Family Running.... and Some Fast Miles

My two girls and I went out for a run. It was a bit cold at 38 and windy, but quite nice to run in. All three of us took off for the first 2 miles and I told Payton to go ahead and run and I would stay back with Ashlee since this was only the second time she had run 2 miles. Ashlee did good until about 1.5 miles again and then said she couldn't keep going. She complained quite a bit and said her legs were bleeding on the inside. :) We had to stop and walk a little bit off and on for the last .4 of the second mile but she completed it running.

After dropping Ashlee off Payton had a good 3 or 4 tenths of a mile on me. This was more than I anticipated because I didn't anticipate walking part of the second mile with Ashlee. I thought I would catch Payton by the 3 mile mark, but as hard as I ran I couldn't catch her. I ended up not catching her till about the 3.7 mile mark, it took me 1.7 miles to catch her. I was running down in the low 7's with a 7:25 and then a 7:17 just to try and catch her. That is the fastest I have run in quite some time.... probably since before starting training for the marathon.

Tim Wilson - - subscribe - follow blog - virtual4now

Her First 2 Mile Run..... EVER

My oldest daughter, Ashlee, and I just got back from a cold run. It was 39 degrees, but "feels like" 30 with the wind. We went for a 2 mile run - this was her first 2 mile run ever! I am very proud of her, she didn't get too mad at me until about 1.6 :)

You may have read recently that she has decided that she wants to run distance in track this coming season. She has never been my runner, but she is taking it much better than I had anticipated. Last week we started with running 1 mile every other day and this week we are upping it to 2 miles every other day.

We walked back to the house and then I went back out for another 1.2 to round up a 5k + .1

Ashlee, I am really proud of you!!!

Tim Wilson - - subscribe - follow blog - virtual4now

Christmas Eve Run With The Girls

Went out for a 4.25 mile run with my daughters following an early ended day at work.

Ashlee, Payton and I all ran the first mile and Ashlee did really good and kept it under 10:00 min pace again. Once we finished with the mile Payton and I went back out for a 3.25 mile run to finish it off. It was hard to get going but felt better the last mile and a half. A couple minutes after we got back home it started to rain so we just beat it :)

Time to head to Christmas Eve Service and then get some Chinese - our Christmas Eve Tradition.

Merry Christmas all. I hope you have a great time with family and friends celebrating the traditions, the fun, the food, the gifts...... but most of all the true meaning of the season!

Tim Wilson - - subscribe - follow blog - virtual4now

I Have Been Published - In Print!

I was just recently excited and very honored to be published in a New Printed Running Magazine, the Running Hoosier. When I was approached with the opportunity I was nervous, but also more than willing to take on the challenge and see where it would lead. We were able to see the first steps pay off in mid November when the first issue was hot off of the press and hitting the streets.

My first article in the first issue was titled "The Speed Will Come" and is about trying to run too fast too soon and what can happen when you do so. I just had a real life example of this yesterday when I saw a friend of mine on crutches. She had tried pushing herself too hard and ran too fast and ended up with a stress fracture.

More information on how to subscribe can be found on the magazines website, or if you live in either Northern Indiana or Southwest Michigan you can pick it up locally at one of these ever growing locations or at a local race.

Everyone Went Running.... Almost!

Today marked the first run of my oldest daughter, Ashlee..... well kinda! She ran a mile once before with Payton and I. The first time she ran the mile with Payton and I she was quite confident at the beginning, but by the end she was mad and saying she would never run again.

Ashlee just recently decided that she wanted to run distance in track, of which I am obviously very excited. She has a lot of work to do to get ready and get up to the distances she needs to be running and today was day one.

We went out to run just a mile, which started off really good. At about .2 she was still feeling good, but by the time we hit half way she was starting to feel tired and sore. By the time we hit .8 she wanted to quit. I wouldn't let her quit and she ended up making it the entire mile of which I was very proud of her. She ran the mile in just under 10 minutes at 9:57. Following the mile run she was complaining about her calves and wanting to sit down. We had about a .2 mile walk back to the house and I wouldn't let her sit down. She was complaining about her legs saying they hurt so bad and that I just didn't understand...... I just had to laugh :) (not because of the pain, but because she thought that I wouldn't understand)

She was not happy, but has since turned a bit and understands this is going to be hard at first. We will take a day off and then run another mile. She hasn't given up yet for which I am really proud of her :)

Following the mile with Ashlee, Payton and I went out for a 3 mile run. It was cold and windy, but still was a good run, although kinda difficult.

And once again, following that 3 mile run, my 8 year old son Brady and I went out for a mile run. It was hard for him to get up a couple of the hills but he didn't give up and ran the entire mile. He ran it in just over 10 minutes at 10:06.

All things being done I ran 5 miles and was tired and ready for lunch. I really enjoyed running with my three kids, now only if my wife would have gone out for a run I could have changed the title of this post to read "Everyone Went Running"

Tim Wilson - - subscribe - follow blog - virtual4now

Hamstring Is Feeling Better

I took a few days off following my little episode with my Hamstring last week.

I took four days off and then went out for a slow easy 2 miler on Tuesday to see how it felt. I paid really close attention to it and it felt pretty good until near the end when it got a little sore. The soreness was more like I had been running for a while and not like the pain I had at the end of the run where I hurt it.

Thursday I went out for another 2 miler. I wanted to go three but had some issues at work that took precedence and caused me to not have enough time to do the 3 miles. These two miles felt better than the first run but my hamstring is still not 100%.

Today, Payton and I went out for 3 miles. We waited till afternoon to go and of course right before we walked out the door it started raining..... as if the 38 degrees wasn't bad enough already! Today's run I didn't even think about the hamstring until we were almost a mile in, and it didn't bother me at all the entire run...... this was really good to experience!

Tim Wilson - - subscribe - follow blog - virtual4now

What Happened To My Hamstring?

Thursday morning I got up as I have so many times for an early morning run. The run was going good, although very hard (must be all the food I have been eating lately that I shouldn't be) and as planned until the last mile.

My right hamstring started hurting last last 2 tenths of a mile and the last tenth of a mile I could barely walk it hurt so bad. I still had 2 tenths/mile to walk to get back home and it hurt with every step. By the time I got home it started feeling a bit better, but was still hurting the rest of the day.

I am still not really sure what happened but I have a thought. The only real thought that I could come up with was a muscle cramp brought on by a lack of hydration. I have not checked into this at all to see if this is a possibility, but I do know that muscle cramps can be brought on by a lack of hydration, and the way I have been hydrating lately it would be no surprise. The last couple weeks since the marathon I have not been drinking anywhere near enough water, and that coupled with the extra diet soda's that I have been drinking has left me quite dehydrated. I knew this was the case, but was not making the changes that I knew I needed to.

What are your thoughts? Have you had this happen to you before? What did you do when it did?

I have taken the last couple days off and plan to take at least a couple more days off. Following the first day my leg felt much better but is still not 100% and I can feel a twinge when I flex the hamstring muscle. I want to make sure I give it enough rest to resist long term injury, although it is hard because I really want to get out and run.

I hope this is not something that sticks with me for a long time..... :(

Tim Wilson - - subscribe - follow this blog - twitter-virtual4now

Time For Some Cold Running

Over the past couple weeks the colder running weather has arrived.

We spent Thanksgiving in Indiana and had our first cold weather run of the season. Thanksgiving morning Payton and I got up and headed out for a run in the windy, cold weather with a few sprinkles. It was 38 degrees outside and Payton came walking up to me dressed in shorts and a t-shirt. I just had to laugh at her and shake my head. I asked her where her warmer clothes were and she said she didn't bring any. She ended up borrowing warmer clothes from her sister so we could go running. The 5 mile run was cold, especially with the wind and few sprinkles, but overall was a nice run through the country roads of a very small town in Central Indiana.

This past week that cold weather arrived here in Georgia as well. Tuesday morning's run was a 34 degree run. The colder weather made it hard for me to get motivated to get out the door. It will take a couple cold runs and it will not be as difficult, but right now I still have to get to the point where I trust my clothing. It was a gorgeous morning with the crisp air, full moon, and a lot of fog. I really need to get some better cold weather running gear..... maybe one of these days! :)

I think the cold weather is here to stay..... at least for now.

Tim Wilson - - subscribe - follow this blog - twitter-virtual4now

Just A Couple Quick Things

This past Thursday my 8 year old son, Brady, who was part of his elementary school's Cross Country/Running Club, had his final run of the season. Throughout the season they met once a week and worked on different things to do with running, and this final day was the "Colt Bolt 3k Fun Run"

Thursday morning was my first run back following the marathon, and I thought the Fun Run was only going to be a mile so I told him I would run with him. When I got there and found out it was a 3k I thought to myself I should have just run the Fun Run as my first run back instead of both the morning run and this run.

When we were lining up at the start Brady was begging me not to run with him. I think he was embarrassed because there were not too many parents running with their kids. I had taken off work early for this and really was looking forward to it so I didn't obey his wishes and ran :)

He did really good and I was very proud of him for running the entire thing without walking even one step. He did really good and finished in 18:02 with a 9:41 pace. He told me after that he was happy that I ran with him and that it helped him keep running the whole time. That makes it worth it :)

On a different front......

Today was my daughter Payton's first run back after two weeks down time following her State Cross Country meet on November 7th. I was going to go out for 3 myself, but we went out for 2 miles to start back slowly.... tomorrow I will take her 10 miles :). She starts winter conditioning for Track on Monday.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving (if you are in the United States - if not have a wonderful Thursday!)

Tim Wilson - - subscribe - follow this blog - twitter-virtual4now

First Post-Marathon Run

I just got back from my first Post-Marathon run following my First Marathon this past Saturday.

I wasn't planning on taking this much time before my first recovery run, but my right ankle was a little sore still and I wanted to make sure that it was solid before heading out and trying anything.

Sunday, the day after the marathon I was pretty sore all day and was doing the marathon shuffle. The worst part, as always, was going down stairs..... but I was loving every step because it reminded me of my accomplishment. Monday was more of the same like Sunday, but a little better throughout the day. I would have probably recovered sooner if it wasn't for the desk job and not moving much all day.

Tuesday was when I started feeling much better and was able to make it down the stairs without holding onto the rail and taking one step at a time. I was going to go run on this day but didn't because of the ankle.

So, today, Thursday, was my first Post-Marathon Recovery Run. My ankle felt good as did my legs. I took it really easy with a first mile pace of 9:49. My legs felt a little tight, but nothing too much out of the ordinary for an early morning run, but they were not sore.

About a half mile into my run I came really close to getting hit by a car that was in a bit too much of a hurry to beat another car out onto the road. I was crossing the intersection while he was coming up to a stop, but he wasn't watching and decided to try and beat another car out onto the main road. I had to stop and swerve very suddenly, and I am sure would have been hit if I hadn't done so.

The second mile was a little faster, but still not too fast at 9:18. I was shocked with the experience of how fast my legs fatigued. My legs felt like I had been running 15 miles by the time I had completed the second mile. the run

This afternoon I get the pleasure of running a small 1 mile race/fun run with my 8 year old son, Brady. He was part of the elementary running club and this is their end of the club fun run. I was excited when I heard that parents could run with them. I am really looking forward to this. We have run a couple other races together, but I always do cherish these times.

Tim Wilson - - subscribe - follow this blog - twitter-virtual4now

Chickamauga Battlefield Marathon - My First 26.2

The Quest was officially completed yesterday morning when I crossed the finish line of my very first 26.2 mile run on a very nice marathon course in Northern Georgia. The weather was perfect and everything went to plan.... up until a point.

The morning started the day before. I spent the day drinking a lot of water and Gatorade preparing for the big day. I didn't have anything laid out or ready, or even really decided upon before dinner Friday night. My wife made me a wonderful chicken ravioli dish for my pre-race carb loading feast. Once dinner was finished I decided I had better get prepared. I had already made sure my MyTach GPS Watch was completely charged since I have read too many times where people wake up on race day with a dead battery. I spent a few minutes laying out everything I needed and getting my race clothes out and ready. It was going to be a very early morning so I needed to make sure everything was ready and nothing was forgotten.

After spending a little time on Twitter I decided to call it a night at about 8:30 and see if I could actually fall asleep. I needed to get up at 3:40 so we could be on the road by 4:00 am...... yea, 4:00 am! I figured I would go to bed and just lay there because of my nerves and excitement, as well as because it was earlier than I am used to getting to bed. I ate a couple small whole wheat bagels with some peanut butter and the headed off to bed. I fell asleep much quicker than I expected and was asleep shortly after 9:00 pm.

3:40 came really early (duh!) Since I was fully prepared the night before the morning went pretty smooth. I got dressed and packed everything into the car. I grabbed three small whole wheat bagels and some water and Gatorade and headed out the door. A couple minutes later my neighbors walked out and we were on the road by about 4:05. The 2 hour and 10 minute ride went really good and we had no surprises. We arrived shortly after 6:00 am when the packet pickup began and were one of the first ones there. We had no problem finding a close parking space and finding where we needed to go. It didn't take us long to get our numbers and chips and all the rest that goes with it. They also gave us a pair of gloves and our T-shirts at packet pickup. The T-shirt was a long sleeve technical shirt, and specifically had 26.2 on the back of them.
The half marathon shirts had a 13.1 on the back of them. I thought this was cool because too many times I have seen that they list both on one shirt and so you never know which one the person ran..... I know, picky, but it is the little things :)

Since we were there early we were able to hit the bathrooms without much of a line. We also were able to hit the bathrooms in the adjacent high school so had warm bathrooms instead of the port-o-potties closer to the start/finish line. This is a nice luxury on a morning when it is in the low 40's.

It was about 30 minutes prior to the 7:30 start time so we made one last stop at the car to drop off as much as possible before heading over to the start/finish line. We left a long sleeve shirt on at this time because it was still quite cold. We had the benefit of my neighbor's wife being there and not running so she could hold what we decided to discard right before the start of the run. She was signed up to run as well, but got a stress fracture a couple months ago and is still not completely healed.

When getting to the start/finish line I finally got a chance to meet up with a buddy of mine. We used to go to church together years ago and have seen each other many times at many races. When we went to church together I was still terribly overweight and not running, and I am not sure he was running at that time either. It was really cool to see him the first time we saw each other at a race. We instantly had a bond and have kept in touch through Facebook ever since. Since neither one of us had run a full marathon yet we decided back in March that we would try to run our first together. He is much younger than me and is quite a bit faster than me so we knew we wouldn't "run it together" but that didn't mean we couldn't run it together. :)

7:20 came and we finished getting ready to run. I turned on my MyTach GPS watch and eagerly awaited the synchronization to the Satellites. I took off the last bit of clothing that I didn't plan on running with and then spent the next 10 minutes listening to the pre-race instructions and ceremonies that nobody could hear..... and shivering. Since we were at the Chickamauga Battlefield they had a small ceremony bringing the flag out and then a trumpet playing the National Anthem.

I mentioned in an earlier post that I heard they were not going to have any pacers so I really wasn't looking for any, however I did notice a few people carrying some very small balloons and noticed that they had times on them. The one I saw said 4:00 and I was a small bit in front of them. I decided to stay where I was and just make sure I didn't let them pass.

Wow - that is a lot of pre-race talk for a race report -- sorry!

The pre-race took a little longer than expected and they were a little late getting started. About 5 minutes late and it was finally go time! It was very cool, they had a very BIG starting gun..... a canon! They told us that they were going to shoot off a canon to start the race so everyone was ready, but when that canon went off everyone still jumped..... including me :)

The race was underway. This was the moment I had been waiting for, planning for, and training for - for a long long time. I was actually running in my very first marathon..... a distance very few people ever do, and I was doing it!

My plan for the first mile was to run about a 9:30 and then slowly speed up from there. My neighbor and I ran together for the first 8/10ths of the mile and then I slowly started to pull away as I tried to find my stride. The first mile was right about 9:15 so I was feeling pretty good about that.

******A quick side note - I found my watch was beeping before each mile so it was measuring each mile a little short. Each mile it was a little bit sooner than the previous so I know it was pretty consistent. I noticed that this was happening to others as well, but everyone seemed a bit different. Someone told me that it could be that the watch was being slightly messed up by my swinging arms..... not sure what the reasoning is, but have seen the same thing happen at other races, just not quite as pronounced as when running 26.2 miles :) In the end my watch said I ran 26.8 miles so I took the extra .6 and divided that up and added :15 seconds to each mile. I know this isn't 100% accurate but it gives me a closer indication to what I was really running. (based on this calculation my watch time puts me at 1:58:19 at the half and the chip time said 1:58:40 at the half so it is fairly close)

We were running through a small gravel trail when we hit the one mile mark and shortly after that I had a young lady probably in her early 20's start running with me and chatting me up a bit. We were still running with all the half marathoners and that was the race she was doing. We talked for some time and she mentioned that it was her first half marathon. She was shooting for about a 1:45 is what she said, and I said she better get going because she needed to be running an 8 min pace to do that. She quickly corrected herself and said she meant 1:55. She mentioned that her husband said that she better not walk because it doesn't count if you walk, and then she said "but you see who is not out here with me :)" We talked a little about the course because she said she trained for Cross Country on these same roads when she ran in high school. As we neared the 2 mile mark I looked at my pace and realized that I had been running it a bit too fast at 8:38 and wished her luck and told her I was going to slow down a bit.

I ran pretty much by myself for the next few miles and was just enjoying the scenery and the nice wooded roads. The sun had come out by now but most of the course was in the woods so it was shaded. We only came out into the open battlefields occasionally. This was also about the time it started warming up a bit and was a very nice day to run. We couldn't have asked for better weather in my opinion. I was running very comfortably at this time. They had water stops with water, Powerade, and fruit every couple miles give or take. These were all well placed and well run. I took Powerade at each stop early in the race except for a couple where I opted for water instead. This was the first race I had run where they had something other than the standard yellow Gatorade/Powerade. They had red at most of the first stops and later on had a mixture of blue, yellow, or red. I joked that they gave us red so when we spilt it on ourselves it would look like we were bleeding (I had a white shirt on) At mile 10 and mile 20 I added the Sport Beans to my mix and everything seemed to work as planned.

Somewhere around the 6 mile area I heard a pack of runners coming up behind me. I turned to look and noticed it was a pace group so I asked them what pace group they were. He said they were pace group 4:00. I looked down at my watch and thought they were running a bit fast so I let them go. Shortly after this the Pace group leader took a dive off into the bushes :) The pace group continued on and I let them go. I figured at the pace they were running they were going to burn out all the 4 hour hopefuls. Later in the race this proved to be true when I saw them running by themselves. At that time I was blaming them for running too fast, but knowing what I know now about the second half of the marathon they were probably right on pace.

Right around that same time I came up on a guy and started running with him. I asked him if he had a time goal and he said he did, that it was 4 hours. He also mentioned that it was his first marathon as well. He was from Powder Springs and runs with the Atlanta Track Club. He said a lot of them were expecting him to have a really good time, and he wanted to get the sub 4. We talked a little bit about the Pace group and he was feeling the same way I was. We ran together off and on for quite some time and around the 11 mile mark he started to speed up a little so I let him go.

Somewhere in the first half of the race I had a couple of ladies come up behind me talking quite a bit. They were talking loud enough it was hard to not overhear them. During the course of the race I heard way more than I ever wanted to hear from them. I heard about emergency C-sections and an abscess while breastfeeding. Then one of them mentioned that that was why they didn't want kids, which the other one quickly said "don't let that stop you and xx from mating", which she quickly replied to "what, are we primates?" Later on I heard them talking when one of them mentioned "I am wearing a thong" and went into some different reasons why. She then mentioned to her running partner that she didn't mind her knowing....... I was thinking..... what about everyone else running around you right now? (if this was you and you are reading my blog.... sorry, I really couldn't help but overhear some of your conversations)

I don't know if it was the same two ladies as the above, I can't quite remember, but at around the same time I remember a couple of ladies starting to run right around me. They were doing a run/walk and so we yo-yo'ed quite a bit. We stayed right around each other from around the 7-8 mile area all the way to about the 21 mile area when they started to leave me. I guess the run/walk worked better than my plan :)

Just before the half way point the half marathoners left us (they had a little bit different routes at times so they were at about 11.5 miles when we were getting ready to hit the 13.1 mark) I watched the clock at the 13.1 mark and saw that I was under 2 hours and I was happy...... little did I know what the second half would bring. At that time I was still very optimistic and in my delusional state actually thought I could run the second half at the same pace as the first. This may be telling to much, but at some point early in the race I felt so good I actually thought I may be able to pull a negative split out of this race....... any marathoner out there is laughing at me right now :)

Shortly after the half way point I started running with an older gentleman. I asked him if he had a time goal and he said he was hoping to break 4 hours. I asked him how many marathons he had run and he said that this was his 59th. I asked him if he had run a sub 4 and he said he used to run down around 3 hour marathons but that was 15 years ago. This continued to boost my confidence in hitting the sub 4 hour goal since if I was with him he surely knew how to run a marathon and so I couldn't be too far off. I made a comment to him about trying for the 4 hour goal and that it was my first and he kinda chuckled and said.....
"yea, but you don't know what the second half of a marathon holds" I know he wasn't trying to be mean, but rather just being honest. I ran around him for a while and about 16 miles he told me to be careful. He said that it is usually around 15-18 miles where people are feeling good and get too confident and run too fast and ruin the rest of their races. I thought this is great advice, but felt I was running conservatively so didn't change anything. He left me about 17 miles.

Right around 18 miles I started to catch up with the guy I had run with earlier in the race. We ran with each other for a couple miles and I commented how I was experiencing something I had never experienced before. This was a 2 loop marathon and the hills actually grew taller and longer the second time around. He laughed and said he was thinking the same thing. This was shortly after I ran past a pink flamingo sitting on the back of a car. I was a bit nervous to mention it to him, hoping that I wasn't the only one that saw it :) We ran with each other for a couple miles when he started to leave me again right after the 20 mile mark.

Right before the 21 mile mark we were on our second time on a little out and back of about a mile. Just before the turn around I saw the older gentleman that I ran with a bit earlier. He must have seen I was starting to fade and have trouble because he encouraged me and told me to keep it up. This was where the race took a nasty turn..... I have never experienced a Bonk before, but I am assuming now that this is what it feels like. At the turn at the end of the short out and back I couldn't take another step. I walked for a few seconds and then it took everything in me to start running again. I was fine in every way except my legs just gave up and wouldn't move anymore. The rest of the race was all uphill in my mind. My pace started to drop dramatically as I couldn't keep running for more than a little bit at a time. I would run a little bit until I couldn't take it anymore, and then walk for a little bit. The rest of the race went this way with each mile getting slower. Mile 24 I was able to speed up a little bit, but mile 25 took an even bigger dip. My worst mile was the second half of the 25th and first half of the 26th.

During the last couple miles I remember while running my legs were hurting so bad. At the point I just couldn't take it anymore I would walk for a little bit, but then my feet hurt so bad I started running again. This went back and forth and it seemed like the end was so far away. I was starting to pass some people that this had also happened to, but I was also being passed by others that were in the same boat, as well as others that were just plodding along barely moving.... but still running. I came up on a younger guy that was hurting pretty bad. He was doing the same thing as me and at one point we were running together. We weren't talking to each other but were running side by side. I finally came to a point where I had to stop and so I stopped to walk. He quickly turned around and encouraged me to keep going. I got myself moving again and we started to talk. He was also running his first marathon and also realized he had gone out faster than what his body was ready for. He, like I, thought that the training we had done and 4 20+ milers we had put in in training were going to carry us. We both were struggling but helped each other keep going a bit. Looking back, this is probably the 24 mile time-frame when I was able to speed up a bit. At the final water stop he fell back a little bit further and I didn't see him again till after the finish.

The last water stop came at about 1.5 miles out from the finish. This was also when we left the big circle and started heading back to The 6th Cavalry Museum in Fort Oglethorpe where the Finish Line was. I ran as much as I could, but still had to walk a little bit. I decided that I would run the last mile (ok, half mile will do - it is easy to change your mind in this state) and so when the last half mile was here I absolutely refused to stop and walk for anything. I am sure I was running at a snails pace, but I kept running.

I came out from between two houses and was 4 tenths of a mile out from the finish. I could see the finish line with all the people lined up just over the field. I ran the 2 tenths of a mile to where the road curved enough to where I could now see the finish line directly in front of me. I was just passing the 26 mile marker and knew I only had that infamous .2 in front of me. I closed my eyes for just a second and blocked everything out of my mind. I felt pain through every part of my legs at that time but I felt like I was floating on air. The only thing I could see was the FINISH banner, and everything else around including the cheers and the noise was all blurred.
I took that last step and the volunteers where right there to hand me my medal and shortly after my framed bib saying "First Marathon" I have heard about the emotions at this point, and yes I teared up for a moment getting caught up in the moment. "I just finished a marathon!" I had done what very few others have done or ever will do! I am a Marathoner!

I was not where I had set off to be at under 4 hours, but I had crossed the finish line and I had a time of 4:18:51 according to my watch. The official results were posted later in the day and are here. I finished 244th out of 469 and 33rd out of 61 in my age group. My mile splits can be viewed here on my running log. I am not at all upset with what transpired. I am thoroughly excited and proud of what I have accomplished. However, that doesn't mean I will not be critical of myself, that is how we learn and get better next time...... yes, there WILL be a next time :)

Right after the finish line my buddy and his parents were there waiting for me. They had hung around after he finished to be there for me. He too had a similar experience to me and we exchanged war stories. I was grateful to them for sticking around to support me.

I got some pizza and some other post race food and hydrated a bit. I felt hungry but also felt like my stomach was a bit upset. It was probably because I had totally depleted anything I had in me. I still felt kinda icky for about 30 minutes after the race, but I knew I needed to eat something.

I went over to my neighbor and she was still waiting for her husband to finish and was getting worried. It was about 4:45 now and I told her not to worry that I didn't expect him to finish till about 5 hours. He had not trained much at all and had never run more than 15 miles so I knew based on how I was hurting he was hurting much more. He crossed the finish line walking shortly after the 5 hour mark with his shoes untied because his feet were swollen. He had walked the last 6 miles in horrible pain, but he had completed it. He said he would never do another one (but today he said..... maybe)

***forgot to add - last minute addition: As we were getting ready to pull out of the parking lot I pulled out my 26.2 magnet - my car is now adorned with it's very own 26.2 oval magnet..... before she was even started the first time post race!

To wrap thing up: I was very happy with the course, it was a great half or full marathon course. The race was well organized and well run. The packet pickup was great, the food was great and the way they treated the runners was great. All of the water stops were great, and the way they handled the runners at the end was also great. I would do this race again without any hesitation. The Chickamauga Battlefield Marathon gets my thumbs up - thanks to everyone that helped!

What will I do differently next time? The only thing I will do differently is train up to the distance of 26.2 miles. Almost every training program out there takes you up to 20 miles as your longest run. I was worried about this during training and wanted to get my longest run up to 24, but after my 21 miler the next 20+ miler didn't go well and I stopped at 20 miles. I didn't have time in the schedule to get past the 20 mile mark again.

If you are stopping by for the first time you need to read my pre-marathon report. It gives a lot of information on my journey to my first marathon. As I stated in that post, the journey is just as important as the actual event.

Thank you everyone for the support along the way. All my internet friends played just as much of a part in my journey as those directly in my life.

I also want to especially thank my wife. I am the luckiest man alive. I know many of you think the same thing about your wife/husband, but I am sorry that you are wrong :) She has put up with so many things along the way. Having to deal with me complaining when my shorts/shirts/socks/etc were not clean or where I could find them, to having to be awaken by my really early morning runs when I was a bit too loud. She went to bed early so it would be easier for me to go to sleep when I needed to get up at 4:00 am to run, even though she is a night owl. She listened to me when all I wanted to talk about was my run and how it went, how it could have gone better, or what part of my body was aching now, but most of all, she encouraged me and believed in me :) Thanks Lisa - I Love You!

Tim Wilson - - subscribe - follow this blog - twitter-virtual4now

I Can Now Call Myself A Marathoner

This will be really quick as it is just an update so you will know. I will post a full race report hopefully tomorrow.... I am a bit long winded as you all know so it may take me some time :)

I can officially call myself a marathoner now. It is absolutely one of the most awesome and humbling things I have ever done and I have a new respect for anyone that completes a marathon. It also was one of the hardest things I have ever done.

I completed my first marathon in 4:18:51 according to my watch. I had set out to do it under 4 hours, but I guess I was not ready to do it that fast. Everything fell apart after mile 21. I am completely OK with that, and am not at all discouraged or let down..... I am thoroughly excited and proud of what I have accomplished. However, that doesn't mean I will not be critical of myself, that is how we learn and get better next time...... yes, there WILL be a next time :)

Thank you all for following me on the journey and the kind words and support along the way.... it really means a lot to me!

Till I write the race report!

26.2 - A Long Time Coming, But Here So Soon!

I have so many mixed emotions about what will be taking place in just over 24 hours. I am so excited about my first marathon, but also in disbelief that I will actually be running a full 26.2 miles this Saturday morning.

It has been a long journey, but one I wouldn't change a thing about. The highs and the lows along the way is what has made this journey worth taking. Each part of the journey has been a learning experience, some with bumps, bruises, and broken bones, and others with joy and pride.

Something I have never mentioned before was something I said to my wife nearly 8 years ago when our youngest son was born. I have not said anything about it because the memory is a bit fuzzy and I am not 100% sure if my memory serves me well (I am getting older you know.... almost 40!)

I was already well on my way to being terribly out of shape when our third child, and first boy came along. I was a couple years into a new job that I was sitting in front of a computer the entire day which didn't help with my physical well being. I remember mentioning to my wife that I was going to get into shape so I could be there for my little boy when he got old enough to get out and play. We already had two girls, but for some reason having a little boy made me think about how far I had let myself go. I remember telling her that by his 5th birthday I would run a marathon and be in shape enough so I could be with him while he enjoyed what boys love to do. I am not sure why I said this because I had never thought about or planned to run a marathon, I guess it was just how strong I felt about getting myself in shape to be there for my kids.

His 5th birthday came and went and I was in worse shape than I had ever been in my life, I was not doing what I said I would do. I thought about it every so often but it seemed so overwhelming and I just didn't have the self discipline to do anything about it. This was about the time that I realized I really needed to do something if I wanted to be around for my family for very long, but still didn't have enough in me to make it happen. I won't re-write the rest of the story, because it can be read in the first post in this blog and my other weight loss blog.

Needless to say, along my journey mentioned in my two first posts listed above, I decided that I WOULD and COULD run that marathon. I committed to that goal when I set up this blog in January of 2008, and here I am almost 2 years later finally realizing that goal. It has been a long time coming as the subject says, but it has been worth the wait.

I was hoping to do my first marathon a year ago which would have been about 9 months after my first half marathon in February of 2008, but my plans were changed for me when I was tripped in a 5k race and broke my collar bone in June of 2008. It took me over 6 months before I could get back to running at all and another couple months to get back to any kind of normal running or distances.

It was almost a year after my collar bone accident that I finally committed to and registered for my first marathon, the Chickamauga Battlefield Marathon this Saturday, November 14th.

The training has been great, and honestly much better than I anticipated. Sure the early mornings almost every day of the week and the brutal long runs as I was building to 21 miles were tough, but I enjoyed the whole process. I would be lying if I said that I never wanted to skip a run and always looked forward to every run, but I can say honestly that the times I wanted to skip a run can be counted on one hand. I do think that I experienced a bit of burn out in my training when I was reaching the peak right before my last long run and the start of the taper. You can see this in my training log if you look at it for the time I was training for the marathon starting August 21st till today.

I did do another half marathon as part of my marathon training. I ran the 13.1 Marathon Atlanta at the beginning of October and set a great new PR!

As I have mentioned before, my goal is first to finish, but second to finish in under 4 hours. I am still not completely prepared and will have some planning of what clothes to wear etc tomorrow night. As far as getting hydrated and what I am going to eat I am all set with my plans. The weather is supposed to be great, with a forecast of 43 degrees at race time, and a high of about 64 degrees when I presume I will be done. It is supposed to be 100% humidity at the start, but dropping to about 60% by noon, with partly cloudy skies throughout.

I am not looking forward to the early morning Saturday. We are driving up there on Saturday morning which means we will need to leave by 4:00 am. With many of my training runs getting me out of bed around 4:00 am I am not terribly concerned with the time, but just would rather not do it on a Race morning.

Until post marathon I will leave you with this:

If you get a chance please share this with others to show them that it can be done. I would like to share my story and my journey with as many people as possible to show them that it is possible. If I can do it...... they can do it!

8 Miles Down.... 9 To Go - (and 1,000 miles)

Today's "long run" (can you really call it that?) of 8 miles is in the books. It is the final long(er) run of my marathon taper. I have been trying to run all my runs lately at my target marathon pace. For the shorter distances this is an easy pace so it is hard to keep myself from going faster. I have been working on this so I know how it feels and so I can work on staying consistent.

Breaking News!!!!!!
I just flipped over to my RunningAhead Running Log and noticed that today's run took me over 1,000 miles for the year. I wasn't watching for that, but knew that I would hit it sometime this year. It is cool to hit it in the last week of my marathon taper.
I have just 9 miles left in my taper before I run the Chickamauga Battlefield Marathon this Saturday, November 14th. I will be running 3 miles on Tuesday, 4 on Wednesday, and then 2 on Friday. All to finish off the Hal Higdon Intermediate II Marathon Training Schedule which I followed loosely these past 4+ months.

With my daughter's State Cross Country Meet finished yesterday I am sure I will start focusing and obsessing with the race this Saturday.

I am so looking forward to this :)

State Cross Country Meet Went Great!

Yesterday's Cross Country State meet went great and Payton did a great job! If you would like to know more about my freshman daughter Payton and her road to State you can start by reading my recent posts - especially this one.

A couple things I haven't mentioned prior to this were weighing heavy on our minds as we approached this State Meet, and the opportunity for Payton to run in the State Meet as a Freshman.
  1. Payton has been nursing a borderline injury for the past 4ish weeks. She has had some pain in her right arch that comes and goes and seems to be a bit of tendinitis. Her coach has been well aware of this and we have all been working together to keep this from turning into a problem or get worse. The past couple weeks he had her really start to cut back her mileage and this has helped quite a bit. We were concerned all along that it would get bad enough that she would have to quit running just short of this great opportunity to run at State.
  2. This past Sunday Payton spent the day with her Sunday School class. This was a great time for all. Mid week we found out that most of the family at the house that she was at came down with the flu shortly after this get together. We know there is nobody at fault, and nothing that can be done in this circumstance, but we were on pins and needles the rest of the week hoping she wouldn't get sick right before state.
Both of these concerns turned out in our favor. Payton was able to run and didn't have any issue with the flu or her foot. We were quite relieved.

The weather was great... almost perfect. This was a big change from most of the rainy meets the XC team has had this season. It was in the mid 40's when we got there about 8:00 am and the sky was clear. The team had driven to Carrollton, GA the night before and they were there already when we arrived.

The boys 5A race was at 8:30, and the Girls 5A race was at 9:00. About 10 minutes prior to the race the team walked over to the starting line. They were all still dressed in their warmups, but nobody was suspicious, or at least they didn't say anything. Just a few moments before the race was to begin they finally removed their warmups to show that they were wearing a completely different uniform. This uniform was white top and black shorts, with a single "B" for Brookwood on the top. There were three main teams that were in contention for 1st place and our coach was trying a little strategy to throw the other teams off a bit. It made it difficult for us parents to follow them as we were used to their other uniforms :)

Payton ran an awesome race. She was upset at the end and said she didn't run as hard as she could have. She said she ate too much for breakfast and her stomach hurt the whole race. She ate at the hotel, which is not a problem, but she ate two small waffles, and a bagel. I just had to laugh, but also feel sorry for her..... these are all learning experiences I suppose. I am sure she was quite nervous and ate more because of the nerves.

You have to note that the State Course is in Carrollton, and they ran this course one time prior in the season. It is a hilly course and can be difficult. Payton held her previous PR of 20:59 at this course (yes... I said previous) This was probably because of all the wet and muddy meets they had to run this season.

Payton did great and set a huge PR! She crossed the finish line 56th out of 211 girls and set a new PR of 20:23! 56th out of 211 in the 5A State Championships..... as a Freshman! How Awesome!!!!

The Brookwood team did good as a team as well, they finished 3rd in State in the 5A State Championships. As the coach said - "This was the best season the Brookwood Girls program has had in several years."

Payton was a little down on the way home from Carrollton. She said with a down look on her face "so I won't be running cross country anymore?" She really loved to run and looked forward to her practice each day. She will be taking a couple weeks off and then we will start conditioning for Track.

Looking forward to the next few years!

Tim Wilson - - subscribe - follow - virtual4now

The Final 10 Days To 26.2

This past weekend marked the end to my double digit long runs. It is funny to now refer to my 12 miler as a long run, but will be even funnier to refer to this Sunday's 8 miler as a long run.

I put in 6 miles this morning and will be putting in two more 4 milers before my 8 mile long run this Sunday. Next week, the final week of my taper, will top out at 4 miles with a 3 miler and 2 miler wrapped around it.

I am taking the taper serious even though it seems very strange to be running so few miles. I have been following Hal Higdon's Marathon Training Schedule: Intermediate II with a few slight modifications along the way to move my runs to make them easier to fit in my schedule, and also because I wanted to get a little past 20 miles for my longest run. The plan to get in runs past 20 miles didn't work out really good as I only got one 21 miler in, and the next time I was going to go 23 I was just not feeling it and couldn't push myself to the 23. I know I am fine since I did end up with 4 20+ mile runs, much more than most people run before a marathon.... especially their first.

I am very excited but right now it is not sinking in as I have a lot on my mind. Our oldest Daughter Ashlee who is in Color Guard has her last Football game this Friday night (which we are chaperoning for), and then our Daughter Payton will be running in the State XC Meet this Saturday. Once I get past this week I am sure it will start sinking in much more.

I am starting to think about some logistics like what to wear, what to take, what to eat...... should I get some throw away gloves and hat incase it is a little cool at gun time..... All kinds of things starting to go through my mind.

I received my 26.2 car magnet in the last couple weeks. I had to really search to find the white letters/black background as most of them are the other way around. I am so looking forward to putting that on my car. Even though It has been almost 2 years since my first 13.1 I never felt the need to put one of those magnets on my car..... not sure why.

Here's to the last 10 days/25 miles of my 26.2 Quest!

Tim Wilson - - subscribe - follow - virtual4now

Payton Is Going To State!

The Cross Country season has officially come to a close. It seems like it had just begun.

This past Saturday my daughter Payton and her team ran Regionals, the official last meet of the season.
The team won Regionals and Payton ran one of her best/smartest races all season. The course was horrible as it had been raining quite a bit and there were 4 other races that morning before her race. This course was by far the worst conditions she had ran in causing her to have one of her worst times of the entire season, in fact..... her worst.

By the time her race was set to go the course was very muddy and much of the course was a mud pit. During the entire race the girls were slipping and sliding and some were even losing their shoes while others were falling. Payton ran a very smart race and finished 11th overall with a medal to show for it. She also finished 6th for her team, the first time she had finished in 6th place all season. The times were way off, the first place finisher finished in 21:10 and Payton finished in 22:43 - her worst time all season by almost a full minute.

Payton had been finishing 7th most of the last meets and is officially ranked #7 on her team of about 95. Early in the season she started ranked #9 and moved to #8, and the second part of the season moved to #7.

Being ranked in the top 7 of the team is a big deal - especially for a Freshman! There is one other Freshman in the top 7, running in the #5 slot. Payton has had a lot of opportunities over the season running in the top 10, one of the coolest being her trip to Richmond VA/Washington DC to run in the U.S. Army X-Country Festival at Maymont but the coolest is coming this Saturday.

This Saturday is State! Payton, and the rest of the top 7 on her team have earned a spot in the AAAAA State Championship to be run in Carrollton, GA. How cool is that as a Freshman??!! We are all really excited for her and very proud of her. One of the really cool things is Carrollton is where she holds her PR of 20:59. I am sure she will blow that away this Saturday!

Wish her and her team luck!

Tim Wilson - - subscribe - follow - virtual4now

It's Officially Taper Time!

Today's 20 miler was the final 20 miler I will do before my first marathon in just 3 weeks. The run was not as good as my previous three 20/20+ milers. It was the slowest (but not by much) of the 4, but I think for good reasons.

A few of the reasons, I believe, that made this run a bit harder and slower are:
  1. I have not been running on the Saturday before my long runs, but did yesterday. - about that
  2. Last night was the homecoming dance for my two daughters meaning a very late night and only about 5 hours of sleep.
  3. It was colder than it had been in all my previous 20/20+ mile runs. 42 when I left so long pants/sleeves/hat/gloves were in order.
Today's run was also a bit harder than the last couple 20/20+ milers. It took everything in me to keep going at mile 15, I just felt like quitting. I pushed through and it got better.... but not till mile 17! My last couple miles were good, but that always seems to be the way it is with me on my runs, I run conservatively enough that I kill it at the end..... not in races, just in training.... races I kill myself throughout :)

Today I also tried a new product that I was sent from SPIbelt. The SPIbelt is a small personal item belt. I was looking for options and different ways to carry items, especially Gu's or Sport Beans because they seem the hardest to get out of an arm band carrier. I have been carrying my cell phone and any other items in an arm band which has worked OK for items that I just need to carry while I am running, but if I needed to carry anything that I needed to access while running (Gu, Sport Beans) it was a major ordeal. I was pleasantly surprised and more than willing to take a look at the SPIbelt when the opportunity came up.

I was very pleased with the ease of use and simplicity of the SPIBelt. I only put my Sport Beans in the pouch but it is really cool how it is very small but will expand to fit almost anything you would want to carry while running. I put the belt on and quickly forgot it was even there. The way it is designed it fits snuggly and doesn't bounce at all. Now, I was not carrying anything too heavy, but the way it felt I don't think it would have done any bouncing or been any more noticeable if I had. When the time came for the beans I was able to open the pouch, get the beans, and close the pouch with one hand without any issues. This will be my belt of choice for the marathon no doubt.

I honestly can say this is a day I have been looking forward to for a few weeks. I think I hit a little bit of burnout a couple weeks back and was exhausted constantly. I was not getting much sleep due to early 4 am wake up times multiple times each week to get my mid week 8-10 mile runs in. I even missed a couple runs during this time when things got the worst.

As I mentioned, today marks the official beginning of my taper. I am really getting excited for November 14th and my First Marathon, the Chicamauga Battlefield Marathon. I feel like I am ready, but wish I could have gotten to the full 26.2 distance before the actual race. I know that the majority of the training plans do not take you past the 20 mile mark, and the Hal Higdon Intermediate II that I followed was one of those. I did modify the plan a bit to better fit my schedule, and also because I wanted to get a bit further than 20 miles. In the end I only got to 21 miles one time, instead of the 24 I had hoped, but did get to 20 miles 3 other times for a total of 4 times in the 20+ area.

I just found out this past week that the Chicamauga Battlefield Marathon will probably not have pacers. It is a smaller race (field of 600) so I was concerned enough to ask. I was told that they were trying to get some pacers but it didn't look good. Oh well, good thing I have my MyTach GPS Watch to help me keep on pace.

Thank you all for reading my blog and for the comments I love so much! This has been a long journey, and it is exciting to near the first 26.2 completion.... My 26.2 Quest is nearing it's goal, thanks for coming along for the ride!

Tim Wilson - - subscribe - follow - virtual4now

A Quick 4 Miles

I Normally wouldn't run on Saturday with a 20+ mile long run on Sunday morning, but Payton, my daughter, needed to get 4 miles in today so I went running with her. I let her set the pace and she was pulling away from me a bit. I asked her if she always ran her 4 mile training runs this fast and she said.... no, that she was cold and wanted to get warmed up and get it over with.

She is getting really fast.... way too fast for me, but by the end she said we were going a bit fast (I already knew that.... I am old!)

Hope this doesn't mess up my long run in the morning!

Our pace was quicker than I thought we were going with an overall pace of 7:37.

Mile 1: 8:02
Mile 2: 7:31
Mile 3: 7:38

Better Than Fridays Run - My First 21 Miler!

Today's run was much better than Friday's run. I knew that Friday's bad run was not signs of things to come, but rather just a bad day with bad planning, but it is always nice to have that confirmation run the next time you go out. Today's 21 miler was that run.

I had a very long day yesterday, leaving the house at 7:30 am for Birmingham, AL for my daughter Payton's XC meet and straight to Commerce, GA for my other daughter Ashlee's Band Competition with only a 5 minute pit stop in between. The day didn't end for me till almost midnight, after a total of 8 hours driving between the two trips!

Based on the schedule yesterday and the time we got home I knew 4:00 am was not going to happen for a 20+ miler before Sunday School and Church. I decided that a 5:00 am wake up would have to do and that I would just go to Church. 5:00 am came and every ounce of my body wanted to stay in bed instead of getting up to run. I talked myself into another hour of sleep (it wasn't hard) and went back to bed. I woke up again just before 6:00 and drug myself out of bed..... this time I knew I had to do it if I wanted to stay on track with my Marathon Training Schedule.

I got ready to go and ate a couple small whole wheat bagels, drank some Gatorade and water and headed out the door about 6:20. I was pretty sure that this was going to put me back home just before 10:00 am, but I figured I could sneak into church a little late this one time.

I carried a water bottle and a bottle of Gatorade. I also had a pack of sport beans in the armband with my cell phone. I started off nice and slow and decided this would not be the day to try to lower that pace at all, but to rather just get the run in. I sipped on the Gatorade every two miles until it was finished at mile 14. I pulled out the sport beans at mile 16 and continued the every two mile hydration with the water bottle.

The first 9 miles of the run were fairly slow, hovering at a pace between 10:00 min and 11:00 min. This was the slowest I had run in a long time.... even on my long runs! Following the 9th mile I sped up a bit and was running more of the pace that have in the past. The last couple miles were difficult mentally, but I kicked them up a bit because I just wanted to finish. I ended on a mile with an 8:06 pace, and a negative split on the entire run to boot! So far this run has been at the fastest pace of all my long runs since hitting the 14 mile mark - not by much, but still at a faster pace.

Runs like this are the ones that give you the confidence to keep going! (that and the community and comments received on this blog, on Facebook and Twitter)

Just a couple quick notes:

Payton ran a good race yesterday - she finished 7th for her team and 32 overall with a time of 21:46:52 - not her best time, but very respectable.... and faster than me :) She is running in the #7 spot on Varsity and if she keeps consistent over the next couple races she will be running in State!

Ashlee, my oldest daughter is in the Color Guard in the Marching Band - her team won a lot of trophy's last night at the Band Competition including the biggest trophy :) with an overall win!!

Tim Wilson - - subscribe - follow - virtual4now

Went out for a 10 miler...... then quit

I had the day off today and really wanted/needed to sleep in because of what the weekend has planned for me. For this reason I decided to put my 10 mile run off till early afternoon.

This gave me the opportunity to get up when I was good and ready and have a nice breakfast with my wife and kids (they are off school today as well) Payton, my daughter that runs Cross Country, was leaving at 1:00 to head to an out of state meet tomorrow so I figured I would eat lunch and then take her to the school before my run. This would give my body a chance to digest the food and I would be ready to run when I got back home.

This is when things started to go wrong. I got back home and ready to run about 2:00. I had been hydrating all morning so I knew I would be well hydrated for my run, but I only had one bottle of Gatorade left and needed to save that for Sunday's 20+ miler.

The temperature wasn't too bad at 81 degrees, and the humidity wasn't too bad at 72%, but the part that concerned me was the sun. The sun was out in full force, and I don't do well running in the direct sun for too long. The last time I cut a longer run short was because of the sun. I train almost 100% of the time in the early morning with an occasional evening run, but almost never in the middle of the day when the sun is so hot.

The run started off pretty good and I eased into it with a slower first mile like I always do. I had taken two bottles of water with me because I knew the sun would be taking it all out of me. I started to sip at the water about 1.5 miles and things were still going pretty good. At about 3 miles I was getting close to the end of my first bottle of water trying to fend off how badly I was starting to feel. I was starting to feel pretty lousy. I knew it wasn't a hydration issue but was really starting to wonder about the lack of electrolytes and the hot sun.

My legs were getting heavier with each step and I was nearing the longest/biggest hill of my run. I was also running on the busiest road I run on, and it doesn't have a sidewalk so I am running right on the white line. The sweat was pouring into my eyes and it was stinging and making me dizzy. I knew this wasn't a good combination with how close I was running to the traffic so I decided I needed to get over on the grass. The grass is very uneven and I was worried about twisting an ankle so I decided to walk for a little bit.

Walking for even that little bit did me in. I was not able to get myself going again. By the time I reached the top of the hill, try as I might, I couldn't get myself running for more than a couple hundred yards at a time. My legs felt weaker than they have in months of training.... including all my long runs up to 20 miles.

I decided to cut out a 2 mile loop and attack the 4 miles I had left to get home. I ended up run/walking the rest of the way home feeling completely defeated. It has been a long time since I have had to cut a run short or walk this much during a run.

What do you do to keep for falling into the same trap I did?

Tim Wilson - - subscribe - follow - virtual4now

13.1 Marathon Atlanta Race Report - A New PR!

The Inaugural 13.1 Marathon Atlanta is now officially in the record books.... including mine!

This past Sunday morning was a great day to run a half marathon, or any race as far as that goes. I was really looking forward to this race as I mentioned in my last post. There are many reasons for this, with the two top reasons being:

  1. It was my second half marathon (following a long 18 month delay)
  2. It is also a training run leading up to my full marathon next month

Race preparations started on Saturday with me trying to eat right and drinking lots of fluids. I tried all day but didn't really get the eating right till dinner time when my wife made me a grilled chicken/pasta dish from scratch. We really didn't plan all that well but she still came through with a winning combination... as always! I finished the evening out with a small whole wheat bagel with crunchy peanut butter, one of my favorite bedtime snacks.

As evening hastened I decided I would get everything laid out and ready so I wouldn't have to deal with it in the morning.... the morning would come too early the way it was. I decided what I would wear (sorry ladies.... wasn't too difficult for me) and attached my bib to the shirt. I laid out the rest of the cloths, socks, and shoes with the chip attached, as well as my fully charged MyTach GPS watch, cell phone with arm band, ID, sport beans, and a little bit of cash. I also went ahead and set the bagels out so I wouldn't forget to eat in the morning as I rushed around.

Even though I am used to getting up before 4:30 many days throughout the week the 4:30 wakeup still came very early, especially following a rough nights sleep. I never sleep well before a race, I toss and turn a lot from the excitement,
anticipation, and nervousness. I got dressed, applied some Aquaphor Healing Ointment that I was given some time ago to all the right places to try and keep the chafing away..... I didn't want to have the unpleasant color change to my shirt like I did in my first Half Marathon.

My neighbors met me shortly after 5:00 am for the trip to Atlanta. As you can imagine at 5:00 am on Sunday morning the trip was quick and easy. We arrived at a Marta station about 1 mile from the start/finish line and used the mile to warm up the legs a bit before the race. We arrived in plenty of time and had some time to wander around and get a warm-up run in. The weather was wonderful, it was a little humid and 53 degrees.

Official gun time was 7:13 so shortly after 7:00 they started calling for us to line up in the starting shoot. They had time slots marked for anticipated finish time to help everyone line up in some kind of order. We lined up directly under the 1:50 sign with high hopes and anticipation. I knew I needed to run 7.1 mph according to my watch to hit my goal of sub 1:50, around a 8:23 pace. Right before the race began they started bringing us forward and I was worried that I was now going to have to run a 1:20 half marathon as I was now under that sign :) 15! came and the race was off. It took me around 20 seconds to cross the starting line. We were on our way and it felt great! we made a turn out on to the main road (Peachtree) and looped back. This is when we saw just how many people were running the race (close to 3,000) We were running past the starting line, but just on the other side of the fence.

As we neared our first turn, just a short couple hundred yards we saw a runner go down in front of us. This brings back some bad memories for me. It wasn't too long after this that I left my neighbor and started running my own race. After a couple miles I looked down at my pace and I was running quite a bit faster than I had planned with a first mile just over 8 min and the second mile around 7:45. I felt good and was getting into my groove so I decided I would run based on how I felt and not worry about the pace unless I started to notice too much of a swing either way.

We ran a loop through a couple neighborhoods and past a golf course. There were some really nice homes and some young families out to cheer us on. We had some hills that were challenging in this part of the race, but nothing like we were going to see later.

It wasn't too long before we were back out onto Peachtree to head to the second loop a few miles up the road. We came past the starting line at about 5 1/2 miles with the best part still to come! This was the point we started seeing a few more of the promised bands playing along side of the road.

We were coming up on the 10k mark and I noted based on the clock at the 6 mile mark and what my watch said that I had run the first 10k at a sub 50 pace (a good Peachtree Qualifier for those familiar with the Peachtree Road Race) and I still had more than half way to go. The half way point came and to my surprise they had a mat to read the chips (my time 51:50). I have never seen this before. I looked at my pace and I was running about 7.5 mph. I was still feeling good so I kept running at the pace I had for the first half.

The second loop took us through a couple more neighborhoods with bigger and more hills. It was getting tougher to keep the pace I was running, but still not so much that I was breathing too heavily. I was waiting for the 9th mile because according to the elevation chart the biggest hill was in mile 9. I knew once we passed that the worst hills would be over. Once we passed through the neighborhoods they funneled us off into a park where we ran the sidewalk trail through a wooded area and around a couple soccer fields. It wasn't too long till we were leaving the park with the welcome sign that said "only a 5k left!"

Before too long we were back on Peachtree and in the home stretch. Just around 2 miles left and I was ready to die. I wanted so badly to give in and walk for a little bit, but based on my pace and the current time I knew I had a chance to break 1:45 and I would never forgive myself for coming so close and not making it. The final 1 mile was coming up and I was able to pull past one more lady that I had been following for the past mile. We came back to the starting point and to our delight we had to run down a long hill and then finish on an uphill.

I was coming up the hill approaching the finish and knew it would be really close to the sub 1:45 I was now hoping for. As I got nearer I could see the official clock time as it ticked over to 1:45.
I knew I had somewhere around 20 seconds to cross that finish line..... 10.... 11... 12.... 13..... 14....
and 15 as I crossed the finish line! I stopped my watch as I crossed the timing mat and looked down at my watch to see 1:44:53.... I HAD DID IT!!!!!

For a brief second I felt dizzy but quickly gained composure as I grabbed my medal, water, and a banana. They had a lot of food in the finish shoot, but I couldn't hold any more. I walked out and started to cool off and enjoy the moment as I refueled. I went back to get a bagel and a little later they had a BBQ sandwich for the finishers. I was a little irritated because they had no other water or Gatorade other than what was in the finish shoot.

We hung around a little bit and got our official chip time and rankings. According to the stats I officially finished in 1:44:53 - Officially Sub 1:45! An 8:01 pace!

264th Overall (out of 2600)
53rd Age group (35-39) (out of 251)
12th 39 year old (out of 122)
208th Gender Place (out of 1148)

These splits are based on my MyTach GPS watch but it seemed to beep just before every mile marker and got a little further each time. It showed the course was 13.2. I am not 100% on the accuracy considering that. Not sure why, it always seems to be really consistent any other time.

Mile 1 8:14 8:14
Mile 2 7:43 15:57
Mile 3 7:50 23:47
Mile 4 7:36 31:23
Mile 5 8:01 39:24
Mile 6 8:11 47:35 (+ .2 would still be sub 50 10k)
Mile 7 8:02 55:37
Mile 8 7:50 1:03:27
Mile 9 8:02 1:11:29
Mile 10 7:54 1:19:23
Mile 11 8:07 1:27:30
Mile 12 7:50 1:35:20
Mile 13 7:37 1:42:57
.2 1:57 1:44:54 (GPS Registered as .2)

There are not yet any pictures available, but once there are I will update the post with a few pics.

I took Monday off, my legs were still hurting quite a bit, but Tuesday I went out for a 5 miler. I plan on getting up bright and early for a 10 miler tomorrow..... if I can drag myself out of bed after staying up too late to finish this race report.

Onward on my Quest to a Marathon.... the 26.2 Quest!

Tim Wilson - - subscribe - follow - virtual4now