I ran the Mount Desert Island marathon yesterday, finishing with a time of 3:50:39, more than five minutes better than my marathon in PEI last fall. The race was great. The weather was perfect, the atmosphere was wonderful, the course was picture-perfect. I felt good throughout the race, and it went almost exactly as I had planned and hoped.
I arrived at the race start about 15-20 minutes before the gun went off. The race director, Gary Allen, was making a few announcements prior to the race. It was obvious that he is proud of his race, and he deserves to be. He spoke of it growing in the future, and I hope it does.
In my normal run around my neighborhood, when I'm not pushing the pace at all, I routinely hit the 5k mark at a little over 27 minutes. It's a comfortable pace for me. I wanted to finish at under 3:50 in this race, and running 27 minute 5k segments would put me right there. For the first 30k, I was right on track. In fact, I was happy with my pace throughout the race. My first half clocked in at just under 1:54, and the second half was a little over 1:56. Considering the hills over miles 20 through 25, I was quite proud to have stuck to this pace. I ran through most of the water stops. The only couple of times I walked were just before mile 20, in front of steep hill. I figured that would be a good time to slow down for a drink and a gel. Also, around mile 23.5, as I was near the end of a big hill, I probably walked for 30 seconds. I didn't look at my watch too often, I just tried to keep it somewhat comfortable going up the hills, and pushing it slightly going down the hills.
I felt strong throughout this run, even finishing it up feeling good. The picture below is of me at the end. I had a couple within my sights for most of the race. With less than half a mile left, their pace had slowed a fair bit. I told them that I felt guilty about passing after all that time, but they kindly told me to go ahead. In looking at this photo, I'm surprised they finished that close to me after all!
Here's a picture of me with the sun glaring behind me, as I drop my jacket off to Faith Ann and Cam. They met me a couple of times during the race, giving me a drink bottle to carry. I'm happy they were supporting me, although Faith Ann did find it difficult to navigate around the island while staying off the marathon route.
This is me as I approach them the second time, around the 18.3 mile point.
After the race, I had a quick bite to eat and a shower, before heading back to the vehicle to go home. I was surprised to see so many people who I had been running with for much of the race finishing as I walked to our vehicle. The only point during the race where it was windy at all was around Somes Sound, I think around mile 15?? I drafted off two different guys at this point for a bit, and both of them ended up finishing about 45 minutes behind me. There were quite a lot of people who did seem to be struggling between miles 20-23 during the race - even more than the normal struggling that people do at this point in marathons.
Today I feel a little sore, but really not too bad. I plan to run a couple of times this week, then finish my running season with a short 5k or 10k this weekend in Moncton, as Faith Ann is planning on running the 5k.
Overall, I'm very happy with how I did. I'll never be a super speedy guy (like Jamie - check out his run!) but I think in my training leading up to this, I pushed myself hard enough that I came close to reaching my potential for this race, but not to the point where I got hurt. Now that I know I can train to this point, perhaps I'll ratchet it up just a little more for next summer!
Just a couple more pics to finish ... thankfully it didn't rain during the run, or Cam wouldn't have been able to play his Nintendo DS while waiting for me.
Also, there happened to be a basketball hanging around the school, so Cam had something to do while waiting for me after the race.
With the Mount Desert Island Marathon a week away, I completed my last longish run today. It was just twelve miles. I started off easy, but picked up the pace as the run went on. In the end, my pace was similar to my half-marathon time in May. However, today felt very comfortable. It's nice to know that all the mileage this summer has paid off. Maybe I'll try to keep it up over the winter, but I do hate those cold, dark winter days.
Now for the lowdown on the results of my training plan for this summer.
747 miles over 17 weeks, average pace 8:45 minutes per mile/5:25 minutes per kilometer (June, July and August averaged just over 200 miles per month)
Compare this to the year before ...
2009: 690 miles, avg pace 8:58 mins/mile or 5:34 mins/km
Note that the total miles according to the Pfitzinger 18/55 plan over the first 17 weeks are 767. I missed much of one week due to injury, so overall I was happy with my final numbers falling just 20 miles short of the original plan. Also, the training this year included much running on hills, which I did very little last year, so the improvement in pace would have been better had I trained on flatter routes.
I feel better prepared for this marathon than either of my previous two, and I don't think my training could have gone much better. I'm injury-free, and the weather forecast (so far) looks very good. What does it all mean? I'm not sure, given the terrain of the course. I'll take it one hill at a time, and try to enjoy the experience!
Here is a way I definitely will not finish. Check out this incredible video from the end of the Chicago Marathon today: