Monday, October 12, 2009

Long Beach Marathon - First Thoughts

There is just so much going through my mind and emotions today. It's actually tough to be writing here. Seems I've been staring at the screen for hours. I haven't read any of my fellow runner's blogs yet, because I really want to process my feelings first. I'll start with the first thought that comes to me: "Well - marathon #2 is officially in the books. The results were a little disappointing but the experience wasn't."

This has been a difficult blog to write. There is just sooooo much to talk about and share - whether you want it or not. To be honest, I haven't had a chance to fully process all my thoughts and emotions yet. Today I thought I would just document my initial thoughts before time heals all wounds:

The things that worked:
() Preparing the night before: Definitely the way to go. *Everything* was predone. Bib pinned to shirt. D-Tag on shoe. Gels/electrolytes in belts. Water bottled filled. Put everything on to make sure that it fit and looked right. Cell phone charged. Garmin charged. iPod charged. Towel, dry shirt, sandals in bag. Headphones, iPod armband in bag. Double check everything. Then dump bag out and check it all again. All I had to do in the AM was get up, grab coffee, put on clothes and shoes and head out the door.
() Nothing new on race day: I ran this one unscathed. No chafing. No blisters. Believe me, at mile 23, you don't need any of those other problems.
() Leaving early enough that you have some time to relax before the race: I was on the freeway at 5AM for a 7AM start. Got to Long Beach, parked, walked to start, checked bag, socialized and still had time to find a seat and meditate for about 15 minutes before the hubbub began. Call it Zen. I call it not tossing my cookies.
() Gel and Endurolytes every three miles: This was *THE BOMB* idea. This marathon became a series of three mile races. I *never* thought about how far and long this race was. All I thought about was the next gel break. At mile 10 it was about mile 12. At mile 16 it was about mile 18. I was amazed how mile 20 just came and went because I was focused on 21. Same with miles 22 and 23 (even though I had to resort to a brisk walk by that point). And at mile 24, it was about two more miles. Amazing.
() Having the right mindset: On Saturday I said I would go with the flow. So I went with the flow. When it was apparent that I wasn't going to hit my goal time, I backed off and enjoyed the experience. I was able to stop and chat with friends on the course. I enjoyed the entertainment. I enjoyed the peanut butter sandwiches (thanks Ingrid!). This made the *entire* difference from a pain filled torture session to a pain filled run in the park.

Things that didn't work:
() Too much running the final week: My legs were shot by mile 9. If it wasn't for focusing on every three miles, this would have been a *looong* miserable race.
() Starting at the back of the wave: By the time I got to the 10K split, I was about 15 seconds behind my goal pace. I caught up by the half, but when you think about it that means I was running 30 seconds faster than goal pace for 7 miles. That's where I lost making my goal.

Bottom line is yesterday as a *totally* different experience from San Diego 2008. I am disappointed that I didn't make my goal. I am disappointed I didn't break 5 hours. But - Long Beach has some really quaint neighborhoods! And I saw my kids as I ran past the finish!

Starting tomorrow I'll provide a much more detailed race report. For right now I'll leave you with a couple of pictures.

At least I don't look like death warmed over:

Here's what the final .2 looked like from my unique perspective:

Sorry I didn't get crossing the finish line in the video. This watery stuff kept falling out of my eyes.

Final stats: 5:16:31 - 28 minute PR. Looking for the elusive 5 hour mark in March. And this time, I'm not thinking ahead to my next marathon as "get even" for the last one. Can you say "I Love LA!"


  1. Hey, you did a bang up job!! Unless you've been a serious runner for the last 10-20 years, it's really hard getting going at a slightly older age.

    You trained well, your list of pluses far outweighs the minuses. And you want to run another one, which probably says more than anything else. You're energized, not defeated.

  2. Excellent thoughts and congrats again on he PR. I loved the video. You had me yelling at my computer monitor:

    "Pass that guy! Come on Glenn kick it up!". LOL. I guess I'm still a little jazzed up from my daughter's cross country meet this weekend.

  3. You have to update your PRs on the right.

    I'm adopting the three mile race bit. Thanks for that.

  4. Bravo! Great job Glenn. You look great in the photo. Nice report. You seemed a little mixed about the whole thing, but from what I read - success!

    I really like this gel/cap every 3 miles thing. Sounds like it made the difference for ya.

    You should feel proud of yourself.

  5. YAY! Glad you had a semi-good day out there, you'll rock 5 in no time! :) I'm so happy for you!

  6. what a huge pr! congrats on that :) i know you are bummed about missing out on your time, but you will get your sub-5! i wonder how much the long training program and occasional weeks of being burnt-out/busy with work hurt? (i'm afraid of what effect they've had on my own training anyway!)

    lol about packing your bag and dumping it out to check again - too true!

    congrats again on your 2nd marathon, don't beat yourself too much - you got almost a 1/2 hr pr!

  7. You look like a man that just rocked a marathon, not a man who missed his time goal. That's why we keep doing this running stuff right? If we got our goal time every time, what would be the fun in that? :p I'm excited for the full report. congrats again on a monster PR. :)

  8. I'm glad to hear you PRed, even if you didn't quite hit your time goal. But still, Glenn, YOU HAD A PR!!!

    You know, I thought you might be doing too much during the taper, but I also know you were following a different training plan and it maybe had a reason to be running that many miles so close to race day.

    Looking forward to the next installment!

  9. I just got in from Chicago and the first thing I did is run to the computer to see how you did! Nope, haven't even unpacked!

    I am glad to see that you had an overall better experience. The time is secondary to the experience. I truly believe that. Sure, it's nice to PR, but feeling good and finishing are so important!

    I am so proud of you Glenn! I hope you keep blogging regardless of what you do next.

    Congratulations, Marathoner!!!!!

  10. Hey, that rocks! It's still a PR. Keep at it. At some point you will break 5. If I can still plug away I know you can. We're not THAT old yet. I'm also still trying to break 5. You did our age group proud. ;)

  11. BS and I had fun following you and cheering you on via computer...that's great that you had an over all better experience this time. Sometimes it's just good to focus on what went well and set your next goal so that you can improve on the rest. You have plenty of time, right?! Just have fun! You're OUT THERE! That's the bottom line.
    So happy your fueling worked for you and that you saw family towards the end, that's the best part. I love the little hill down towards the finish...great job!

  12. Glenn, my congratulations to you on your new PR! I am sorry you didn't hit your goal, but an old boss of mine once told me that if you miss out on a goal, that doesn't mean you can't have your life greatly enriched in the process. Recover well, congratulations on all of your hard work, and I look forward to reading your report!

  13. Glenn, great video. For me the best sight in the world is when the marathon finish line comes into view. Another thing that worked: carrying your video camera.

    Every marathon is a learning experience like no other in the running world. You'll be able to make your preparations for the next even better.

    Great job. Looking forward to reading the next one.

  14. Congratulations to you! You know, it's not every day a person does a marathon!

  15. First off, GREAT job... seriously very proud of you. Second, LOVE the 3 mile race idea- will be using that one for sure. Finally- let me repeat GREAT job. :D

  16. Congrats on your big improvement! I'll see you in LA and hopefully I can do some Back Bay runs with you in the future.

  17. That's quite a good improvement. You should be proud of yourself.

    What is with the bicycles riding in between the runners? That's really rude, no?

  18. Well done Glenn! You are an inspiration!

  19. Glenn!!! Awesome report-- and it's only the PRE-report-- can't wait to read more!

    Don't worry about not making goal-- Look at it this way-- You're still young-- and you've got PLENTY of time to make your goal time... You finished! you know how many people out there (millions) would love to say that!!!

    COngrats buddy-- Your blog family is very proud of you... I will have MANY questions for you over the next couple of months.

  20. Congrats on your race. A 28 min PR is amazing! Focussing on enjoying the race really is a key, I think.

  21. Glenn- I loved reading this and seeing your video! It was so exciting! And maybe you just need an 'tiny' reminder were horribly SICK right just like a week or so before this marathon. Please don't under estimate that. When that is taken into consideration (and it should be!) you should feel incredibly good about your race. Congrats! Christine

  22. You so make me want to run a marathon.

  23. Congrats Glenn! SO glad you did well and enjoyed the race! You deserve it!