Road Testing

Road Testing

Chip time of 4 hrs. 29 min. 46 sec.

Running my first marathon was an incredible experience.  The best way to describe is captured in an email I sent just after the race: 

At 2
miles my shin splint and vastus lateralis (upper thigh muscle) injuries
resurfaced but they were less intense than before and manageable. At 9 miles I
started getting intermittent ‘Charlie horse’ pains in each leg. By 12 miles I
had full-on, non-stop Charlie horses. They were agonizing. I shortened my stride, which allowed me to keep
going. The only time they subsided was during the walking parts of my 10 minute
run & 1 minute walk rotations. At 15 miles both legs locked up and I had to
walk like I was standing on stilts. I saw another runner doing squats so I did so while punching my legs to get them going. At 16 miles the
tendon in my right leg started to spasm, pulling my toes under the sole of my
foot. It was so bizarre, like I was running in a ballet stance or like one of
those Looney Tune mice trying to sneak away. So painful. The last 6 miles were
tough but no worse than the 6 before it, which I saw as a positive omen. My
legs locked a few more times before my 100 metre finale.

As I turned the last
corner, the crowd spurred me on and I started running faster (from really
slow). I looked at the sky and let out three Braveheart screams, fists
pumping with each one. People started laughing and clapping and then my right
leg locked again. I started hopping on it as it started to trail the rest of my
body. It unlocked for the last 50 meters allowing me to run over the finish

Any experience provides learnings from things that went well and those that could have been better. Here are mine:

  • Kept to my race strategy including beginning at a slower pace (difficult to do) and consistent refreshment
  • Adjusted my approach once problems arose, experimenting with different remedies
  • Achieved my goal


  • Condensed my weekly running mileage into fewer days. The spikes of training overworked my right leg resulting in injuries. Sometimes efficiency leads to lower effectiveness
  • Extended weekly long runs beyond my training program. A 24.9 mile run that was supposed to be 20 miles triggered my shin splints
  • Ignored early signs of injury while training. I didn’t act upon my data, which resulted in lower performance on race day. Later, I went for laser treatments based on a friend’s recommendation, but it was too late to regain full health. 

Parallels to My Book

  • Stick to my plan as long as it’s working
  • Ask friends for help. They are amazing and can help in more ways than I think
  • Keep going. The finish line is ahead

I know I gave everything I had. As David Lee Roth said, “You do the best with what you’ve got.” My goal was to achieve one marathon and then focus on shorter distance races. After the race my plans remained unchanged.The next day, I mentioned to my wife Barb that maybe some day I would consider running another marathon. The day after that, we talked about the possibility of us both running a marathon in May 2012. The following day, I printed out a 29 week training schedule for a 4 hour, 4 minute and 25 second finish time. It starts on Monday.




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