Patience key to marathon success

Tropical storm winds blew rain sideways as my running partner Jim and I shuffled through the wet streets of Hampton, NH, to the registration table for Smuttynose Rockfest Marathon, Oct. 2.

An announcement came across the loud speaker system inviting runners to switch from the full to the half marathon.  The invitation was tempting, but I was determined to run 26.2 miles that day.  I’m glad I didn’t falter.

By gun time, the rain had let up and Jim and I were pumped.  We had decided to stick together and run a 7:30 pace for at least the first 20 miles and avoid the temptation to run fast early on.  We stuck to our target pace and it paid dividends for both of us in the end.

We had a great race and enjoyed every minute of it.  By mile nine the clouds had partially cleared as we came over a rise in a hill.  A beautiful NH coastline vista greeted us and we knew at that moment why we ran.

Finishing Smuttynose 26.2 (on the right)

At mile 18 a couple of our buddies jumped in to run us in.  By mile 21 Jim and I both felt great, despite the rain which had started again.  I decided I needed to surge at that point if I wanted a shot at a Boston qualifying time.  I finished in 3:11:19 and Jim came in just minutes behind me.  Personal records for both of us!

Despite missing my BQ by a mere 20 seconds, I wasn’t disappointed.  I had run a good race, enjoyed myself, set a PR and learned an invaluable lesson about pacing myself during such a long race.

By having patience and sticking to my target pace, I was able to finish strong.  Next time around, I am confident I can run a BQ and I know I’m well on my way to a sub-three hour marathon.

Run happy!

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