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Hey All - I completed a Marathon!!!

Timr

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#1
Hey everyone,

I haven't been around posting too much because I've been a little busy training. But yes, I completed the Nashville Country Music Marathon in a sub 4hr time this past Saturday.

I did loads of training in the 20 weeks leading up to the event. In all over 449 miles of running prior to the race.

If you want all of the details, here they are:
(Later all)

Race: County Music Marathon
Date: 4-28-07
Weather: Cloudy and cool at the start / partly sunny and 60s at the finish
Location: Nashville, TN
Background: For some crazy reason, somewhere around January of 2007 I told my wife that I thought that now was the time for me to train for a marathon. I had done some pretty good base building in the last couple of months of 2006 so I had what I thought would be a good base to build on. So, what race? Well, the two that I narrowed it down to were Nashville and Cincinnati. Nashville got the nod since it was an easier drive from Birmingham, and I have relatives who live in that city who could provide logistical support.

Pre-race/Expo: Friday, we picked the kids up early from school in order to make the 3-hour drive up to Nashville and then go straight the expo. I had heard horror stories from people in the past stating that the packet pick-up lines at the expo were long and that it could take up to 3-hrs to get your packet. YIKES!! I didn’t want to go through that. I had allocated 1 hr for the expo in our schedule. We needed to get out of downtown and up to a northern suburb to meet up with my aunt and uncle for dinner.

Fortunately, the expo couldn’t have been any better organized and efficient for the amount of people that they were moving through. First, I walked in with my id and race registration card. It took about 6 mins to get my bib and race instructions. Then, there was no line to get my chip, moved on to pick up my bag check bag and goodie bag, turned in my coupon for my free T-shirt. We took a quick look at the race logo merchandise and then moved beyond the control. From there, we worked our way up and down each isle of the expo. It was crowded but not so bad that you couldn’t move.

I stopped at the Brooks booth and contemplated buying another pair of shoes. The deal was a good one 20% off reg price with no sales tax. After I decided to pick them up, the guy informed me that they were out of my size. Oh well. We moved on and were out of the expo by 5:06pm.

Race day: The alarm when off @ 4:00am. Yikes that’s early! I snoozed for about 20 mins before getting out of bed. I made and consumed all of my regular pre-race liquids and food. ½ protein shake, bowl of oatmeal, half a bagel, and some Accelerade. By 5:30am I was ready to leave. My uncle had agreed to drive me downtown to the start area so that my wife and kids could follow a little later. That worked out great.

As we left the house, it was spitting a little rain. Around 5:50 we pulled up just outside of the centennial park. Getting out of the car, it was still spitting a little rain and the weather was cool. I milled around the athlete village and made my final preparations. A little after 6:00am, when the corrals opened, I took my gear bag to the bag check. Other people were wearing trash bags to stay warm and in my singlet, I wished that I had one too. It was kinda cool. I had to pee. Three times! Once in a porta-can, once behind a building and once on a tree in the park. The lines were just too long. There must have been at least 200 porta-potties in the park, but the lines were still long.

After my 3rd pee I went to the starting line. County Music Marathon uses a wave start with 1000 runners per starting corral. You corral is based on your predicted finishing time. With my 3:50 prediction, I was in the 6th corral. I had done some long training runs with a couple of people from the Birmingham Track Club and knew that one person was slated to start in corral #7. So, I found her pretty easy and we talked race strategy. I had the option of dropping back to #7 and starting with her, but I made the decision to start in 6 and manage my own race. That decision turned out to be the right one. In training, I had kept her pace (during runs) but always felt like I was being drug along out of my comfort zone.

Race Start: into the corral, I felt loose and comfortable, not anxious even though this was a big deal. I chatted with two guys next to me, both were running the half. The gun goes off and corral #1 goes up the street, each time one left, we walked up closer to the start line. I felt like I needed to pee AGAIN!!!

I knew that I didn’t want to start out too fast. I had a 3:50 pace band with me and knew that I only needed 8:46 for the first mile. Well, about .5 miles into it, I couldn’t stand it, I had to pee again. So I ducked behind a BP station and watered their brick wall. Ah, much better.

I knew the course because I had run the entire HM course during a training run about 5 weeks before race in a training run organized by the Nashville striders. That course reconnaissance would pay off.

Mile1 split: 9:32 (includes pee stop)

After mile one, I felt really good, just taking it easy. I skipped the first water stop and kept moving on.

Mile 2 split: 8:28 felt good, making up a little time that I lost on the pee stop

Mile 3 split: 8:51 grabbed a little water at the aid station

I was chatting with some of the people around me. The course was now just beyond Country Music Row and was into Belmont university. There was a great frat band playing funk/blues from the front porch of their house. A guy near me said, “Hey, they sound great…I think I’m going to stop and do a keg stand!” That got a laugh out of those around me.

Mile 4 split: 8:37 right on pace

Some guy runs over to the side and starts drinking starbucks coffee supplied by his wife. The spectators were awesome through here.

Mile 5 split: 8:06 this section was little downhill.

Going towards mile 6 I reminded myself to hold back and not chase runners who were passing me. I wasn’t there to race them, I was there to execute my race plan, finish strong, and achieve my goal!

Mile 6 split: 8:32

Just passed the mile 6 marker, the course turn back over a bridge on an out and back, here, is where you start going against the flow going where you just were. Now, I could see this huge mass of humanity. There were 28 corrals behind me. We were now headed back up country music row.

The best way to describe the layout of the Nashville course is that it’s in the same shape as a Mercedes logo. (Much irony there since the actual Mercedes marathon is in Birmingham, my hometown.) It’s basically 3 out and backs in different directions.

Mile 7 split: 8:59

Heading back towards downtown, I overhear a couple of guys near me talking and they are from Birmingham too. We introduce ourselves and run together from miles 8 – 16.

Mile 8 split: 8:28

David and Daniel have the same type of pace goal as I do so we’re a good match. As the miles roll by, we share race stories, talk about soccer, talk about college, kids, and movies.

Mile 9 – 10: 17:06 missed a mile marker while talking with the guys

Mile 11 split: 8:39

Around mile 11 the HM people split off from us to head back to downtown and out to the stadium where both finish lines are.

Mile 12 split: 8:46

Right at mile 12, we can see where we are going to be coming from after a loop down by the river. The hill @ mile 17 is visible to us from here and we talk about what we’re going to do when we get there. Just past the mile 12 marker we make a turn and are greeted by a group of nuns cheering us on outside their convent! Cool!

Mile 13 split: 8:41

We’re right on my schedule. Or within 1 minute of what’s on my card. We hit the HM marker @ 1:53:xx. I don’t say to much to my new running partners about this, but this is about a 14 min PR over my previous HM PR.

Mile 14 split: 9:06 (had to hit another pee stop! J )

We’re running on a path next to the river. This was a cool part of the course and the three of us started talking with some of the other runners around us.

Mile 15 split: 9:14

Not sure what happened there.

Mile 16 split: 9:07

We’re heading up the “hill” now. This hill didn’t really bother me at all. I had heard lots of stories about it, but it was not as bad as some of the hills that I had trained on. The 17 mile marker was on this hill and there was an aid station here. There was a guy with a misting hose spraying people as they went by and that felt good. It was here that I dropped my new running buddies. They wanted to stretch at the aid station and wanted to keep moving.

Mile 17 – 18 split: 18:07

Sitting on 9 minute pace now, but still only about a minute behind my pace card. I’m feeling really good. The course had rejoined the previous direction and I could see racers who still had to go where I had already been.

Mile 19 split: 8:57

Right before the 19 mile marker, the marathon course and the HM course come back together. I was very inspired to see how many people were still working on their half while I was closing in on mile 20. Heading towards mile 20, I was getting really pumped up. I felt great and I was anxious to see what I had left at the end of the race. Just past mile 19, we had to do another hill climb up into the downtown area. This hill was shorter and steeper than the previous one. Once again, it wasn’t that hard. I knew that I would see my wife and kids sometime before the 20 mile marker. Also, I could see the HMers making the turn for the line by the stadium. I still had 6+ miles left to go.

Right before mile 20, I saw the wife and kids. They looked great and I was feeling great!


Me right before mile 20


Mile 20 split: 8:55

I was @ mile 20 around 2:56…just one minute slower than what was on my race pace card. So far so good.

Mile 21 split: 9:05

Mile 22 split: 9:16

Still feeling OK, feet are a little sore, there’s a blister in a spot where I don’t usually get a blister. Heading towards mile 23, we’re in an industrial area heading for a loop in a park. At this point on the course, people heading towards mile 25 are coming at us on the other side of the street.

Right behind me a guy blew up and I heard him yell for help. Fortunately, there was a policeman who helped him keep his buddy from hitting the ground. Another runner and I asked each other how we’re feeling and we strike up a short conversation. He tells me a really cool Boston Marathon story. Turns out he ran Boston last year, so I ask about his qualifying and he responds saying that he’s in the Tenn National Guard, and that he was stationed in Iraq. While there, his unit organized a marathon; in the desert! He ran a BQ time but this wasn’t a Boston sanctioned race. He sent an email to BAA with his story and time and they sent him an invitation. Totally cool and inspiring.

We agree to part ways and eventually, I went on ahead of him.

Looking for mile 23 I was starting to feel a little sore.

Mile 23 split: 9:04

Mile 24 split: 9:20 - slowed down to take fluid

Mile 25 split: 9:04

From here, I knew that I would break 4:00hrs at the finish. I kind of just forgot about my watch and concentrated on running strong to the finish. On the way, I recognized another runner as a guy that I met when training in Nashville. He and I chatted and he encouraged me to dig deep. He was really supportive of my sub-4hr effort.

The last 1.2 miles was a challenge, but I knew that it was the culmination of all the work that I had done in training. I was so proud that I hadn’t blown up and that I didn’t have to take any walk breaks for rest.

My wife got a great picture of me crossing the finish line. The race clock say 4:00:06, but my chip time was 3:52:18! Only 2 mins off of the pace card that I worked off of.



Final observations: The finish was great. I was tired but not beaten into oblivion. The race itself was great. I liked the course, and thought that the race was very well organized. I’m sure that others will have things to complain about, but I don’t have much. We got free Spenco flip-flops and lots of food at the end. My suggestions would be minor. Things like it would be nice if they gave us a technical shirt in place of or in addition to the cotton T-shirt. Other than that, it was really well done.

Congrats from my cheering squad:
 
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#4
Congrats!
 

Vic

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#6
Quite an accomplishment, Tim.

Well done. :cool:
 

Rich Rohrich

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#7
Great job Tim, on the race and the write up. :cool:
 

nikki

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#8
Awesome!!! Congrats on the huge accomplishment and beating the 4 hour mark. I really enjoyed your write-up. Let's see the finish line photo. :cool:
 

Timr

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#9
thanks everyone - you know, I have found that all of those years of motorcycle racing keeps you from getting nervous or anxious about stuff like this. I read stories about others not being able to eat or throwing up before the race, but I went through that as a teen when I started racing.

Let me see if I can link in some pics here:







 

Jaybird

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#10
WTG!
Quite an accomplishment for any mortal.
 

GETMETOCA

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#11
Tim I really enjoyed the read! That is truly a terrific accomplishment!
 

WaltCMoto

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#12
Great job Timr :nod:
What a sense of accomplishment you get crossing the line of your first marathon. I admire you for all the training and dedication it took to get-r-done. I remember a few years back you mentioned working on a half, so its good to see you accomlish this goal. You are being modest about the hills though, my friends who did Nashville last year said they were big and plentyful. Im going to run Clevelands marathon on May 20th. :whoa: Wish me luck.
 

Tony Eeds

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#13
Congratulations Tim!

As Pred says ... you guys that run marathons are a better man than I.

I hung up my shoes almost 20 years ago. I never even considered a marathon. It seemed (still does) like a huge distance.

And a great write up to boot!
 

Timr

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#14
WaltCMoto said:
Great job Timr :nod:
What a sense of accomplishment you get crossing the line of your first marathon. I admire you for all the training and dedication it took to get-r-done. I remember a few years back you mentioned working on a half, so its good to see you accomlish this goal. You are being modest about the hills though, my friends who did Nashville last year said they were big and plentyful. Im going to run Clevelands marathon on May 20th. :whoa: Wish me luck.
Good luck in Cleveland Walt!

I'm hooked on the marathon race now, for whatever reason. I just signed up for the Marine Corps Marathon in DC on Oct. 28th. My two brothers, one who's in the Marine Corps, and one who's in the Air Force are going to run it with me. We're going to warm up @ the Air Force Marathon in Dayton on Sept 15th.

I'm adding mileage to my base building before i start another training plan in early July.