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Grand Rapids marathon

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Post  JohnP on Mon Oct 17, 2011 2:55 pm

I ran the Grand Rapids marathon on Sunday. This is a fairly short drive from where I live and is really a good race. It has good reviews on marathonguide.com and lived up to it. The organization seems really good and personally, I thought it was pretty cool that you could have your splits (every 6-7 miles) automatically posted to your Facebook page. We drove up late Friday afternoon and went to the Expo on Saturday morning. The expo is a good size without vendor duplication, and the race is also a good size. Maybe 2,000 marathoners and they also run a half marathon at the same time. Luckily the turnoff for the half is fairly soon after starting. It's always tough when they run their whole route with the marathoners as it's so tempting to want to stop with them. We had dinner with a group that Michele '1L' was a part of. It was good to meet with her after talking online here. The dinner was in honor of one of her friends who was running her 50th state. Grand Rapids marathon issued bib #50 to her, a classy move.


Anyway, for me, this was one of my best races. The weather was conducive to running well though I would have liked a little cooler. it was 50 degrees at the start and rained up until about 10 minutes before the start. So there was some humidity but not too much. On Saturday there was a gale force wind warning but thankfully that went away overnight. The winds did pick up at times during the race but it wasn't anything like Friday/Saturday. If you do this marathon, it would be good to stay at a downtown hotel as you can walk to the start. We had to drive and chose to leave fairly late so my wife dropped me while she found parking. The chute is big enough and you can pretty much move up as far as you want. I lined up near the 3:29 team. Another thing I like with this race is they collect all the throwaway clothes and put them on a table so you can get yours after the race.


After the Canadian and U.S. national anthems, the race started right on time. While I trained at a 3:30 pace this year, I wasn't 100% sure how it would go. The plan was to run the first few miles a little slower and then pick up some. The first mile or two is a little crowded but other than that, it's pretty wide open yet not too wide where it seems no one is there. This course is a dual loop with a few out and backs, which I never like, but it worked out OK. I did miss about four mile markers but assume they were there and I didn't see them. That actually is a mental boost when you see the next one and realize you did two miles!

I was not feeling the 8:00 pace so I tried to stay from 8:00 - 8:05 as much as possible. With a smaller race, it seems like 5-6 people and I ran mostly together for a large bulk of the race. One thing that's mentally difficult is pulling away from people like this when they begin to slow. The natural inclination is to slow with them. In looking at my splits, for 21 miles the splits were fairly even. Then I had a slower mile then I remember telling myself I can do this so I picked it up for a mile. But as the sun peeked out a bit and it was a little warmer out, I started bleeding a little time at the last few water stops and miles 24, 25 and 26 slowed to about 8:40. Also looking at my HR data, it seems I should have been able to pick it up a bit more but I didn't.

As I got close to the finish line, I could see the clock. It read 3:35 something. I really started pressing since I knew there was a little time before I had crossed the start line. As I crossed, I stopped the watch a little bit after as I remember the advice to not stop the watch at the finish line so the picture doesn't have that. My watch said 3:35:02 but then when I found my wife, she said the text said it was 3:34:59. Only three seconds difference but that 3:34 brought a big smile to my face. The official time lists me at 3:34:56, my best time by 1:37. The time was special to me because though I qualified for Boston next year, I qualified under the age-up provision (I jump age groups next January). So internally I really wanted to qualify for Boston at my current age which was 3:35. So I achieved that. Thanks for reading.

MileTimeDistanceAvg HRHR %
18:08113479%
28:08113479%
38:08114082%
48:05114284%
58:06114284%
67:59114284%
78:14114384%
88:00114284%
98:07114284%
107:59114284%
118:03114485%
128:10114485%
138:08114485%
148:12114585%
158:02114384%
168:06114485%
178:08114686%
188:08114686%
198:09114786%
208:14114786%
218:10115088%
228:24115088%
238:13115189%
248:39114786%
258:40114887%
26-26.210:361.214988%
Summary3:34:5626.214485%

Grand Rapids marathon Grfini11
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Post  Michele "1L" Keane on Mon Oct 17, 2011 4:56 pm

It was great to meet you John, and although I looked for you in the morning, I did miss you (and ti turns out I probably lined up right in front of you as I was near the Billy Baldwin pacer team. I, too, thought the conditions were pretty ideal for running and the course thinned out pretty good for the beginning. I must have missed you as I jogged back along the course to meet Judy at mile 24, but I'm so glad that it all worked out and you ran a great race.

I'm a bit disappointed in my race, but I ran the best I could given the day and my little injury. I dialed it back and finished in 1:42 which was a solid effort with very consistent splits. I only slowed a bit over the hills as my leg just didn't have the power to push up the hills like I like to do. I guess I was rewarded with the AG award, so i really can't complain. Now I just need to get healthy again for NY and I do have 3 wks.

Congrats again, and I'm so happy that you made your goal! Give my best to Carol.
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Post  Randy E on Mon Oct 17, 2011 5:15 pm

Nice running, John. Congrats on the PR & BQ.
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Post  Dave-O on Mon Oct 17, 2011 5:22 pm

John, I'm really glad running Grand Rapids worked out for you. Those splits are fantastic, and talk about coming in right on target! I too liked Grand Rapids. Good race. Congrats.
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Post  jon c on Mon Oct 17, 2011 6:44 pm

Glad that you had a great race day and result! Made the hard work worthwhile and your decision to defer from Chicago worked out well. Congrats and nice job on the BQ!!
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Post  Jack_Scaff on Mon Oct 17, 2011 6:47 pm

Very well done, Jon. Congrats on the BQ.
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Post  dot520 on Mon Oct 17, 2011 8:12 pm

Those are some consistent splits!! Wow. What a machine. The other thing is in looking at your splits, the course was exactly 26.2?? How is that possible? You ran the tangents extremely well. Congratulations on an awesome finish time and PR as well! Yahooo!
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Post  Chris M on Mon Oct 17, 2011 8:51 pm

The decision to bail on Chicago...BRILLIANT! Well done. Really nice to get just under 3:35 like that.
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Post  JohnP on Mon Oct 17, 2011 11:17 pm

@Michele "1L" Keane wrote:It was great to meet you John, and although I looked for you in the morning, I did miss you (and ti turns out I probably lined up right in front of you as I was near the Billy Baldwin pacer team. I, too, thought the conditions were pretty ideal for running and the course thinned out pretty good for the beginning. I must have missed you as I jogged back along the course to meet Judy at mile 24, but I'm so glad that it all worked out and you ran a great race.

I'm a bit disappointed in my race, but I ran the best I could given the day and my little injury. I dialed it back and finished in 1:42 which was a solid effort with very consistent splits. I only slowed a bit over the hills as my leg just didn't have the power to push up the hills like I like to do. I guess I was rewarded with the AG award, so i really can't complain. Now I just need to get healthy again for NY and I do have 3 wks.

Congrats again, and I'm so happy that you made your goal! Give my best to Carol.
Thanks Michele, it was good to see you. You made a smart move in dialing back (keep in mind, your dialing back 1:42 is my HM PR). Congrats on the AG award, that's really cool as there were a lot of people running the half. Happy taper now for NYC.

@Randy E wrote:Nice running, John. Congrats on the PR & BQ.
Thanks Randy

@Dave-O wrote:John, I'm really glad running Grand Rapids worked out for you. Those splits are fantastic, and talk about coming in right on target! I too liked Grand Rapids. Good race. Congrats.
Thanks Dave. A smaller set of runners made it easier for me to run more evenly.

@jon c wrote:Glad that you had a great race day and result! Made the hard work worthwhile and your decision to defer from Chicago worked out well. Congrats and nice job on the BQ!!
Thanks Jon. I know it could have gone either way.

@Jack_Scaff wrote:Very well done, Jon. Congrats on the BQ.
Thanks Jack.

@Chris M wrote:The decision to bail on Chicago...BRILLIANT! Well done. Really nice to get just under 3:35 like that.
Thanks Chris. As I told Michele, it was a rare smart decision I made!
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Post  JohnP on Mon Oct 17, 2011 11:21 pm

@dot520 wrote:Those are some consistent splits!! Wow. What a machine. The other thing is in looking at your splits, the course was exactly 26.2?? How is that possible? You ran the tangents extremely well. Congratulations on an awesome finish time and PR as well! Yahooo!
Thanks Dot. I massaged the data before putting it here by getting rid of the extra mileage since all that counts is 26.2. The Garmin showed 26.29 miles total for the race. This makes sense to me. Other than the first mile, I had to dodge and move around no one which saved distance. Also I definitely did run the tangents but even better, it didn't seem there were that many turns to need to worry about the tangents.
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Post  Bob on Mon Oct 17, 2011 11:27 pm

I love Grand Rapids. Great race, great people, great location, great support.

Congrats on a great day, John! Glad it worked out for you after Chicago.
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Post  Matt W on Mon Oct 17, 2011 11:38 pm



Congrats on a well-run race. I'm glad it worked out for you. Anytime you notch a PR, it's a good day and I'm glad your decision to run GR paid off for you. It is funny how much of a difference a few seconds can make to you when it's the difference between one minute and the next. Nice job in sneaking under the 3:35 mark.

Recover well and good luck in the future.
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Post  Michael Enright on Tue Oct 18, 2011 8:01 am

Well done, across the board, including the decision about switching races.

Congratulations on your time - you earned it!
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Post  healdgator on Tue Oct 18, 2011 9:30 am

That's awesome, John. Congrats on a great PR and milestone.

A question: what do you mean when you say you trained for 3:30?
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Post  Alex Kubacki on Tue Oct 18, 2011 10:01 am

John congrats on the PR and BQ. That's awesome. Great job on the splits.
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Post  Jerry on Tue Oct 18, 2011 4:05 pm

Congrats on the BQ, John! That's so cool!
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Post  momof5boys on Tue Oct 18, 2011 5:33 pm

Congrats, John, on a great race! Excellent pacing, PR, and BQ! Wow, how satisfying that must be to have accomplished that. I'm glad you liked the marathon, it is a great race!
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Post  amyjoann on Thu Oct 20, 2011 4:32 pm

Great solid race John,I'm glad you had good conditions I know in the past you've had a couple bad ones along with me. Recover well and enjoy boston:D
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Post  Liz R on Sun Oct 23, 2011 7:37 pm

Congrats! You look so relaxed in that finish line photo.

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Post  John Kilpatrick on Sun Oct 23, 2011 7:52 pm

Was out of town and missed your report - what a cool thing to read about it and see your finishing time! Those were definitely some enviable splits and a BQ to boot - good for you! You've had a good training cycle and so glad it paid off for you. Like the picture too - I agree with Liz - you look like you are just cruising it in after a relaxed weekend run, no big deal!

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Post  Julie on Sun Oct 23, 2011 7:53 pm

Congratulations! Great race! I am so glad all worked out when you decided not to run all of Chicago.
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