The Marathon Challenge: Recap

“Man does not simply exist but always decides what his existence will be, what he will become the next moment. By the same token, every human being has the freedom to change at any moment.”

-Viktor Frankl

On October 26th, 2014, I joined the thousands of others who participated in the Marine Corps Marathon. As my first marathon, my primary goal was to finish. In that regard, I was successful, finishing 213th in my division of 1143, in 3:45:51.

Here are my splits:

Location Net Time Clock Time Time of Day Pace Pace Between
Start 00:00 2:12 7:57:12
5K 25:39 27:50 8:22:51 8:14 /mi
8:00 /mi
10K 50:31 52:42 8:47:43 8:07 /mi
8:07 /mi
15K 1:15:45 1:17:56 9:12:56 8:07 /mi
8:00 /mi
20K 1:40:38 1:42:49 9:37:50 8:05 /mi
8:07 /mi
13.1M 1:46:10 1:48:22 9:43:22 8:05 /mi
8:10 /mi
25K 2:06:01 2:08:12 10:03:12 8:06 /mi
8:23 /mi
30K 2:32:04 2:34:15 10:29:16 8:09 /mi
8:50 /mi
35K 2:59:32 3:01:43 10:56:43 8:15 /mi
10:28 /mi
40K 3:32:06 3:34:17 11:29:18 8:32 /mi
10:05 /mi
Finish 3:45:51 3:48:02 11:43:03 8:36 /mi

I’m pleased—what more is there to say, I finished my first marathon and came in under my goal time of 3:45:99.

MCM swag

MCM swag

Perhaps it’s cliché, but the marathon taught me about myself. The first few miles passed slowly and while I was eager to get going—part of me wanted to stay close to the 3:35 pacer—I knew it better to methodically trust the process and stick to my internal clock. As the race progressed others fell one-by-one; I remember a steep hill at the 5k mark where some began walking—the process was taking care of itself. Around the 10-mile marker I must’ve passed the 3:35 pace group because I saw them behind me after the course took a hairpin turn. I continued to feel great, keeping a steady pace, and watching the miles pass.

At mile 20 fatigue set in; my thighs and calves cramped up. I had to stop and stretch. The cramping worsened over the last 10K. Frustrated, I considered walking. Each step felt like a thousand little knives stabbing each leg. I wondered how I would cover the last 6 miles. I reminded myself I already ran 20. I kept telling myself “yard by yard, life is hard. Inch by inch, life’s a cinch.” I followed everyone else’s lead, sucked it up, and kept running. What other choice did I have? At some point the 3:35 pace group passed by, I felt deflated; but I remember the crowd cheering us. The energy was electric, the current palpable. I wouldn’t walk to the finish—I couldn’t. It was not pretty, my form broke—it was horrid actually—but I crossed the finish under my realistic goal. I remember smiling. The pain was over.

Unfortunately, I don’t have a picture from the finish, but I imagine my smile looked something like it did when Lisa and I finished our first half marathon.

Our first Half Marathon

Our first Half Marathon

A PA that sutured my eyebrow weeks before, and ironically also ran the MCM, correctly predicted the outcome of my race. She told me that day in ED that I would feel exhilarated upon finishing and that I’d be signing up for another marathon soon. Now that January is here my training for the Providence Marathon in May 2015 is under way. I’m excited to see what I can do.

-Ryan

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