The Summer of Jeff


Posted in running by Jeff on May 18, 2010

I ran my first marathon on Sunday. I had been training steadily for about 13 or 14 weeks, at least 40 miles per week except for a little less the week before, peaking with three weeks at 67, 61, and 67.

I did two runs of 20 miles or longer, but was unable to do more, thanks to some poorly timed illnesses. I also didn’t do as much marathon-pace running as I had hoped. Still, I went into the race fairly optimistic about meeting a goal of 3:30 or better.

As you might guess from the title, that didn’t happen. I ran a fairly steady 8:00/mile pace for the first 11 miles, sped up to the 7:30 – 7:40 range for the next eight, and that was about all that was in the tank. I ended up walking the first minute of every mile from 20 on, and walked more than the first minute of a mile or two toward the end.

Here are the mile-by-mile splits from my Garmin … not exactly my splits according to the mile markers on the course.

1: 7:48
2: 7:50
3: 8:02
4: 7:57
5: 7:58
6: 8:05
7: 7:51
8: 7:58
9: 8:29
10: 8:13 [9 and 10 were the most uphill of the race]
11: 8:01
12: 7:34
13: 7:33
14: 7:38
15: 7:30
16: 7:21
17: 7:31
18: 7:43
19: 7:47
20: 8:20
21: 9:16
22: 8:34
23: 9:14
24: 11:47
25: 10:43
26: 10:47

The first 20 miles were more or less according to plan. I felt great at the top of the hill around the 11-mile mark, so sped up, though I didn’t mean to clock a 7:20 mile unless I was feeling that good at the very end. One positive takeaway for me is that I can run that strong to the 19- or 20-mile mark. It’s one thing to think you’re fit enough to do something, quite another to do it.

The splits tell the story the rest of the way. For some reason, I was under the impression that if I ran out of gas at some point and couldn’t maintain the 7:30 – 8:00 pace, I would be able to keep clocking the 9:00 miles. Obviously not. Even when I was running, it was tough to run that slowly after spending nearly three hours at a considerably quicker pace.

It’s disappointing not to have met my goal, but it’s also tough to set accurate goals for a distance I’ve never run before. So I’m glad to have done it, glad to have finished, and ready to move on. I probably won’t do another marathon until next spring.

After spending a few weeks recovering from this one, I’ll work my way back up to 60+ mile weeks and train for a half-marathon or two in the fall. I ran 1:36:xx on five or six weeks of training back in March, so I’m setting my sights on beating 90 minutes.

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