Western Pacific Marathon 2012

Contributed by Greg Holtz

Drew and I were consistently running Brazen half marathons and having a good time with it. One afternoon Corey emails us a link to the Western Pacific Marathon. A Brazen marathon? Sign me up!

We had approximately 10 weeks to train, which was doable since I was already in half marathon shape. I knew it was going to be tough to properly fit the training in, but I figured this was my best shot at doing a marathon. Training went well for the most part. We incorporated a lot of bike riding into the training which I think helped a lot. We peaked at an 18 mile run at an 8:55 pace. I tried to do a 20 miler the next weekend but felt my knees hurting so I stopped at 12. I had to play it safe.

Drew and I carbed up the evening before the race at Mongolian BBQ. I took my time and I ate 3 bowls of noodles and veggies.

Race day

Race started at 7:30am. We arrived ready to go. For the most part, the first 10 miles were uneventful. We walked at every aid station, kept hydrated and maintained about an 8:40 pace.

At mile 1, there was a bathroom break. Corey and Matt were manning the aid station and cheered us on.

At mile 6 there was a wall of people running with the 3:55 pace runner. I noticed everyone was too scared to pass him up. So we passed him up and laughed about it (he would later have the last laugh). There was this older fellow with a camelback who was run/walking and staying behind us the whole time.

Drew noted how quickly the mile markers were coming. It was weird. We would pass a mile marker, have what was seemingly a short conversation and then the next mile marker would come up.

We took an extended aid station break at mile 13. They had cold watermelon, oranges and GU, quite refreshing. I felt great, we maintained about an 8:40 pace even with the walks and the breaks.

About mile 15, the older run/walker passed us up and we never saw him again until the race was over. (Drew talked to him after the race and he was doing a Jeff Galloway program, smart guy).

Mile 16.5 – Drew and I parted ways. It was at this point I could start to feel my legs hurting. They mainly hurt when I walked. As I was running, there was very little pain. I kept on running.

Mile 17, 18, 19 and 20 felt great. I was weaving through the half marathon walkers at this point. I could hear people cheering me on. My legs started getting a bit heavy but it really wasn’t that bad. I had only a 10k left! I had expected to hit “the wall” at mile 20 but I was still going strong. I was in a good place mentally.

Mile 22 – PAIN. That’s the only way I can describe it. It was overwhelming. Every part of my lower body hurt. I had to stop running. My body was rejecting the run. Mile markers couldn’t come soon enough.

Mile 23 – aid station. The main thing I remember about this aid station was a small hill I had to run up in order to get to it. I literally threw my hands up in the air I was so pissed about this. The camera guy caught my frustration. I didn’t care.

Mile 23.5 – the 3:55 pace runner passed me up. He was running alone. He offered some words of encouragement but I couldn’t hear him through the pain.
Mile 24 – Drew and I crossed paths. He was heading towards the mile 23 aid station and cheered me on but I don’t remember what he said. He later told me I looked like a zombie. I don’t remember if I was running or walking at this point.
Mile 24.5 – I passed a fellow laying on the ground. He was on his back with his hands on his face. He had a marathon bib on so I asked him if he was ok. He said “yea”. In hindsight, if he had said “no” I couldn’t have helped him anyway. It sounds messed up, but that actually perked me up a bit. At least I wasn’t that guy.
Mile 25 – the last aid station. Matt and Corey were cheering me on and telling me I was on pace for a sub 4 hour marathon. At this point, I didn’t care what my time was. I just wanted it to be over. There was a hill right after the aid station. I walked the whole thing.
When I hit mile 26, I knew I had made it. But the last .2 miles were uphill. I gave it everything I had and finished strong. Finish time was 4:01:36.
I won’t go too much into detail about how I almost cried from the pain afterwards or how much pain I’m in today (2 days later). I can safely say this was by far the hardest thing I have ever done physically. It had been a goal of mine since I was 12. I couldn’t have done it without my friends (MHRC) and family supporting me. Thanks guys!

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