4:30 or Bust: A Quest for Marathon Mediocrity

Providence Rhode Races Report

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(2 months late, but better late than never.  The reality is that I was not happy with how I did and was simply not excited to write about the race.  The first section was written in the 2 weeks following the race)
  • Time – 4:46:29
  • Place – 696/948
  • Age Group – 152/192

Well, this is not the type of report I thought I would be writing.  On Sunday, on immediate reflection, I was happy with my finishing time.  The day was humid and warm, and the sun was strong.  The water stops were sparse and the course was not exciting.  Given that, my time was respectable.

However, after stewing on it for a couple of days, I’m finding that I’m really unhappy with how I did.  I’m coming away from this event with more drive and interest in properly getting it done next time.  In fact, it was in the late stages of the race, trudging through the tough late miles, that I finally realized why I keep coming back for more. (this was my 12th marathon)  This is the only distance, so far, that I have not been able to ‘defeat’.  I clearly can race short distance events, and can even ‘race’ a half marathon.  I can run a half marathon where my fastest miles are the last 2.  However, I constantly feel like I’m getting ‘defeated’ at the marathon distance, by not being able to properly finish the race by running well in the last 10k, or not taking significant walk breaks, like I had to do on Sunday starting at the 15 mile mark.

I will be focusing on tri’s over the next 2 months, and then I can’t wait to hit the training hard for my next marathon.  I think I will try to run less, but make them more intense efforts.  I think adding more intensity to my routine workouts will enable me to race deeper into the events.  We will see, and I’m excited about the challenge.  Anyway, on to my report…


I left the above intact as it is my raw reaction to how the race went in the days after I ran it.  I can recognize the troubles from that day as simply just having a hard time in the humidity.  I’ve been dealing with it daily over the last month here in NYC where the heat and humidity has been out of control this summer.

Since so much time has gone by, I’ll just list some highlights of the day and the race

  • Love out of town races where I stay in a hotel that is close to the race site.  Stayed within a 5 minute walk to the start area, so was able to sleep in, relatively speaking, compared to other marathons I’ve done.
  • Start area was very informal, and it was great to hear Ian Brooks as the pre race announcer.  Over the years, he has been the announcer at many NYRR races, and the familiar voice was quite settling.
  • Was feeling strong in the early miles.  While it was a humid day, the early temps were not super hot.  I got messed up a little because I thought the race was relatively flat, but there ended up being a few unexpected hills in the early miles.  I confused a medium hill at the 4-5 mile spot with the larger hill that we wouldn’t hit until the 7-8 mile range, and think I ended up working too hard on the hills, all told.
  • While it was an out and back course, it was done in such a way that you never really ended up mingling with people in other stages of the race.  Many of the miles were on great biking trails.  Providence really has some marvelous biking trails.
  • The wheels started coming off for me around mile 15.  Once we got to that stage, the sun started coming out, and the temps rose considerably.  It seemed like the back portion of the race was into the sun, and every time the sun came out, I just felt completely wilted, and lost all will to run.  Spent a lot of time walking the remainder of the race
  • That leads to the one real complaint I had, which was that there were not enough water stops, and in the later stages of the race, the Gatorade stops ran out of Gatorade.
  • Really enjoyed the camaraderie with other runners out on the course in the late stages.  We kept passing each other, as we were all walk/running, and having a hard time dealing with the heat.
  • They had a great post race spread, including beer and pizza!  Never was served a post-race beer before, so that was neat.  I did pass on the pizza though.  Maybe that was fine for the 5k and half marathon participants, but just thinking about pizza after that marathon made me feel sick!

Anyway, disappointed by my performance in this race, and looking forward to redeeming myself in future efforts.  I may not be able to get back to where I want to be by 10-10-10 for Chicago, but I’m planning to run First Light Marathon in January, and for that race I expect to be in tip-top shape, and beat my PR!

Here were my splits:

  1. 9:14
  2. 9:13
  3. 9:26
  4. 9:34
  5. 9:49
  6. 9:37
  7. 9:44
  8. 9:51
  9. 9:45
  10. 9:47
  11. 10:02
  12. 10:33
  13. 10:09
  14. 10:15
  15. 10:30
  16. 12:18
  17. 11:43
  18. 12:14
  19. 12:15
  20. 12:51
  21. 13:15
  22. 13:28
  23. 11:41
  24. no split here
  25. 24:20
  26. no split here
  27. 14:46 for last 1.2 miles

Written by SCL

July 20, 2010 at 9:59 pm

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