Olathe Marathon – March 29th, 2008

I learned today why it has been 4 years since I ran my last marathon! I hadn’t been planning on running one this year but in early February I decided I would give the Olathe Marathon a shot. Probably the result of watching the Olympic Trials Marathon at the end of last year plus moving back to Columbia and hanging out with so many other marathon runners, but I got bit by the marathon bug and completely forgot about the utter torture you go through in the typical marathon.

My running had been going great leading up to today, reaching a high of 80 miles three weeks ago after averaging around 60mpw for most of the year. Unfortunately the training probably left me a little over confident and on hindsight I probably shouldn’t have run a half marathon last weekend. My inability to adjust my expectations and target pace when faced with cold (39) and strong winds (15mph) ultimately led to a less than stellar showing.

The Olathe Marathon is a point to point race, heading from Gardner KS to Olathe KS, so the morning started with a bus trip to the starting point (after giving an unfortunate couple a ride whose battery was dead). Once at the start most of the athletes huddled in the bathrooms trying to stay warm for the next hour. Finally, about 15 minutes prior to the start I stripped down to my shorts and shirt and joined the crowd at the start. Fortunately it wasn’t quite as cold while waiting to start because all the other athletes were crowded around. Compared to some, it was a small field, about 500, but for me it was about 10 times bigger than most of the races I’ve done this year!

Most of us weren’t quite ready for the start as there really wasn’t a warning, just a big boom as a cannon went off! We paused, a few quick glances around, and then we were off. I had given myself three target times: 2:50 – Best possible result, 2:55 – Quite happy, but could have been better, and 2:59 – Upset if I at least don’t get this.

From the start, one guy went off the front with two other runners a bit behind. Initially I tried to run with a third group of about 5. About 30% of the marathon headed east, directly into the wind, so running with others would be critical to having a little shelter from the wind. We reached the first mile marker in 6:26, an unrealistic pace and one I would pay for later.

It wasn’t too much longer before I fell off this quick pace and watched my wind break pull away from me. Over the next few miles an occasional runner would pass me and I would tuck in behind them for as long as possible trying to find shelter from the wind. I’m not sure if it is a good thing or not, but running with my new GPS watch kept me painfully aware of my average pace. A 6:30 average would have given me my “best possible result”. I only saw that average for about a mile and a half and then spent the next three hours watching it slowly creep upwards! As it crept towards 6:52, I slowly came to the realization that even a sub 3 hour performance wasn’t going to happen. As I passed the half marathon point, my pace had fallen to 6:53 and I still had the longest stretch of the course that headed directly into the wind!
Fortunately I had another runner to run with for a large portion of this stretch, but by mile18 I was on my own and would remain so the rest of the way. At mile 20 I had the funny thought that if I threw down a sub 40 minute 10k, I could still break 3 hours. It was only a thought and the reality was that my pace had slowed to about 7:30 per mile and it was doubtful I would even match my previous best time. Instead I concentrated on putting one foot in front of the other and plodding on.

With 2 miles to go, I thought I had a chance of breaking my PR, so I did my best to pick up my pace. After 3 hours of running and gradually slowing down as your muscles tighten up and are saturated with lactic acid, increasing your pace is not natural. While I was able to speed up slightly, it wasn’t enough and I ended up finishing with a time of 3:08:11.

The run wasn’t a complete wash as I did run a Boston qualifying time. I also placed 10th overall plus picked up some hardware for placing 3rd in my age group. I guess as the saying goes, “Shoot for the moon and if you miss you will still be among the stars”. It’s hard to be happy when you know you didn’t have your best performance, so I’m disappointed with that aspect of my day. But I also realize I ran a time that many would be thrilled to have. Just the fact that I’m healthy and running and that God has blessed me enough that I can do what I do makes me thankful. I’m all ready considering a fall marathon and the pain of the day is still fresh in my mind! I didn’t respect the distance and it beat me today, but I’m planning my revenge…

posted at 22:21:10 on 03/29/08 by Tony Rigdon – Category: Race Reports


Alexis wrote:

So think how much better you would have done if it was just *you* running the race (as opposed to the cold, the wind, etc)
03/30/08 00:47:48

Lise wrote:

Way to go, Tony! A hard race and you did well — no, not what you expected or wanted but very respectable. Many of us would kill to come close to that pace.


03/31/08 13:26:49

3rd win!!! St. Patrick’s Day 5k – March 15th, 2008

I knew I would do this race, in fact this was an “A” race for me so I actually tapered slightly for it. I had started doing this race back in 02′ and for the past 3 years I had placed second overall, so I was gunning to win this race and get that second place monkey off my back!

Like I did in 07′, I went up on Friday and spent Friday evening hanging out with some friends. Then, once again I woke up to snow on the ground Saturday after going to sleep with no snow! By the time we were lining up to start, the snow wasn’t coming down anymore, but it was a little windy and kind of cool. Not quite certain what I should run in, I opted for my usual shorts and tank top which felt cold but I knew I would warm up quickly.

The course heads north for about one mile before making a few turns and heading back south. After running a bit of the course earlier, I had decided I would tuck in behind whoever took the lead initially until at least the first mile marker. As soon as the race started, two runners took off and were in the lead. One of the runners looked like the winner from the previous year so I decided to tuck in behind him and follow him. The other runner, Allen Goans who I would later meet, started to pull away slightly. I started to doubt the runner I was behind was the previous year’s winner, but since Allen wasn’t getting too far ahead I decided I would stay where I was at until we turned out of the wind. By the time we reached the turn and the first mile marker, Allen had about a 5 second lead on me. The first mile had felt quite comfortable and I was quite surprised when I heard 6:04 for my time, I was expecting it to be slower. But I knew I could run faster so I picked up my pace and pulled past Allen into the lead. I tried to make this move decisively and then maintain a decent pace to discourage any attempts by Allen to go with me.

Unfortunately, the course which had been considerably short in the past, was now the correct distance so I knew it was going to be just about impossible to PR, especially since I had gone out so slow for the first mile. Once I knew I was solidly in the lead, I settled into a pace that I knew I could maintain without risking blowing up towards the end. I ended up finishing with a time of 18:34 which meant I had run the last two miles at a faster pace than the first mile, which I’m pretty sure was a first in a 5k for me!

23:41:17 – Tony Rigdon

2nd Win! Run With the Eagles 5k – March 1st, 2008

Wasn’t real certain about doing this race and decided the night before I would set my alarm to get up and check the conditions outside in the morning. Things looked decent so I decided I would go, I figured the money was going to a good cause and it would be a good paced training run at the least!

Wasn’t sure what to expect for the turn out as this was a first year event, but it is Columbia so it isn’t like there aren’t plenty of runners who could show up. Looked like about 50 or so at the start and as usual I surveyed the runners trying to single out who the competition was likely to be. None of the known speedsters were present and I couldn’t single out anyone in particular who stood out as being fast.

Once the race had started, one person I didn’t know surged to the front and set off at a pretty fast pace. Turns out this runner was Bill Stolz, a former collegiate runner who does a lot of the local races only I hadn’t met him before. I kept hoping he would slow down, but since I didn’t know who he was I knew I couldn’t count on that happening, so I ran right off his shoulder. After about a mile at sub six minute pace, I figured he would slow down and I moved to the front hoping he would drop off. But he stayed right behind me. Since I realized I wasn’t going to drop him, I slowed up a little and eventually he moved back in front of me.

I’m not sure if the course was a bit long or it was just a slow course, but I’m pretty confident we were probably under six minute pace for the whole run, but our times didn’t reflect that. Anyways, we stayed together and were heading back on the trail with just over a mile to go. I think Bill tried to surge on one of the final hills but I managed to stay with him and work on preparing myself for one final surge myself. With about 300 yards to go, I started my final kick and fortunately Bill didn’t match it. I pulled ahead winning by one second! Final time: 18:42

23:09:51 – Tony Rigdon