6th Guard Marathon-I’ll Take It!

This was, as I said, my 6th National Guard Marathon.  I trained super hard for the race this year, with my sights set on a sub 3 hour marathon.  As race day approached, I felt this may not be within my grasps, but I still focused on running as best as I could.  The end result:  A very, very well run race.

It was quite chilly on race morning, and I elected to wear a long sleeve shirt  with gloves and my Zensah recovery sleeves.  I took off the long sleeve shirt and stayed in my singlet, but the temperature proved cool enough to leave the gloves on.  I started off the marathon quite easily, doing the first mile in 8 flat.  I picked up the pace after that, but had trouble doing anything quicker than 7:30 pace, worried about dying in the second half of the race.  I hit the 5K mark in 24:48, quite different from last year’s 21:53 for the same split.  I did my best to run quickly and efficiently, but not to the point it felt like a tempo run.  I was enjoying the cool day out.  All the spectators were bundled up quite well this year.  I hit the 10K mark in 48:19, still over 3 minutes slower than last year, but but this time, I had “settled” into my pace and was running 7:30s consistently.  After mile 7 I hit a big hill and blasted down the other side.  As I continued through the first half, I wondered what my time would be.  Could I hope for a 3:05 or better?  I was running based purely on effort, and what I thought I could maintain for the whole marathon.  After the 1st 10 miles I noticed my left quadricep muscle was aching.  I hoped it wouldn’t cramp up later in the race.  Not too long after that, I hit the half marathon mark in 1:40:12.  I was quite off pace from last year (1:34) but I knew a solid performance in the latter portion of the race could more than make up for it.  Once I knew the time for the half, I simply sought to beat my time from last year, 3:13:58, but by a large margin.  I thought I could get close to 3:10 if everything worked to my advantage.  This was not to be, but I’ll continue the story.  Between the half marathon and the 18 mile mark, my goal was to maintain a 7:18 mile.  From there, I would bump the pace down to 7:08 if my body would take it.  Boy, did I surprise myself!  I ran the stretch between the half marathon and the 25K mark at 7:12 pace.  From the 25K mark to the 20 mile mark, I averaged 7:07.  I was really hurting by this point.  Nothing felt good, and my left quadricep felt like it was about to seize up on every step.  I hoped it would keep working.  From mile 20, it was guts or glory.  I aimed to run every mile under 7 minutes.  I paid dearly and nearly reached my pain threshold.  I battled my body, which craved mercy.  I do believe my experience of the course allowed my mind to push to the very end, a sort of subconscious effort, knowing exactly how far the finish was.  As I sped past my hopelessly failing competition, I pushed into overdrive.  I could see the stadium approaching, where I would soon be finishing at the 50 yard line.  I dropped my pace down to flat 6 for the last 3/4 of a mile.  I blasted into the stadium, setting a new Lincoln best of 3:12:20.  My legs collapsed from muscle failure after crossing the finish line.  I couldn’t even bear the thought of a massage, due to how much I hurt.  It was my absolute best.

I didn’t make the All-Guard Team again this year (I would have had to run a 3:04 marathon to do so),  but I did make the grade as an alternate, in case they need a spot filled for a race.  My race was perfect.  You can see my splits below, courtesy of MTEC results:

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1 Comment

  1. Super job Ben. I love watching you race smart!


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