Monday, October 8, 2012

Day 5.272: Marathon report

My day yesterday started at 5 am with a small breakfast, a last minute packing check and a short drive into downtown Albany. From there I rode with a school-bus load (or ten) other marathoners as dawn was beginning to break to the start in Schenectady. We were there over an hour before the race and I was glad of my warm layers during the wait.

With ten minutes to go, I committed myself to my clothing choices, checked my bag on the bus to the finish and lined up.

The first ten miles were pretty uneventful. I was feeling good. Running slowly and fairly steadily at my target pace. The day was beautiful - a bit cold for hanging around at the start, but pretty much perfect for running. The run along the Mohawk under the fall trees was lovely.

Around mile 11 I started to feel that something was not good with my left leg. I was floored. I'd run a half marathon (13.1 miles) significantly faster than this on a much hillier course a few weeks ago. Having to drop out crossed my mind but I was determined to keep going and I did. I ran right through it. I hit the half-way point almost exactly on schedule and relaxed a little for the next few miles. It was going OK.

By mile 18 my legs were starting to hurt again. More just simple tiredness by this point than the specific . My natural pace started to slow down and began to wonder if I would have enough left in the tank to hit my target time.

By the time we hit the Hudson River in Watervliet I knew that my target time was gone, but I also knew that if I could keep running I could do a good time - and certainly hugely better than anything I could have imagined a year ago or even six months ago. The two water stops along this stretch were torture. As at the previous ones, I walked to take on some much-needed liquid at both, but unlike all the others, starting to run again afterwards was a huge struggle.  Still I did it and kept a reasonable pace up over the last couple of miles.  Needless to say the finish was very very welcome indeed.

Here are my mile times in graphical form.  You can see that it went wrong but not disastrously. I still feel I set off about right.  I ran the race I planned - I just couldn't sustain it on the day.

Afterwards I was unbelievably tired.

It took about twenty minutes before I could acknowledge that my legs felt like legs again.  After thirty, I hobbled up out of the Riverfront Park, across the pedestrian bridge over I-787 and back to the car - very pleased not to be attempting to drive it myself.


  1. Congrats on finishing the race!!! It was a great day for running--so glad I got to volunteer at the marathon! Nice job!

    1. Thanks - it was a great experience! I was heard to utter (around when that photo was taken), "That is a STUPID thing to do!" but that sentiment has faded a couple of days later.

  2. fantastic work. Someone told me your goal with your first marathon is to complete rather than compete. Or perhaps the first one is to be in it, and the second is to win it? get back to training boyo!

    1. Thanks. I think running to finish is a sensible plan for a first marathon but I wasn't that sensible. I like a challenge and realistically you have to have some idea what you can do time-wise when setting off on such a long race. I just found out that I could go quite fast and then tried to go a bit faster than that!


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