1994 Finger Lakes
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25th and Final Finger Lakes Marathon

October 3, 1994

My recollections of the 25th (and reputedly final) running of the Finger Lakes Marathon on October 2, 1994.  The course is from Ithaca (very near Cornell University) to Marathon, New York, finishing in front of the school.  This is as of the following evening, and is very boring due to the stream of consciousness manner in which it was committed to keyboard.  Please forgive...

Following advice from my veteran friends (Bob Brenner, Tom Homeyer and Chuck Scheier) I did not change my diet.  I had done significant (> 3500 calories per day) carbo loading the entire week before the race.  For breakfast I had a half cantaloupe, 2 Advil, and 2 fresh plain bagels from Brueggers, in Manlius ( I went there about 6:30 to buy them).  I ate one of the bagels while I walked the dog.

I wore a Sporthill Coolmax singlet, a pair of Sporthill lined shorts, my poly sock liners, Saucony Grid Courageous shoes (my regular shoe), wrist bands and poly gloves.  It was very chilly when I left, so I took a long-sleeved tee to throw away just in case.  I also took a cooler with OJ, water, Pepsi and spring water for afterwards.  I drank two liters of water on the way to Ithaca.

I got there about 9:15, with a 10:30 race start.  I found Teagle Hall at Cornell (I had been there once before) and got my bib number and tee shirt.  I also made good use of the bathroom - about 4 times in the next hour.  I drove to the race start to know where it was, then back to Teagle.  I walked about 20 minutes to warm up, then back to the bathroom, and then back to the starting line about 10:00.  I decided to park at the plaza, about a quarter mile from the start, since the parking lot (a filed) was pretty full, and I wasnít sure I could get out of the mud if I pulled in farther.  When I walked to the starting line with my bag, I had to go in the woods again.  Somebody took my bag to the finish for me.  They started pretty much on time.  There was a guy from Ohio and a lady from Colorado.  I talked with John Sholeen, FLRC treasurer, who Iíd introduced myself to the week before at the Falling Leaves in Utica.  John pointer out to me Bob Congdon, who had run all 24 of these marathons, and Peter Jeffers, who was a very good distance runner.  When they announced three minutes to start, I thought I should go back in the woods and pee again, but I chickened out.

They started, and I passed a girl and three guys in the first two miles or so.  But I spent most of the first 3 miles looking for a place to pee.  Finally found one about 3 miles, and those 4 people went on by me.  The girl I caught in about a mile again, and passed her as her boyfriend (a spectator) had jumped in to run and talk with her a little.  I gathered she was running her first marathon also.

It took me 4 miles (to mile 7) to catch the three guys again.  When I did we started talking.  They were Steve a grad student at Cornell, and Kevin (the taller one - you know how these young kids all look the same) and Jeremy, two Cornell undergraduates who belonged to the same fraternity.  Kevin and Jeremy were also running in their first marathon.  Steve had run USMC and NYC once each.  We ran together and talked to about mile 12.  When we went through Slaterville Springs, we passed the first 3 spectators - some people across the street who were painting the front of their house.  They clapped.

In the 13th mile there was a hill - not big, in fact I didnít feel like we were climbing at all.  But the race map says the entire first half is uphill with two minor dips.  Anyway, I left those guys on the hill at 13, and caught up with three other people - a couple and another guy.  I fell in with the guy, even though they were all together.  The ladyís name was Needra or something like that - Iíll have to correct this when I get the results in the next FLRC newsletter.  Anyway, the guy (I didnít get his name) talked a lot, which I liked.  They were all from Waterloo (Ontario).  He was running his 325th marathon.  He ran a 100 miler last year that took 21 hours.  Needra has completed 5 100 mile races.  They had another friend with them who was older (63) and was up ahead.  We talked and shared experiences for 6 or 7 miles.  I remember just before catching them I went by the halfway mark at exactly 2:00 on my watch.  (The watch I wasnít supposed to be carrying with me, per my coachís instructions [sorry Bob, but I had to break 1 rule, and I did all the other things you said]).  The fellow I was running with jumped into a cornfield about 18-19 miles.  He said heíd catch me, but I secretly hoped he wouldnít.

I should go back and say that on the application I predicted 4:30 - they said to add 30 minutes to your best marathon time because of the difficulty of the course.  I didnít have a previous marathon, but I figured 4 hours would be a good one for me.  I was secretly hoping to break 4:00.  The first three miles I ran about 9:10 pace, not because I was trying, but because I was running very easy and thatís where they ended up.  I didnít check any more until 10 miles, which was exactly 9:10 pace (82:40) so I must have sped up a little to make up for my pee break.  Also, they had water every 4 miles, and I stopped and drank a glass at each one.  I also took a sip from the bottle I carried (in a belt holder, with tp and dextrosol tablets in baggies).  So it appears I averaged 9:10 for the first 10 miles.

I must have averaged 8:50 for the 2nd 10 miles, because I went by 20 miles at exactly 3:00.  I remember telling myself the whole way to go slow, and I practiced breathing exercises to slow my self down.  I found I naturally wanted to run 2 steps for each inhale and two steps for each exhale.  According to Jack Daniels, that is more of a race pace, Whereas 3 steps each (he calls 3-3 breathing) is more of a lactate threshold pace.  I kept trying to slow down to 3-3, and 4-4 sometimes.  But every time I stopped focusing on my breathing and counting steps, I reverted back to 2-2.  Anyway, I had told the fellow I was running with that my coach had said to take it easy, and if I felt good at 15 to pick it up.  He said to take it easy to 20 on this course.  I consciously acknowledged him and said that was my plan, but my body kept doing itís own thing, and that was picking it up.  Anyway, when I saw this fellow later in the school, he said he really did have to go (in the cornfield) but he would have dropped off if he didnít because I was running too fast for him.  By the way, he did catch me, but it was after the race in the locker room.  Iím glad I saw him afterwards because he was a good and inspirational running partner for about 7 miles.  I had remarked to him how the course didnít really feel that uphill to me.  He said the hill at 23 had a significant climb.

After I passed 20, I thought Ďď10K to go.íĒ  Then I started thinking that there were 3 miles to the hill, 1 mile of hill, and 2 miles down to the finish.  I knew I had it knocked then.  So each mile, I thought the same thing - two miles to the hill, etc.  At mile 23, you could see the beginning of the hill and it was an honest hill.  What you couldnít see at the beginning was that it was a seriously honest hill - it went up for exactly a mile, and it went up hard.  Not like a trail run, but a steady, steep rise.  I passed another 5 people who were walking on the hill.  One of the guys asked me in the locker room how I had so much left for that hill.  I told him I like running uphill, which I do.

Anyway, the hill was a mile, so at the top, there was a 24 mile mark.  They had every mile marked, and all the turns marked, and that was all very good.  The last two miles were downhill, and I ran them pretty hard.  The last 1.2 I think I ran about 7:20.  There were 2 more spectators at the bridge just past the 26 mile mark, and they were the last.  That brought the total to 6 (there was another one somewhere but I canít remember where).  The finish was right in front of the Marathon school.  There were 7 cones there, and a lady.  She asked for my tear strip.  I asked if this was the finish.  She said yes, and I gave her my tear strip.  There was no clock - I donít know if she had a timer or not.  My time was 3:52.

I walked back up to the bridge to thank the spectators for clapping, then back to the school, got my bag, and showered.  In the cafeteria they had soup (chicken vegetable), grapes, orange juice and oranges.  I stayed long enough to bum a ride back to the start.  Then I got in my car and drove home.

My right foot is a little sore, and Iím beginning to get stiff (Monday evening).  I walked 30 minutes this morning and 45 minutes at lunch time.  Mandy and I are going for a walk now.  I plan to begin cross training in the morning, but I will probably take another day off from running.

All day (as well as last evening) I have felt this internal glow.  It must come from the completely fulfilled sense of accomplishment.  I am so happy with this that I could burst.  By the way, I did remember to use moleskin on my nipples, and they didnít.  Burst, that is.  And that is the totally boring truth in every detail.

Update as of the next evening (Tuesday, the 4th, 17:00).

Everyone said the 2nd day after the marathon would be the worst in terms of stiffness and soreness.  Fortunately, this is not so in my case (this time, anyway).  I rose at 4:00 today, as is my custom.  I did ingest 2 Advil with a glass of OJ in anticipation of the bad day I was to have.  I then proceeded to do my normal morning cross training, beginning with a 30 minute brisk walk.  It was 46 degrees outside, so I bundled up and went.  I felt great, and the soreness in my right foot had disappeared.  When I got back, I stretched (my calves have been a little tight all day), did my sit-ups and pushups, and biked, skied, and rowed for 30 minutes each.  I feel great, and have all day.  I thought of running after work (at the track) but Bob counseled me not to, and I took his advice.  The big thrill today was that I felt great all day, even though I had anticipated feeling really bad.  The good feeling comes from knowing that I ran the marathon and didnít get that sore.

My current thinking is to remove the remainder of excess weight and work on speed while continuing to maintain my endurance base.  Iíd like to run at least one >=20-miler each week.  As the weight comes off, the speed should improve.  Right now Iím not sure I can maintain 7:38 pace for 26.2 miles.  Right now, 7:37 is my 10 and 14 K PR, so I doubt I could do that for an entire marathon.  It takes 7:38 to qualify for Boston, which is now my next running goal.  So, if I get the weight off, thatíll help me improve my speed.

Update as of one week later (Monday, 10/10, 20:00).

Yesterday I ran the first half of the Wineglass marathon in a relay team of myself, Randy Day and Blake Rodgers.  I ran (12.8 miles) in 98:00 for 7:39 pace.  After I stopped, my right foot felt quite tender, which I had felt during the marathon, the day after the marathon, and on Friday after running at lunch.  Itís odd I didnít feel it Wednesday after running.  In any case, it prevented me from ďcooling downĒ with an 8 mile 2nd leg of the relay.  Today Iíve been icing it.  Bob and Tom think itís tendonitis and I agree.  A few days rest is in order and will be had.  I guess running this yearís USMC marathon is out of the question.  Possibly Iíll run Philadelphia on November 20.  Dave Crist invited me there today.

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