Ryan P from Bluffton, SC (Male)
Occupation: Financial Advisor
Age on race day: 38
2008 Chicago Marathon - Chicago, IL
This was my 2nd marathon and I finished in 3:19:39.
I took a 15 year break from running due to running injuries that wouldn't go away in college. I decided to start running 5 & 10K's in Jan of 2008, and progressed to Sprint Triathlons. My fitness level improved dramatically, so I decided to try a marathon again. My first marathon was in 1988 (Grandma's) when I was 18 years old. I didn't train properly for that marathon and was barely able to cross the finish line in 4 hrs and 40 min.
A running partner of mine introduced me to Jeff Galloway's training plan. It was difficult for me to adopt his run/walk method (mostly because of my ego I think), but I think it has merit. I trained for 9 months, and I averaged 30 miles per week. The best training advice I would share with others is to run the long runs as slowly as you can, and do speed work every week. Understanding how important rest days are (especially the older you get) is also very important in preparing for a marathon.
The 2008 Chicago Marathon wasn't quite what I expected. My goal was to qualify for Boston (3:15:00). This was a very aggressive goal for me since it was my first marathon in 20 yrs. Because I didn't have a previous qualifying time, I had to start in the Open area (vs. the time qualifying Corrals). It was incredibly congested for the first 7 miles, and I'm sure I wasted a huge amount of energy bouncing back and forth to get around people and trying not to trip over anyone.
The race day temp was a lot hotter than expected (high of 85 degrees that day), and it took it's toll on me at mile 24. I was 2.5 mins ahead of my goal time until mile 24, and then the wheels fell off. My quads and hamstrings turned to concrete, and I had a lot of difficulty running. I was able to finish, but the short hill at 25.8 miles seemed like Mt. Everest to me. I don't think I could've run up it without the huge crowd cheering us on. I feel confident that I can shave 4:39 off my time on my next marathon so I can qualify for Boston.
My recovery wasn't bad. I drank lots of water, did very light stretching, and kept walking to stay as loose as possible.
Do it. Pain is temporary. The pride will last forever.
Plans to Run Another:
I'm going to run another fast course marathon within 2-3 mos and try to qualify for Boston '09. I might also try to move up to the half Ironman distance in triathlons next year. For my next marathon, I would cross train more to prevent injury. The high mileage at the end of my program took its toll on my knees.