Friday, September 6, 2013

My History in the Marathon

So two days away from my running of the Skagit Flats Marathon, I've been pondering my strange history of my love/hate affair with the 26.2 mile distance.

I've run four marathons so far. The Skagit Flats will be the fifth. That's not so much, of course, but it seems like so, so much more. Maybe it's just the horribly long training periods that make it seem like I've done more than four of these things. I mean, I've been training since May 6th for the Skagit Flats. May 6th!! So it really shouldn't be surprising, with such a long training period, and then with the race itself being so disturbingly long, that some bad luck might occur during the prep and/or race.

My first marathon was in 1997. Wow. That was a long time ago. I was all of 30 years old, but in distance running years, I was just a little bouncing baby boy. I was all about 5k's and sprint triathlons back then. That marathon in 1997, the Seattle Marathon, was a total fluke. Jen and I somehow decided to try one and just did it. I was in no type of shape to run a marathon and my race time shows that. The Seattle course was not fun, I hated just about every rainy minute of it and it's really no great shock that it took me 13 years to try again.

My second marathon, in 2010, was the Eugene Marathon. I'll blame my friend Manny Balesteri, from Springfield and the UofO, for getting me back into the marathon after such a long break. He was, and still is, seriously into the distance and his love of the race made me wonder if it was really as bad as I had remembered it. Yeah, it probably was. I was in OK shape at this race, but still had not committed to the training that's required to actually race for 26.2 miles. I was well trained for a half here, but definitely not a full.

The third marathon, in Newport, was where I thought it would all come together. I trained hard for this one, following Pete Pfitzinger's marathon plan to the letter. I thought I could get a Boston time here, but after about 10 miles realized that was not going to happen. A very short time after that, I had the worst GI issues I've ever had in my life. And that was that. Somehow, this one is still my PR.

The fourth, and latest if not for long, was the CIM in Sacramento, CA. I hurt my ankle a number of weeks before the race and basically did no training at all for this one. Plus this was the Hurricaine CIM of 2012. I'm lucky I made it to the finish line.

Which brings us to the present day. And the Skagit Flats Marathon in two days. I've had three pretty good months of training for this one, over 600 miles total in June, July and August combined, and then two pretty bad weeks heading to the start line. I pulled a muscle in my leg and have just been nursing it along for about 10 days now. How much will it affect my race? Only time will tell.

Eventually it will all come together. The training, the nutrition, the race...everything. Not in two days' time and maybe not in the next race or the one after that. But I'll get it one of these days.

See you out there.

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