05 July 2010

Foot Traffic Flat Marathon - Race Report

I have a blister on my toe - but it's okay.

I signed up for the July 4th Foot Traffic Flat Marathon a few months ago with hopes of using the flat course as an attempt to qualify for next year's Boston Marathon.  So, with my BQ already in hand (smiley face), I had no other choice but to use this race as an attempt for a new world record.

Goal A - smash world record
Goal B - barely beat world record
Goal C - run under 3 hrs
Goal D - not get heat stroke and die

Lots of porta-potties and a beautiful sunrise: a runner's dream

 Sadie going over race strategy with me

I started off very, very strong, but (and I'm not ashamed to say this) I fell off world record pace early.  Some days you just don't have it.

So the next goal was to go under 3 hrs.  I ran 3:03 last month and figured all I had to do was run a little faster this time.  So that's what I did.  After my dreams of a world record were shattered in only a few footsteps, I decided to settle in at a 6:30mile/min pace.  "Let's see what you can do with this," I said to myself in third-person.

I feel pretty new and inexperienced running these faster paces.  Just this year I ran a 5k in 19:30 (6:16mile/min pace), and I think that's just about the first time I'd ever recorded myself running a 6-anything pace.  If previous years were about how many miles I could run, then this year has started to become about seeing how fast I can actually run these miles.  I suppose it's simply about pushing boundaries.

So I kept at 6:30min/mile pace for the first 13 miles, but never felt 100% comfortable.  I felt like I was just about at my limit the entire time, like I was just waiting for a wheel to fall off.  But the 1:25 split at the half gave me some confidence as I had given myself a little bit of a buffer for the expected slow-down during the second half.

Sure enough, I hit a low spot around mile 17.  It was warming up, I didn't know if I was drinking too much water or too little, and I thought for sure that I was within a minute from just shutting down and going for a long walk.  Not only did I believe 3 hrs was out of the question, but I was wondering if 4 hrs was doable if I just walked the rest of the way.  I may not be the most experienced runner, but I have run enough so far to know that these lows are often temporary.  So I kept pushing until mile 20 ("Just get to mile 20, then it's just a 10k to the finish," I kept telling myself), though my overall pace had slipped to around 6:38min/mile.

Around mile 20 I had pushed through the low (after a short walk through an aid station while pouring a few cups of cold water on my head and back) and I knew I was back in business.

My feet were hurting, but I kept pushing.  A couple times I nearly lost my stomach.

3 miles to go.  Tired. Sore. Hurting. Hot. But locked in a 6:40min/mile pace.
1.5 miles to go.  I caught up with another marathoner (it had been 10 miles of running around half-marathoners).  It was nice to pace off him.  I had been running solo the entire race.  We ran in together. 

Finish time: 2:55:23.  8/395 overall.  3rd age group.  (full results)

A sub-3 marathon.  Another PR.  Wow, it's been some kind of year.  I sure am enjoying it.

This was the most sore I've been after a marathon.  This was the hardest I've pushed myself in a marathon.  I think if I trained properly for speed (instead of simply "trying to run faster") I could knock several more minutes of this time.  But for now I'm happy with where I'm at as a runner.  I'm having a lot of fun.  I'm enjoying every minute of it.  Not much more I can ask for.

I have a few ultras coming up next, and then a lot of training for my upcoming Chile adventure. 

Happy Birthday USA!

View from the drive home - the beautiful Columbia River Gorge

Hope everyone is having a run-filled summer.  Keep running!



  1. Amazing running. If you keep PR-ing at this rate, that world record will be yours in no time. Well done!

  2. A sub-3 hour marathon is an amazing accomplishment! I know I say this every time, but I am proud of you.

    Good luck on this weekend's Double.

  3. I am so glad to be the first blogger to congrat. Well done. In Italy we use to say that you are a champion if you run a sub 3 hours marathon!

  4. Amazing Scott! I am so impressed with your accomplishments!

  5. Congrats on the awesome time! You're a machine!!!

  6. "slipped to a 6:38"...I'd love to slip to that!! great job. and i agree, if you're just trying to run faster and not training to run faster, imagine what you could do. maybe you'd break that world record...

  7. You and Sadie devised a great race plan! Congrats! It's such a great feeling to reach those new limits. I look forward to seeing you hit many new highs.

  8. You are A-W-E-S-O-M-E! This is so cool.

  9. nice job, studly man...

  10. Congratulations on your brilliant run. Running a sub 3 hour marathon can be a life changing experience. Think of it as your graduation day into membership of an elite club!
    Well done.

  11. I always had the goal to run a sub 3 hour marathon. I still do. I'm so happy that one of my children has attained that goal. And I know several more of my children will do it as well. Thanks for leading the way. It's so fun for all of us to know you are having so much fun...

  12. Way to go!
    I'm in line with your Goal D, avoiding heat stroke.

  13. You are having a good year! Good Job.

  14. WOW!!! That's about all I can think of right now is, WOW!! You ARE on track for that world record :). Love the picture of the river...so very pretty!

  15. You are a rockstar, dude! Great report and congrats on sub-3 hour marathon and 3rd place in your AG!

    Lovin' your patriotic finish photo!

  16. Hey Scott, fantastic job yesterday. One slight correction, that "low" spot at mile 17 wasn't a low spot...it was a freakin' hill! :-)

    You were cooking when you went by me on the return leg of the out and back. I sure wish I had realized it was you at the time.

    Congrats again, and hope to see you at another event soon.


  17. Greg, I think you're right about the hill. For a "flat" course it was definitely a hill. :)

  18. Wow, what a tremendous accomplishment! You didn't just "go under 3 hours", you smashed right through that so-called barrier. Amazing.

    And thanks for your comment on my blog. The heat is tough to train through, but I look at it as a good test of endurance. Sure, I may have to slow down, but I bet when the temperatures cool off it will feel so easy to run faster! Also, it must be great training for your Chile adventure if you are suffering through the heat (alhtough thinking about it I have no idea if that desert is a hot or a cold one?).

    Anyway, awesome racing and continued success!

  19. THATS A GREAT ACHIEVEMENT, only 4 weeks after your last Marathon.
    sub 2.50 at Boston must be possible, if not faster [2.45 ?]
    Just rest up well and let your body fully recover now.
    Nice Running :]

  20. Thanks, everyone. I'm still walking around with a smile on my face...well, "walking" is probably an overstatement...pretty sore.

    Rick, I'm not sure what's possible - I'm in territory I'm unfamiliar with. I thought if I ever ran sub-3 then I'd have nothing left to prove to myself at the marathon level, but I'd be lying if I said it hasn't made me believe I could go 2:50 or lower. And about rest...that's something I'm not very good at. I'll try, though. :)

  21. Amazing. Glad you made your goal - loved the saying about running enough races that you knew the lows don't last for long. I am hoping that someday I'll be there. :)

    We'll see you in Boston next year.

  22. I'm with the WOW comment! Wow, wow and wow! Thirties have been oh so good to you! Congrats Scott. You deserve it!

  23. Yes, Lisa. At this rate I can't wait until I'm 60.

  24. When you began talking about starting in 6:30s, especially when in relation to the 5K race, I was like, ummm.... not good. YOU DID SO AWESOME! I am super impressed that you were able to hold on like that. That just shows what incredible shape you are in! CONGRATS!

  25. I also can't wait until I'm 60. It keeps getting better :)

  26. Don't worry, Dad...you don't have as long to wait until your 60 as I do. ;)

  27. Man, I've never heard you struggling on running like this one, it was kind of suspenseful. But watch those leg-benders of yours man, by Gpa put in around 8-10 miles a day in his 30s, and his knees gave out by the time he was 48.

  28. way to go!!!

    I loved running this race!

    I'll be back. :)

    Awesome run!! You rocked it.

  29. That is awesome! Sorry about missing out on the World Record but getting that 3hrs in must feel pretty special!

  30. holy sh*%$t!!!!!!!!! dude-you are seriously crushing it! bowing down to you!!