Monday, May 02, 2005

Flying Pig Marathon

Well, I did it. I ran the whole 26.2+ miles of hill after hill. True, it flattened out at the end, but even a slight incline feels like a hill at that point. I believe my chip time was 4:46, an improvement of over 45 minutes off of my last time.

So, here is the play by play, for those who are interested:

The Start: It was very crowded. We had the half marathon participants and the relayers and the full marathon participants all crowded along a small section of road. I saw the pace team I had signed up for on the other side of the road, but there was no way I was getting to them. I couldn't even move and people kept trying to push by me. I decided to just stand still until the race started. A few minutes later, we were off. At first, I couldn't move at all and then we started to shuffle forward a little. I was still about a block away from the starting area at this point. Within about 5 minutes I made it to the starting line.

The Bridges: The first 4 miles cross over three bridges. Two of them make the long journey over the Ohio river and the third is a smaller bridge on the Kentucky side of the Ohio river. Each bridge consisted of an uphill grade to the middle and then a downhill grade. In retrospect, there was not much at all about this course that could be considered flat. I spent the first few minutes just trying to establish my pace and my first mile came in at 10:17, a little faster than I had planned on, but still reasonable. There was so much excitement that it was hard to hold back. The second mile came in at 9:26 and I knew that I needed to slow myself down. It was okay to have splits like that on the half marathon, but I was going to be struggling at the end if I did that now. So, I managed to slow myself down a little for the third mile and came in at 10:09. Unfortunately, I sped up again on the fourth mile and clocked 9:41. Still, my pace seemed to be evening out a little and I had little reason to worry about going too fast since I was soon approaching.....

The Hills: From mile 5 to 9, there are some pretty intense climbs on this course. The incline started in mile 5 and I slowed down my pace a little because of my fear of burning out in the first half. Looking back, it was a wise move to make. Mile 5 came in at 10:40 and mile 6 came in at 10:56. Mile 7 continued with the upward incline and came in at 10:50. Miles 8 and 9 still had a number of hills, but there were a few downhills mixed in as well and my times started to improve a little. They came in at 10:20 and 10:13.

The Neighborhoods: From mile 10 to 17, the course weaves through several neighborhoods full of rolling hills. Luckily, there were as many downs as ups through this area and even a few flat areas to rest my poor quads and hams. My times came in pretty consistently through these miles with a low of 9:49 and a high of 10:24, with most times coming in right around 10 minutes.
The Wall and Beyond: Right around Mile 18, I started to get tired. The hills were not as intense, but they were still rolling along and my legs were getting tired. Luckily, I was still doing great psychologically and kept pushing through. Mile 18 came in at 10:58 and Mile 19 came in at 11:05. It was my first mile over eleven minutes and I still felt like my effort was the same if not more than the early miles that were coming in at 9 1/2 minutes. My body was just getting tired. Still, I felt like I was well on my way to a sub-5 hour marathon (my goal) and so I continued to push. By mile 20, I started bargaining with myself a little. I would run 4 minutes and then reward myself with a 1 minute walk break. Surprisingly enough, it didn't affect my pace near as much as I thought it would. Maybe Galloway has something afterall. Mile 20 came in at 11:03 and mile 21 came in at 11:10. I continued pushing through Mile 22 and 23 and they came in at 11:25 and 11:13. By the time I passed Mile 24, I was really tired. I kept telling myself that I had less than 25 minutes to the finish if I could keep up a decent pace. Unfortunately, a few more hills were being thrown in the mix at that point and my legs were just shot. I tried to continue my run 4- walk 1 pattern through the last few miles, but would often have to walk on some of the sharper inclines and I was getting really tired. Mile 24 came in at 11:53 and mile 25, which included a huge hill that I walked, came in at 12:41. I finished the 26th mile in 12:06. My Forerunner said that I actually ran 26.7 miles. This is probably because I was forced to weave in and out of runners a lot and ended up on running on the outside of curves to avoid the crowds. I guess those little bits of distance add up over that many miles.

Conclusion: Though the course was difficult, I felt very fulfilled at the end. I had cut over 45 minutes off of my previous marathon which was on a much easier course. The spectators at this marathon were amazing and the organization was great. I would recommend it to anyone.

Thanks for reading.


At 10:05 AM, Blogger wrnglrjan said...

You rock, Kara!

What an accomplishment. Color me impressed.


At 12:12 PM, Blogger Megan said...


*big pats on the back*

I am SO impressed! That's absolutely fantastic, Kara. :) What an inspiration.

Congratulations! You should be very, very proud of yourself.

At 12:15 PM, Blogger susie said...

Excellent!! Congratulations on a well run race. You make it sound so easy:)

At 7:56 PM, Blogger brent said...

wow congratulations on a great race and an amazing improvement over your first time. all those hills sound tough! awesome. thanks for your 10k comments!!

At 9:06 AM, Blogger Derek said...

hey kara, congratulations!

FYI, i would tell you this by email, but there's no email button. but i've added this post to the "carnival of the runners"i've dreamed up, a weekly roundup of running-related blog-posts.

nice job!

At 9:42 AM, Blogger Brooklyn said...

Wow Kara! You rock my world! Now I have a new person to "catch" so to speak. :)

45 minutes off your time is such an amazing feat I can barely comprehend it. Congratulations!



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