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St. Jude’s Memphis Marathon 2010

Well, I didn’t get my sub 4:00 goal, but I did set a marathon PR by 33 minutes by running a 4:01:26!

I knew around the 21 mile mark that a sub 4 was in trouble and I could’ve VERY easily turned this into a 4:10 or 4:15 by walking and easing up, but I pressed on and gave it all I had.  I couldn’t be happier with my effort.

Temps during the race were right around 60 degrees and while I’m glad my tremendously support wife and our friends, Dustan and Michelle, were not freezing, it could’ve been a little cooler for my tastes.  Yes.  60 degrees is too warm.    It was also a windy day, but it never was a factor out on the course.  The warmer temps and a challenging course, however, were factors.  The Memphis course is not “hilly” by any means, but it keeps you honest with rolling terrain without any major downhills to let you make up some time.

Marathon morning I woke up around 5:30 Am, tested my BG – 98, hello! – had a hard-boiled egg and a package of peanut butter crackers and headed to downtown Memphis to check-in and be ready for the race start at 8.  Check-in was at the Memphis Redbirds stadium and went very smoothly allowing me plenty of time to relax a little bit before the start.  I was smart enough to duck (pun intended) into the Peabody Hotel, hang out in the lobby and use the facilities before heading to the start area around 7:30.  At 8:00 am the first corral started and a short 10 minutes later my corral (#6) was off.  After all the training and build up, it’s a little surreal to make those first steps toward actually running 26.2.

My plan was to run with the 4:00 pace group and then potentially speed up a bit around mile 23 to get myself under 4 hours.  Fortunately, I was prepared to run my own race, because the pace group blew up.  To run a 4:00 marathon, you need to run 9:09 miles.  Judging by the times on my Garmin, I could tell we were a little bit ahead and I was starting to doubt our pacers abilities.  Despite this, I was feeling GREAT through the first half.

Splits through 15 miles:

  • 1-5: 9:07, 8:42,8:48,8:56,8:54
  • 6-10: 8:59,9:07,9:02,9:05,9:08
  • 11-15: 9:03,9:17,9:05,9:05,9:00

At the half way point our pacer who was carrying the 4:00 sign handed the sign off to the other pacer running with him.  Shortly after that at a water stop, I got a little ahead of them, but decided to keep pressing on and would just pace myself and keep them in sight behind me.  Well, at some point our 1st pacer passed me and around mile 21 or so, I completely lost sight off him.  Odd.  Guess he wanted a sub 4 himself.  I never did see the other pacer.  Lesson learned:  be prepared to run your own race.  Pacers aren’t always perfect.

Miles 16-20 are where things feel apart for me a little bit.  This stretch of the course is a very slow, gradual climb and it took it’s toll.  The other thing that could’ve affected me was keeping up with a high schooler that I ran into that also has Type 1 Diabetes.  We talked shop for a while, before I let him go.  This may’ve affected me, but I LOVE talking with folks during these races and having a good time.  Add in the fact that this kid also had T1….  I don’t care if it affected my outcome. 

Splits for 16 – 20 miles:

  • 16-20: 9:08,9:24,9:09,9:23,9:31

It was rapidly becoming apparent that I was not going to make it under 4 hours and I was really starting to feel it.  My legs hurt.  The back stretch of the course (21 – 24) features a few underpasses and those short inclines killed.  I took to running aid station to aid station to get through the miles.  My wife and friends saw me at miles 3 and 14 and I wasn’t expecting to see them again until the finish.  At mile 23 I heard somebody call my name, and to my surprise there they were!  I was in a pretty bad way at this point and it was all I had to not take a break and walk it off.  Their support definitely helped me and I enjoyed having Mindy run along with me for a minute giving me some much needed encouragement.

This is where my “effort” came into play.  I could’ve phoned it in, but I kept going despite knowing that I was going to miss my ultimate goal.

My splits from 21 to the finish tell the story:

  • 21-Finish: 9:29,9:30,9:34,9:30,9:18,8:53

I can say that I wish I would’ve run a sub 4 hour marathon.  Just the idea of have a time that starts with a “3″ is amazing, but I am not in the least bit upset with my time and how I finished.  I wouldn’t have done anything differently.  4:01 is what I had in Memphis on Dec 4th 2010.

One thing I was disappointed with:  The number of Elvis impersonators.  I was fully expecting to see plenty Elvi.  I saw 1.  One!!  I did, however, see 5 Santas, 1 Sasquatch, 1 Gorilla (possible a young Sasquatch), 4 belly dancers and a lobster.

Immediately after the finish I slipped into the “you just ran 26.2 mile” phase.  This is the phase were everything hurts and walking stairs is next to impossible.  My arms hurt like hell and I could barely move them (happened at Chicago too).  Swing them back and forth for 4 hours can do that I suppose.  I was able to avoid cramping this time, so I had that going for me.  I was properly hydrated for a change and I think the Enduralytes I took during the race also helped.

After making it up the steps from the Memphis Redbirds field where the finish was, I hobbled down to grab something to eat and got my bag from the bad check.  I was able to eat a little bit, but wasn’t fully able to eat again until dinner that night.  I met up with my support group and this was the only position that felt good…

Note: the expression on my face could have been laughter or pain.  Equal chance of either.

As far as managing “the ‘betus”, I did very well.  I ran my basal around 50% of my normal amount, ate 4-5 GUs, and also had some Powerade out on the course.  I had my basal at a good level where I was able to take in a few calories and not go low.

Check these numbers out:

  • 6:59 163
  • 7:33 153
  • 8:43 162
  • 9:21 113
  • 9:55 108
  • 10:42 86
  • 11:19 89
  • 12:30 74

(Of course, since I had VERY little insulin in my body and considering the fact that I ate something later in the afternoon without bolusing, because I thought I was heading low, I did hit 450 in the evening.  Doh.  Another lesson learned.)

Well, marathon #2 is in the books.  I would consider a 33 minute PR a phenomenal success.  I guarantee you I won’t be setting another marathon PR by 33 minutes!  Time to rest up and recover for a few weeks and then get back after it.  Marathon #3 is in…  oh my heavens… 44 days!

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