27 May 2008

Notes on Madison

Wow! I'm still not over this past weekend. Thanks to all of you for your well wishes and comments! Other thoughts I've had on my BQ experience:

1. Running part of a course before you run the event is a great advantage, especially when the part you run is towards the end. The familiarity breeds confidence.

2. I commented on "Marathon Finisher Tshirt Guy," but he wasn't the only one. In fact, I was/am one of them. I vividly remember running the Flying Pig marathon (my 2nd marathon ever) and charging up the early hills, talking to everyone, not running the shortest distances...and on and on it goes. There was another runner at Madison, trying to BQ in his first marathon, and he had the highest leg kick I've ever seen in a runner. He almost kicked himself in the butt with each stride. He also started strong and faded back to me around mile 16. There is definitely an art to the marathon...which I'm still learning.

3. My charge down the finishing chute was the proudest moment I've ever had running. It was surreal. The look and smile Ellie and I shared was priceless.

4. Speaking of the finishing chute, Ellie told me more about the ambulance. Apparently, about 10 minutes before I finished, three paramedics drove it into the chute, parked it, got out, and walked away into the specatators area very non-chalantly. Immediately the volunteers at the finish came running up, talking on their walkie talkies, trying to figure out what to do. I have no idea how long it stayed there, but it was certainly odd! I'm still a little puzzled by the entire thing.

5. A lot of comments have mentioned the fact I text while running. I actually used I used to call people while running. In Chicago, I would keep my phone on me so that I could help coordinate my family while they cheered me on at different locations. It has now evolved to simply texting numbers for the mile markers I pass. I keep my phone in a small pocket in the back of my shorts so it doesn't bounce around, and it gives me something to look forward to as the miles pile up. It also gives me the opportunity to receive some great...errr..."motivation" from Ellie. Her texts included the following:
- "You got it!"
- "you can do it you are almost there BQ here you come love you mom" (this one was from Ellie's Mom. She's so high tech!)
- Go get em! Parents in the bleachers left, wife on your right at the finish!"
- The kenyans are already done...YOU LOST" (Ellie would like to thank Nitmos for this one)
- It's in the bag! YOU WILL DO IT!!

6. I can't thank the volunteers enough. It's amazing how they change as the race progresses also. Next time you run, make sure you do a couple things:

- Say THANK YOU over and over again.
- Notice how their demeanor and methods of providing support change as the race does. At the early aid stations, they'll be having a blast, smiling, joking, having fun...much like how the runners feel. But as the miles pile up, I specifically remember their faces and their yells of "Water!" The volunteers' spirit of struggle and pain reflected what they saw on the runners faces. They could see how important the aid stations were, and they wanted very badly to help in any way they could. In this case, it was their cup of water. It was very motivating and just one more part of the marathon that I love.

7. If a child has his hand out and he's looking for a high five, GO GIVE HIM ONE. There was a boy just beyond Mile 18 of the marathon (at the top of the biggest hill) standing with his mother, holding his hand out. I had just crested the hill and was not around any other runners, and was tired, and was on the other side of the road. None of that mattered. I ran over to him and slapped his hand and gave him a smile. The smile reflected to him and his mother, and it was one of the main reasons my 19th and 20th miles were sub 7 minute miles. What a lift.

8. I succeeded in pushing back the "wall" from around mile 18-20 in my first several marathons to mile 25.5 in Madison. I owe much of that to running my planned marathon pace for longer runs. Most training programs will talk about doing your long runs 60-90 seconds slower than your planned marathon pace, for fear of injury if you run faster longer. I've thrown that philosophy out the window. I think it's much more valuable to make sure your body knows what it feels like to run 7:15 at mile 23 after running 7:15 for the previous 22 miles. In my opinion, it's all about training specificity.

9. I'm signed up to run the Milwaukee Marathon in October. While I haven't officially set a goal time (besides another BQ), I am really leaning towards pushing my PR under 3:00...but lets just get through a couple months of training before making that goal official :)


Ax said...

Those are some great thoughts, and I couldn't agree more with them. Especially high fives with the spectators. I found out what a boost it gives when I did Boston. It's awesome!

I'm glad to know that I'm not the only one who trains at goal pace. Definitely makes a difference in those later stages of the marathon.

I've also carried my phone in races before. People actually yelled at me (jokingly, I hope) to get off the phone when Lani called me to see where I was.

Again, congrats on your BQ!

Nitmos said...

I completely agree with you and Reid. I NEED to know what its like to hit goal pace (or, at least close) while training around 20 miles. Your observations on the aid workers (#6) is very astute. And very true. Never thought of that before.

Finally, if you think approaching the finishing chute in GB was special, just think how you'll feel turning left on Boylston...cuz that's where you are headed!

Jerry said...

ummm...regarding #7...does that extrapolate to the women of wellsley college in BOSTON? they say you're supposed to stop and give 'em a kiss...

The Laminator said...

Your euphoria is evident in your words. Very astute comments and I can't agree with them more. Congrats again on a great amazing race!

Jess said...

Those are all interesting. I can't believe you have time to text and receive texts and still run so fast! Such a multi-tasker!

keith said...


Congrats again on your BQ...

Seeing as you are a blogger on my blog roll, I'm personally taking the time to inform you that

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Please visit:


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Thanks & Happy Trails!