Audacious Albert's Blog

Posts Tagged ‘Marathon’

Chasing A Goal – 2009 Marine Corp Marathon

Posted by audaciousalbert on October 28, 2009

This past weekend was the 34th Annual Marine Corp Marathon.

I was ready, trained meticulously for it, and awoke in the morning feeling refreshed and ready to run fast.

Based on my 1:04:14 finish at the Army 10 Miler 3 weeks prior, I decided to go out with the 3:10 pace group. I had my mind set on a Boston Qualifer, and was looking forward to achieving it.

I arrived at the start early enough to get a good spot in the 3:00-3:19 corral along side others who were going for that coveted 3:10 Boston qualifying time. I did some light jogging and stretching to prepare myself for the long journey ahead.

Miles 1-3:
Felt great, I was right next to the 3:10 pacer, and we were spot on pace. Didn’t take long for me to settle in and I felt pretty comfortable.

Miles 3-8:
Things stayed constant. Still feeling good, I was thinking ahead of crossing that finish line with a sub 3:10. Knowing it was still early, I held back from taking off from the pace group.

Miles 8-15:
Crossed the half way mark in 1:34:39, which is actually a half marathon PR for me! I was still feeling good, but had a feeling things were starting to fall apart, but still confident in my chance of achieving that sub 3:10. At this point, I was already thinking about mile 20, and how it’s a 10k race from there to the finish.

Mile 15-17:
Things took a turn for the worse around here. My pace slowed all of a sudden. I still remained optimistic in thinking if I slow down now, I can conserve some energy to chase down the 3:10 group when the time comes. However, with each passing step, I felt worse. My legs were feeling heavy. I downed another packet of Gu and a cup of water, and kept treading along. Another half mile went by, and my legs started to cramp. Oh man…

Mile 17-20:
I was forced to a slow jog. I even had to walk. I stopped for a few seconds to stretch out, but thought I must keep moving forward to that finish line! At this time, I exhausted my last Gu packet, and was taking anything handed out on the course. Spectators were awesome lighting up my dampened spirit and giving me hope that I would make it to the finish line.

Mile 20-24:
As I crossed the 20 mile marker, I did a quick calculation. In order to catch the 3:10 group, I would have to run a 40 minute 10k. I would be quite capable of that if that with fresh legs, but 20 miles with cramping have already taken their toll. There was no way I would be able to keep up anywhere near a 6:30 pace. As I passed some spectators were handing out bananas, oranges, and licorice. I was desperate and was hoping one of these things would help me salvage this race. No luck, my legs were shot. I started feeling a bit discouraged from all the walking, and even more so when the 3:20 pace group passed me, then the 3:30 pace group zoomed by. I was hanging in there…

Mile 24-26:
2 of the longest miles of my life!!!

Mile 26-26.2:
As soon as I saw the mile 26 marker, I remembered reading about the brutal uphill finish. I saw the finish line ahead, and hobbled to it where I was greeted with relief and accomplishment. My time: 3:38:28. No PR today and definitely not the negative split I was hoping for. Nevertheless, I still felt relieved to have finished, and thankful for the opportunity to run such a well organized and scenic race course through our Nation’s capital.

Post Race:

Spirit was crushed, legs were shot, and I was mentally drained. I walked around the finish festival but soon decided to head home and rest. The Rossyln Metro was packed with everyone trying to catch the next train.


I have been having a string of good races recently. For this race, those last 9 miles were a good learning experience. I love the marathon, but man… it can be a long ways to go when things aren’t going well. I have never hit the wall before or have been forced to walk in a race. I learned about nutritional techniques I can try to keep sodium and electrolytes in balance to prevent the cramping.

After resting for the last 2 days, my legs feel a lot better and am already looking forward to running again. I’m looking forward to getting back into training, increasing my long runs, and someday having a breakthrough marathon.


Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Book Review: What I Talk About When I Talk About Running – Haruki Murakami

Posted by audaciousalbert on July 28, 2009

I recently became a fan of Haruki Murakami’s writing after a friend suggested some of his books to me. And after I found out he wrote a memoir about running, I had to read it!

In this simple book, Murakami describes his marathon and triathlon training and the impact it had on his writing and lifestyle. Furthermore, he highlights key moments in his life which helped define himself as a person and author.

Although I am not an aspiring novelist or writer of any sort, I found this work very inspirational and relatable to my own lifestyle. It talks about more than running and writing, but also of the struggles that come from a busy lifestyle, and dealing with various conflicts that arise. He talks about how he handled with these events and how they shaped his own life, built character, and defined new aspirations.

I especially enjoyed reading about the mental cycles he went through while training and racing whether it be from running solo from Marathon to Athens, running his first ultramarathon, or running in the New York City Marathon. The mantras that he repeated, the excruciating pain experienced, and the relief and accomplishment felt upon completion are all concisely described. Any runner or athlete will be able to relate to it.

From reading this memoir, I have more respect for Murakami for his lifestyle and strong commitment to running and writing.

Thanks Haruki for sharing your experiences, struggles, failures, redemptions, and successes with us.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

2008 Portland Marathon Reflection

Posted by audaciousalbert on October 20, 2008

The Portland Marathon was amazing! It was my very first marathon and I hope to be able to run it again(and faster) in following years. Even though it rained on us, I thought the crowd support was good, especially at the start, in the neighborhoods after crossing the St. John’s Bridge, and in the final miles. I am proud(and a little shocked) that I was able to continuously run the whole time. My previous longest run to date was about 18 miles. My final time ended up being 3:34:01 which equates to around 8:10 miles. I started out in the 3:45 pace group; Tanja who was the Red Lizard pace leader was very nice. I past that pace group early on in the race and wasn’t able to catch up to any of the other pace groups. Although I don’t think I slowed down too much in the last few miles, the last mile in particular felt like the longest mile I have ever ran in my life. Perhaps a Boston qualifier marathon time (< 3:11) is in my future; it’s a stretch, maybe not for another few years.

2008 Portland Marathon results are posted here:

The course was good and well laid out. Because of the rain, some of the views from the St. John’s Bridge, and around the University of Portland were slightly obstructed.

During the race, I consumed Ultima(a replenishing energy drink), water, and 4 packets of Gu(energy gel). I took a bit of a risk by taking Gu for the first time the day before the race just to see if it would upset my stomach. It didn’t, and worked well during the race.

My sister ran the 5 miler event, and my mom was a volunteer. There was a plethora of food and drinks available at the finish line and I also got a snazzy metal, foil blanket, rose, tree seedling, and a pretty awesome finisher’s shirt.

After the race, I felt super sore for the next 3 or so days. I have a new appreciation for banisters when going up and down stairs(especially down).

I love this video! It reminds me of how I felt the day after the marathon:

I am now fully recovered and ready to start training for my next race! 🙂

warmed up and ready to go!

warmed up and ready to go!

My mom and I before the race

My mom and I before the race

Cathi and Dat, morning of the race

Cathi and Dat, morning of the race

26.2 miles later...

26.2 miles later...

After the race showing off my shiny new medal!

After the race showing off my shiny new medal!

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »