Friday, November 8, 2013

2013 City Of Oaks Marathon

This past Sunday was the 2013 City of Oaks marathon in Raleigh North Carolina and the culmination of 4 months of training for what was my first marathon.

With two half marathons under my belt with a fastest time of 1h 40m I had decided it was time to step up to the challenge of a marathon.

As mentioned in previous posts, I always approach a race with a list of goals with the objective to hit as many as possible. My initial goals were:

  • Get to the starting line.
  • Get to the finish line.
  • Run in under 3hours 30minutes
My training was pretty intensive and I followed a training program provided by Garmin. Over the course of 4 months I ran for over 82 hours completing over 540 miles with my average speed increasing from 6.4 mph to 6.8 mph. Things were looking good for a 3h 30m time.

With 3 weeks to race day, just before I was due to start my taper, I started experiencing pain on the top of my left foot. At a visit to a podiatrist he indicated that it could be stress fractures and sent me for a bone density scan. Fortunately the results came back negative for stress fractures and I was allowed to run assuming that I could recover sufficiently. I stopped running, iced the foot whenever possible and scheduled ultrasound treatments.

At this point I had to revise my goals. With the disruption in training and nursing an injured foot I was unlikely to be able to attempt the 3h 30m pace I was hoping for and therefore changed my goals to the following:

  • Get to the starting line.
  • Get to the finish line.
  • Complete the marathon barefoot.
  • Run in under 4 hours.
Race day arrived with an added bonus of the clocks going back meaning that my 4:30am start was really 5:30am body clock time. Some orange juice, a large bowl of oatmeal followed by coffee and I left the house at 5:30am for a 7am race start time.

This was going to be a beautiful day, but the clear skies meant that the morning air was chilly, and wearing shorts and a running vest meant that keeping warm at the start was a challenge.

Now was the time to decide, did I line up with the 3h 30m pace group or the 4h pace group. The adrenaline had kicked in and I decided to go with the 3h 30m pace group. Fortunately, at 7am, right on time, the gun sounded and we were off and within 10 seconds I was across the line tracking the pace group, heading east towards downtown Raleigh. I managed to keep with the 3h 30m pace group for the first 12miles before having to stop for a quick bathroom break (annoying) then loosing sight of them. At the half way point I was at 1h 46m and feeling great. It was around  mile 15 when we hit some downhill portions of the run, which aggravated my injured foot forcing me to slow down, then by mile 18, it was back uphill to the finish. It was about this time that my thigh muscles started to fatigue and cramp. The remainder of the race was a struggle, but approaching the final half mile I was pleased that I hadn't seen the 4hour pace group, then .....

On my right shoulder the two 4 hour pace runners appeared and I explained that I really wanted to finish in under 4 hours. They verbally pushed and encouraged me and were the sole reason I crossed the line with the clock at 3h 59m 57s !!

Overall Place Mens Place Age Group Chip Time Gun Time
229/770 185/493 23/60 3:59:44 3:59:57

The City of Oaks Marathon is not an easy race and I suspect not a race where people will set a personal best, however, given that a few weeks prior I was unsure if I was going to even be able to start the race I was really pleased with my result.

Up next, training for the 2014 Raleigh Half Ironman.

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