Monday, October 1, 2012

Maine Marathon Race Report

Sunday's Maine Marathon was a very satisfying run for me.

Lots of people I know, of course, have run a lot faster than I did on Sunday, but I about cried after crossing the finish line and having seen a gun time of 4:49:59 just before doing so.

It wasn't one of those magical races, like my PR (4:47:32) race in Austin at the Freescale Marathon in February 2006, but it was one that I worked pretty hard to achieve.

My chip time on my watch was 4:48:44, but the event credited me with a 4:48:42 finish.  They are the kind of numbers that sound really nice less than 24 hours after the race.

And while many have been tempted to try and agonize over the 71 seconds short of my PR, I choose not to.  Why?  I entered the race with no set expectations, nor time goal.

So the time was just a blessing of a well-managed race.

One of the two mantras that I had in my head all day was, "Manage the distance.  Don't let the distance manage you."  And now I remember the other, it was "Run within myself."

There were times that I felt really strong, but I knew that I would jeopardize the entire race if I expended my energy foolishly in a short-lived sense of pride.

I probably heard the first mantra from either Bill Dwyer or Kim Hager, but it really helped me to stay focused while having a good day.

On any other day, I would have stopped around mile 11 to get a hug from my friend, Angela Tortorice of Dallas, who did the early start at 6 a.m. after running the New Hampshire Marathon the day before (yes, she's crazy), but I was running with a lot of confidence at that point.

After passing through the first 13 miles in 2:18:43, I knew that I had run a lot of marathons where the time on the back half was far greater than that on the front half.  But it was about taking the race a mile at a time and trying to nail as many 11-minute miles or better as possible.  Or just keep "running within myself".  :-)

One of the things that I didn't do, though, was miss a water stop.  I've learned that even on a cool day with rain that you still need to manage the fluid intake like any other long distance race.

To that end, I succeeded.  I took in lots of Gatorade to make up for not carrying a Gu or anything.

And surprisingly I didn't cramp despite a solid hour on the stationary bike Friday afternoon in the gym that had left my calves tight.

It looked as if we might dodge the rain for a little bit, as we were set to start just off the campus of the University of Southern Maine, but as the National Anthem was performed the rains started to fall.

The first two miles (10:36 and 10:29) came easily, even though it was hard to run the tangents on a wide street filled with runners doing both the marathon and half.  In mile three, I had to find a quick bush near a highway overpass to duck behind, but still managed an even 11-minute mile.  And then followed with an even 10-minute mile for mile four.

The one thing that is nice about the generally out-and-back course that race officials had put together is that the road surface primarily is asphalt that is as smooth as could be.  No dodging potholes and such.  With the rain, the only real danger were manhole covers -- and the potential to slip on them.

Otherwise, it is basically a fairly flat course with some slight undulations in the middle.

The end of miles 10 and 17 is where you get the biggest incline in the road to overcome going out and back.  My mile 10 to mile 11 was 11:16 to 10:18 and mile 17 was 11:50 booked between a pair of 10:44 miles.

I started to run out of gas in mile 21, which was one of only three 12-minute miles.  But even then, it was just a 12:01.  And mile 25 was only 12:04.

I think one of the things that has helped me the most is doing 10 kilometers on the track on Wednesday evenings.  It helps me stay focused because 25 laps around takes a little discipline to finish, and it is discipline that helped me push through some pain on Sunday that I had from not taking any pain medication prior to the race and wearing shoes that I had been racing shorter distances in.

In the end, I was most happy about nearly an even split in the front (2:19:50) and back (2:28:52) halves.

I was also happy that I didn't let any negative self-talk take over during the race.  I seem to be getting more mentally strong as each marathon goes by.

The scenery in the far northeast part of the country is incredible, but you don't pay too much attention to it while trying to run through rain beading up on your glasses constantly.  (Yes, no hat!)

The volunteers at this marathon are truly incredible.  Plenty of water stops with both Gatorade and water.  The only negative, albeit slight, is that the order of the fluids flip-flopped occasionally from one stop to the next.  Minor detail on a well-managed race.

It wouldn't be a race report without a few stats:

+  Second fastest marathon ever - just 70 (or 72) seconds off the 4:47:32 from Austin in 2006.

+  Fifth time under five (5) hours from 45 marathon finishes. (January 2005, February 2006, November 2010, October 2011 and today.)

+  30 states for marathons and 37 for half marathons.

+  5th time where I ran the same event to record a half and a marathon in a particular state (Little Rock, AR; Sioux Falls, SD; Greenville, SC; Oklahoma City, OK and Portland, ME). 

And for those of you still reading, here are my splits:

Mile 1 -- 10:35.74
Mile 2 -- 10:29.29
Mile 3 -- 11:00.73 (quick stop to pee)
Mile 4 -- 10:08.17
Mile 5/6 -- 21:15.03

Mile 7 -- 10:40.63
Mile 8 -- 10:39.13
Mile 9 -- 10:28.05
Mile 10 -- 11:16.49
Mile 11 -- 10:18.40
Mile 12 -- 10:58.34

Mile 13 -- 10:53.09 (~2:18:43)
Mile 14 -- 10:54.62
Mile 15 -- 11:02.25
Mile 16 -- 10:44.66
Mile 17 -- 11:50.50
Mile 18 -- 10:44.88

Mile 19 -- 11:09.49
Mile 20 -- 10:52.06 (~3:36:01)
Mile 21 -- 12:01.19
Mile 22 -- 11:06.12
Mile 23 -- 11:34.78

Mile 24 -- 11:54.82
Mile 25 -- 12:04.54
Last 1.2 -- 14:01.00

Thanks for reading!


runningboy said...

Great job, Jon! Maine is my home state, and I have a special affinity for the Maine Marathon, as it was there that I first broke 4 hours.

-- Chris Higgins, Sugar Land

TX Runner Mom said...

Great jon Jon!