- 2005 - I was training with William the Pain Train Swint to run a 3:10:00 qualifying time at the Newport Marathon, when I was offered unqualified entry through work. I took the offer and ran my most enjoyable marathon in 3:30:44.
- 2006 - I qualified for the 2006 race at the Newport Marathon with a time of 3:10:55 (talk about cutting it close). The Pain Train and I trained to run sub 3:00:00...I knew by the half marathon mark that I wasn't going to make it, so I slowed down quite a bit and finished in 3:09:18.
- 2007 - This time we trained even harder, with the goal again being to run sub 3:00:00. However, this year we ran different marathons. The weather prior to the Boston Marathon was terrible...strong wind and heavy rain...the race was nearly cancelled. Amazingly, it wasn't that bad during the race...wet roads and some head wind. I ended up running 3:05:10, and the only thing I can think, is the weather got in my head...I don't think I truly believed I could run sub 3:00:00 in those conditions. The Pain Train ran 2:59:38 at the Eugene Marathon...it was great being there to watch...that guy is tough.
- 2008 - Time to take it up a notch...I used a 2:50:00 training plan this year. Here's the story...
I felt good when I got up in the morning...I ended up eating two bagels and a banana for breakfast...this is pretty typical for me before a race...forgot to eat my grapefruit though (this has been a marathon tradition since 2003). And instead of drinking water, I had Gatorade.
At 9:30 I walked down to the corrals. Like every year previously, I stopped for one last bathroom break before heading up the street to get in my corral. For some reason this year the lines were extra long or people were taking their time, because I was getting worried that I wasn't going to make it to my corral before the race started. With chip timing I knew this wasn't a big deal, and I was trying to not let it bother me. But it still did and I ended up running a bit up the street to make it into the corral seconds before the race started.
From the beginning, I would say I didn't have a spring in my step, but I had no problem running about a 6:45 pace. At the mile 4 aid station I reached down to grab a gel I had pinned to my shorts and realized I had lost two of them (the rest were in my pockets). I remember laughing rather than getting upset. OK, I'll just take a gel every 6 miles now. Speaking of fueling, this year I made a conscious effort to get all the Gatorade or water down I took at each aid station. I had some problems with cramping at the end of the marathon last year I think because I was having a hard time getting all the liquids down at the aid stations while on the run.
I felt like I was doing a good job running a consistent pace. I ran the first 5K in about 21 minutes, so I tried to keep doing that. The half marathon mark was hit at 1:28:27...a little faster than I had planned, but I felt good about it. I continued to keep the pace up to the Newton hills...my overall pace declined a bit in the hills, but I expected that. There was only one thing that was bothering me...
I don't remember when it started, I think it got progressively worse, but my stomach started to really bother me. It felt like I needed to throw up...I did a few times...it wasn't a full fledged hurl, but I had stuff coming up in my mouth that I'd spit out. It looked like yellow foam...could it have been the Gatorade I drank before the race? Other than the upset stomach everything else seemed to be alright...up until Heartbreak Hill. I had a little trouble going up that one, but then I was encouraged when I followed that up with a sub 6:40 mile.
I thought I might be able to overcome the stomach problem, but everything seemed to fall apart around mile 24. When I went to take my last gel, I put it up to my mouth and gagged. I was pissed and just threw it on the ground...my stomach was really hurting at this point and I feel like I pretty much threw in the towel. The last two miles were a struggle. I hit the 1 mile to go sign at about 2:55:30...I thought to myself, all I have to do is run a sub 4:30 mile...it didn't happen. I finished in 3:04:17...a PR, but I could have cared less. Needless to say, when I crossed the finish line my stomach still felt really bad. The volunteers came over to me and were concerned that I was dehydrated because there was some salt on my face and apparently I wasn't looking too good (my cousin would tell me later I looked f'd up). To make a long story short, they ended up taking me into the medical tent and giving me an IV. I'm not so sure I needed it, but I felt much better after lying down for a few minutes.
After I got out of the medical tent, I met my crew at the Park Plaza Hotel. Tonya made Boston Marathon T-shirts again this year for herself, Will, and my sister to wear on race day...it's just a simple thing, but it really means a lot to me...it's just one example of how much support I get from my friends and family. Below is a picture of me with Will and Tonya after the race and a picture of some of my family that came out to support me on race day. Thank-you all!