Kevin L. from Tucson, AZ (Male)
Occupation: US Air Force
Age on race day: 37
2008 Rome Marathon - Rome, ITALY
This was my 1st marathon and I finished in 3:53:10.
Actually, I am a certified personal trainer and former bodybuilder but I spent the last year working on finishing my degree and raising a new baby and really just put on a lot of weight. I had never run more than 7 miles before because I never wanted to lose muscle but at 37 and with high blood pressure setting in, I decided to work on a new body type.
I actually combined the beginner marathon program with the 'break a 4 hr marathon program' while adding in my own twists from my fitness background. I trained for 7 months and averaged 20 miles per week.
The best advice is to get to the finish line healthy. If you have to substitute the cross trainer for a run ...DO IT! And do not try and outrun your program. Don't jump more than 10% in a week especially if your older than 30. The body really can't handle that and mine started to break down when I started exceeding my running quota for the week.
My only problem in training was that my right knee was acting funny on my long runs. I think I have/had a piece of cartilage floating in my knee and every now and then my knee starts to lock. It happened so frequently that I started subbing more and more runs with the crosstrainer. I was even doing 4 hour days on the crosstrainer. When race day came after about 3 miles my knee started to lock. I absolutely started to freak out because I had trained so hard and I whacked my knee with a water bottle I had just picked up. Funny thing is that knocked whatever I had in my knee loose and it didn't bother for the rest of the race.
I raced really well easily breaking 4 hours but the course was so crowded that in the beginning I was jumping over barriers and running onto/over sidewalks to pass people. It really hit me in those last few miles. I can say, even if your running to reach a goal time, stay patient and don't waste your energy in the beginning. It's a long race and you have plenty of time to turn on the gas if you want too.
Well I made quite a few mistakes. One, because of my knee issues I didn't run much in the last month. I substituted runs with lots of cardio. It was great because I had cardio to spare but you can't substitute the beating your legs take. I was absolutely crippled for 3 weeks and my quads felt like I was stabbed 1000 times. Plus, I am an idiot but I enjoyed my race evening with what you could say was way too many celebratory beers! My advice...get your runs in, keep the beers to one or two when you finish, hydrate and eat right the night after the race. Motrin is ok too...
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Tips/Words of Encouragement:
YOU CAN DO IT. Even though I was in pain afterwards because of my lack of actual run training, it was a great experience. It was actually easier than I thought. So easy in fact that I am planning on doing IRONMAN Austria next year because I feel I need more of a challenge.
Oh, be careful...this fitness stuff is addicting. The good kind of addiction though!
Plans to Run Another:
I am running in a marathon in Sept where I am gonna try and break 3:30 then onto IRONMAN Austria next summer For my next marathon, I'll get my runs in instead of the crosstrainer. Not drink so much beer after the marathon
(common sense stuff I guess).