route-66-medals

Route 66 is my 9th Marathon Completed and by far my most enjoyable one to date.

My Marathon History.

1st Kiawah Island SC 2002 – 4:15:46

2nd VA. Creeper Trail 2003 –  4:34:25

3rd Nashville TN 2003 –  4:40:16

4th Goody KY 2003 –  5:01:33

5th Phoenix AZ 2004 – 5:39:54

6th Myrtle Beach SC 2006-  

7th Myrtle Beach SC 2007 – 5:03:51

8th Atlanta GA – 4:19:39

9th Route 66 in Tulsa Oklahoma 2016 – 4:08:29

Running a 26.2 Mile Marathon is…humbling, difficult, painful, and one of the most fun and challenging things I have ever done.

In my 1st Marathon I did all of my training on a treadmill and the longest training run I did was 13 miles. The fact that I ran 4:15 in that one was just pure beginners adrenaline. It was a very cold day and by about mile 20 every time my feet hit the ground it felt like there was nothing but bone to pavement. The pain following that run for several days was intense. When I would sit down in a car to go somewhere I would literally have to pick my legs up with my hands and set them out of the car because I was that sore, it was difficult to move and the cramping was intense for several days. Amazingly none of the Marathons that followed this one have ever made me this sore. It seems you break a barrier hat you never have to repeat.

The Va Creeper Trail Marathon was awesome and miserable. We started that day with several inches of snow on the ground and by the time we finished there was a foot of snow.

The 4:40 in Nashville was actually set to be my best clock time over all until mile 18 when my calf muscles started to lock up on me. It was grueling for the next 6 miles trying to work the cramping out and be able to finish running.

In looking at the races that went over 5 hours, I simply didn’t train very well. That’s just the truth, I didn’t take it very seriously, didn’t do my long training runs, and didn’t eat smart. In the end I paid for not training with a lot of pain on race day.

Route 66 Marathon, Tulsa Oklahoma, November 20th, 2016

Here is the breakdown from The Route 66 with some commentary.

DISTANCE/PACE

1.0 mi 08:11         2.0 mi 08:20         3.0 mi 08:19         4.0 mi 08:22

5.0 mi 08:45        6.0 mi 08:34         7.0 mi 08:17         8.0 mi 08:34

9.0 mi 08:29        10.0 mi 09:08      11.0 mi 08:48       12.0 mi 09:01

13.0 mi 09:16       14.0 mi 08:29      15.0 mi 09:12       16.0 mi 09:15

17.0 mi 09:27       18.0 mi 09:51      19.0 mi 09:46      20.0 mi 10:22

21.0 mi 10:02       22.0 mi 11:07       23.0 mi 11:39       24.0 mi 11:43

25.0 mi 11:24       26.0 mi 11:35       26.2 mi 09:54

Through mile 16 I was on track for my first Marathon in less than 4 hours but in miles 17-26 that all changed. I am very pleased with my finish time of 4:09 but I could have done better. It is possible if I had run with the pace group for either 3:50 or 4:00 I might have done better. It would have forced me to slow down and save some energy. The fact is thought I felt great through mile 15. I really thought at mile 15 I was going to beat all my expectations.  In mile 16 I started to hit some fatigue. In mile 20 I started to have some discomfort in my back and by mile 22 it was getting really difficult to keep running. There was discomfort in my feet the last 6 miles. In mile 15 I started to feel the beginnings of some cramping in the upper leg area but I simply prayed and relaxed and that went away as fast as it came. There was never a time when quitting was an option.

It was an emotional start when the first group out of the corral were the wheel chair runners. Watching those guys struggle on some of the hills was impacting. As the leader of the 4:00 pace group came around me at mile 20 I heard her say it was her 67th Marathon and “Marathons never get physically easier but they do get mentally easier.” I don’t totally agree with that because there was a time when running 26.2 miles seemed like an impossibility but now I know when I go out there it can be done. The Route 66 Marathon is actually the best one yet and I look forward to many more.

Just a few notes about the Route 66 course. There were lots of turns and I love lots of turns in a long run, it mentally breaks the monotony. I got a little nervous reading the reviews about the course, lots of people said the hills were terrible but if you live in the Blue Ride Mountains of Virginia, the hills in Oklahoma are little more than a slight grade. In the end the small hills help stretch all the muscles and likely make cramping less likely.

So now I am training for Marathon number 10. The Washington D.C. Rock N Roll on March 11th, 2017. I am setting a goal time of 3:50 and one of the biggest hurdles I have is to lose another 20 pounds. I don’t consider myself fat at all but anytime you carry around 20 extra pounds it has to effect a 26.2 mile run. Who knows, if the weight loss takes place and I keep up my training runs, I might just make 3:45.

See you in D.C.

Ronnie