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Pittsburgh Marathon

May 7, 2013 (Morning)

Exercise Type: Run

As I've stated many times before in my log, my goal for this year is to run a sub-2:45 marathon. I honestly think that is completely possible if my body cooperates on a given day. However, I do not believe that my best day at this point in my training could have resulted in a 2:44:59 on the Pittsburgh Marathon course. The course was very difficult, and it kicked my butt up and down. That said, I do believe that I could have PRed on this course today; I just didn’t.
For the first 11 miles I executed my race plan to near perfection. I was clipping off 6:20s very comfortably. However, even in the first mile when I was gauging how my body was feeling, I could feel my legs being slightly heavy and tired deep down. This had absolutely nothing to do with starting out too fast in the race. There are two possibilities. One is that I ran too fast during my taper. My paces were quick for short distances, even though it felt like I was slogging. I must control my taper even more before the next race in case this was the issue. The other possibility is that it just wasn’t my day. I’ve been running long enough to know that sometimes your body is just not feeling 100% for no reason. Luck can play a big part in a race as long as the marathon.
Mile 12 started the big hill from the Birmingham Bridge into Oakland. I knew it was there, but it was just 1.5 miles of pain. More than anything, this hill triggered the underlying fatigue in my legs and I started to slow at this point in the race. Miles 12-16 were rolling hills and it was essentially a 5 mile mental battle with myself. I knew my pace started to fall off and I seriously considered stopping for one minute to stretch my legs out and try to work things out. I am pleased to report that my mental training paid off, and I really battled to minimize the slowing down. My persistence during these miles ended up paying off. Around mile 18 I got a second wind and was able to pick of the pace a bit (not significantly but to some extent). The 22-26 part of the race was flat to downhill so the finish was not so difficult. I tried to work the last 2 miles as best as I could and was able to duck back below 6:30 pace. I might have had a bit too much in the tank as I was able to put a pretty good sprint in with .1 miles to go. I ended up coming through in 43rd place at 2:50:18.
Overall, I have mixed feelings about my result. I really wanted sub-2:45, but I realize that it was just not possible on a course like Pittsburgh. So I’m not mad about my time. On the other hand, I’m not happy either. I know my time could have been a few minutes faster, and that is frustrating. My legs just didn’t cooperate when I really hoped I had done all of the right things. Since I am kind of neutral on my race result, my takeaway feeling about the race will be positive: thankful. I will not be running the Pittsburgh Marathon again until I am older and less capable of running my ultimate lifetime marathon goals. However, I got the opportunity to race in my favorite city as a seeded runner and finish in the top 1% of all participants. If you had told 8th grade me (who made the Pittsburgh Marathon clipping) that would be the result of my dream race, I would have been proud.
After taking a week off, I will begin serious training again for a number of races. I would love to knock some time off of my 5k PR this summer so I will run quite a few of those. My training will still be mainly for longer distances. I am considering running a half this summer, but I do not have one set in stone. The next marathon will be sometime between Sept-Nov 2013 at location TBD.

Distance Duration Pace Interval Type Shoes
26.2 Miles 2:50:18 6:30 / Mile Race Adidas Bostons