Columbus Marathon: The Moth Report

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    • #4647

      My story actually begins in the days after I’d just completed the 2000 Columbus marathon – in over 5 hours. This result prompted me to “retire” from the marathon. If that was the very best I could do than that simply was good enough. So I set as a goal to qualify for the 2007 Boston marathon. Sort of a 50th birthday present to myself. Given that my [then] last two marathons were hovering around the 5 hour mark that seemed like a challenging, if unrealistic, goal at the time. So the long and winding road back to Boston began as little more with a wish, a promise to myself.

      My thoughts were to shot from the Fall of 2006 as my qualifier, thinking it would take that long to rebuild, assuming my injury would heal and my body hold up to the abuse of sustaining a full training schedule. After a few years of rehab and spotty training I began focusing on getting my half time down to a range that even suggested a BQ. If the speed wasn’t there where was I going to pull it out of? Then I ran 1:39:53 last Fall and after completing my “rehearsal” marathon at the FlyingPig in 3:44:54 I knew I was ready! After a bout of mild tendonitis the 1st 4 weeks of the 18/70 Pfitz schedule all went well and I entered the taper phase fit and good to go.

      After a restless night I awoke race morning suprizingly feeling pretty good as forum member “afh” and myself jogged down to the nippy start. And just as we approach the throng I see a familiar face veering over toward us – it’s Mike Cerrato, my old training buddie. I know that Andrea has nothing left to prove and hoping to get under 4 whereas Mike told me pre-race that he’s “looking at 3:15” but I know better! So we have our seperate agendas and after wishing one another well we go our seperate ways.

      As I shared with Team Four member, Bruce [The Beast] my pre-race plan was to lock onto the 3:30 pace group and “see” how I feel, then adjust pace / goals accordingly. But as Mike Tyson said, “everyone has a plan – till they get hit”. I was just hoping not to be knocked the “F” out before I crossed the finish line on Nationwide Blvd! I’d never run a marathon like this before and it made me feel so secure running in the pack. I was on cruise for 10 miles. It helped that the 7:50-8:00 pace felt sooooo EZ and that one of the team leaders [George] was a familiar face from Front Runner [local running store]. The karma was very good indeed! He and the entire group of [approx] 50 runners did an awesome job of keeping the us tight and on target. We sailed through miles 10, 11, 12, 13, 14 without so much as one hick up. It never felt so good. I’d decided to leave the pack a few miles early, thinking “damn, this is too EZ” and if I wanted to hit my ultimate goal [3:25] I’d better giddy up. Mistake #1. While my splits didn’t reflect it I suddenly felt vulnerable and alone as I surged ahead. I also found myself “thinking” about the race rather than just letting it happen before me. My 1st half splits:

      01 8:04

      02 7:59

      03 7:38

      04 8:01

      05 7:45 [39:32]

      06 8:19 [pit stop]

      07 7:26

      08 8:00 [pit stop]

      09 8:04

      10 8:05

      11 7:52

      12 7:48

      13 7:47 [13.1 / 1:43:46]

      Between mile 14 and 15 I stopped to greet my family. It was inspiring to see my oldest reconize “daddy” and at the same time my youngest, who was celebrating his 2nd birthday, cheer on #3715. The actual celebration was on ice till I could get my butt home so that was another incentive to shake it! At this point the exhuberance of the early miles was over and the race was just beginning to take form. I still felt “good” just not “as good”!

      14 7:51

      15 8:43 [pit stop & family reunion]

      16 7:47

      17 8:13

      18 8:14

      19 8:14

      20 8:09 [2:40:10]

      I’ll blame the drift in pace on the slight NW headwind and the slight upgrade as we traversed High street and made our way westward toward Upper Arlington. I would be less than truthfull if I didn’t also reconize the fact that I just didn’t want to go any faster. But I still felt good about my chances. The 3:30 pace group swallowed me up around 18 and I made a concerted effort to not let them get away. I drifted back no more than a 50 yards and occationally moved closer. With the “hills” behind us I began to focus hard for the 1st time in the race. I didn’t expect to blast off at this point but I desperately didn’t want my pace to drift any further than it already had. I had built a 5-6 minute cushion and there was no way that I was going to rely on that. I wanted to maintain my position and come home in 3:30, if not a shade under, not hang on for dear life with a 3:35:59.

      21 7:48

      22 7:43

      23 8:02

      24 8:11

      25 8:12

      26 8:13

      .2 1:37

      We’ll that was the plan and I suppose the marathon gave me a few body blows but I never touched canvas and was able to hold it together enough to do what I could only dream of 5 years ago. I saw the kids again at the 25 1/2 mile mark and that was the only time I got emotional.

      3:29:59 watch time

      3:30:00 unofficial chip time

      3:30:51 approx. clock time

      I placed 609 out of 3789. 73 of the gentiler sex smoked my a$$ as did 74 gentlemen in my age group. How do I feel? I feel releaved it’s over. The training was challenging but very enjoyable though toward the end of my taper I just wanted to get it on. Did I learn anything? Sure, my 15th marathon taught me a few things that I hope to address. I like to think of every race as an adventure… on the road to find out. For all of my other BQ efforts I never felt confident till the very end. Today, I pretty much knew I was going to make it from the gun. Don’t ask me why, I just knew. The only real disappointment I came away with was not pushing the pace a bit more the last three [3] miles. I used the excuse of my hamstrings cramping but that was more convenient than real. Till the very last turn. As I began to sprint downhill toward the finish I felt it grab and had to back off telling myself to just cruise in… but the goal was to BQ, not be a hero. Thanks for letting me share my success. I would be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge all the support I’ve received from family, friends, my Team Four mates and the entire readership. A heartfelt thank you is in order.


    • #19625

      Well done on the PR, keep up the good work and hopefully the improvement will continue.

    • #19626

      Thank you. Actually, I’ve run 7 marathons faster than 3:30. My P.R. is 3:05, but that was in 1983! This was my best since November, 1995!

    • #19627

      Congrats, Moth!

      Nice and steady on your splits!

      And way to include the family! That’s a great way to get the kids interested in running in the future.

    • #19628

      Please accept my apologies, I had no idea. 😳

      I should say well done on recapturing old form, then, and the rest.

    • #19629

      Way to go Mike, nice race and report.

    • #19630

      No matter what your PR is, that’s a heck of an improvement you are making. It goes to show what setting supposedly “impossible” goals and committing to them can do. To paraphrase the quote in my signature, you won’t get there by saying it’s impossible. As you have shown, the way to get there is by giving it your best shot.

    • #19631

      my favorite part (besides your success) was the line “on the road to find out”…

      great report on great run… isn’t it weird how trying to pull away from such a wonderful pace group was so difficult, psychological as well as physical… way to go…


    • #19632

      I really appreciate the recognition from such a strong group of runners! Seriously, this was one of my easiest marathons and that bodes well for the future. I’m really excited to see how much I can lower that 3:30 next year!

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