Sunday, May 11, 2008

My Marathon History

I have run the Marathon, 4 times so far, once a year, the Towpath Marathon. You can see my times in the table here.

2004: This was my first Marathon and my aim was 1) to finish, 2) to finish under 4 hours. I ran with worn/inferior shoes and inadequate training (19 miles longest run) but finished with a respectable 3:55. However, I developed ITBS which took several months to clear up.

2005: With good shoes, and without worrying about time, I improved my time to 3:45. No problems, but it did feel exceptionally hard and recovery was harder. Again, I did not have sufficient long runs.

2006: This was the surprise year. I was prepared for the worse since a trip to Greece had disrupted my long runs, plus my racing times (5K, 19K, 1/2M) this year were slower than the previous year. But I ran a strong race and finished at 3:36. That included at 2 ½ minutes delay to change shoes.

2007: All indicators were pointing to a terrific marathon: I had lost weight and had PRed in all distances. I was a leaner and faster runner, plus for the first time the 20 mile training runs (at 8:30 pace) felt very easy. Seemed like the 3:30 goal was easily within reach. However, minor injuries prevented me from running the last two weeks before the marathon. The first 12 miles were fast (7:30 to 7:40) – possibly a mistake - but my legs got tired and by mile 19 I was walking and was considering dropping off the race. The hot weather contributed to slower times and many runners were walking in the last miles (The marathon was the same day with the Chicago marathon that ended in a distaster). I finally finished at 3:47 and gained new respect for the distance (never underestimate the Marathon). I tried an ice bath and that helped a lot initially but recovery was rather slow. This race took a lot out of me.

2008: This is my first Spring Marathon and first all-roads marathon. I have trained OK (I could have done more long runs – 3d weekend prevented me from running a long 20+ mile run 3 weeks before the marathon). I have lost a bit of weight and my running times are better than last year’s (so far). If the weather cooperates, I think I have a shot at 3:30 but it is going to be difficult.

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