Sunday, May 20, 2007

2007 Cellcom Green Bay Marathon

I went into this marathon feeling stronger mentally and physically than ever before. Coming off of my monster month of April where I ran 300 miles, I had learned to run when tired and fight through pain and fatigue. The plan was to run smart and start slow, using the first 13-16 miles as a warm up. I wanted to be on pace to qualify for Boston (3:10:59 or 7:17 pace) by the time we turned north and started running into the wind. As the gun went off, I jogged through the first 3-4 miles at a slightly faster pace than planned, but feeling relaxed. I knew that the hundreds of people that went out ahead of me would soon falter since they wouldn't be able to hold the pace.

By mile 10 I was already on pace to qualify and about to enter a stretch of wind at my back. I then ripped off 7 miles in a row, averaging 6:57 pace. I could see the 3:10 pace group, which was slightly ahead of pace (knowing that they would battle the same 2-3 mile stretch of 15 mph head winds). Just before the turn, I was able to tuck in behind the pace group, who were running 12 strong and let them carry me and shield the wind. It turned out to be a smart move, because when mile 20 finally arrived and I met up with my pacer and good friend Brian, I turned to him and said, 'I want to drop these guys from sight in the mile'; and we did. I no longer watched my gps and splits, but ran how I felt. We ran the final 10km in under 42 minutes, pacing at 6:46. I began passing people quickly and getting stronger after each pass. I was getting many looks by people thinking that I was running the marathon relay because they couldn't believe how strong I was running. Running the final mile through Lambeau field and hearing the fans, including my parents who were cheering about going to Boston felt pretty awesome.

It's now a week later and it still really hasn't sunk in that I have achieved my ultimate goal. What I do know is that I ran a negative split race, running 1:35 in the first half and 1:32 in the second half. I also know that at mile 23 I told my friend Brian that I felt good enough to go 50km at the pace we were running... only me:) So it's time to adjust my goals and turn toward ultra marathoning. Next goal? 50km then on up. I really want to see how far I can really push my body.

My mantra for this race? A simple quote from Steve Prefontaine; "To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift."

So Boston Marathon 2008 here I come. 4 years, 6000 miles, 57 races, 5 marathons and finally I accomplish my goal... I think that I will take a few weeks off before my next marathon in July:) Thanks to all of those who have helped me along the way. You know who you are!