Sunday, April 3, 2011

7 Seconds of Separation

Martian Marathon - Dearborn, MI
April 2, 2011
Marathon #5, State #4

7 seconds -- The time it takes to pour a cup of coffee. The time it takes swipe your credit card at the grocery store. The time it takes to order a Starbucks coffee. 7 seconds -- The time that separates me from being a member of the Sub 4 marathon club. The club all newbie marathoners dream of. The club I so desperately have been trying to earn my membership into.

I thought I got my membership yesterday. I ran the race of my life. I ran strong and hard. With meters to go, I saw that finish line clock just turn 3:59. So I ran as hard as I could. I knew I had this. I saw the clock when I crossed. It said 3:59:45. I was so happy. I did it. I was in the club! Event volunteers congratulated me on my sub 4.

Wait, not so fast. The official results posted. I read them in horror. 4:00:06? Where did those 7 seconds come from? It's not April Fool's. And this isn't funny.

I don't understand the clock discrepancy. I sent an email to the race director. Who am I sure could really care less about my 7 seconds. Turns out the half marathon course was 13.4. They're busy dealing with that.

I gave myself 5 min to flog myself and think, what if I didn't pee at mile 11, what if I ran harder those last two miles. Then, I thought, no. Nothing is raining on my parade. Eff those 7 seconds. I ran the race of my life and I am going to be proud and enjoy this moment.

For the first time in my short running career, I RACED this marathon. There were no walk breaks, there was no whining about hurting, there was no crying, there was no doubt in my mind that I gave it all I had.

Steve and I worked up an even spilt plan, which had zero wiggle room. The goal was to come in right under 4, a 9:07 pace.

He is like clockwork. I tell him a pace and he is spot on. I let him work his magic. If I stayed next to him, I knew we would be there.

We hit the half marathon turn and we were dead on at 1:59 and some change. I still feel really fresh. Around mile 17, I start pulling ahead. He yells at me to come back. I decided it was time to kick up the pace, slightly. I knew if I hit 20 and felt good, a 55 min 10k was in the bag.

I hit 20. Feel a little tired in the legs, but running on pace.

Mile 22, the hip flexors are tight and I hurt, but nothing was going to stop me today. Today was my day, my race.

Mile 23, my pace slows slightly. The slower half marathoners (100% are walking) are now running with us, the road is very narrow. I had to conserve every ounce of energy to keep pushing. Usually I would run around people. But I couldn't today. So I would yell out, "On your left!" I am sure they were a little miffed.

Mile 25 and 26 are 9:40 pace now. That's ok. I can still come in right under the gun. I see the turn into the finish. My friend Ken yells, "200 left at the turn, sprint!"

I see the clock, I see 3:59 in my future. Balls to the walls 5:40 pace sprint. The sprint-so-hard-you-want-to-puke sprint.

So I enjoyed my club membership for a few hours until the official results were posted. And then learned it was a preview.

I have no regrets about yesterday. None. I ran strong. I didn't leave anything out there. I am not second guessing myself. I earned an 11-minute PR and I know with the right training and day, it will happen. But next marathon goal won't be to eek out a sub 4 just under the wire, I smell a 3:50.

Martian Marathon by smlundsberg at Garmin Connect - Details


  1. A-fricking-mazing SUANN!!! CONGRATS on a sub-4 hour mary (eff the official results)!! If you can beat 4 hours, I know I can beat 5 next month. You rocked it!!! I hope ya'll are enjoying a little vacation time in Michigan too :)

  2. I also ran that race and am a little puzzled by the clock. Did you get any answers?