Sunday, March 17, 2013

36 Seconds

In 36 Seconds...

Jeff Gordon turns a lap and a half, 3.75 miles, at Daytona

The SR-71 Blackbird travels 17.25 miles over a straight line course

and The Earth Travels 558.3 miles around the sun

And after 26.2 all came down to 36 seconds.

On St. Pattys Day 2013, I finished my ninth Marathon since 2005, and my third running of the Shamrock Marathon.  And after 26.2 miles, I set a new Personal Best/Record (PB/PR) of 4 hrs 10m and 03s.....breaking a eight year old PB.  Who said I'm getting old?


Going into this race I had mixed emotions on my goal.  At times I wanted to push it and try for a sub 4hr marathon, at other times I was not sure if I had it in me.  So I decided to go for an improvement over my last two marathons, (avg. 4:25) and shot for a sub 4:15 or if all went well a new PB.

My marathon PB was set eight years ago in Richmond 2005...some little voice told me I may never beat that PB, as I am getting older by the year.

My plan going into this race was to do something I have never done before, use the pacers to help set my pace.  After talking with a mentor /running pal, George, the 4:30 pacer, I decided to line up with the 4:15 pace group and ride out the early laps with them.

The weather for race day was cold (43) and windy (15 MPH).  I planned to go out in shorts and a short sleeve shirt...and for whatever reason I did not change.  On the prompting of a friend I did add a pair of gloves and a beanie hat and I'm so glad I added those extras.


Mile 1  09:51 / Mile 2  09:55 / Mile 3  09:29 / Mile 4  09:37 / Mile 5  09:43 / Mile 6  09:42 / Mile 7  09:35

I'm NOT dogging the pacer, he did a great job and was very uplifting keeping everyone focused on sticking to the plan.  But trying to run with the pace group kept me hemmed in and stuck in the pack, this made my pace feel very eradic, I spent alot of mental energy trying to keep from clipping someones heel or having my heels clipped. At mile 7, I pulled out from behind Mike "the pacer" and stretched out my legs some.  From here I ran a more comfortable and free 9:30 pace.

Mile 8  09:38 / Mile 9  09:25 / Mile 10  09:25 / Mile 11  09:37

Mile 12  10:29  Oh this was a killer.  Run completely on the boardwalk we ran right into a headwind and it was cold brutal.  I'm not sure what effect the ocean front had on it, but this section took alot out of me and my time suffered.  And I'll tell ya I tried every NASCAR drafting trick I know and could not find a wind break.  At one point I think I made the runner ahead of me a bit nervous, as I may have ventured into his private space.  Got to break the wind man!  I was so happy when we made the left hand turn and went back to the streets of downtown VA Beach.  The wind was still present and beat us up, but without the 
effects of the ocean front, it did not feel as bad.

Mile 13  09:38 / Mile 14  09:33 / Mile 15  09:30 / Mile 16  09:35 / Mile 17  09:27 / Mile 18  09:22 / Mile 19  09:17

The mid point (Mile 13-19), of the race I was feeling really good, was holding myself back.  I have a bit of a confidence problem, I always fear blowing up and not finishing a race so I hold myself back.  Looking back I believe I could have ran a little harder.

(Cruising right along)

This section is tricky...wide open but with a slight incline, my legs felt good. This section of the course always brings out alot of carnage and a few of the people I passed sounded like old steam trains.  I was surprised that my breathing was in control and very easy. 

Mile 20  09:48 / Mile 21  09:25 / Mile 22  09:40 / Mile 23  09:32

At Mile 20 we turned on to Fort Story and once again were buffered my a strong head wind.  I kept waiting for the "WALL" and the "WIND" to have their way with me.  But in the end I was able to keep the pace up and run strong.  Running on Fort Story was some what comforting, as I've run a ton of training miles on the base.  Being able to track landmarks helps me with the mental game of pushing thru the hard miles after mile 20.

Mile 24  09:08 / Mile 25  08:40 / Mile 26  08:23

Mile 24 I felt the need for speed, and my legs responded.  My only regret was that I did not wheel it out a little earlier.

Finishing on The Boardwalk:

Making that left turn off of Atlantic and running thru the LIVESTRONG section gives you a big boost of energy.  My legs felt really powerful and once my eyes caught sight of the finish line it was game on.  Glancing at my GPS watch I saw a sight I never thought I would see during a marathon, a 07:27 pace being displayed...and I was able to keep it up for the full length of the 
boardwalk finish.

(the Power of Orange)

I glanced at my GPS again and with quick math figured a PB was going to be close...I needed to pick it up.  I can't tell you what pace I was pushing but it would have made Don Garlits and Richard Petty proud.  I was passing would be runners left / right and up the middle.  And to the guys running five wide into the finish....sorry but I needed those few seconds.

My GPS Time 4:10:10 / Chip Time 4:10:03
I got a slow start on my watch at the beginning of the marathon, and I tried to NOT be the guy hitting the stop button and messing up anyone's finishing line photos...SO I'M going with my chip time and a NEW PR.

J&A racing sure knows how to put on an event.  The race was managed very well, no issues with the course, the timing, or the volunteer staff.  NOW the race out of this world.  The pre-race tech T is great, the finishers medal is terrific and even the customary hat....although predictable is still welcomed.  BUT The SHAMROCK fleece blanket.....out of this world SWAGeriffic.

(Marathon #9)

So whats next?


  1. Isn't it crazy that over the course of such a long distance that PRs come down to such a few seconds? Congrats!!

    And I have to agree on J&A's races. I've only done Shamrock but from the first steps into the expo to the last step outside the beer tent after the race, everything is as close to perfect as you can get at an event. Can't wait to do Surf 'n' Santa this year.

  2. GREAT work! When I ran the half I thought "Oh I feel so bad for the marathoners....the wind is too tough today." But you didn't let that stop you and PRed! I hope you are feeling on Cloud 9.

    1. Yes, pretty happy and it was a tough day! Was hoping to see you, but your too fast!


  3. Great PR, Brian - what a strong race you ran. Knew you were going to run a good one. Congrats!

    1. Thanks man, saw you around mile 16-18


  4. Congrats on a great PR- your splits were really awesome! I ran Shamrock on Sunday also, those winds were no joke!!

    1. The winds were and cold! Congrats to you as well!


    2. Okay 3:13...smoking fast! I need to hang out with you!


  5. Hello,

    I have a question about your blog, could you please email me? Thanks!!