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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I ran the Spirit of St. Louis Marathon this morning. I had one goal in running it and that was to run a Boston-qualifying time of sub-3:16. I felt like my training had me well-prepared. I tapered nicely and carbo-loaded leading up to the race. There were three concerns however: (1) the hills on the course and (2) the weather (in particular, the wind) and (3) my health.<br><br>
I had heard conflicting reports on the difficulty of the course. Nearly every report on MarathonGuide.com mentioned ?numerous hills?, while some friends of mine who have run it said that there?s not much to worry about. Considering my two previous marathons were Chicago and Marine Corps (the flatest marathons around), I was ever so slightly worried about the hills.<br><br>
A huge winter storm just blew through Missouri (yes, I said ?winter?) and what it left was a nice strong breeze out of the northwest. The forecast was calling for winds at around 15-17 mph, which is no fun when you are running into the teeth of it and there were several miles in the race which had us running directly into it. I still blame the wind for keeping me from a Boston-qualifying time in my last marathon. So this was definitely a concern.<br><br>
I have been fighting a chest/throat/head cold which has had me coughing up phlegm for over a week now. Though it hasn?t made me feel all that bad, I had no idea how this would affect me when running for over three hours.<br><br>
Unfortunately, there was nothing much I could do about these three concerns. I just had to go out and run. One thing that had me hopeful was that a running friend (Darrin) was going to join me for ?as long as he could hang with me.? This was a luxury I haven?t really had in previous marathons as I?ve pretty much run them solo. Darrin assured me that he would be able to make it 20 miles with me, but he had no idea how things would go from there.<br><br>
Mile 1: 7:37<br><br>
My goal pace for the first two miles was 7:45 as I hoped to ease into things. However, this first mile is downhill and I found myself going out a little too fast. So I eased back and found a pace fairly comfortable. But even then, I was a little disappointed with the time because this really was a downhill mile and I knew that what goes down must at some point go up and I wanted to bank some time on these easy miles.<br><br>
Mile 2: 7:30<br><br>
This was perhaps one of the flattest miles of the race and also the moment at which I felt the best. Usually, it takes me 8-10 miles before catching my groove. But as things would turn out, I never found a groove today and this was as good as things were going to get.<br><br>
Mile 3: 7:39<br><br>
Uh oh, this was the first bad sign as there is a significant climb during this mile as the course begins to loop around the Anheuser-Busch Brewery. I was breathing very hard and I haven?t even complete a 5K at this point. Darrin?s probably thinking that I?m going to die any moment with my breathing so out of control. Hopefully, I?ll be able to catch my breath on the back side of this hill.<br><br>
Mile 4: 7:14<br><br>
After cresting the hill in the last mile, I was able to catch my breath and bank some time on this downhill mile. In retrospect, I think this was the best way to run this course. This portion of the course now heads back in the direction of the start, so we are now seeing the runners behind us as they approach the Brewery.<br><br>
Mile 5: 7:39<br><br>
Darrin and I tried to steady our pace on this flat stretch of the course. We were a bit surprised to see our split though as we were planning on keeping a 7:25 pace for the remainder of the race. I knew that the next mile was going to be uphill, so I was slightly discouraged at this point.<br><br>
Mile 6: 7:36<br><br>
Most of this mile was a steady gradual incline and I start having my first doubts as to whether I can pull off the necessary time as I?m just not feeling well at all. My breathing seems to be way too labored for being so early in the race. I still have over 20 miles to go.<br><br>
Mile 7: 6:49<br><br>
Whoa! This is the fastest mile split I?ve ever had in a marathon. Now I?m worried that the mile markers are off. Just what I need...something else to worry about!<br><br>
Mile 8: 6:54<br><br>
Darrin and I are both convinced that the last two mile markers were short as it sure didn?t seem like we were running this fast through these miles. I notice my calves feeling a little tender at this point. Ugh!<br><br>
Mile 9: 7:55<br><br>
I guess the last two miles were a bit short which explains this slower split. The inconsistent splits are frustrating and I now have no idea if I?m even on pace. I think I?m still pretty close but I?m still not feeling well. I seem to be working a lot harder than I should to be staying on pace.<br><br>
Mile 10: 7:14<br><br>
The half-marathoners have turned off and we now have the street all to ourselves. We had some wind bother us during this mile, but Darrin drafted for me and we had an encouraging split.<br><br>
Mile 11: 7:25<br><br>
I took over drafting duties for a portion of this mile as we ran through some buildings which created a wind tunnel effect. The end of this mile turns into Forest Park and the terrain is now gently rolling through here. We finally nail a 7:25 and hope that we can keep things right around that mark for the rest of the way.<br><br>
Mile 12: 7:24<br><br>
I?m feeling tired but the splits are encouraging. This is what I was hoping for from the very beginning. The scenery through the park is nice though we do have some gradual hills to climb and the wind is into our faces during this stretch.<br><br>
Mile 13: 7:30<br><br>
Darrin did some more wind-blocking for me through here and another runner tucks in right behind me. We begin heading up a gradual incline which continues for almost two miles.<br><br>
Mile 14: 7:38<br><br>
This is perhaps the toughest terrain on the entire course as this whole mile is uphill as we run right through Washington University. Darrin and I are passing runners continually through here as we try our best to stay on pace. Once again, my breathing is labored as I plod up the hill.<br><br>
Mile 15: 7:26<br><br>
This mile is a roller coaster as we go up and down, up and down through Clayton. Darrin and I continue to pick off runners and though I am starting to feel fatigue in my lower legs, we are back on pace and I?m encouraged that we continue to pass people.<br><br>
Mile 16: 7:30<br><br>
My calves are very sore now and my hamstrings are starting to hurt as well. Mile 16 is gradually uphill, but I know that once this mile is over the next few miles are gradually downhill and we head back east, having the wind at our back.<br><br>
Mile 17: 7:20<br><br>
We turn east and instantly are encouraged as the wind is no longer a factor and the terrain gets much easier. We are also encouraged with the fact that we have less than 10 miles to go. Darrin tells me during this mile that this is the farthest that he has run in 12 years.<br><br>
Mile 18: 7:21<br><br>
Darrin tells me that my breathing sounds better now than it did three miles ago. While that was encouraging to hear, I was getting very worried about my calves as they are starting to really hurt. It looks like there is going to be plenty of pain in this race if I am going to stay on pace.<br><br>
Mile 19: 7:25<br><br>
We are keeping things pretty even during this flat stretch. We see some rolling hills ahead though.<br><br>
Mile 20: 7:19<br><br>
While my breathing is starting to sound like a freight train, Darrin keeps motoring along looking as comfortable as can be. It?s nice to know that as the pain sets in, I am able to stay on pace. I did get a nice boost when I saw my wife and sister during this mile.<br><br>
Mile 21: 7:22<br><br>
The pain is mounting in my calves and I am thinking I may not be able to hold it together. (Here I am reminded of Flounder's words of wisdom: embrace the pain!) Darrin, who made me think that he was going to turn into a pumpkin after 20 miles, is still right by my side and running strong. In fact, I?m worried that I am holding him back. Our splits are still right on the money though. I just keep putting one foot in front of the other.<br><br>
Mile 22: 7:25<br><br>
My calves are screaming at this point. This mile finishes on a pretty significant uphill which leaves me completely out of breath. I have no choice but to keep going. I?m too close to let things fall apart here. Hopefully I can catch my breath at the top of the hill.<br><br>
Mile 23: 7:26<br><br>
I?m in a considerable amount of pain and I encourage Darrin to go on without me, but he?s not budging. We only have a 5k to go and I?m playing all of the usual mind games at this point to keep on moving. Once again, our split is encouraging. Though the pain mounts, we are still in striking distance.<br><br>
Mile 24: 7:15<br><br>
At this point, I?m wanting this run to be over. So I turn up the intensity knowing that I should be able to survive for the last three miles. Though I still have my doubts, I?m starting to think I might actually be able to pull this thing off after all. This is where I started to fall apart in my last marathon so I was quite pleased when I saw my split through here.<br><br>
Mile 25: 7:16<br><br>
I am trying my best to ignore the pain in my calves and hamstrings as I continue to keep the pressure on. I notice towards the end of this mile that Darrin is no longer by my side. I?m just trying to finish this thing. When I see my time at the 25 mile mark, I realize that I can coast into the finish and still get my goal time.<br><br>
Mile 26: 6:54<br><br>
Now that I know that I am going to make it, I find some extra energy and am able to run as strong as I?ve been running all day. This is how I have dreamed of finishing a marathon.<br><br>
26.2 miles: 3:13:33<br><br>
I poured on the speed for the final 385 yards and was thrilled to be able to finally stop running and then I reveled in the fact that despite all my concerns, I just qualified for the world?s greatest marathon. Darrin also finished strong 19 seconds behind me. He ran an amazing race on very limited training. He was a huge support and I?m not sure how I would have fared today without him. It was a very gratifying experience. I never thought I would be able to pull off a time like that.
 

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First of all, congratulations!<br><br>
You worked your tail off in training for this, and you ran a solid and smart race. You certainly have been consistent in your approach and singleminded in your goal. An inspiration.<br><br>
I like the "embrace the pain" motto, although mine might be "embrace the suck" <img alt="wink.gif" src="http://files.kickrunners.com/smilies/wink.gif"><br><br>
Now you have a whole year and a day to get ready for next year's edition of the world's greatest race. Be proud of your accomplishment, and get some rest! Thanks for a great race report.
 

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Wow! That was a great report, and a wonderful effort. You had me hanging off a cliff from the beginning, tempted to skip to the end to see if you'd made your goal, but making myself read all the way through b/c your report is a great read.<br><br>
Congratulations on qualifying for Boston!
 

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<img alt="icon_cheers.gif" src="http://files.kickrunners.com/smilies/icon_cheers.gif"><img alt="icon_cheers.gif" src="http://files.kickrunners.com/smilies/icon_cheers.gif"><img alt="icon_cheers.gif" src="http://files.kickrunners.com/smilies/icon_cheers.gif"><br><br>
Awesome, Lofcaudio!!!<br><br>
Way to work together with Darrin.<br><br>
I imagine that the early confusion with mile markers, while frustrating, occupied your thoughts enough to make it interesting. From your description, not an easy course, nor weather. Good how you eventually got locked-in for the miles in the teens. Thanks for the mile-by-mile account.<br><br>
The way you fought through in the last 10k was due to your preparations. You were able to work through the pain and endure for longer than ever before. Chalk another BQ up to JD!<br><br>
A hearty congratulations, and you will appreciate having an entire year to prepare for Boston.<br><br>
Way to go. Recover well.
 

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<img alt="wav.gif" src="http://files.kickrunners.com/smilies/wav.gif"><br>
congrats on your BQ and a stellar performance!
 

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Congrats on your BQ. Aren't you glad you qualified for 2008 rather than 2007. <img alt="smile.gif" src="http://files.kickrunners.com/smilies/smile.gif">
 

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LOF! <img alt="icon_cheers.gif" src="http://files.kickrunners.com/smilies/icon_cheers.gif"> Way to go man...very nice race! You sure have some mental toughness...already things were going "badly" in the beginning and you still managed to make it into and awesome race and BQed. Woohoo!<br><br>
Alex
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Lessons learned:<br><br>
1) Trust your training. Even when things are not going as you had hoped, know that you CAN run what you trained for. (While listening to your body is helpful sometimes, marathon success often comes by ignoring what your body is telling you.) Unfortunately, there is no substitute for experience when it comes to knowing how well trained you are.<br><br>
2) I downed 3 gels during this race (two more than I took in previous marathons). I think these helped for the final kick.<br><br>
3) Running with someone is a huge mental lift.<br><br>
4) Bad patches happen in every race. And sometimes they can last for 26 miles. But keep on moving because eventually you will feeling better.
 

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<img alt="icon_cheers.gif" src="http://files.kickrunners.com/smilies/icon_cheers.gif"> Nice closing mile <img alt="icon_cheers.gif" src="http://files.kickrunners.com/smilies/icon_cheers.gif"><br><br>
awesome!!!!!!!!!!!!
 

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WOW!!!! <img alt="icon_cheers.gif" src="http://files.kickrunners.com/smilies/icon_cheers.gif"> Awesome job on the BQ!<br><br><img alt="wav.gif" src="http://files.kickrunners.com/smilies/wav.gif"><img alt="wav.gif" src="http://files.kickrunners.com/smilies/wav.gif"><br><br>
I was in St Louis on Wednesday and Thursday and wanted to stick around for the marathon, but some work things came up and I had to come back early! <img alt="sad.gif" src="http://files.kickrunners.com/smilies/sad.gif">
 

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<img alt="icon_bounce.gif" src="http://files.kickrunners.com/smilies/icon_bounce.gif"> - See you in Boston in 2008 - I plan on watch'n the womens' trials<br><br><img alt="drunken_smilie.gif" src="http://files.kickrunners.com/smilies/drunken_smilie.gif"> - I hope you celebrated - You deserve it !<br><br><img alt="icon_cheers.gif" src="http://files.kickrunners.com/smilies/icon_cheers.gif">
 

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Lofcaudio,<br><br>
Awesome job! Simply amazing. All that hard work you put in this winter/spring really paid off big time for you.<br><br>
Congrats on the BQ! Enjoy Boston (and i hope the weather in 2008 is better than it was today! <img alt="smile.gif" src="http://files.kickrunners.com/smilies/smile.gif"> )
 

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Wow, what a great report. You 'worried' your way through an awesomely consistent 26.2 miles! Congratulations on qualifying for Boston! Did Darrin qualify too?
 
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