“Respect the distance.” Probably the first thing that comes to mind while thinking about today’s marathon. Yeah, I never doubted finishing (although a half may have been better, overall, today), but if I don’t want to race the marathon, I don’t take the training, preparation, or race seriously. No more fun run marathons!
For the second year in a row, I got an entry via FMDSA (an Altra ambassador had a cousin running
[operating] that charity, and they looked for runners). I probably would never pick the Cleveland Marathon as a goal race because of the time of year (the last three years have sucked weather-wise), but it’s close to Columbus and I’m basically just paying for a one-night’s stay at a local, friendly AirBNB. Since this year’s would be just a month after Boston, this would definitely be one of those fun run marathons.
To cut to the chase, fun run marathons are marathons in which you don’t have a goal time and do for the fun of it. I’ve run 24-mile long runs during training with an equal effort as Boston and Cleveland (HAHAHA #currentevents), but I actually was in shape to run a good marathon at the time of those long runs! Thinking further, fun run marathons could be okay if you are already pretty fit and it won’t kill you via recovery or injury. However, my fitness level is closer to covering-the-distance unscathed than actually racing it (Cleveland 2K18 was nearly an hour off my PR…).
To make matters worse my diet and lifestyle tend to be better when I’m in the heart of training (you could argue that comes from necessity, not choice, but I digress). Less delicious craft beer and more sleep go a long way in training, in addition to just running more (however, that that’s more of a cause and effect of being sidelined for so long that I got accustomed to a lifestyle and now need to readjust to meet the requirements for more effective running).
I happened to stay with the same AirBnB as last year (different room). It’s at an okay location. You have to walk a ways to get to the convention or the Gund, for the start of the race, but I don’t mind walking. Plus, I get to “explore” and see stuff. Well, as long as it doesn’t rain, which it started to drizzle while walking back from the expo and Southeast Asia-grade downpours arrived soon after I returned to the hotel. The weather went from being pleasantly sunny and humid to monsoons within an hour. Maybe less.
Cleveland won. Apparently the Cavs, not named GOAT, showed up.
The Cleveland Marathon
Motherfucker. Dating back to last April, 4/5 halfs and marathons I’ve run featured rain (if you want to go back further, you can add gale-force wind). Cap City Half 2017: canceled during the race due to a storm (I finished!). Cleveland Marathon 2017: downpour the last hour. Emerald City Half 2017: nice weather! and I PRed. Boston Marathon 2018 (read my post). Cleveland Marathon 2018: drizzled and rained for the first hour. Monumental will probably snow in November to keep my streak going.
I totes woke up to a very cloudy morn. I left the hotel at 0530, after customarily waking up super early, at 0400. It drizzled (because I know “rain” is not merely rain: it has different varieties) until 0800ish, aka, an hour into the race.
Okay, two major complaints that will keep me from running Cleveland again. It’s not a marathon. It’s a 10K, half marathon, and marathon event. That means you have waaaay too many people and too many people in your way. Although I started back farther than usual, I had to dodge my way out of more traffic than at rush hour. It happens, but it’s hard to get a flow of a race going in that. Not that I would have had much of one.
major egregious complaint. Water/sport drink stations. Why are all of the cups Powerade and why were the volunteers in random order passing out those two? I can’t recall another marathon that does it that way. Every other one has a combination of two stations: one water and the other the sports drink. Volunteers will say “water in the front, Powerade in the back” or vice-versa. Simple. Ugh. I want water to drink and gels to consume!
At the beginning I simply ran undisciplined. Too fast. Tried to sprint past too many people. Ran the hills up-and-down too fast. By mile 10 I could already feel it. By mile 16 I only wanted to get to the finish line without destroying myself.
In a way, it did teach me to “respect the distance” once more. It’s a marathon. I’m not in the shape I can fun run marathons, decently, on a whim. As a friend said, a 4:00 is top 25%; I believe 2:59 is 97%, so I definitely have it in me to do much better. I’m more angry at myself that I can do much better than looking at the result from 50,000 feet. At the end of the day, I care about how I did regarding my potential and capability than what other people do. It’s who I am. Running faster at the marathon came “easy” to me: I ran a lot, but I was able to greatly improve upon my time. However, I put in the work in the relative short amount of time.
And I made four stops to the port-a-potties during the race. That in-and-of-itself should be an indicator of how I treated the race. This race is nice career-defining, but does make me refocus how I want to attack running.
Outside of that, this was the first marathon in which I did not carry gels. That may have hurt me toward the end, but I cramped so bad I don’t think it mattered much. I had to walk a couple of times at the end because my abs cramped so much. I checked the course map and decided that there were enough gels that I could just use them. Meh.
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No More Fun Run Marathons!
Fun run marathons can be okay if you are already in shape. After the end of the run my legs were shot; I could feel that they would be during the first half of the race. My quads were shot for a while. After
eating pigging out back in Columbus, my legs feel better; hopefully they continue to feel so because I’m close to being physically able to train like I want.
I’ll put Boston as extenuating exception because it’s Boston. But a race like Cleveland, which you’re not in proper fitness for nor are attempting to PR or BQ, doesn’t serve much of a purpose. Although, originally, I wanted to do a back-to-back long run weekend as I thought about doing a 100M race this summer; so, it sort of did have a purpose, which would explain why I started so far back as I must’ve put a close time assuming 30+ miles the previous day. Mmk then.
In addition to pure mileage, it’s the ‘tude. If I have the attitude that the race matters I’d train and prepare for it differently. I’ll have a better race experience and I ought to have a better race outcome and hopefully feel better afterward as well. Know thyself. Things usually don’t go that well for me if I’m half assing something. But when I full-ass something I usually have a pretty good outcome. (I’m too lazy right now going over all of the minutia how to change this, but you probably get the idea.)
Hopefully, a really easy upcoming week will prevail to put to toward the path of proper marathon training. I would like to stay in the 60-70 mile range. That ought to be sustainable for the long haul. Although I’ve accomplished a lot in a relatively short amount of time, I have a long way to go. Right now, I only want to focus on consistency because that’ll still make me faster and more importantly, I’ll be able to continually run! In theory with training like that, I ought to be able to do fun run marathons because I’ll always be in “marathon shape”, but that’s not my actual goal. I’m not at the stage that I’ll only race fun run marathons.
I’ve signed up for Monumental Marathon and plan on a couple of halfs. Hey, I filled out a raffle for the Columbus Marathon, so maybe I can run that half as well! Maaaybe a 100K at the end of the year, because, apparently, I’m a masochist for my birthday. And a 100K is not under the fun run marathons purview because the first couple of times you move up a distance, it’s about the learning experience. 😉
And as a side note: congrats to Brendan and Lindsey for BQing this weekend!
Oh, and per Strava, I lost ten minutes due to the bathroom breaks. Okay.