Tuesday, September 19, 2017


Start of the marathon at 6:30am.
I've known that I would be running this race for some time. While in Miami this year two of my friends decided to come out and visit me to do a race. The logic was that we'd continue training all year if we had races spaced approximately six months apart, instead of trying to cram for Miami every year (them every year, me this last year due to my unknown at the time condition). Anyways, it was decided that the "Half Boring Half Marathon" in Boring, OR was the winner! And while one friend had to back out, one was still coming, so like it or not, I was doing a race!

I hadn't ran more than six miles consecutively since... May 21st, 2016 at the Rum Run. So SIXTEEN months ago. I did run the Miami Half Marathon earlier this year, but at no point during that race did I run for six miles without stopping. Four at best maybe. So while I was feeling much better and had recently completed a six mile run without stopping, I wasn't expecting to run the whole thing. My goal was to get to the turnaround at 6.55 without walking and then just play it by ear. I figured I could get to nine miles or so before I needed to walk and jog it in.

So it was back to an early wake up call. I don't miss those at all, but this one at 5:15am was surprisingly not too painful. We had some oatmeal and bananas before heading toward Boring. Along the way we stopped at McDonald's and each got a medium sized coffee. More on that to come! We arrived around 6:25am for the 7:00am race. So we had plenty of time to get our packets and get ready before the race started. The whole race would be an out and back along the Springwater Trail. My arch nemesis. To be honest though, I had only ran this part of the trail once so I wasn't dreading it too much!

THE FIRST FIVE (10:49, 10:34, 11:11, 10:55, 10:43)

Only picture I could find of me! At the start.
My goal for this race was to pace myself around 10:45-11:00/mile and just ride that as long as I could. My friend was in agreement with this pace so we ran together with me checking the watch every so often to make sure we were hitting our target. The 11:11 mile was mile three, where I had to stop to pee. I felt the coffee hitting me before the race but the port-a-potties had long line so I decided to just wait until I saw something along the path. Luckily around 2.5 miles in there was a single unoccupied potty. Knowing it would be dumb to try and make up the time, I just let the mile be a little slower with the pee time.

Otherwise, the race was going pretty well. Those first few miles had a surprising amount of people still bunched together, so you never felt lonely. I could tell my friend was laboring a bit more than me but he was still doing awesome. Overall I was feeling pretty great. Legs felt good and cardio wise the pace seemed sustainable. The miles didn't take too long to come at this point of the race. There was an aid station at mile two and another at mile three. I drank a cup of water and a cup of Gatorade at each. The second aid station also had gummy bears. I took a handful of these and man were they delicious! Altogether it was a good start to the race. I knew the end might be a challenge but so far so good!

THE NEXT FIVE (10:25, 10:59, 11:51, 10:55, 11:12)

This race was a bit unique because there weren't a lot of very memorable points. The course didn't change all that much (out and back along a trail) so until "body" events started happening everything just kind of blurred together. I was pleasantly surprised when mile seven rolled by and I still felt really good. I hadn't ran more than six in forever but I was able to break that number without issue. The 11:51 mile was another pee mile. I think there was also an aid station in there too. Like usual, I was walking through the aid stations. Even running my PR times I would always briskly walk the aid stations so I could actually drink and chew. Well worth it and not "walking" in terms of the race in my head.

Anyways, my watch was matching the mile markers almost exactly so I knew whatever my watch was calculating would be very accurate. Unfortunately, my friend had to drop off around mile 8.5, which was much longer than I was expecting him to hang on. So bravo to him! I was determined to try and run the whole thing by that point and he seemed cool with me moving onward, so I slowly pulled away as he started a few walk breaks. Altogether he ran must of it and only finished 7.5 minutes behind me and set a new PR by 9 minutes. So he did awesome!

Typical scene along the course.
Once on my own I just tried to keep up the pace around 11:00/mile. My legs were starting to tire and hurt a bit but nothing that would affect my race too much. I know what mile 24 of a marathon feels like and we were a far ways from that. I could tell my IT band was a little sore but at a low level, I didn't think it would be an issue getting to 13, and it wasn't. Altogether I was feeling pretty good. Tired, but good. When I hit mile 10 it was almost like hitting mile 20 in a marathon. Double digits! Gives you a short little boost knowing you hit a milestone and are getting close. I tried to pep talk myself, even letting a "let's fucking go!" out at one point.

THE FINAL THREE (11:16, 10:33, 10:19)

I was for sure starting to tire at this point. I believed I could make it to the finish without walking, but it was a matter of how much my legs were going to hate me. I had a third (and final!) pee break at some point in there. When I hit mile 11 I knew for sure I could do it. Only twenty more minutes!  It was at this point I decided I was going to finish strong and just go for it. So I kicked up the pace a gear and surprisingly my legs felt great. The slightly faster pace meant I was using some muscles that hadn't be used quite as much. Cardio wise I was still completely fine. I was honestly surprised at how good my cardio felt, likely due to my correct pacing. It felt good for more than 13 miles to be honest!

Apparently the last couple of miles were uphill, and I remember them being downhill on the way out, but I honestly didn't even notice it. I was determined and rolling. They looked downhill to me! Once I was on the mission to finish hard my body responded. So these last couple of miles weren't even that bad. I was passing a few people here and there and it just felt so good to be out there racing like a normal person again. By the final mile I was rolling. 10:19 thirteenth mile, the quickest of the day. It felt like I was flying, funny that used to be my recovery jog pace, but whatever the case, it felt good.

The final tenth of a mile was run at 9:00/mile pace. I breezed through the finish with a little fist pump. 2:22! It was over! I did it! I ran the whole fucking thing and even felt strong at the end! My legs were a little trashed, but that's what happens in a race where you give it your all! I drank a water and waited for my friend to finish. He wasn't too far behind. Once he recovered we got some food and then hung around to watch the kids and goats (no joke) race. Good times. Eventually it was back to the car for a lazy day and a lot of pizza.


My secret goal was sub 2:30 so I was thrilled with the 2:22. I figured I'd need some walking breaks toward the end but it ended up I didn't need any! My legs were definitely trashed afterward, stairs were painful, IT band was slightly angry, but nothing tragic. They held up well during the race and that's the important part. Today, the next day, they are sore but overall feeling good. They are normal sore, like they used to be. Knees themselves feel 100% fine, not even sore, just my muscles. So very positive news there!

The difference between this race and the one in January in Miami couldn't be any more different. That race was a struggle of epic proportions. I am super proud I went out there and did it. 2:39 was honestly just about the best time I could have gotten. At the time I still didn't have a diagnosis and was struggling with inflammation. So to even complete it was a huge victory. However, the final miles of that race were torture. I was done as soon as we hit the Venetian Islands. The last few miles were a desperate slog akin to the 20s of many of my marathons.

Overall, I am very proud of my race! Under 11:00/mile for 13 straight miles... awesome! I hope I can continue running and slowly get better again. I'm pretty sure I'll never get back to my old speed, I don't think I even have the desire to, but it is nice to be able to run and do races and feel like a normal person again. This one gets chalked up as a huge victory!

Official Results: 2:22:45, 10:53/mile. 91/147, 50/65 male, 11/14 M3039.

1 comment:

  1. Jonathan Carter6:07 PM

    Wow... I'm so happy to read that this race went so well for you after all of the knee struggles you have faced in the past year or so! How AWESOME-- super fantastic job Thomas! Tacking on that much running distance after not having done it in so long, on top of everything else, is simply amazing!

    Look forward to pounding the pavement and devouring some pizza with you in MIA this winter!