Saturday, October 22, 2011

Kansas City/Des Moines Marathons Back-to-Back

One of my 2011 “Goals” was to run marathons on back-to-back days and finish both of them under four hours. I accomplished that goal last weekend for the first time!

Back in April 2009, I ran a 40 mile trail run at Free State on a Saturday and then did the Oklahoma City Marathon the very next day which was a pretty tough little weekend challenge but I ran slow on Sunday and finished in like 4:28. So my goal was to run both races well and not just ‘finish’.

Saturday at the Kansas City Marathon I was a pacer for the 3:40 pace team. This was my third time pacing for Runner’s Edge out of Kansas City. The previous two times I have nailed my time so I felt all the pressure to make sure I hit it just right this time as well. We had a nice pack of runners shooting for 3:40 and I coached the back half of the pack along. A few of the people I was working with couldn’t quite keep up in the last 4-8 miles or so and had to fall back. I had slowed up to try to reel them in. This meant I had about 8 minutes to do the last 1.2 so I had to fly like crazy at nearly a sprint from mile 25 on to get in under pace time. I did in 3:39:51. Felt some right hamstring pain during the marathon which made me a little nervous.

Drove the few hour trip to Des Moines the same afternoon not yet even haven taken a shower! Went to packet pickup with salt-crusted face and smelly body and got ready for day 2 by sleeping 9 hours solid in a hotel room after watching about 3 outs of the NLCS but not being able to stay awake past the 3rd inning. Sunday morning came and the temperature was just perfect with a brisk, cool start and a perfect day ahead weather wise with cool temps and slight cloud cover.

I was still sore and kind of gimpy those first few miles. I fell in behind the 4 hour pace team and just tried to really take it easy the first half of the race which wasn’t hard because I was sore and even hurting some in that hamstring. But after about mile 10 it actually went away and I felt warmed up and started feeling great – ready to really run this thing! I went from running 9 minute or little slower miles to 8:15-8:30s or so for the next 10. I felt strong and confident. I had made a couple friends who were newbies and I had fun sharing stories and sharing running secrets. The last 10K I was still feeling surprisingly well so I sped up the pace all the way to the finish. I had caught up to and ran with the 3:55 pace group for a while and then went on ahead of them too. I ended up finishing in 3:52 and was just thrilled with the time. The other funny thing is I finished feeling good with basically no hamstring pain. Then I took a shower at the Y in downtown Des Moines, just 2 blocks from the finish line, drove back to Wichita and was home by supper time. The next day I was only slightly sore and felt surprisingly good.

Now all I have to do is some short simple maintenance runs every other day at the most between now and next Saturday when I run the Run for Missions 104.2 Fundraiser Run from Haviland to Wichita and nurse that sore hamstring back to health so it doesn’t come back to hurt me later. 

Sunday was my 16th state down for my running a marathon in every state goal. See total archive list here: