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December 17, 2006

Another marathon in the books

I've now run three marathons, and I still can't beat my time in the first one I did. Granted, the weather was perfect in 2004 and I finished in 3:37:30. Last year I blew up at the halfway point and crawled home in 3:50:10.

This year the weather was fairly nice for the first half. Then the fog burned off and the sun started to bear down on us. It was pretty warm 2 hours into the race. I started out just like I planned. Very conservatively. My hip has been causing me problems the last month and I wanted to shoot for even 8:00/mi. splits. Earlier in the fall the plan was for me to run 7:40/mi. splits, but the hip forced me to revise the goal. I was golden for the first 15 miles, averaging somewhere around 8:00. The fastest mile I had was on;y 7:51. I was very happy with my self-control.

But then the wheels fell off. After the race, Rick Patterson told me when the marathon is on your back, there is nothing you can do to recover. He is right.

I started clicking off laps north of 8:10/mi. By mile 21 splits were over 9:00/mi. My finishing time was 3:42:00.

While it is easy to attribute most of the problems on the weather, I think the hip caused me to falter in terms of endurance. I was unable to finish a couple of longer runs over the past month, and I think that had a lot to do with it as well.

Race - Jacksonville Marathon 12-17-2006I was happy to see Karen and the girls, along with Beppy and Nunu at the 13 and 14 mile marks, as well as around mile 23, and finally at the finish. They were holding up signs and cheering for me. After mile 14, I was on the same side of the road as them so I was able to stop and give Emily and Maggie what they call "sweaty, runner kisses" on their foreheads.

Unfortunately, John Womack was hoping to qualify for Boston in this race. He has been running great and looking strong at the track. He needed a 3:15 and I think he finished somewhere around 3:22. Still a great race given the conditions.

The plan is to now take a couple of weeks off and go to a spin class here or there and maybe jump back in the pool.

Then, starting 1/1/2007 it is time to start training for my first half-Ironman!

UPDATE: Race photos have been uploaded.

UPDATE 2: Google Earth file (also viewable at Google Maps).