Thursday, November 15, 2012

Freedom Marathon Race Report

It is funny, the twists and turns life takes.  The person you where is not who you will become or who you really are.  Yea that’s deep for sure, but there was a time in my life I would have bet that I would have never run a marathon.  Talk about two opposite milestones in life, JV football, I got kicked off the team because after practice I could not run a mile.  The Freedom Marathon would be my 8th marathon and my 2nd in less then 14 days.

(At the expo)

I ran the Marine Corp Marathon (MCM) on 28 Oct and running the Freedom Marathon would enable me to join the Marathon Maniacs Club.  Some people may ask why do you want to join the Maniacs?   Webster defines a maniac as:  Any intemperate or overly zealous or enthusiastic person:a maniac when it comes to details.”  There are runners who run one marathon, and there are people who run multiple marathons.  And then there’s the bunch that run "back to back" marathons, or run two in less then 16 days, three in less then 90 days or 13 in a year. The Marathon Maniacs are a group of people who run successive marathons in a relatively short period of time as defined on their website.

So why do I want to be in “the club” I figured I may never be a fast marathoner, and I may never qualify for Boston.  I may as well be a marathon nut case aka A Marathon Maniac.

My plan for the day was to run slow and conservatively.  Coming off a successful MCM where I ran a best time since 2005 with a 4h 26m 9s finish, all I wanted to do was finish.  So all the pressure of a fast run, a PR or any expectations were gone.  Well that worked until the gun went off.  Then my plan switched to running a sub 4:30 marathon.  There is something about that number…I know for some it’s slow and others it may be fast but for me it marks marathon success or failure.  And even though I knew this marathon was more about completion…I still wanted a sub 4:30.
Mile 1                  10:03
Mile 2                  10:01
Mile 3                  10:10
Mile 4                    9:59
Mile 5                    9:59
Mile 6                    9:50
Mile 7                  10:06
Mile 8                    9:55

Weather wise it was a near perfect day, start time temperature was a bit cool in the mid 40’s (0630 start) but within the first 10 miles the sun came out and the temps were real comfortable.

Mile 9                  10:07
Mile 10                9:49

The opening 10 miles went pretty smooth, I was running along with a friend named Lloyd (his 2nd) and had mentioned to him that although we felt good, that these opening miles only got us to mile 20 when the run/fun really beings.  Today that would be mile 22 for me.  This course was a two lap course with a little redirection of the second lap into the finish.  Mostly flat, advertised with a 200 foot gain overall, we did have two bridges (mile 5/17 and 9.5/21.5) and one underpasses (mile 10/22) to deal with.  Each of these little climbs offered a nice if not daunting challenge to break up an otherwise flat route.

Mile 11                9:59
Mile 12                9:51
Mile 13                9:56 (approx 2h 10m 45s)
Mile 14                9:42
Mile 15                9:44
Mile 16                9:51
Mile 17                9:32
Mile 18                9:35
Mile 19              10:09

Mile 20                9:40 (approx 3h 19m)

At mile 20 I noticed that if I could run the next 6 miles in less then an hour I would have a good shot at a sub 4:20.  I so wanted to run a strong finishing 6.2 miles.  And during mile 21 I was able to dig in and kept the pace up, but at mile 22 I began to really labor.

Mile 21              10:15
Mile 22              11:13
Mile 23              11:49
Mile 24              11:33

This 3 mile stretch was tough; I just could not keep up with my pace.  I’ve got to figure out how to run stronger in the closing stages of the race.  In reviewing both Freedom and Marine Corp, there’s a 2 or 3 mile segment where I lose focus or I just can keep the leg turn over going. 

Mile 25              10:56

I blame some loss of time on the course.  During this section (mile 25) the route dumped us off into a parking lot of Harbor Park (minor league baseball stadium), with no real direction where to go except a random collection of cones about 200 yards away.  <rant> At this point in the run is not where you want me trying to figure out directions…the course should have been more clearly marked. I had to stop and ask the volunteer 50 yards behind me where I should go.  It was not her fault, but the organizers should have addressed this. </rant> 

(Rolling right along)
Mile 26              10:19
Mile 26.2             3:02

(A 10, on the bling scale)

I finished in 4h 27m 19s and Lloyd came in at 4h 40m.  All in all this was a nice race on a really flat course.  I can see a lot of Boston Qualifiers coming out of this race.  This being the second year of the event, but the first year for the full marathon there is room for growth and improvement.  This will be my last marathon of the 2012 season, I have a 50k Ultra in Dec and then I’m going to focus my training on reaching the 4:15 marathon benchmark.  My PR is 4:10 (2005) I would like to threaten that again…before I get to old.  Ha ha ha

 (If truth be known, I was having a hard time standing, 
2 x 26.2 in 14 days will do that to you)

I’m still running with my knee strap and happy to report I’ve had no significant knee pain during my training and zero during this marathon.  I do have some “discomfort” when walking around the house or when bending, twisting or shifting weight, but believe this is related to old age/running more then to any running injury/overuse.  Other then losing my miles for two months, I believe I survived “the Patella Tendonitis scare of 2012.”


  1. Great race report and GREAT JOB! That medal and bib are pretty cool looking too. Wow. Oh and I am sure you will threaten that old PR befeore you know it!

    1. Thanks Shane, Let's hope was a fun run.


  2. Brian, this is a fantastic post. Thanks for the mile-by-mile breakdown. I'm always curious to see how people are feeling at various points in the race, so this was a fun read for me.

    HUGE Congrats on not only running a sub 4:30, but on running 2 sub 4:30s in two weeks! I'm not sure I could accomplish that task! Now get some well-deserved rest! YOU ROCK!

    1. Thanks, 50k in Dec...that will not be sub 4:30 ha ha ha


  3. You are awe inspiring! Keep up the hard work!

    1. Kris, Thanks...that means "alot" coming from someone as fast as you....


  4. Join the 15th Annual Team Spirit Long Beach 5k and 10K marathon and help put an end to breast and ovarian cancer today! The Team Spirit Long Beach 5k and 10K marathon is going 15 years strong. To celebrate, were giving away a silk tie and silk scarf to the first 15 people who raise $1,500. Create a team and start fundraising!