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Cleveland Marathon - RunMarathon

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Cleveland, Ohio
United States
Cleveland Marathon
82F / 28C
Total Time = 4h 29m 30s
Overall Rank = 1210/2,863
Age Group = M40-44
Age Group Rank = 140/227
Pre-race routine:

Woke up at 4:30, got some coffee in me and ate a banana. Drove down and took the first parking spot I could find - traffic was nutty! Walked the last mile down to the race start. Had about 20 minutes to make a bathroom stop and then head out to the start corrals.
Event warmup:

  • 4h 29m 30s
  • 26.2 miles
  • 10m 17s  min/mile

This is my first marathon, and I knew that I was grossly undertrained and underprepared for this going into it, so my goal was to simply finish without injury. The plan was to start with the 8:24/mile pace group and just hang with them as long as I could, then just hold on until the end at whatever pace I could muster, and don't be concerned if I have to walk periodically.

I lined up with the pace group and started out with them. The first quarter mile is uphill from the start to the Shoreway... that's about the biggest incline of the entire race, the rest is pretty flat. The pace felt really easy and comfortable, and the temps were nice that early, even if the humidity didn't. I brought a bunch of GU with me, and took the first one at Mile 4. I also had a small pouch of salt pills. I took two before the race and then two every hour during it. I really think that this helped stave off muscle cramps, big time. I also made a point of taking at least two cups of drink at every aid station, be it water or Powerade. Later in the race, I was taking 3 & 4 cups per station.

I was able to hang with the pace group until Mile 9 where I had to let them go as I had to hit the port-a-potty, it seems I may have been a little over-hydrated to start with. I came out of there of there and walked the aid station, taking several cups of drink and started back off down the road. Just as I was hitting the turn right after it, I saw kenb321 rocking the Mile 9 Party and I jogged over to high-five him as I went by. That was a nice little pick-up in morale, though I didn't need it, yet. Not far down the road, just before Mile 10, I saw a guy I went to middle school with (WAY too many years ago) sitting in a lawn chair cheering people on. One more high-five and a bro-hug-on-the-fly and I was off on down the road. By this time, the legs were starting to feel tired, which I knew meant that the second half was really going to suck if things were hurting this early. Mile 11 is across a bridge that takes you back into downtown Cleveland, and I died there last year in the Half. This year I held it together and was able to keep moving, but I was definitely feeling every stride at this point. Not long after that, I was at the split-off point... the Half runners went one way, us marathoners went the other, and I was now officially in uncharted territory for a race.

The back half was just plain tough. It was hot, humid, and generally devoid of shade. The crowds were smaller and further apart, too, which didn't help the morale. It really became a very individual endeavor. By mile 14 I had adopted a policy of walk 1/4 mile, run to the next even numbered mile marker. I think I was able to keep that going until like Mile 19 or something, and much of that span is kinda a blur. The pain in the hamstrings and glutes was crazy. I wanted to walk to alleviate that, but that just made me conscious of the pain in my feet, which was alleviated by running again. Thankfully, the stretch from 18 to 20 was mostly shaded, and at the last aid station one of the volunteers there actually stopped me and had me lower my head so that he could pour water over it... I must have really looked like hell, hehe. I had kept up with the GU's every few miles and salts every hour, so that is probably a part of it as he said I "looked really crusty". After that, it was out of the shade and back onto the open, sun-drenched road. Around Mile 21 (I think?), at the last little turn-around on St. Clair Avenue before heading back downtown, I saw a woman that I also went to school with. I was REALLY hurting at this point, and seeing her and getting a quick hug-on-the-fly really boosted my spirits and carried me for about the next two miles before I gave in to the legs and walked again. Periodically throughout the race, I saw several other Team RWB members, and cheering each other on as we went was a really cool thing to have, especially when it got tough. Not long after Mile 24, I think, I caught up to fellow RWB'er sungirl919 and her new BFF (who, ironically, had also started with the 8:24 pace group). At that point, I was quite content to stop pushing and finish with them. We walked perhaps a half mile together before trying to run once more. That was interrupted briefly, then we finished it out on the run.

I had never hurt so badly in my life, and at the finish I couldn't even consider the idea of ever wanting to do that distance again... yet, two days later and I'm now thinking it might not be so bad.

This endurance sports stuff is definitely a sickness of the mind ;-)
What would you do differently?:

Actually Train.
I haven't ran more than three times in a week in over two months and aside from one long run two weeks before the marathon, I hadn't done a run longer than 14 miles since last November.
Post race
Warm down:

Found some shade, stretched a little, ate the post-race grub and generally cooled off a bit.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Utter lack of training, the heat.

Last updated: 2012-12-10 12:00 AM
04:29:30 | 26.2 miles | 10m 17s  min/mile
Age Group: 140/227
Overall: 1210/2,863
Performance: Average
1 8:29.2 1.00 8:29 2 8:15.0 1.00 8:15 3 8:17.6 1.00 8:18 4 8:15.8 1.00 8:16 5 8:25.3 1.00 8:25 6 8:23.9 1.00 8:24 7 8:17.1 1.00 8:17 8 8:21.8 1.00 8:22 9 9:10.2 1.00 9:10 10 10:39.3 1.00 10:39 11 9:03.8 1.00 9:04 12 9:31.2 1.00 9:31 13 8:45.1 1.00 8:45 14 10:33.1 1.00 10:33 15 9:21.2 1.00 9:21 16 9:43.9 1.00 9:44 17 12:04.1 1.00 12:04 18 11:19.8 1.00 11:20 19 13:29.2 1.00 13:29 20 9:24.1 1.00 9:24 21 14:30.3 1.00 14:30 22 9:57.0 1.00 9:57 23 10:40.0 1.00 10:40 24 12:47.2 1.00 12:47 25 12:01.1 1.00 12:01 26 14:53.4 1.00 14:54 27 4:53.8 0.49 9:58
Course: A tour of Cleveland's inner neighborhoods.
Keeping cool Below average Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Good
Mental exertion [1-5] 4
Physical exertion [1-5] 4
Good race? Ok
Course challenge Just right
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities: Good
Race evaluation [1-5] 4

2013-05-21 11:04 AM

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Subject: Cleveland Marathon

2013-05-21 1:37 PM
in reply to: #4751454

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Olmsted Twp, OH
Subject: RE: Cleveland Marathon
Great job cgregg. This was my first marathon as well and I had a similar experience. The heat and sun made the last 5 miles extremely brutal! I even told my wife when I saw her at the finish line that I would never race another marathon. However, I am now thinking about all the mistakes I made and how much easier the next one should be!

My quads are not agreeing with me though. They have never been this sore and I curse every time I go down a step when going down stairs.
2013-05-21 2:47 PM
in reply to: Du To Tri

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Subject: RE: Cleveland Marathon

Thanks Du... I know how strong of a runner you are, so hearing that you had a similar experience makes me feel better.  Heck, I know how strong of a runner Robin is, too, and she also had a similar day.


My quads are hating me, too, but not nearly as bad as I expected. I feel them on stairs, but not so much that I can't easily do stairs.  I don't know if that is because of the slower than normal pace, or if perhaps all the salts and GU helped mitigate some damage.

2013-05-21 9:01 PM
in reply to: cgregg

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Subject: RE: Cleveland Marathon
Wow. Only 14 in the books before the race? Crazy! You toughed it out.

I love my city and always try to talk up the good points of races, but I must say I'm disappointed with the course. I saw WAY too many potholes and water-service-hole-cover-thingys missing in the roads--it made for a dangerous path, and once the split happened, it was no man's land. (Don't get me started on the finisher chute and lack of refreshment/hydration/nutrition.)

I love Cleveland, love racing it for the triathlon, but doubtful I'll race this marathon again unless they change the course back to the way it was through River.

The best part of the race, in my humble opinion, was the final few miles. If you want to see humanity at it's finest, the perfect example is at the end of a tough marathon.

Great job, and thanks again!
2013-05-22 2:48 PM
in reply to: #4751454

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Melon Presser
Subject: RE: Cleveland Marathon

Heyyyyy Popeye, do a marathon untrained and pretty much smoke it? You're turning into me!

Except for the smoke it part.

You are awesome.

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