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Sunday, January 20, 2013

Louisiana Marathon: David's first

Another beautiful finish festival at LA marathon
Well, I pretty much got eaten up by jealousy this weekend watching runners complete The Louisiana Marathon in beautiful weather on a fast and beautiful course. The temps were perfect (40's to low 60's), the sun was shining, and the breeze was light.
David and I got up at 4:00 am (bleah) and were in Baton Rouge by 6:00 so I could volunteer at gear check. Gear check was busy - the race starts at 7:00 - and somehow in the rush I didn't get time with David to tell him good luck and give him last minute advice. One thing about David: he is very good at doing as he is told. So I was hoping to give him last minute explicit instructions for race day that would stick in his mind. But after a quick kiss he disappeared and before I knew it I could hear the national anthem at the start.
It took us about an hour to organize all the bags, then I headed over to the finish to watch the half marathon winners. I went back to gear check for another hour, then got ready to watch the marathon winners. I was feeling uneasy as I watched the race. David never "hit the wall" in training, but I was worried he would today. I never gave him the "Don't go out too fast" talk and I was fretting that he was going to run out of fuel. After a little while I headed out on the course, deciding to meet him and run him in to the finish.
Running against traffic on the sidewalk was like a "This is your racing life" experience. Since I've run everything from a 4:08 to a 3:06, I've been in ALL of those shoes. I saw the faces marked with determination, the ones glazed over with fatigue, the ones clearly showing defeat. Been there, been there, been there! 
When I saw David at mile 23 and change, I knew immediately that he'd hit the wall. He was still on pace - actually, ahead of pace - but his face and slow, short steps told me the story. I ran with him, encouraging him. I kept an eye on his pace and it kept creeping up, but he was still on pace overall. Somewhere in the middle of mile 25, though, I was losing him! We were on a long gradual uphill and he was running 10:30 pace. Quick math told me that if he kept this pace up he would miss his goal by just seconds. "Look," I told him, "If you want this, you have to work for it. This is where it counts. Hit the gas pedal!'
And he did. I zipped ahead to watch him finish and he sprinted across the line in 3:39:08!

Am I proud of him? You bet! That's not so shabby for a first marathon!
The splits tell the tale:
Last fast mile. The mile before you hit the wall is always fast, as your body releases stored glycogen and you get a momentary boost.
First 22 miles: Started a little fast, got caught up with the 3:35 pace group, but felt great. 
1 8.08
2 8.05
3 8.00
4 7.52
5 8.08
6 7.57
7 8.08
8 8.14
9 8.07
10 8.05
11 7.58
12 8.00
13 7.55
14 8.07
15 8.05
16 7.58
17 8.00
18 7.57
19 8.08
20 8.07
21 8.03
22 7.57

23 8.23 Middle of mile 23? WALL. 
24 8.42
25 9.08
26 9.37

Yes, he started fast and hit the wall, but really I think this is a pretty well-run race for a first marathon. And the fact that he could push through for those last few miles and still make his goal is just impressive!

He says "There won't be a rematch", but I think he's got a 3:30 in there. What do you think? 


  1. Awesome job David! I've ran several marathons and I can never smooth my pace out like that - very impressive! I always love reading first marathon race reports - I'm sure crossing the finish line is something you'll never forget! Great job and great race! Congrats!

  2. AWESOME!!!! Sounded like it was going to be a perfect day! Although I did think this year the women's times would be faster. I bet he will change his mind ;)

    1. I know, would have placed for sure. That's always a little disheartening. But you will place in another race, another time!

  3. Congrats to David! He did a great job and it sounds like a super fun day. :)

  4. Most excellent. I am glad the Weather Gods smiled upon racers and spectators alike!

  5. That's a spectacularly paced first marathon. Well done, David! And nice job, coach :)

  6. fantastic time-envious of fast the pain is just over quicker. i have my first marathon on Friday...I just want to do it in under 5.00

  7. What a great recap!! Congrats to him for pushing through the wall!

  8. Wow! He's a great runner, but it sounds like he's got an amazing coach. :)

    Congratulations, David!

  9. What the heck?! Wasnt he going for a sub-4? Haha. Maybe I am remembering wrong. Anyway, that is awesome!! Go David! An excellent first and I definitely think he has more in him. The first one - you just have to do one to know what it takes. Congrats!

    1. Good memory! He was going for sub-4:00: but when I saw his rapid improvement this fall, I changed his goal. Actually, if he hadn't hurt his knee and gotten a bad cold, I would have knocked it down to 3:30.

  10. Dooooo it, David!!! You smashed your sub 4. Now on to bigger better goals, like sub 3!!

  11. Wow! That is an amazing time! Way to go, David! He should be very proud of himself and you should be super proud of him, too!

  12. That's awesome--good for him! So glad you were able to get out there and encourage him on so that he could make his goal pace. Great supporter!

    My first marathon was a 3:39, too! (and back then that was BQ, making it extra special)

  13. I'm surprised I missed you at the gear check. I ran the half and it was beautiful weather. Congrats to your husband on a great first marathon!

  14. That's the culmination of a ton of hard work and determination. I'm so glad you were able to be there for support, too. What an awesome day for both of you! (sans hard-to-ignore jealousy, obviously)

  15. congrats to David! what a fantastic time !