When I started this blog, I addressed the question, "Why Run?" There are lots of reasonable answers to that query. Answering the question, "Why race 26.2 miles?", proves a bit more challenging. Honestly, for me, it is simply about finding my physical limits. Call me a glutton for punishment, deranged, or just plain stupid, but I find it fascinating and challenging to train my body for a test of endurance.
I was able to finish the Derby Festival Marathon in 3hrs 6 mins 42 seconds, which was good for 38th of about 1,100 marathoners. This was safely under my needed time to qualify for Boston '08 (<3.11.00). The primary goal was achieved. Furthermore, it appears that I avoided any serious damage. I am still pretty sore today, especially my shins, calves, hips, and hamstrings, but it is a "good sore." My armpits were simply raw on Saturday night and Sunday, but the fire is dying down today. All of these issues will fade in a couple more days. A couple of easy weeks of running should have me ready to tackle the shorter 5k and 10k races this summer.
My race strategy was to run a pace that 1) ensured a Boston QT and 2) gave me a chance at breaking 3 hrs if I felt good late in the race. As stated above, number one was accomplished. Number two? Not so much. From the opening mile until Mile 18, my average pace was 6.52. That is exactly on 3-hr pace. But, miles 14 (7.01), 15 (7.12), 16 (7.02), and 17 (6.58) in the Cherokee Park area took a lot out of me. I had built a small cushion in the first half of the race that would allow me to run the second half a little slower, but those four hilly miles used up my time cushion and most of my energy reserves. From that point on, maintaining 6.52 pace was out of the question. My legs got tighter and tighter with each mile. It became a test of simply running each step to ensure my Boston time.
Thankfully, my wife, son, and parents were there at the end to help get me to the car drive me around for the first couple of hours. I could not have done this alone due to cramps every time I tried to squat or stretch. But, by the time I finished my grilled fish, veggies, and cornbread at lunch in Elizabethtown (the cultural vortex of America), I was feeling much better.
Louisville did a great job hosting the event. Especially nice touches were the "Call to Post" by the Churchill Downs bugler, who will also do the call to post this Saturday at the Kentucky Derby, and the 9th mile inside Churchill itself. As we ran, a PA system was playing old calls of past Derbies. When I ran my mile inside the Downs, the call was Affirmed's win over Alydar in the 1978 Kentucky Derby. Affirmed was the last horse to win the Triple Crown. Pretty cool.
Thanks be to God for safe travels, a safe run, and a fun time. Thanks again to all who called, emailed, prayed for, and thought about me on Saturday.
No more marathons until late next fall (probably December). Now, it is time to rest for a few days, then focus on getting faster for the summer's shorter distances (5k, 10k).