My first Triathlon
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Lakefront Marathon - RunMarathon
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48F / 9C
= 3h 12m 19s
Age Group Rank
As not to be influenced by the results and emotions of 'race day', I've written parts of this a few days prior to the marathon...
For some reason this race has taken on an enormous level of significance to me... More than it probably should... More than is probably healthy... This race has come to signify a journey of the past 5 years... but moreover a journey of this past year...
As I now digress...
In early 2004 I decided that I was going to try and run a marathon... I had always despised running... I then laced up the shoes and went for a run... When I returned to the house I was dying... I felt like I had run forever... I got in the car and drove my route to measure it and it was 1.5 miles...!!! I was crushed... The thought of running even 3 miles at that time seemed near impossible... i was in decent shape back in college... and during my infantry days in the marine corps... but at that moment it felt like a lifetime ago... 2 weeks later I worked up to a long run of 4.2 miles and I wanted to shout out to the world about this accomplishment... well i stuck to my training religiously... i didnt know anything about running... didnt know anything about easy days and hard days... every day i pushed... throughout training i could barely walk up and down stairs as i would hurt so bad... but i figured that was normal... then it began... achilles tendonitis... shin splints... then after my 18 mile run 5 weeks prior to the race - IT band syndrome... i had more braces and tape and gizmos to try and get me through these runs it was ridiculous... i was determined to do the race... so deep tissue massage on the IT band 3 times a week... and i only tried running two or three times in the last 5 weeks prior to the race... everything else was pool running... so i laced them up to attempt the 20 miler... i made it, but had to stop every 2 miles to walk and stretch out the IT band... i had also taken 8 - 10 ibuprofen over the course of the run and i was completely numb, dizzy and sick by the end of it... i figured this probably wasnt the best race strategy... anyway... show up on race day at the chicago marathon not knowing what to expect... still going for my original goal of 3:30... i hit the wall hard at mile 18... finished in 3:42 and vowed never to do another marathon... ever...
the 'never do another marathon' thing quickly passed... and soon i found myself thinking about 'boston'... and i started thinking what if... what if i could stay healthy... what if i could train properly... would it be possible...?!? i wrote 3:10 on a post it note and stuck it to my computer screen... the only one on my computer screen... and its been there for 5 years...
(actually it now says 3:15 - the benefits of getting older
the following few years i would run on and off... trying to get back to the starting line of a marathon... lakefront... marine corps... chicago... registering... but always getting hurt through training and having to skip the race... finally, i just accepted that my body couldnt handle the rigors of training... and the dream of boston became just that... a dream... one which it appeared that i would have to accept would likely never come true...
then in the summer of 2007 i watched a friend do the danskin tri in pleasant prairie... and i thought what the heck... i couldnt swim more than 2 laps without stopping... and had no biking experience to speak of... but maybe it could keep me running and be a little easier on the body...
did the lake mills and capitol view sprint tri's last year and i was hooked...
everything was going great... and then mid-summer last year i tore up my knee and was told by my doctor that my running days were probably over... i was devastated... and had a hard time accepting the reality of the situation... as much as what i was being told did not seem like an option to me... it was obvious that things were looking less than stellar at that moment... however, i knew i had to figure out a way to run again... so after finding the right doctor... one that had a much different prognosis and outlook on things... i was much, much more optimistic about the knee getting back to normal... at that time some of my buddies were talking about doing lakefront marathon... i told them i would do it with them if the knee was better... however... given my past experience and current knee injury... i was saying it more to encourage them to do it... as i had about zero expectation of actually getting to the starting line of the race... regardless... about 10.5 months ago i had the knee surgery... started rehabbing a couple weeks later and ran for the first time post-surgery about 9.5 months ago
(one month following the surgery
)... 5 weeks later I ran the Samson Stomp 5k
(8.5 months ago
) in 23:04
)... and i was pushing it... everything felt difficult... but i knew i wanted to get back in shape and ready for the tri season... so i just started training... no real plan... just trying to do something every day...
Some time around mid february
) I started getting a little more involved with BT... It was about this time that I started chatting with pam
)... and she really kept me going at times... all of a sudden I started feeling a bit more accountable and like a slacker if I wasnt keeping up with my training... pam is such a great person that its been great getting to know her this past year...
I also did a month or two of the 'challenges' on BT... and that was when I met marianne
)... who coincidentally lives in Boston...!!! mav has been awesome all year at cheering me up and keeping me going as well... she's really been a great cheerleader and friend this past year...
frankly, there have been so many other friends i've made along the way... that i'm hesitant to try naming them... out of fear of missing someone... hopefully you all know who you are... and how appreciative that i am... and please know that you have all been huge part of this... and a huge part what i've been able to accomplish this past year... and a huge part in getting me to the starting line at lakefront... ready to attempt to accomplish one of my life goals...
In late march i started interacting more with the donkeys... and what was clearly a big turning point in my training was hooking up with Joe
) for parts of a couple of his longs runs leading up to his boston marathon this past april... Joe was obviously a strong runner... and having always trained by myself i was a bit intimidated to go out and try to run with him
(and djdavey on the first one
)... admittedly, both runs hurt...!!! but i had hung in there... and survived obviously... these were huge confidence builders for me... and coming off of these runs i signed up for and ran a half marathon... this race went far better than i could have imagined... and these runs were truly the springboard to everything that followed this past season... at the HM I was shooting for a 1:35... ended up running a 1:32:12... the next day i had plugged my time into the mcmillan running calculator... and it showed a marathon equivalent time of 3:14:27... i was shocked... at that moment it became "GAME ON"... i thought that if i could stay healthy
(the knee felt great
)... stay consistent... continue to improve over the summer... and make it to the starting line at lakefront... that i had a legitimate shot at BQing...
I managed to stay consistent in my training throughout the year... and while being able to keep my actual running volume rather low
(avg'd 17 miles/wk for the first 7 months
)... my running times continued to improve... after spirit of racine HIM i knew i had to increase those volumes significantly... i had never run 40 miles in a week in my life... and now the plan i was putting together had me darn near averaging that for the next 9 weeks... once again, i somewhat assumed that the body would breakdown along the way and that injuries would creep in... but i knew if i could get through it i would be ready... i paid very close attention to how i was feeling... made the days easier or harder based on what i thought i could handle... there were plenty of days that felt lousy... but most of the important days
(long runs, races, etc.
) i felt really strong... and the closer i got to race day... the stronger and more confident i was becoming... everything about my training led me to believe that i was going to hammer it at the marathon...
4 weeks before the marathon i ran another half marathon... 1:25:15... 7 minute PR over april's race... this validated everything i was thinking... go back to the mcmillan running calculator... and it shows a marathon equivalent time of... 2:59:48...!!! there it was... sub-3... and i felt like i could do it... the next weekend i did a 24 miler at BQ pace... and the following weekend a 15 miler at 3 hour marathon pace... 2 weeks until race day and everything felt good... so i sat back... breathed a sigh of relief... and silently celebrated that fact that i was going to make it to the starting line... my focus went away from just BQing... and more on the sub-3... every day those last 2 weeks i would visualize running a strong race... and coming down the finishing chute... seeing the clock starting with a "2"...
in hindsight... i became way to focused on the sub-3... Joe and Dave both had politely pointed this out... that i needed to stay focused on boston... but of course i didnt change my thinking...
i had everything figured out... nutrition... pacing.. etc... but the week leading up to the race i became a mess... i was stressed... various things, but mainly the race... wasn't sleeping... and then a few days before the race i did something to my calf... unbelievable... i felt great through 4 20+ milers, all the increased mileage, races, etc... then on an easy run just to stay loose before the race this happens... i felt like a balloon being popped... completely deflated... i started looking at other marathons coming up... as i didnt think lakefront would happen... thankfully, the calf improved immensely each day leading up to the race... and was not a problem come race day... thanks to everyone that helped talk me off the ledge those last few days before the race...
my goal hadn't changed... just run a sub-3... take it out easy the first few miles... stay comfortable... hit the halfway point at 1:30:00 +/- 30 seconds... hold that until mile 15... and then hammer it...!!! i figured at that point i would have at least 5 strong miles left in me... and could hit mile 20 a minute or two under pace... and then see what i had the last 6.2 miles... i had been able to do similar to this in a number of my training runs... it seemed so easy in my head...!!! :
side note: ran into pete
) at the expo/packet pick-up friday night... as he was volunteering there... i always enjoy talking with pete...
okay... off to race day... finally...
go to bed around 10pm... wake up at 11pm... 12am... 1:30am... and then 3am... stare at the ceiling from 3am to 4:30am... had been anticipating this so actually left a clif bar and water next to the bed to start fueling and hydrating...
get up... eat again... out the door at 5:20... i brought a couple sport bottles along with my sports drink for the race
(hydralyte and zymm tablets
)... didnt put them in the fuel belt bottles right away because the fuel belt bottles leak... pick up my buddy brian downtown who is doing the race... we park and grab a shuttle up to the start... i'm feeling really tired... and the bus seems to take forever...
we get to grafton h.s.... okay... game time...!!! go inside... not too crowded yet.. so short bathroom lines... always a good thing... go to start getting my gear assembled... start pulling stuff out of my bag... and one of my sports bottles had leaked everywhere... my shoes and socks for the race are soaked and sticky due it... i considered running the race in my old nike free's that i wore up there... decide thats probably not a good idea.. my buddy offers me his socks
(very nice of him
) but i decline... i spend the next 45 minutes
(thankfully we got up there early
) running back and forth to the bathroom grabbing paper towel to try and dry out the shoes and socks... everyone around us is chilling out and looking at me like i'm crazy... getting close to race time... so i figure thats all i can do... Lisa
) and her family stop by and we chat for a bit... finish getting ready... and brian and i make our way out to the start... i'm sporting the donkey gear... donkey visor... donkey jersey... donkey arm warmers
(it was a bit chilly out there
).. some gloves... fuel belt... and some sticky wet shoes and socks... run into travis
) and sandi
)... good to get a little donkey mojo going before the race...
find our spots... and i wish brian good luck...
not much time to warm up... shake the legs loose a little... see dave
) and his swim coach
).. near the start... realize at that moment that i lost a gel from my pocket already... dave said he had an extra in his car and would meet me with it out on the course...
waiting for the start... wish lisa good luck... and then we were off...!!!
[almost forgot - i had the coolest race bib ever
(might be a slight exaggeration
)... they didnt put my name on my race bib... so i used my computer printer at home to print "BOSTON or bust...!!!" on it where the name goes
(see attached pic
)... this actually comes into play later... also, i didnt want to cover up the donkey on my race jersey... so wore the race belt for the bib... back to the race...]
3h 12m 19s
07m 20s min/mile
everything starts okay... i probably seeded myself a little too far back at the beginning... because i spent a lot of time and energy the first few miles running back and forth to get around people... the first mile feels fine... i nail my planned pace... mile 1 - 7:00... during mile 2 i caught up to a friend of mine
)... she was just doing the first half of the race... she used to kick my butt as my trainer... and she still trains my wife... we chat a bit and it helps mile 2 go by fast... actually a little too fast... mile 2 - 6:40... we get it back on plan for the next few miles... mile 3 - 7:00... mile 4 - 6:55... during mile 4 amber drops back a bit... i am starting to get a little concerned because these should have felt like 'free' miles... however, i was feeling like i was having to work a little too hard for them... during mile 5 i see djdavey... as promised, he was waiting with hammer gel in hand... thanks dave...!!! shortly after seeing dave i see ross
)... that was a surprise... thanks for being out there ross... seeing both of these guys gave me a nice boost... mile 5 - 6:45... this is when i was supposed to be settling into race pace... 6:52s... during mile 6 i start paying attention to my heart rate... and its off the charts... at this point i would have guessed it would have been no higher than mid-160s... and i see it bouncing between low and upper 170s... wtf...?!? i start focusing on my breathing... trying to get the hr down... mile 6 - 6:57... avg hr - 173... the start of mile 7 starts by turning into the wind... which you can now tell is coming reasonably steady out of the west southwest... i tuck in behind a couple others as best i can... i'm not having any luck with getting the hr down... i start questioning if i should back off the pace... i know i'm going to see the family in about a mile so that lifts the spirits a bit... mile 7 - 6:52... avg hr - 172... going through concordia and i see becky and the kids... the kids are holding two big yellow decorated laminated signs... one says "Go Daddy Go" and the other says "Boston or Bust"... i laugh seeing the boston or bust sign... because the days leading up to the race my 6 year old son kept making up these hip hop-ish type "boston or bust" songs whenever I would talk about the race... “boston... boston... boston... or bust bust bust”... they were kind of catchy... so i started singing them to myself as i went... i also realize that me daughter had been 'playing me' the days leading up to the race... i brought a couple signs back from the expo for them to write on... and they just sat there... so a couple times i asked my daughter if they were going to color on the signs... and she would just look at me and say "yeah... i don't know dad... i don't really feel like it..." which i always thought was odd because she is always coloring stuff...?!? anyway... miles 8 and 9 probably felt the best of the race... and i was hoping that i was settling in... hr still high though... mile 8 - 6:54... mile 9 - 6:54.... amber catches back up... and we run another mile or two together... the next few miles i tried to keep it comfortable... didnt want to force the pace... i knew i had a long ways to go... and was afraid that i would later be paying the price for ignoring my hr early in the race... mile 10 - 7:01... mile 11 - 6:55... mile 12 - 7:05... during mile 12 i was surprised to see the family again... told them i didnt think that today was going to be my day... shortly after i saw them they must have hopped in the car because they drove by me yelling and cheering... they were awesome to have out there... mile 13 - 7:06... i’m started to get frustrated because things were really getting uncomfortable... which didnt make sense to me... because none of my training runs felt like this... however, my hr had come down to about 169... hit the HM point at 1:30:48... i recall scott
) telling me that the first 13.1 is going to feel easy... and i thought that it would as well... but the way i was feeling i probably would have had a few choice words for him at that moment.. :
) i realize that things are going to have to change soon if i'm going to have a shot at the sub-3... i have the wind at my back most of the next 2 miles... but can't comfortably get on pace... somewhere along mile 14 i see my buddy josh... who was supposed to run the race... but had to bail due to injury... mile 14 - 7:04... mile 15- 7:13... this is where i had planned on starting to hammer it.... that clearly wasnt going to happen... instead i decide to forget the sub-3... i figure a 1:39 back half will keep me sub 3:10... during mile 16 a guy comes up on me... asks what i need for boston... and tells me i've got it locked... i assume he saw "boston or bust" on my race bib... so i look down at it and notice that the sweat is causing the ink to start to run... so the "boston or bust" is slowly becoming less and less legible... that's not a good omen i think...!!! mile 16 - 7:22... mile 17 - 7:33... was definitely slipping off pace... somewhere along here i saw Deanna
) out cheering people on... good to see another donkey out there... i had my race bib turned to the side or back most of the race... so i got a lot of "go donkey" during the race... and lots of compliments on the race jersey... always a good boost to get a little donkey love out there... saw the family again during mile 18... becky yells at me that i have 54 minutes to get to the finish line... i didnt respond but was thinking "no way in 'heck' that is happening"... she was focused on the sub-3 as well... i didnt realize it then but she thought i needed the sub-3 to BQ
(not until waiting for me at the finish would she find out from someone else otherwise
)... shortly after i see them they drive by again and becky's yelling out the window to me to "get going!!"... the guy next to me looks at me and shakes his head "tough coach..!!"... mile 18 - 7:38... mile 19 didnt suck... which was a really good thing at that moment... mile 19 - 7:26... unfortunately that was the last mile i could make that claim... i was definitely hurting coming into mile 20 though... i thought of possibly starting to walk through the aid stations... but told myself just get to mile 20 and then figure out what to do... mile 20 - 7:37... okay, only 6.2 miles to go... i really expected to be feeling much better at this point... i started thinking of the spirit of racine HIM... and what a sufferfest those last 6 miles were... and figured i was in for the same... i never stopped running at SOR... so decided i wouldnt let myself stop here... just keep going...!!! i think that it was along mile 21 that i saw my buddy alec... he had run boston this year and will be back there next year... he ran down the sidewalk about 20 yards hollering and encouraging me... that gave me a nice boost to get through mile 21... later after the race he had emailed me congratulating me on the race... and letting me know that “i really looked like shit” when he saw me... i thought that was pretty funny
(yet very accurate
)... mile 21 - 7:52... i had started doing the math in my head once i hit mile 20 as to what pace i would need to keep to still BQ... the 7:52 started making me a bit nervous... I felt like i was giving it everything i had... just couldn’t go any faster... i started to see a number of people walking and i would try to be encouraging... but i think the brain was shutting down... because i would say something and then 5 seconds later realize that what i had said was a rather stupid comment to make... "just keep walking..." "you're looking great..." "really like the shirt.."?!? towards the end of mile 22 i saw dave and nicole... they were great out there... dave told me that all i had left was one seinfeld episode... then i'd be at the finish... apparently he meant one long episode... but nonetheless, that didnt sound so bad... the legs were really hurting though... again, far different from training... mile 22 - 8:04... and then more math... which i was hoping i was doing correct... but i figured if i kept the last 4 miles sub-9 i would BQ... and then i start thinking "dang... this is going to be close..." okay... trying to keep it around 8... just keep the legs moving... mile 23 - 8:00... okay... now i have a little cushion off the 9s... mile 24 starts with the downhill portion of lincoln memorial drive towards the lake... all i can think about is when my buddy alec BQed at lakefront last year... he had practiced hammering this downhill to pick up time should he be needing it on race day... well... during his race he had to do exactly that... he hammered the downhill and logged a 6 min mile and BQed on the exact second he needed - 3:20:59... so... as i was going down this hill i was really glad i had a bit more of a cushion... :
) mile 24 - 7:55... miles 25 and 26 are along the lake... and i run this route all the time at lunch... its never felt so long in my life...!!! i felt like i was just shuffling these last 2 miles... i look down and see that the "boston or bust" is completely gone from my bib... just a blue spot now... not sure if this is normal, but i believe that i told me bib to "screw off" at that point... dave and nicole pulled up and yelled at me to keep going... ross was there at mile 25 and snapped a few photos... most of the pics attached are the ones ross took... mile 25 - 8:28... the math was getting fuzzy at this moment... but i recall thinking that a 10 minute mile definitely gets me there... that last mile hurt... the last 8 miles hurt... but i knew i was getting close... the sub-3 was gone... the sub-3:10 was gone... but the BQ was right there... my mind starts wandering... i start thinking of all the failed marathon attempts... the knee surgery... how far things had come since that 5k just 8.5 months ago... and how IMPOSSIBLE boston had seemed... the past 5 miles i had been thinking about all of my friends that i got to see cross the finish line at ironman wisconsin a few weeks prior... how much more they must have hurt out on the run... and i imagine what it must have felt like for them coming into the finish line... then i think about my family... how lucky i am... and how i cant wait to see them shortly at the finish... mile 26 - 8:23... i turn right... to follow the trail down the home stretch... i starting scanning the crowds for my family... as i'm running i see my daughter and son standing next to the trail on the right side... they see me as i approach and put their hands out to 'high five' me as i'm running by... i must have had the biggest smile on my face as i approached them... i stop and give them both a quick hug and kiss and tell them i love them... my son grabs me... has a very serious look on his face... and asks... "dad, are we going to boston?"... i looked down the way to the finish clock... smile... look back at him... and as i go to respond it was as if a tidal wave of emotion washed over me... i could barely talk as i found myself doing all i could to try to fight back the tears... i cannot recall ever feeling emotional like this before at a race... but i just felt overwhelmed at that moment... somehow i got it out that yes, we were going to boston... and the kids both cheered and hugged me... then i stood and hugged and kissed my wife... and told her i loved her... she said something that i cant recall... but i can remember the look in her eyes... and i could see in her eyes how proud she was... i just stepped back and everyone around us was cheering... all the way to the finish i was fighting back the tears... those last 100 yards of the race were the easiest 100 yards i've ever run in my life... i felt like i was floating towards the finish line...
final chip time... 3:12:19... BQ...!!! :
(7:20 pace - faster than my 5k pace from 8.5 months earlier
after the race... later that evening... my daughter comes up to me "daddy... when we were standing at the end i knew you would 'boston'...
)... but i think mommy was getting nervous that you would 'bust'...
) but i knew daddy...!!!"
What would you do differently?:
probably pay closer attention to my hr earlier in the race... and try to keep the nerves at bay a bit more the week leading up to the race...
come across the finish... struggle a bit to get my legs under me... and my breathing is goofy... but the catcher walked me around a couple minutes and i was fine... went to find my family... a friend of mine from work
) had come down and was waiting to congratulate me at the finish... it was great to see him there... he had run the lake country HM with me 4 weeks prior... found my family and josh... i went and put some dry clothes on.. it was chilly... becky was was trying to find the schmize family
(scott, holly and their kids
)... we finally hooked up with them... becky and holly left to try and get becky's car unlocked
(somehow she managed to lock 2 sets of keys in it
)... scott and i cheered in dan
) and brian... congrats to dan on a great first marathon... and congrats to brian on a stellar PR... tried to find lisa... but did not see her at the finish... congrats on the BQ lisa...!!! saw dave, nicole, ross, travis, sandi and then dan around the finish area...
hung around with the kids to congratulate brian and chat with him and josh... and then i went to the MAC to get cleaned up to meet the rest of the family over at joe and lara's
) house for the donkey party... great turnout... and awesome time at the party... many thanks to our stellar host and hostess... this was the perfect way to celebrate...!!!
What limited your ability to perform faster:
not exactly sure... have a couple ideas... but just very happy with the BQ... and think that i have some better races in me yet...
this race report has become more exhausting than the race... great race, great course, great fan support... will definitely be back...
this had been my A+++ race... i felt more prepared for this than any race i've ever run... and i really, really wanted to do well... i honestly feel like i should have posted a better time... and i think i will in the future... but i accomplished one of my life goals... qualifying for boston...!!!
What a difference a year makes...!!!
Last updated: 2009-05-05 12:00 AM
03:12:19 | 26.2 miles | 07m 20s min/mile
Mental exertion [1-5]
Physical exertion [1-5]
Lots of volunteers?
Plenty of drinks?
Post race activities:
Race evaluation [1-5]
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