When I finished the Milwaukee Marathon yesterday, I felt two emotions: first I was proud of my time, and second I was grateful for all my supporters.
Let me start with the latter. I can say how thankful I was to have so many friends and family out on the course with me. Yesterday was 48 degrees at the start of the race – and windy. By the end it wasn’t much warmer. The breeze sure didn’t go away. Watching someone (like me) run 26 miles is quite and undertaking – it took me just under four hours, so there’s some committment there. And still other family members showed up towards the end when I needed encouragement the most. I wish you all knew the energy I get when I see supporters on the side of the road there cheering me on. In the challenge of my race you were pushing me to the end – thank you so much.
My other emotion after the race was pride in my training. This was my second marathon of the season, and it was the first time I had this volume of training under my belt. While I had the miles to run well, I hadn’t worked on speed like I had hoped. This time my training called for two 20-mile runs. Mine went so well that they turned into 21 and 23 mile runs. So I knew I had a chance at a good time. Saturday night I wrote here about my goals:
Here’s how I’m looking at tomorrow:
- 3:55 should be a lock
- 3:50 is my goal
- 3:45 is “things went perfect”
The start of the race was very cold – I couldn’t even get myself to take off my long-sleeve, but I ditched the hat at mile 8. The first 13 miles felt very clunky and I was actually worried that things wouldn’t go well. I knew from training that around 8-10 I would get into a rhythm, but when that came and went I started thinking this might not be my day. At mile 13 I was three minutes behind where I wanted to be (1:50), but that just meant there was even less room for error.
And then I started thinking about the Madison Marathon five months earlier. In that race I started off very strong and just barely held on to the finish. Would today be the same or did I have more in the tank?
At mile 14-15 I started getting into a nice groove. What a feeling! I was blaming the weather and maybe my high ambitions started me too fast at the start. But here I was feeling smooth and strong. At mile 18 I was thinking back to my last few long training runs and glad that I had pushed to 21 and 23 miles. I started to think of when I wanted to push the pace because I knew I had strong legs.
Mile 22 would be a little early to go for it. Four miles doesn’t seem that far, but at the end of a marathon it’s too much for me. I figured I had a little more than two good miles left so at mile 23.5 I left Ken who I was running with and increased my pace.
Those last 2.7 miles were very tough. It’s really hard to push yourself when there’s not that much in the tank. I knew I’d finish but I didn’t know how fast I could go. In previous races I would alternate walking and running around mile 21. That didn’t happen once yesterday! I had picked up the pace but I was maxed out of muscle in my legs. I don’t know how many people I passed but I know that no a single person passed me after mile 21. I’m very proud of that.
I finished Milwaukee Marathon in 3:46, bettering my personal best by 13 minutes. The training had paid off. The cheers and support were greatly appreciated. Who knows what’s next. Right now I can be thankful and proud as I go into the winter and think of next season. Katie and I have some thoughts about the future, but right now we’re very excited to focus on family and Katie’s health as she carries our second baby. And I’m looking forward to cheering her on.