Thursday, October 15, 2009

The Longer Half

The first thing you'll probably notice about today's installment is the lack of pictures. That's because this is where this marathon thing started getting serious. I hit the half point at 2:23 and a few seconds. This put me somewhere around 30 to 45 seconds behind goal. The growing pain in my quads was telling me there could be trouble ahead. I settled in for another 13 plus miles.

Mile 13: 11:31
Mile 14: 11:44
Mile 15: 11:12
Avg pace after 15 miles: 11:05 ugh

They say that a marathon is as much mental as it is physical. I was starting to feel like I was beat. My goal pace was a thing of the past. And I wasn't speeding up. Nor did I have the legs left to speed up. Somewhere in here "they" threw in a hill too. Not that it was really a hill, but in my state it was the final blow. It was time to exercise my brain. What follows is the honest truth. I started thinking. Not about all the miles that I had run and the hours that I had put in. About making this happen. About not giving in. About all of you who had been sending well wishes and encouragement the past weeks. About how bad this Marathon play list was that was blaring in my head. About HTFU wimp!

Then, I made the turn at mile 16 and saw her. Chicrunner was coming down the street. I can tell you she was *not* smiling. She had determination written on her face. I shouted and she turned and feebly smiled, but it was obvious that she had something else in mind. She passed like the wind - several hundred yards in front of the 4:15 pace group.

I turned and bore down. I thought about one thing - mile 18....

Mile 16: 11:44
Mile 17: 12:39
Mile 18: 13:53
Avg pace after 18 miles: 11:22

Just past mile 18, we turned onto the campus of California State University, Long Beach. I also came to the realization that there was nothing I was going to do to recover and make my 4:45 goal. It was time to enjoy the rest of this thing we call a Marathon.

Long Beach State was one of the highlights of this marathon. Students were out in force to cheer us on! I slowed down and took some video as I passed through.

This also had to be the longest mile on the course. It seemed like it went on forever and ever. But, I lumbered up the hill at the back of campus, came back down a steepish little decline, and popped off the campus to mile 19. And there she was again! Ingrid - this time with Renee cheering us on! I pulled up for some PB&J sandwiches and a handshake (yeah - I'm not hugging anyone either when I'm a sweat soaked mess). I could not believe what an emotional pickup it was to see their smiling faces and hear their screams and cheering! I've got to admit now. Even if I'm not running a local marathon - I'm going to be there on my bike to cheer my friends on! Thank you Ingrid and Renee!

At that point, it was time to put my head down, and get my feet moving (now ever so slow and getting slower). I was relegated to power walking and slow jogging at this point. My target? You guessed it! Gel/Endurolyte packet at mile 21!

Mile 19: 12:26
Mile 20: 13:29
Mile 21: 11:58
Avg pace after 21 miles: 11:32

I was actually enjoying myself. Now - don't get me wrong. There was pain. My quads were thrashed. My back was tired. But - I was also amazed. There were no cramps. No blisters or hot spots on my feet. I was amazed at how mile 20 had just come and gone. I was now out in that "no man's" land that we don't train for. I was slowing down with each successive mile, but, unlike San Diego, I was in control. I was passing through mile 22. Remembering that last hill before mile 23. Running (that's actually a stretch) the other direction at the split. Focusing on Mile 24 for my last gel.

Mile 22: 13:10
Mile 23: 13:01
Mile 24: 13:32
Avg pace after 24 miles: 11:45

At this point I was pretty much spent. My "running" had turned into part time brisk walk, part time jog. But there were only two miles left. I had all the motivation that I needed. I was doing it this time on *my* terms. Maybe not at *my* pace, but the Marathon Monster had not beat me down.

Mile 25: 14:24
Mile 26: 14:24
Avg pace after 26 miles: 11:58

I wish there was someway to accurately describe the last two tenths for someone who hasn't been there before. My first time through in 2008 was like a relief. I remember just being numb. I don't remember any emotion. I remember just wanting to get off my feet. I was in serious pain. Blistered feet. Cramping calves. Nauseous.

This time though was like night and day. I took my camera out and made sure it was flipped into video mode. I was aware of my surroundings. I made the left turn into the finish chute. I dug down and started running again. I started passing people. That digital clock was pulling me in. I heard people yelling. At me! For me! "Go go!" "You've earned it!" "Yeah!" I heard my name! It was my son and daughter standing right at the finish! I still get choked up reliving the final .2. Excuse me while I dab away some tears.

I hit the finish line with arms raised. This time victory! And yes. This time there was emotion. The course did not chew me up and spit me out. I had to make some compromises, but I finished. And I finished on my feet.

Final 0.2: 6:10 (This time was actually for the final .55, and can you believe it? I forgot to turn the watch off when I crossed the line!)

Final time: 5:16:31 for a 12:05 average. My Garmin actually read 26.55 when said and done. the difference of .35 miles can easily add up over the course by not hitting the tangents at the curves, zigzagging through runners, detouring to say hi to people etc.

Post Race
To be honest, the post race was just kind of bleh. I was interested in one thing. WATER!!! I made it through the chute, had a metal put over my neck, and grabbed a couple bottles of water. There was plenty of food, recovery drinks, etc., but to be honest the last thing I felt like was eating. I found a nice place on the grass and took a load off my feet. For the first time I took an assessment of where I was physically. My quads were dust. But - I had no chafing. No blisters. No nothing. Within about 10 minutes I was up to find my kids, get my bag, and hit up Roscoe's for some real food! This one was history! Next please.


  1. What a great report! (Had to look up HTFU.) I'm glad you felt so much better. Love the finish photo!

    And, if I had any question about going to the Malibu marathon to cheer on some friends, you've convinced me I need to do it. Way to go!

  2. Great job!!! Looks like your arms each weighed 122 pounds in the finishing photo. I would have been emotional too.
    What is on the plate next to the waffle?

  3. Oh, and thanks for taking the time to write up this two-part report. I know it takes a lot of time on your part. ;)

  4. I had to wipe my eyes while reading this. Glen - I am so amazed with what you do. Thank you for admitting when you have a problem keeping going on (sorry for bad grammar), thanks for sharing your experience. Your video of the end is one of my favorite "vlog" videos EVER. Love it. Congratulations!!

  5. Awesome report!

    I was right there with you when you talked about the realization of not making the time goal and not recovering it. I guess that's also the point you start having a lot of conversations with yourself and decide to enjoy the race. Nice job.

    Waffles and chicken! Now THAT'S a post run meal. :)

  6. Bravo! Great Glenn. Fun report. The best feeling in the world is crossing that line with your family cheering ya. Can't be beat it. Very impressed you had no chaffing! Sounds like you are ready for another?!

    Was that chicken and waffles?

  7. Great job on the report and on the race, Glenn. You held together pretty well towards the end even though you were tired and sore. Nicely done!

  8. Great report Glenn! That concrete was no joke to people with lower back issues. I too had no desire to eat anything immediately after crossing that finish line. But I did force down half a banana and water. I hope you're recovering well!

  9. That was awesome Glenn! Shaving off 28 minutes on just your 2nd marathon from your previous best. You are so inspirational. If you can do it, now we know that with hard work, dedication and determination we could also do it.

    Enjoyed reading the 2 parts race report. It was just too suspenseful not to know the ending of the story after reading part one. The waiting was long but it's worth it because like watching a great movie, it's nice to find out that it has a happy ending. What's your next great adventure Glenn?

  10. Honestly, what a great, inspirational report. You never game up!! That chicken and waffles...yes, that does look good...

  11. Love the finishing picture! You have the look of accomplishment on your face. :)

    So glad that you just ran for the fun of it and didn't turn into a sour experience. That's hard to do! You ran a marathon...which is an amazing feat(I haven't ran a marathon yet!).

    And that waffle looks delish! :)

  12. Oh Glenn- THANK YOU!!! I am so happy to be reading your race report right now! I found it amazing that your running speed towards the end of your race...of TWENTY SIX miles is equivalent to my running speed for the three measly miles I run! That just made me go....WOW! I don't know how you kept up such a pace for that long of a race. Honestly- I don't! Amazing. Great report- love living vicariously through your journey!!! Christine

  13. This was an awesome post and very inspirational. You have a big heart for running and pushing through the hard parts.
    I also loved the CSLB part of the marathon and your last picture. You did it! So what's next?

  14. Great finish photo! And those college kids look like they were having too much fun for that hour of the morning.

  15. Awesome, awesome, awesome race report. I'm so glad you had a great time...and BTW, I'd have killed for a 5:15 finish!

    Although when I saw on FB and Twitter that you were eating waffles and chicken livers...I did worry :-)

  16. Congrats Glenn! I can't imagine running a marathon but you did great and I am so glad you did so well! Hope the recovery is going well!

  17. Great job! Love your finishing line picture. So " relieved". LOL

  18. great race report Glenn. LOVE the finishing picture. it's so great. :)

  19. i have cried after each of the 3 marathons i've run! It is something special! So I do understand the last .2 miles!!! Hell, I understand the emotion crossing the finish line!

    Great job!!! Congrats!!!

  20. i am proud of you for not-quitting when you knew time was not going to be on your side later in the race! you adjusted your plans and said heck, i'm just gonna have fun. well, you know, as much fun as one can in the late miles of a marathon anyway right? ;)

    congrats again, and hey - still improvement from sd!

  21. Once again, great work, Glenn. Any time you can say your were enjoying yourself after 20 miles of a marathon is a victory. I sense you're hooked enough to attack the distance again. My PR is 5:27, so you still own me.

  22. I love the shot of you crossing the finish line, Glenn! That is a classic picture of triumph. What a fantastic report. Again, my congratulations to you. You worked very hard for that experience. Way to go!

    And wow, did the meal at Roscoe's look tasty! :)

  23. I am so late to the party, but I was so happy that day!!! ha ha i probably saw you but was like F THIS I GOTTA GET THIS DONE! ha ha i think I was right before I passed the 4 hour group. :)

    Great job! and i love the finish photo! Glad you had a good race!!!

  24. I'm running my first half in Long Beach tomorrow and reading this helped me get over my nerves and just embrace the experience.

    And yes - you made me cry! :o)