Monday, October 4, 2010

Maine Marathon race report

There. I've done it. It took me only 5 years of training!

The race was almost perfectly executed. I placed myself upfront but started easy. I used 1/2 marathoners on the way out by running in their wake. They kept slowing down so I'd have to pick up the pace for 30-50 yards to quickly get to the next group. But then after the 1/2 turnaround it was just me. From the 1/2M turnaround (6.5 miles?) to the finish I passed 5-6 runners; none passed me. And I didn't have the opportunity to run with anyone - no one was going my pace.

It was nice to see friends out on the course including James, Brett Hellstedt and Matt Lunt. And Mike Pratico was actually in his car waiting for me to cross Rt. 1 with its intersection with Rt. 88! It was great to have Ryan and Ian in multiple spots. And it was fun to have Cacky and Sam cheer me on at mile 4 when I was feeling invincible. And Tom and Will were working the finish line water handout with FHS XC so I had my whole family at the finish. Falmouth crowds were awesome. Cumberland and Yarmouth was a little sparse. The course is great. Challenging. Not Chicago but not MDI (not that I've run either).

My drink/feeds went surprisingly well considering I have little experience with either. I gu'd at miles 6, 12, and 18. I gatoraded at miles 3, 9, and 15 and I took water everywhere else except the last station. There were definitely plenty of stations for this schedule. The last gatorade didn't sit very well (I really never run on gatorade) but the feeling left after about 1 mile. I also got a bit of that last gatorade in my eye, which stung.

I started to feel the legs as early as mile 8. I made the turn in what I thought was 1:29:05 (a little fast) but the results say it was 1:29:33. By mile 16 I was anxiously awaiting miles 18-20, waiting for the wall. Never happened. Ian ran with me for a short stretch at mile 19 and I felt strong and confident in a 2:58-2:59. I still felt quite strong at 20. At 2o.5 Ryan cheered me on. I thought I was good at this point; Ryan thought otherwise. My split agreed with Ryan. I noticed the high split at mile 21 (6:56) and tried to return back to my goal pace (6:50). Miles 22 and 23 were fine but mile 24 was a disaster. I didn't feel it and was shocked when the watch returned the split. Over the last 2 miles I had really heavy legs and simply couldn't turn them over. I kept trying to increase the pace and I just as quickly fell back. With 1.5 miles left, I knew I wouldn't go sub3. With 1 to go, Ryan tried to convince me otherwise. I thought all it would take is something just under 6:30 but I just couldn't do it. In fact I didn't increase my pace at all.

The end of a marathon is really weird. I wasn't especially tired or exhausted at all, but my body was broken.

My watch finished with 26.44 miles so in the splits below, I include what my watch displayed, the corrected split, and the corrected cumulative split. I did recognize that my watch splits were a little fast (I thought they were 2s fast but, alas, they were 3s fast, and that mattered).

Mile Watch Pace Corrected Pace Cum average pace
1 06:50 06:54 06:54
2 06:48 06:51 06:52
3 06:43 06:47 06:51
4 06:43 06:47 06:50
5 06:47 06:50 06:50
6 06:47 06:50 06:50
7 06:51 06:54 06:50
8 06:51 06:54 06:51
9 06:50 06:53 06:51
10 06:50 06:54 06:51
11 06:45 06:48 06:51
12 06:44 06:47 06:51
13 06:48 06:51 06:51
14 06:46 06:50 06:51
15 06:47 06:50 06:51
16 06:43 06:47 06:50
17 07:00 07:04 06:51
18 06:49 06:52 06:51
19 06:48 06:52 06:51
20 06:48 06:51 06:51
21 06:56 07:00 06:52
22 06:46 06:49 06:52
23 06:50 06:53 06:52
24 07:05 07:09 06:52
25 06:58 07:02 06:53
26 06:59 07:02 06:53
26.22 06:58 07:02 06:53

Final time: 3:00:36


  1. Dang... those are still some really steady splits overall. When you told me on the phone you fell part (or something to that effect) at mile 24, I expected a bigger drop. But aside from that mile 24, which still isn't far off, you were pretty darn consistant.

    I assume you let the Garmin take the mile splits automatically, hence the time differences?

  2. All in all, that's a very well executed 1st marathon.

    For a comparison, my first marathon was a bit more even the first 17 miles (6:50 +/- 2s) but then I completely fell apart. So, you have not only a much faster marathon debut than I did, but you actually have a much faster Maine Marathon course PR than I do. Now I'm jealous.

    Seriously, though, great work out there. I'll cheer for you at Boston.

  3. Hope those fast legs are reminding you of what you put them through less and less. Great job!

  4. Those are some nice splits. Mile 24 was a disaster? Ha, you ain't seen nothing yet. A disaster is when you go from running 6:50's to running 8:30+ in less than a mile. All you had was "I've been running for 3hrs" syndrome. Can't execute much better than that.

  5. Wonderfully consistent miles. I bet your logic is asking where you could have found 1 1/2 seconds per mile. When you're out there they are nowhere to be found. And you never know; beating yourself up to get them might have cost you even more. Stellar performance.

  6. Ian, Ryan and I briefly talked about 1.x s/mi faster and I would be sub3 but after reflecting on that I'm not sure it works that way. 1s/mi seems so little but if we carry the logic further, and say I had found that extra second/mile would I still be pondering "what if I had run 1s/mi faster?". And so on and so on, ad infinitum. Clearly there is a limit to the ability to run 1s/mile faster. A problem with the marathon don't get many chances to find that limit.

  7. Jamie - I debated about the auto splits or manual splits when I hit the mile markers and I opted for the former so I wouldn't have to remember to hit a little button each mile. I'm amazed at the marathon stories that I've read of garmin-wearers "missing" their BQ because they relied on the Garmin and not the mile markers. That's just stoopid.

    I do wonder how far one actually runs during a marathon and how much variation there is among runners.