To say that I put a bit more pressure on myself this year to perform at the Tallahassee Marathon would have been an understatement. Early on I set the goal of a finishing time of less than 1hr 30min and felt it would be doable. Training went very smoothly until about 4 weeks out and then work ramped up and the situation made training a bit more difficult.
The day before the race I was at the expo for Science of Speed and was talking with many of the marathon runners. Being around the crowd was very fun and talking with athletes about what there goals were, how there training had gone and how they were going to handle the cool start temperatures was exciting. But in the back of my mind the question still lingered of “Will I be able to do this.” It wasn’t completion that was the concern it was time.
The pace went out fast from the start and I made it my goal within the first mile to gauge my effort and go off what I knew I could sustain and not what the pack was capable of. By the first tun the leaders were out of site. I paced off another gentleman for a while and he and I discussed goals and past performances and around mile 4, on a downhill, he picked up the pace to something I was not willing to do. A gap formed and it was up to me now. I settled in, focused on my form and tried to keep the legs turning over as smoothly as possible.
Mile 8-10 played tricks with my head. Mark rode up next to me at mile 9 and chatted with me for a few minutes to see how I was and crack a few jokes and with a quick time check(ran without a watch) my heart sunk. I had spent the last 10 minutes beating myself up and had not realized that I was at mile ten, not mile nine. After he slapped me back into reality. I was on pace and not 5-6 minutes behind like I thought. Mark scurried on ahead and I was left to climb the 1 mile grind up Park street to mile eleven.
The next 1.5 miles were nearly all down hill and my legs were more than thankful! Through Cascades park I was met by my good buddy Colin who had a few motivational words to offer. A quick sip of water and there was 3/4 of a mile to the line, all of which was uphill. With my right calf screaming and on the verge of cramping I pushed the pace as best I could and dug in uphill. As I hit the jog to the last 500m I saw the finishing clock read 1:27.20 and I knew I was going to make it. I continued to push through the final 3 turns and crossed in a time of 1:28.30 and a chip time of 1:28.28. Mission accomplished, doubt cast aside and extremely happy I snapped some photos with the kids and then was off to see my wife finish off her first full marathon.
What a great day, an amazing event and a 4 minute and 40 second PR on the same course in one years time!