Friday, October 17, 2014

Marathon Training - Race Preview

      This year marks the 35th anniversary of the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Marathon and Half marathon held in Columbus, Ohio. This year's race had a combined 18,000 available spots for both races, which sold out a few weeks ago.  Assuming that all 18,000 actually participate, it sounds like it will be a very crowded day for the runners and the spectators.  According to the race website, over 100,000 plus spectators show up to cheer the athletes along the entire course, including over 100 bands and entertainers to provide a great experience for both the spectators and runners.
    Over the past few months I have been receiving periodic email updates on any changes or additions to the race.  One of the things they are doing this year is two full blown starts.  What I mean by that is, normally they have the singing of the National Anthem then a fireworks display, followed by the send off of the runners.  I am guessing on how it will exactly go this year, but it sounds like they will do the usual start and let half of the field go and then do another full start with the National Anthem and fireworks for the other half as well.  This would allow the runners towards the back of the field to have the same experience as the runners in the front.  It makes total sense to me and shows that they value that all runners have the same great experience. 
     The course has made two changes this year.  The one that made the most impact which sounds like a huge upgrade from previous years is the start/finish line.  They have moved the start and finish lines and combined them in one area called North Bank Park.  Even though I have been to Columbus a few times I am not familiar with the area, but looking on Google maps and watching the course video on their site, it seems to be a great big area capable of housing all the runners and a lot of spectators.  The down side to this is it will be a longer walk down to the start line from all most all of the hotels in the downtown area.  I did a quick route calculator and the rough distance to the old start line is a little less than a mile from where I am staying, while the new start is roughly 1.3 miles from the the hotel.  I guess I can put a positive spin on it and say I will be good and loose when I get to the start line.
     For info on the title sponsor of the race I visited their website and here is what they had to say The Nationwide Children’s Hospital has been the title and beneficiary for the Marathon & 1/2 Marathon for the past three years now.  More than $2 Million has been raised for the Hospital since the partnership started in 2012, which includes a $350,000 contribution from the Columbus Marathon board of trustees. Now I am not a representative of the hospital or the race in anyway, but I do believe in helping the children who have to suffer through the many cancer and life threatening diseases that are out there.  So if would like to, here is the link, I took from the race website, where you can make a donation to aid in the life-saving work of Nationwide Children's Hospital. CLICK HERE.
     One other really cool thing the race also does is what it calls Patient Champions.  They have 24 patients of the hospital set up at each mile of the race with giant foam hands so the runners can give them high fives as they go by.  The other two miles of the marathon are miles that honor those that have participated in previous years and those that unfortunately have lost their battle.  Below I copied and pasted the words that the website uses to eloquently describe this: "The Nationwide Children’s Hospital Columbus Marathon & ½ Marathon is about much more than running or walking an incredible distance. It’s about 24 Patient Champions whose stories, one at each mile will inspire you, one Angel Mile to honor, remember, and celebrate those who have already finished their race, and one Encore Mile for the patients who Participated in previous events. Meet them here.  26.2 miles, each with a different story, a new inspiration, and another reason to keep running. These miraculous kids will be on each mile of the marathon on October 19th, supporting you every step of the way."

WEATHER FORECAST : A look into Al Roker's Crystal Ball
     It looks like the weather is going to cooperate and give us a nice and cool rain free day.  We are still more than 24 hours out so this can and probably will change I'm sure.  For now I am feeling pretty good about what I am seeing, just got to hope that mother nature gets all the rain out of her system tomorrow.

     Let us discuss race goals.  When I started running a couple of years ago I seemed to play it safe with my goals because I didn't want to fail.  When I would run a new distance all I would worry about is finishing that distance, which was really playing it safe because other than the marathon I have done all the other race distances in my training runs prior to the race.  Now I haven't run a distance further than 20 miles so technically I really don't know if I can do the full 26.2, but based on how my training went and as long as I don't have any major problems or injuries I can reasonably assume I am going to be able to at least finish.  It might take me six hours, but I could finish the distance.  So I think a goal of just finishing is playing it safe and a waste of all the hard work I have put in this year, so I am giving myself a time goal as well.  When I started training I was thinking a 4:30 or better time, but I quickly learned that that was to slow for my abilities at that time.  So I set a goal of trying to do 3:59:59 or better time, which day one of my training felt like the right goal.  About half way through my training I realized that I could push my goal a little more based on how my runs were goingSo I reevaluated and decided on anything between a 3:55 and 3:59 is doable for me.  Toward the last quarter of my training, my race pace runs were continually coming in at a pace the would put me around a 3:50 to a 3:52, so I said that should be doable for me.  The key word is doable! If that is what I think is doable than I am going to try for one notch  past doable.  What does that look: 
Avg. of 8:46 per mile
     I truly think that if everything goes well I could achieve this time.  My race pace training runs have been pretty steady at an 8:50 per mile, so I think I can push myself a little more for a sub 3:50 marathon.  To be honest, if I don't and I finish with a 3:59 or a 4:10 or even slower, that is a hell of a lot better than my previous marathon time, o:oo LOL  I have a pace strategy in mind so we will see on race day how it all shakes out.  Hell you never know maybe I'll freak and play it safe, or maybe I'll get out there and a 3:49 was even still playing it safe for me.  We will see on Sunday!!
      The race is well organized with an established history and should play a great host to many of first time marathoners like myself.  I am excited to begin this final chapter on this journey that began roughly 6 months ago.  With all the hours of training, the early morning runs, the afternoon long runs and all the sacrifices to allow for it has come down to this, my victory lap.  The race is nothing more than being able to enjoy the fruits of my labor of these past 6 months.  I may have time goals I have set for myself, but at the end of the day, all that really matters is to be able to cross the finish line and join the brothers and sisters who call themselves Marathoners.

* For quick access to my entire Marathon training journal click the "Marathon Journal" tab just below the Running In The Fat Lane header


  1. Dean you are a ROCKSTAR!!! You have so many people that love and support you and we are just as excited to watch you achieve this goal as you are for yourself. One day I hope to complete a full marathon and you have shown me that it's possible. Love you Deano! Go out there tomorrow and run with your heart and you will be amazing!!!

  2. Kill it Dean! Can't wait to hear how it goes.