Monday, May 28, 2012

Cleveland Marathon 2012

Cleveland Marathon 2012

This was my 9th year participating in the Cleveland Marathon and my 18th marathon. I ran my first Cleveland Marathon in 2008 and for the first time I broke the 3:30 barrier (and Boston Qualifier for me) with a time of 3:26. The next year I improved my PR to 3:22. And then the year after that (2010) I set my current marathon PR of 3:19 under perfect weather conditions. So, this race has been nice to me :)

Last year, I was coming back from injury and paced the 2nd half of the marathon at 4:00 pace. This year, I decided to run slowly with my friends and Liz,who was running her first marathon.

Here is Liz and Lea with the 4:00 head pacer, Mike Erhardt:

It was a very nice day today in Cleveland :) Too nice to be exact.... 64F at the 7:00 AM start, and heating up to 80F at the finish. But, it is not the temperature but the direct sun that did the damage. There were miles and miles of road with direct sun overhead. This made for challenging running conditions.

I spent my time running with Liz and Kimberly, and some other running friends.  We started with the 4:00 pace group, but it soon became clear that this is pace was a dream on a hot day like today. By mile 10 Liz told me she was already working on plan no. 7!

The race has started and we are slowing moving to the start line:

Liz looks strong, running along the East side, but it is still early in the race:

Joe Jurczyk, Pam Rickard and Kimberly Durst Wheeler are some of the friends I ran with this year in Cleveland.  Because of the slower pace, I was able to quickly run ahead and then turn and take a picture, which works a lot better than taking pictures of runners from behind:

Things are getting tougher for Liz (and everyone else) after a couple of hours under direct sun:

Liz ran a remarkable race. She did not walk once! No bathroom breaks either! Slow but constant pace, under direct sun. She rates her effort "moderate". Now, 10 hours and a bottle of wine later, she claims to feel perfectly well and have no pain. I don't get that. I could not go up/down stairs and could not walk for a week after my first marathon! Sure, she did not meet her crazy 4:00 fantasy goal, or the more realistic 4:10, but this was not that kind of day. She did great, all things considered, and she is very happy.

 Liz: 4:29:40 (her 1st marathon and PR!!! :))

And she looks happy at the finish:

Kimberly had a harder time. At mile 24, with the clock showing 4:00, I had to gently instruct her to keep running without any walking breaks.  That was the only way for her to break her PR and she did it!  She finished at 4:22:53 (her 3rd marathon and PR).  In this picture, Kimberly is going down 9th street to turn around the corner for the finish. I like the Cleveland finish!

I finished at 4:20 so I can take pictures of Liz and friends at the finish. This is of course my slowest marathon by a wide margin (after my 3:55 first marathon in 2004) but it was definitely the most fun. The 4:20 pace felt extremely comfortable. I know this irritates people, but I could have literally gone back and ran the course one more time, and a bit faster the 2nd time around! :) I did not mind the heat at all (good sign!) This race marks the beginning of intense training for me for the Burning River 100 (end of July).

Lea ran her first 1/2 Marathon time without good training, so she took it easy and met some friends from high school, and they all ran together and enjoyed the nice weather. Here is a picture of Liz and Lea at the Beer Garden:

Overall, even though this was my slowest marathon ever, it was the most enjoyable.  Time flew, I took pictures, and got a lot of compliments in facebook.  Perfect!

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