We headed to Birmingham, Alabama for Glenn’s 10th marathon. I was a little sad that I wouldn’t be running my 10th marathon also. Apparently there are more important things happening that I am in charge of though. We had Greg along with us for this trip, which means we are RVing it. We were pleasantly surprised with how nice our hotel was- it was a definite upgrade from our standard Extended Stays that we had recently been staying at for races.
On Saturday we hit the expo, lost my wallet, worked out and went out to dinner with friends my dad met mountain biking last summer. The man does not know a stranger. And these people were awesome.
Marathon Morning- Glenn’s up at 4:30am, which means I’m up at 4:30am. I know he’s nervous, but trying to shake it. He had trained so hard & smart for 14 weeks to break 3 hours and I knew he was ready for it. No matter how prepared you get for a race though, you never know what’s really going to happen.
Getting read to head out and race!
Factors you have the ability to control in a marathon:
Did you train well? Not over or under training.
Were you smart about hydrating and clean eating in days leading up to the race?
Are you motivated?
You better not go out to fast, or too slow. Either one can screw up your time; especially once you’ve started running at a speed that has little room for error when trying to PR. You can only push yourself so hard in the first half, if you want to be strong in the second and you can only make up so much time in the second half if you drug your feet getting started. You can control your consistency and you have to.
Are you willing to hurt and let’s face it… not be a big freaking wuss? Because in all honesty if you are going to have a good race and PR, it’s going to hurt and if it doesn’t…. you can probably run a lot faster than you think you can.
Are your ready for those last 6 miles? You can’t make it to mile 20 and think your almost there. There is a lot of racing, mentally & physically in the last 6 miles.
Factors you can’t control in a marathon:
Yikes, this course is hillier than I realized. Unless you’ve ran the course, those elevation maps can sometimes fool you.
Bad cramps – stomach, legs. Most cramps you can work through, but some can really hinder you.
Injury that happened leading up to the race or race day.
OFF DAYS. The absolute worst…. When there is no good reason you just didn’t have it in your bones that day. There’s not much worse than the feeling of failure for no good reason…. Just being off. And we’ve all had those days.
Finishing out mile 20
We saw Glenn at mile seven, twenty and the finish. At mile seven, I was a little confused as to why so many people were ahead of him and was worried I missed him when I saw some many females cruising by. When he came by at 6:24 pace, he looked very comfortable but I wasn’t overly excited. That’s a great pace, but come on…. We all know seven miles is when your just getting warmed up and the racing is about to start. Anyone can go out to hard and just lose it after even thirteen miles. Oh and I also realized I forgot there were half marathoners among the full marathoners at this point and that’s why there were so many people ahead of him.
So we walked the course a bit and cheered for other runners, as I received updates on my phone at his 15K and 30K. Once I received the 30K update (6:26 pace at 18.6 miles… that’s pretty darn consistent), I knew he was right around the corner and had been counting the lead runners to see what place he was rolling in. The first place male was smoking everyone… no competition for him.
I threw my coat off and ran with him for about 25 meters (about as far as this pregnant girl can run at 6:26 pace!) and helped him open his mini cliff bar (we both had numb hands). He looked strong and confident and said he felt fine. I screamed to stay strong and push when it hurts for the last 6 miles.
Dad and I made the 1.5 mile walk to the finish line and cheered on all the runners finishing the full and half along the way. I posted up at mile 26 right where the clock was and anxiously waited for him to make his way up the road. (this was a two loop course) From where I was standing, you could see about a quarter of a mile down the road. As the clock ticked away I was getting nervous. It was at 2:50 when I posted up, so he essentially had around nine minutes to get to where I was standing. When you are running a sub three hour marathon…. Nine minutes is a lot of time.
I knew how hard he worked and how disappointed he would be if he didn’t break three hours. His PR leading up to the race was 3:05, and even though any kind of PR is great, he wanted to break that three hour benchmark and he was prepared to do it. I also knew that there were some nasty hills miles 20-22 so it was hard telling what that would do to his body.
Up the last incline to finish mile 26!
Four LONG minutes later, I see him passing someone coming up the road. I yelled and screamed. He was there and he could walk to the finish and still break three hours. He waved and said hi and ran on by. I sprinted to the finish and the clock rolled over to 2:56:44, with his official time being 2:56:22. PROUD.
This is what you look like after run 26.2 miles at 6:44 pace
Glenn is a very good example of hard work paying off. His first marathon was 3:49. At that time he had no idea what his potential was and never saw a 2:56 coming down the road. He learned how to really train and work hard even when you don’t think you can.
Some people are clearly born with a natural talent to run, but that doesn’t mean they don’t work their asses off to get where they are going. Some people aren’t born with a natural talent, but are determined to pursue their dreams, weather that is a 4:30 marathon or a 2:30 marathon. Glenn pursued his dream today and was willing to work for it, and I am proud to be his wife. He has inspired me to PR once my body is ready to make that happen.
Congratulations on an amazing race Glenn. We finished off our trip to Birmingham with some Dreamland BBQ. It was delicious.