Marathon Life

Sunday, January 23, 2011

A Blog from the Past - June 3, 2007: San Diego Rock n Roll Marathon

I am going to try to post a "blog from the past" every week since I have about 10 years of blog entries to work with. This week's installment goes back to a very significant day in my marathon running history. June 3, 2007 was the day that I ran my fastest marathon at 2:57:41 and my 10th marathon overall. It was also the last marathon and significant race I have competed in. My stubborn hamstring injuries have plagued me for the last 3.5 years.

Actrually I did run the ASYMC Camp Pendleton 10K Mud Run on Oct 18, 2008 and placed 1st in the 30-34 age group (5th overall out of 1,300 runners). See the results here. I was very proud of that run considering I was running injured with my hamstrings not even 80 percent. Granted it wasn't a true road race, as we had to run up mountains, a lake and also and through mud and other obstacles, so our times were a lot slower than a normal 10K. Other than that one glorious race, I have not competed. Not even a 5K or 10K. I just don't feel I am up to par, so I continue to train and try to get my mileage up. I hope one day I will feel ready to compete again. Maybe it's pushing through the discomfort, but I don't want to make one injury worse and do permanent damage.

So here it is, in its entirety. I am posting this as a motivator so I can hopefully run one last marathon before I retire for good. Who knew I would be this washed up at 35? I started when I was 25 so I got 7 good years and 3 injured. I hope re-evaluating my shoes (Sir Isaac Newtons) and running technique, I can pull out another one.

Rock N Roll San Diego Marathon - June 3, 2007
I'm at the finish of this historic race
Overcoming adversity is basically the theme of this marathon. I overcame a 2 injuries during what seemed like an endless 25-week training cycle - a half a year! I missed Boston Marathon in April due to recovering from tendonitis in February. Then in April I had a soft tissue tear in my arch tendon. I didn't think a marathon this year was possible. I was wrong.

Well, the 10th time is certainly a charm. On the day of my 10th marathon I was able to pull out yet another sub-3:00 marathon effort, this time at a 6:47 minute per mile pace. Other stats: 110th place out of 15,958 people and 20th place in the 30-34 age group out of 1,358.

I just kept relaxed throughout the entire race and focused on calm thoughts. I kept repeating in my head "stay in this state" and "focus on now." It really helped. The first few miles were standard. I tried not to go out too fast. I was at 6:42 at the first mile and 13:30 at mile 2. I don't remember much about the next few miles. We headed downtown and I really didn't like this part of the course. It smelled like a dumpster and was just not appealing. As I passed by the 10K mark (6.2 miles) I got this sense of dread. I had 20 more miles. Was I going to be able to keep up the intensity? I actually had a thought of just dropping out. Then I realized how ridiculous that was. I knew I could pull out at least a sub-3:10 effort if I really wanted to. So I kept on.

Mile 7.5 began the 2.5 mile climb up Highway 163. It was strange being able to run on the highway. I knew about this hill from my 2004 race. I knew it was going to be tough, but it was early enough in the race that I only slowed about 10 seconds per mile. My mileage watch said I was doing 7:20s mostly. I knew at the top I had to step it up. I had taken a Cliff Shot Block at the start that had caffeine in it. I think that gave me a little surge.

At mile 10 the San Diego Front Runners had their water stop. It was great. They announced my name on the microphone as I ran by. I felt great for the next 7 miles. I knew I had to put in a good solid chunk in the middle of this marathon to have any chance of a sub-3. So I glided down to mile 11 - all downhill. It was great. I felt relaxed. Then I got to the half marathon 13.1 miles at 1:27:14. I knew that I had some time in the bank. I could run the second half in 1:33 or so and be right around 3:00. I saw this guy Myles who had been running with me at the start but I let him pull ahead. I asked him what he was trying to maintain. He said 6:40 pace. So I kept with him for a few miles and around mile 15 I surged ahead. I still felt pretty good. I was totally zoning out. I was in a groove. It felt effortless at some portions. I tried to just keep my pace around 6:45 or so.

My boss Rich and co-workers Heidi and Charity were right after mile 16. They had a large sign with "Go Anthony" and my face blown up on it. I was so surprised. It was great. I then got the bottle of Gatorade I had asked for. After mile 17 I took another Cliff Shot Block. I wanted to do it around 2:00 or so but decided earlier. I knew I had 9.2 left. I did slow here. I was not feeling great, but not bad. I knew I just wanted to get to 20 miles and then re-evaluate my options for breaking 3:00.

Now we were in the Crown Point area of Pacific Beach. I took my e-Gel Electrolyte Energy gel around 18.5 miles. I saw someone who worked at SDRI (the running store I frequent) and he gave me a bottle of water to wash it down with. I ate half and waited to get to 20 miles before ingesting the other half. I saw the clock, it was 2:14 or so. I knew I had 46:00 to run the last 10K (6.2 miles). I knew in my mind that I could do that if I did not have any major cramping. At that point it was a hill since we crossed a bridge. I really pushed hard up it, as I was not going to slow for any reason. I heard a guy next to me grunting in pain as we ran up. I yelled "Come on, let's do this" to him. I kept on. I kept on pushing and pushing. I wanted it. I knew I could do it. Still, I had doubts though.

As I passed mile 21 I saw Trevor (a pacer) who was waiting for the 3:00 pace group to arrive. He looked anxious for the group to come. Then he yelled out to me, "You are way ahead of the 3:00 group, keep it up!" That was cool and I felt pumped. My confidence soared. As I arrived at mile 22 I told myself I have a Khoury's Run left in me. Khoury's was a 4.13 mile run my old running group Somerville Road Runners did every Thursday night starting and ending in front of this small pub called Khoury's in Somerville, Mass. I saw that the clock read 2:28 so that meant I had 32:00 to run 4.2 finish in under 3 hours. I knew I could easily do that.
I upped my pace in the next mile and made it to mile 23 around 2:35 or so. I now had 25:00 to do 3.2 miles - a piece of cake, right? Then, all of sudden, I got a small twinge in my right calf muscle. SHIT! It was a small cramp though. I slowed slightly and told myself that I was not going to cramp up until AFTER it was over. I drank extra water. I got through that scare and was at mile 24 at 2:42 or so. I knew I had 18:00 to do the last 2.2 - that would very easy. I just kept pushing and pushing. I got to mile 25 at around 2:49:50 or so.

I knew I had it in the bag as long as the cramping did not start up again. There was 1.2 left and I had 10:10 to do it. I could surely do that. As soon as I made the final left turn into the front gates of the Marine Corps Recruit Depot I knew I only had less than a half mile left. I pushed as hard as I could. I was in so much pain. My hip flexors were burning as well as my calves. My lungs were burning as well. Still, I did not feel dizzy, which was great - a sign I was well hydrated. I heard the announcer's voice in the distance. I was so close! Then I saw a guy cramping up big time. He was hobbling his way with the help of his friend. I felt so bad. It could have been me.

I didn't even look at my watch at this point. I didn't want to know what the time on the clock said. I knew I was going to break 3 hours, but by how much? Finally, during the last straightaway, I glanced at my watch and it said 2:55 and change. I knew I could feasibly finish in under 2:58. I just sprinted. All out sprinted. I was ecstatic. As I passed the 26-mile mark, the last .2 miles were a complete blur. I did not notice anyone around me. I had a narrow vision to the clock. 2:56:30, 2:56:50, 2:57:20...tick, tick tick... At last, I ran through with both hands raised up high and smiled into the camera. I was well aware they were cameras up above the finish banner so I struck a decent pose. Then it was over. Was it really over?

In my excitement I tried to do a cartwheel unsuccessfully and fell to the ground scratching both my palms in the process. Still, I was excited. This guy Dennis from Front Runners was right there as I crossed. He said that I would be on the front page of the GL Times. I laughed. I didn't even expect to see him right at the finish as one of the volunteers.

After my breakup over a month ago, I think I gained extra motivation to focus on my running. I did this marathon for myself. I wanted it so bad. I'm glad I was able to run a PR after the struggles I had this year. I couldn't be happier. And this is why I continue to do this. I can't let go of the high of running a great race. I have no regrets about this one, that's for sure.


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posted by Anthony at 8:39 PM


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