantly stay in.  I do like how I kept my training plan flexible to accommodate my work and personal life schedules, while keeping it strict enough to maintain some quality training.  If I was going to make any big changes, it will revolve around doing a little more speed specific training and cross training.  I am not sure what that will entail yet, but it is on my radar. 
     The two things I couldn’t live without when it comes to marathon training, other than my shoes, is my Garmin and my Camelbak.  Despite the occasional issues with the Garmin, it really helped me analyze my runs and kept my pace in check.  My Camelbak was a life savor on the long runs.  It kept all that weight off of my hips from my fuel belt I usually use, which helped my running form and allowed me to carry enough water and nutrition to last the entire run without stopping.  I know I have been slacking on getting my product reviews done, but for now I will give both these great items two huge thumbs up.
    So where do I go from here?  Well I can say without a doubt this was my first, but defiantly will not be my last marathon.  When the next one will be remains a big question.  I was thinking before Columbus that if I finished the race and wanted to do another one it would be the Medical Mutual Glass City Marathon that I am one of the ambassadors for.  However, now I need to see how long my recover takes, because 7 days after that race I will be at my SoleMates reunion running a half marathon with them.  The way I feel 4 days after I am sure I could do the race, but I don't think it would be a PR attempt by any means.  The other thought I had was if I ran the Toledo half instead and the Indy half that next weekend I would qualify to join the Half Fanatics club which is on my my to do list.  So needless to say the decision to do the half or the full in Toledo is up in the air at this point.  For now, I think I am going to run the Monroe half in a couple weeks and do another turkey trot on thanksgiving.  Then I am going to concentrate on some speed work this winter and finally get down to my goal weight.

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