by Dathan Ritzenhein | Oct 30, 2012 |
With the Chicago Marathon in the rearview mirror almost a month, I am getting back into training so it is about time I give a recap of the race. It was a huge relief to finally run a good marathon! I was thrilled to walk away with a new 2 minute PR, finally, a step in the right direction.
After putting together a full year of healthy training, we came at this race with a completely different approach. I have been very confident in my past marathon build ups, and I have felt good going into the races, but I was still cautious for this marathon. This time around, I did more speed work and had a much shorter specific build up, but a longer period of total training in this marathon.
When we found out that the leaders wanted to go out in 62:15 for the first half, I decided it was too much of a risk for me to try and go from a PR of 2:09:55 to attempt 2:04:30 pace. So, I knew I had to run my own race. Luckily, I had my good friend Jason Hartmann there to help me out. There were a few reasons I wanted Jason to be the first rabbit. I have known him since I was a freshman in high school. We have trained together more than any other person I have trained with, and I trust him completely. Another contributing factor for choosing Jason, is that he is a human metrodome. I have never known anyone who is as attuned to pace as him. At the technical meeting we decided to go out at 63:30 pace instead of 64 minutes. I told him to try and hit every kilometer at 3:00. I was amazed that we nailed every one from 2:58 to 3:02.
Once we settled into the pace after three miles, we steadily clicked off every K and by eight miles we were only five seconds behind the lead pack which ended up going out much slower than they intended. Jason asked me if I wanted to catch the pack and after a seconds thought I decided, no, just keep on the pace. Part of me wanted to catch up to the pack, but I knew it would get very fast and I wanted to stick to the plan. Jason took me halfway and then the second pacer took over. Jason had set such a great consistent pace that the second pacer was able to maintain all the way to 30k. I just tucked in and tried to focus on relaxing. After he dropped off, I was all on my own at that point, so I had to focus on catching people.
I was very comfortable until 35k when I started to slow a little bit. I had been on 2:06:40 pace at that point and then my last five miles slowed to from 4:50 to 5:02 pace. I still passed quite a few people who were fading, but I really had to focus at that point. I held on well but coming up Michigan Ave. with the wind in my face for the last three miles definitely slowed me down. I felt strong, but I definitely need another year of training to be able to hold that 4:49-50 pace for another four miles. Overall, I was extremely happy to finally put together a strong finish and now I finally have made the jump to being a successful marathoner; it took me until my seventh attempt!
So what now? Getting back into shape is step one. After two weeks off, I have some work to do, but I needed it after the long year. Now, I am itching to get back and keep the momentum going. I feel like after another healthy year, I can take another stab at lowering my 2:07:47. Maybe my next marathon isn’t as fast of a course or as good of weather so I will focus on getting on the podium and the fast times will come. If I can do that, stay healthy and improve my speed again at the shorter distances, I know I can make another step in the right direction.