I ran the Seattle Marathon today.
This was “my first marathon… that was not part of an Ironman”. The goal was to “run the Seattle Marathon as a gauge of where I was on my goal of achieving a 3:30 marathon for next year’s Ironman”…
Going into the race, I felt really strong, and I honestly thought I could run a 3:30 or better marathon. I have been running about 3 times a week over the last 2 months (since my Ironman this summer). Pretty much all of my runs have been at 7:45/mile or better. I’ve been feeling pretty strong at this pace. Most of my runs are 8 miles, but I’ve done several 12 mile runs, and a handful of 14+ mile runes. A couple weeks ago I did a 16 mile run at 7:50 pace, so I was feeling pretty positive about this race.
Well, I had a great run through mile 17-18, with all of my mile segments well under 8:00 pace and my average still at a healthy 7:52. Around mile 18 on the Seattle Marathon (as many of you know) is a series of hills that really put a hurt on you. I felt pretty strong through all of these…
Big thanks to Kevin Costanza (and his daughter Melina) who were waiting at mile 21.5 and cheering me on! Right Costanza’s you were there to cheer for me. It really helped boost my spirits after that nasty hill on Madison.
But I admit, after the fact, when I analyze the data from the running computer it looks like my mile paces started to fall pretty significantly, and by mile 23 my average pace had crept up to 8:00/mile.
Then disaster struck! Somewhere around 22.5 miles my left heel/ankle started hurting. As I ran it got worse and worse and I noticed that my pace had started to fall to 9:45/mile. I could walk, but running was absolutely unbearable. It reminded me of my stress fracture last year. Basically, I couldn’t run at all. I ended up walking the last 3.5 miles.
I made a phone call to Adrien, my wife, and the girls to let them know that they didn’t need to rush to the finish line because I wasn’t going to get there at my 3:30 goal… I kept my spirits high and cheered my fellow racers. From a nutritional and muscular fatigue perspective I felt great. No cramping, no burning in the legs, positive attitude… but I just couldn’t take any impact on my heel.
I got a phone call from Phil with half a mile to go. “Hello?” – “Hey, how was your race?” – “Uh… my heel blew out at mile 23, I’ve been walking since, got a half mile still to go.” … It made me realize that I had a lot of supporters out there… but it was a little disappointing that this injury was going to prevent me from achieving my goal.
Adrien, Saffron, and Zola were waiting about 50 yards from the finish line… I was hurting pretty bad, but I ran over and gave them kisses; and then sucked it up to run across the finish line. I ended up finishing with a chip time of 3:56:52… nothing to be embarrassed about, but still a disappointment considering I was on pace to finish in 3:30.
I must have looked pretty bad coming across the finish line, because as soon as I crossed someone ran up and grabbed me and escorted me to the medical trailer. They scolded me for “finishing” on a possible ruptured Achilles. After a quick exam, they determined that my Achilles tendon was fine and I had good mobility, and they agreed with me that I probably had a stress fracture. They sent me to the Bastyr Chiropractic clinic in the recovery zone, where they confirmed the diagnosis and wrapped my heel with some special “healing” tape. Go figure those crazy witch-doctors! I know what this really means… 4-8 weeks of no impact – no weight baring activity. Been there! Done that!
So what have I learned… I think I can run a 3:30 marathon… this goal is not out of reach by any stretch. But again… I pushed myself too hard… without realizing it. And now I have to pay the price again.
Now I have some time to focus on other things then running.
Here are the charts… you know I had to have charts…