26.2 miles - 3:27:53
Comparing this race to my PR marathon I am not as fit, I weight 10 lbs more and the weather was much hotter (I don’t do well in the heat) yet I was able to come with in 1 minute of that PR time. How is this possible? The course might be part of it because it has lot of downhill but the heat probably canceled out that benefit. I think the biggest change is my confidence, I wanted a PR and I was willing to risk hitting the wall to get that time. In the past I have been too conservative and scared that I don’t run to my potential.
Miles 0 – 16, 2:04:06 – 7:45 pace (900ft of elevation loss)
10 minutes before the race I got to meet Bill Rogers. This race is a beautiful point to point course that starts up in the canyon and runs all the way back to town. The only down side to this is you have to catch a 4:30am bus which meant I was up around 3:30am. I knew it was going to be a warm day when it was already 55F at the start (usually under 40F). The race had 1300ft of elevation loss and 900ft of that was in the canyon. The downhill weren’t steep it was just perfect amount of downhill. I felt like I was coasting down and round the corners. The scenery in the canyon was amazing and the walls kept us in perpetual shade. During these early miles I felt great and little warm but happy that I was clicking off the miles. My watch wasn’t so happy in the canyon I had to rely on overall time and mile markers (old school). My original goal was to run 3:20 pace to give myself a little room for a PR. At times I ran at that pace (7:38 ) but I could tell it was over my threshold because I would get out of breath. I decide to slow down a bit, 10 seconds per mile (7:48 ) felt so much easier and was still on pace for a PR. In case you’re wondering I do spend my marathons endlessly calculating pace times, finish times and what if times.
Mile 17-20, 4 miles at 7:48 pace (225ft of elevation gain, 100ft of elevation loss)
Coming out of the canyon we were no longer shaded in fact now we were completely exposed for the rest of the race. Spectators are not allowed in the canyon so many of them wait at the bottom. I was happy greeted by a wall of spectators as we ran up the first hill of the race. This section contained a few hills that weren’t all that big but when you hit them at 7:40 pace they can put you in the red zone real quick. I remember checking my watch at the 20 mile marker and saw 2:35 my fastest ever in a race or training. In my head I said “you got this”. My friend Alex was also at 20 so I got a double boost of energy.
Mile 21-24, 3 miles at 8:08 pace (150ft of elevation loss)
But then everything started to come apart. I actually started to slow down on mile 20 but I told myself that I just needed a mile or two to recover. I ran about 7:55 for 20 and 21 a little off pace but this was just the start of bad. The heat was really bothering me and I realized I was in trouble. I couldn’t calculate needed times anymore and I ran past my family at mile 22. I have never run past my family without noticing them, I was so focused on putting one foot in front of the other. I ran miles 22 and 23 in 8:09 and 8:21. I didn’t know if a PR was still possible I didn’t care I just wanted to finish and end the pain.
Mile 25-26.2, 2.2 miles at 8:58 pace (150ft of elevation loss)
I don’t remember much about these last few miles other then I was hot and miserable. My muscles had gone stiff and I felt like each step could set off a cramp. I didn’t walk, I didn’t look at my watch I just kept moving forward. I told myself “I can do anything for 20 minutes” I ran mile 25 and 26 in 8:34 and 9:21 with my finishing kick 0.2 also around 9:00 pace.
I am happy with my finish time which ended up being 0:58 off my 3:26:55 PR. But I had the guts to go for it and commit to a hard goal, I left everything I had out on the road and it hurt. I feel like if it hadn’t been so hot I could have held on and finished in 3:23. This has been a huge motivator and now all I want to do is go get that PR. I am already researching fast fall marathons. After the race I realized how dehydrated I was my lunch was 2 slices of pizza with 2 glasses of water and 2 glasses of root beer (and a Gatorade, bottled water and frozen coffee between the race and lunch)
Actually my 3 fastest marathons are separated by 58 seconds.
3rd 3:27:53 – 2014 Colorado Marathon
2nd 3:27:27 – 2012 Colfax Marathon
1st 3:26:55 – 2012 Rock n Roll Denver
A few pics
Here is where I past my family around mile 22
My favorite spectators