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kirsten millerI am posing here after crossing the finish line with Kirsten Miller.  She took 2nd out of 72 women in her 45-49 yr old age division with a time of 3:45:01.  For whatever reason the photographer wanted us both in this shot.  I finished 28 out of 92 men in my 50-54 yr old age division with a time 2.5 minutes slower, so you could say Kirsten is slumming it with me here.  I appreciate her adding some color to my otherwise mostly monochrome finisher’s photo.

I’ve had some time to digest my marathon and think of what to do with myself for the rest of the year.  For those of you who run marathons, or have completed comparable feats of outlandish athletic prowess, you understand the post event phases of somber reflection.  I would not be exaggerating to say an entire year of training went into my run last weekend.  Now I find my mind bloated from thoughts of how I did and what could I have done differently.  My decision-making is cramped by indecision on what to plan for future weekends.

The more I think about my first half pace, the more comfortable I am with it.  I might do better overall if I were to run slower at first, but that is my pace.  Maybe not a 3:20 pace.  I could stand to slow down a tad for a 3:30 overall pace.  I’ve decided on what I need to do to improve in marathons.  I am going to start carrying my own drinks.  I don’t drink enough electrolytes at the aid stations.  I know though that unless I stop for a full minute, I can’t.  I like the idea of having aid stations to obviate the need to carry a camelbak, but I’ll do better sipping my own brew.  Eating is even more difficult for me while running and I do better if I take my fuel in liquid form.  Next marathon I plan to carry my own liquid fuel.  I’ll likely appreciate the extra pockets from the pack too.  Old men can’t have too many pockets.

I’m still disappointed my hamstring cramped at 20 miles.  I had no warning whatsoever – I was running along fine and boom!  If you’ve never had your hamstring cramp, let me tell you.  It friggin hurts!  Ever see a sprinter pull up short of the finish or a football player screaming on the field?  It’s a big muscle to have cramp.  I’m so glad it didn’t keep cramping, but then I had to keep my speed down the final 6 miles because of it.  I actually think cooling down the final 10K was a good scenario because I felt great the next day.  I’ve never even been able to walk the day after a marathon but this Monday I ran six miles.  I ran ten miles yesterday and six today.  Totally recovered.  More importantly, no injuries.

Still, knowing my season is over is a bit of a let down.  That doesn’t mean I can’t keep running, but I don’t have anything big scheduled.  I’ll find some runs – ideally inexpensive events since I spent a few hundred already this year on running.  I got an invite today for the ColderBolder 5K on Dec 7th.  That’s a bit out there.  I’ll find some things to do in November.  Daylight Savings ends though in another week or two.  That’ll impact my training.  Traditionally, after DST ends, I start to run during the day, while the sun is warm.  The issue with that is I have to squeeze my runs in between conference calls so I’m limited to 3 or 4 miles.  I can still get some distance training in on the weekends.  We’ll see how the year winds down.