I love competitive running, and the marathon is my race distance of choice. This has gotten me into some trouble in the past. I have learned a lot over the years about miles verses speed. If it were up to me, I would race a marathon every weekend! Notice how I worded that phrase… RACE a marathon every weekend. There is a big difference between simply running and going all out like one does in a race. I think I could run a marathon every weekend and be happy and uninjured. However, if I tried to go out and run back to back marathons sub three hours, I would end up taking an unwanted rest from running. I know this, because two years ago I learned the hard way.
I ran Boston in April of 2011, coming in at 3:08, about 20 minutes faster then I had planned. Two weeks later, I was second at the Oklahoma City Memorial, running a then PR of 3:06. June of 2011, I ran my first sub three hour marathon. I knocked out a 2:58 on a cool and overcast day in Duluth, Minnesota. That put me on a speed high of sorts. Two weeks later, I set the course record, for both males and females, at the Midnight Madness 50 miler in Tulsa, a record which still stands, and a record I’m hoping to break this coming year. I crossed the line in 7:01.
From there, I took a two and a half month break from long distance racing. I did a few local 5K, 10K and half marathon races here and there, but for the most part, I was saving up for the fall. I had a marathon scheduled in St. George, Utah the first weekend in October and another, one week later in Wichita, Kansas. I wanted to go all out on both of them, meaning sub three hours and winning the one in Kansas.
St. George did not go well for me. I had some stomach issues and I made 4 porta potty stops. Those stops cost me my sub 3 time, as I came in at 3:01. Oh well, I had another chance the following weekend on an easier course in Kansas.
The week between the two marathons, I didn’t run much. The constant running downhill in St. George really tore up my legs. When I did run, I noticed a strange feeling in my right hip. I didn’t think anything of it. It didn’t really hurt, it was just a different sensation.
The next weekend, I stepped up to the line in Wichita, feeling pretty good, and going for the sub 3 time and the win. I had a great first half, but at mile 17 that strange sensation became a nagging pain. By mile 20 it HURT. By mile 22, I was sitting on the curb crying, and wondering what to do. I had to finish, so I decided to get up and walk, or limp I guess would be a better word. I saw my friend, Pete, and he walked all four miles with me. I ended up finishing in just under 4 hours.
I went to the doctor the next day. It was confirmed – a fracture in my pelvis. It would take 6 months to a year to fully heal.
I suppose I am a little stubborn, because I was running again in 5 months. I was slow at first, but 9 months later, I was running faster then ever. A few weeks ago in April I came darn close to that sub 3 mark again, winning the Eisenhower Marathon in 3:00:27. Two weeks later, I was third at the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon, with a time of 3:05:09. I had two weeks in between those two races, so I knew I would be just fine going all out.
Many of me friends have been running multiple marathons in a short amount of time. I think it is wonderful, but please, take it easy, be smart, and avoid injury. Happy Running, All!
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