Sunday, August 30, 2015

Nebraska State Fair Marathon 2015 Recap

Note the "52w" on the top right of this screen grab here. 
That means I posted this 52 weeks ago. 

In addition to online I posted this in my garage where I get out of my car daily. 

The message on it is simple:
The What: BQ
The When 8/29/2015. 
The Time needed: 3:05:00
The goal was clear. 

When I wrote 3:05:00 on that flyer I had completed 2 marathons. I completed my first one in Lincoln on May 4th, 2014. I had the help of a great pacer, Eliot Lee, who has became a great friend & inspiration. I finished that my first marathon in 3 hours and 43 minutes. The finish at that marathon was an overwhelming feeling. I had started running 1 year prior to that and had no idea I would work my way up to a marathon in a year. Truth be told, I struggled to get thru 1 mile without walking that first week of running in April of 2013. I kept at it though, signing up for occasional 5K's & 10K's and working my way up to a half marathon & then the full. I struggled through many 5k's, just trying not to walk. I haven't always been a runner, or an athlete even but something kept getting me back out there to get better and work harder. I remember a point in 2014 that I thought to myself if my body can run 1 mile at 7:00,  the only reason it can't run 26 miles at that pace is endurance. That little thought gave me so much motivation over time, that the thing that stood between me and qualifying was something that I was able to develop. Mechanically my body could do that speed, I just needed to work hard to develop the endurance.

Shortly after finishing that marathon in Lincoln in 2014 the Boston Marathon seed had been planted in my head. I download a book about the history of the Boston Marathon that summer. I did my second marathon at the end of  that summer at the 2014 Nebraska State Fair. I finished it in 3 hours and 33 minutes. That is the day that I posted the flyer above in my garage.

 I set many goals throughout the course of my day for different things. Some are daily, weekly or monthly goals. Then some are more special goals. A good goal should scare you a little bit & excite you a lot. It should however, always bring a certain level of passion with it, that's how you know it's a special goal. 

As I sit here and try to look back on the year between posting that flyer and running that race it seems so much longer than 1 year. Running has taken me on adventures, both physically and mentally that i would have missed otherwise. I tested my body and it's limits on some rocky Kansas single track trails at 2 different 50 mile races. I blazed through a 100K (62 miles) race in Iowa and learned about how well I can do when I take the pressure & planning away and just go out there and run. I've had the opportunity to run relay races across Colorado & Nebraska running and enjoying the company of awesome people. I've climbed multiple mountains sharing stories with people I've just met that day or rekindling old relationships. I completed 2 other marathons, Phoenix in February &  Lincoln in May getting me stronger and marathon smarter.  For me running allows me to keep moving forward, weather that is on trails, on roads, in life or in my head. It is the foundation for what has become the best version of myself. 

 I ran 2800 miles total that year, for a mental picture of how far that is; that is almost the exact distance from Los Angles, CA to New York City. A guy who couldn't get thru a one mile run without walking in May of 2013, but wanted to keep working at it to better himself & accomplish a goal. Not just physically better myself but I saw what running brought to my overall mental health as well. It's is fairly hard to write that I struggled with running like I did, like for some reason I'd be a better runner if that weren't the case. If I had always been more fit or able to preform as a runner I'd somehow be more "worthy" of sharing my experiences with you.  I think that stems from that we all struggle for acceptance when we start a new activity. Like there is some judge out there deciding whether or not we are real runners. I have learned through the 3 years now of running that this community is some of the most amazing people I have ever met. The journeys, stories, accomplishments and overcoming that accompanies running is astonishing. I see the welcoming of anyone wanting to better themselves daily on social media.  It's one of the most shameless cultures I've ever been a part of. We have all opened ourselves up to vulnerability time after time; not just when we began running but when we continually sign up for races that give us the opportunity to set a goal and either obtain it or fall short. Sometimes we crush it, sometimes we don't. This sport has taught me not to wait until you obtain your goal to be proud of yourself. Be proud of every step you take toward reaching your goal.

So as you can tell from above running is a great big part of my every day life. So when I started tapering back before the Nebraska State fair marathon this week the anxiety for the run built and built. Finally Saturday morning rolled around and I was so ready to get this marathon started. I had a bagel with peanut butter, a banana and 16oz of Gatorade for breakfast. I was careful not to drink to much because mile 6 last year I had to take a pit stop. My mom, Kiera & I headed out about 5:30AM to Grand Island. I saw many familiar faces at the start line that made the time fly by before the race. Sometimes this time can seem to take forever, but that was 1 of many perks of a local marathon. Before I knew it it was 6:30AM and we were off. The weather was perfect running weather. under 60 and overcast with a soft breeze. 
I programmed my watch with splits that match my running style, it worked the same as a pace band. It would show me the time I "needed" for that mile, the pace I was at & how much distance I had left of the mile. I started it out with a 7:20 mile and then down around 7:00. I started with a buddy of mine, Brian, from our Ragnar Relay run. We ran together until around mile 3 were I started settling into my pace. I was very careful in these first few miles to watch the pace and not go out faster than I intended regardless of how i was feeling. At around mile 3 we split from the half marathoners and we were pretty spread out at this point. I saw Kiera & my mom shortly after the split and was greeted with some cheers. It felt great for the day to be finally here. 

We went around about a 4 mile loop before coming back to the original trail that we turned off and meeting up with some half marathoners  At this point, about mile 8, I was still feeling great. I was having to use quite a few discipline techniques to not start moving faster as I felt so good. I stayed right on each mile pace and checked my watch quite a bit to make sure of that. I had confidence that I could maintain the paces that I put in my watch and that if I stuck to that had absolutely no excuses. 
We worked our way up to Hall County park around mile 10.

This is a park that I run and train at a great deal. I got my first pain of the marathon here. It was a fairly sharp pain in my lower back, something completely new, that only lasted a minute or two. It did not seem to be nerve as it wasn't real severe, maybe just something with how my gate changes when I am running 7 minute miles compared to the majority of my training at 8 minutes per mile. That went away quickly and at mile 10 I had my first nutrition of the day, a honey stinger caffeinated gel. I was also implementing my plan of a couple drinks at every water station, alternating between water and Gatorade. I think i missed 2 maybe 3 the entire run, which is really good for me.
After circling that park we headed north for 2 miles up to my office. Earlier that week I emailed the office what time I would be by and it was great to see so many encouraging faces as I passed by at mile 14. I was still feeling great and right on pace at this point. I had another Honey stingers gel at mile 15.  We went from there and circled around the cemetery, this is another place I run quite regularly in training. I passed 2-3 marathoners around the cemetery and as we headed out. The reason I mention that is that this is always a challenging but not often thought about aspect of the run. Your natural instinct is to speed up around them and then hold a faster pace then what you want for a while after, similar to driving in a car. I made sure not to speed up and just maintain and only worry about my pace and where I was at in my run. 
We concluded our time on the bike trail around mile 18 and started out journey to Highway 30 for the out and back. I had ran this out and back probably 5 times in the last 2 months. every time trying to mentally put myself in the race. One time in training i did 20 minutes of 100 meter sprints before running this stretch to try and simulate tired legs. I was ready for this stretch. I had a mantra, "never fade" that I ran though my head probably 100 times during this part. 

I saw every bit of my support crew out on
this stretch and they made such a difference. They way out I was still feeling good all over and I was still in great spirits. If at any point I caught myself thinking about how many miles I had left I immediately would try and get myself out of that, think about this mile, where you are at in this mile and what you are going to do in this mile only. At mile 22 my watch told me to be at 6:40 for this mile. I was like what! Who programmed this dang thing for a 6:40 mile this late. I turned up the speed and came fairly close to hitting it. The next 2 goal pace was 7:03 which seemed so much better after the 6:40.  Maybe that's why I did that. I was able to gain a few seconds on those 2 as i came in right around 6:50 on each of those miles.

Mile 24 I started to get my first sense of "your going to make it in time." I tried hard to not let myself think you are going to make it. I've been a part of to many basketball games where you think you've gt it and it all falls apart. I knew if I stayed in the mile, I could not fail if i hit each mile goal. I also had a spot on my watch that would total up all the miles and tell me how far over or under the projected miles I was for the entire run. About half a mile after that sense of "you are going to make it"  my legs started to tighten up pretty bad. This was the first sting of any real pain since that back thing that lasted only 2 minutes around mile 10.  I knew it wasn't enough to make me stop and walk but I wasn't sure if it was going to slow me down to much to hit my goal. Had I had that much cramping up around mile 20, I couldn't of worked through it for 6 miles. Luckily at almost mile 25 I could work thought it till the end. 

At around 25.5 miles I hollered out  "like being up by 4 points with 2 minutes left to go in the game" to people from work cheering me on. I saw my family at around this stretch too and started to really dig deep. I was greeted by my buddy Nate just as i I could start to see the finish line. I was giving it all I had at that point. I think that last .4 miles was around 6:00 pace. Not sure if Nate was ready to run with me at that pace after running his half. He started running with me then it was just me. 

I crossed the finish line at 3:03:32. 1 minutes and 28 seconds under my qualifying time of 3:05:00. I was immediately congratulated by so many great friends in the running community and my family. Kiera's smile at that moment was indescribable, it was something i will never forget. One of my biggest inspirations in the ultra-running world & friend Kaci Lickteig was right there to congratulate me as well. The feeling at the finish of my first marathon was overwhelming but this one was so very special in its own way. It was such a great moment. I hung around the finish are for about 10 minutes before Nate & I ran back out to find Mike who was still out on course and cheer him on. It was great to see him & many other runners come in the rest of the day. I was riding that runners high for the rest of the day as we took in the Nebraska State Fair fun!

Any goal worth having is worth the effort to make it come true. Sometimes setting the goal can seem to be the hard part. If the passion is there the mission will become clear. Boston was one of my first big running goals so it feels great to accomplish it. It is not however my only goal. If qualifying for Boston was like the World Series, my Super Bowl would be competing at Western States 100. That goal became clear sometime in 2015 as I started pursuing ultra-running more. More and more goals will come and go, it does not take anything away from this one. I am happy with where I am at now, but I am excited for where I am going. Happy Trails all! Hope to see you out there. 


17:09 /mi7:09 /mift174 spm
27:02 /mi7:02 /mift174 spm
37:02 /mi7:02 /mift174 spm
46:58 /mi6:57 /mift176 spm
57:00 /mi7:00 /mift174 spm
67:00 /mi7:00 /mift174 spm
76:58 /mi6:57 /mift174 spm
86:57 /mi6:56 /mift176 spm
97:04 /mi7:04 /mift176 spm
106:57 /mi6:56 /mift176 spm
116:59 /mi6:59 /mift176 spm
126:56 /mi6:56 /mift176 spm
136:52 /mi6:52 /mift176 spm
146:59 /mi6:59 /mift176 spm
156:55 /mi6:45 /mi20 ft176 spm
166:59 /mi7:02 /mi-23 ft176 spm
177:04 /mi7:05 /mi-13 ft174 spm
187:00 /mi6:56 /mift174 spm
197:01 /mi7:02 /mi-3 ft174 spm
206:56 /mi6:58 /mi-7 ft166 spm
216:50 /mi6:52 /mi-7 ft176 spm
226:50 /mi6:51 /mi-3 ft158 spm
236:54 /mi6:54 /mift124 spm
247:01 /mi7:01 /mift172 spm
256:55 /mi6:55 /mift162 spm
266:46 /mi6:46 /mift104 spm
0.46:15 /mi6:15 /mift108 spm

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