To my First Place family:
Well I did it! What an experience to have so many people cheering you on. Houston puts your name on the race bib, so strangers were yelling, “Way to go, Mark,” “Looking good, Mark,” “Keep it up, Mark, you can do it.” I must have heard 150+ phrases of encouragement from the crowd. It reminded me of Hebrews 12:1. I felt like I was being cheered on by a great cloud of witnesses and it gave me energy and motivation to keep running.
I set a goal (as I always do) to run the marathon in under five hours. Somewhere around mile 15 something happened. Perhaps it’s the infamous wall we all hear about, perhaps it was lack of proper training (although I did follow a novice training plan almost to a tee), or perhaps it’s just part of the experience of being a novice and gets better with time and training. Whatever the reason, I had soreness in my legs and off and on in my feet. I kept going as best I could, adding some extra walking breaks along the way. Around mile 24, I decided I’d walk the rest of the way, but as I passed the 25 mile marker, I decided to run the last mile. As I began running, my legs felt like they were going to instantly cramp. I stopped, did some stretching, and then slowly worked into a run, finishing in as good a sprint as I had in me. My initial goal of beating five hours had faded away. I then settled on 5:15, then 5:30, then figured success would be in just finishing within the six hour limit. My chip time was just under 5:33. I must admit I’m disappointed that I didn’t make my goal, but one good thing, it leaves me a lot of room for improvement.
I’m recovering this week, but will continue with light training on Thursday. Next week it’s back to full training for the Los Angeles Marathon. One thing I shared at the workshop, my goal for 2006 is to run one race a month. 3 5k’s, 3 10k’s, 3 half marathons, and 3 marathons!
Run to win!