I was not going to give in today!

I was not going to give in today!

white river marathonby Bob H.

2014 seems to be the year of the destination race! In April, Pat and I travelled to California with Drew and Laurie for the world famous (and extremely tough) Big Sur Marathon. In June, Pat and I drove to Duluth, Minnesota for Grandma’s Marathon (also world famous).

For our third marathon, we chose…Cotter, Arkansas?? OK, so it isn’t exactly a destination race, but the White River Marathon for Kenya is an excellent race. The race is well run with a mostly flat course. It’s a great place to set a PR or qualify for Boston.

Unfortunately for me, neither of those things happened, but it was my best marathon of the year and I was able to slay a couple of demons. I have had trouble for a couple of years running a good, strong race and I have psyched myself out at the last few marathon attempts. At this marathon, I ran strong most of the way and felt like I was in control of my physiological and psychological states throughout the weekend.

Race day “dawned” cloudy and cool, 46 degrees at race start. We never saw the sun. The race started with a very short climb followed immediately by an almost mile long, fairly steep downhill. The first mile was 7:42 but I felt that I would have put forth more effort trying to slow down.

Once the opening mile was over, we leveled off and settled into a more normal pace. I kept the effort level and pace even through most of the first half marathon (1:48). I felt very good at that point, without one thought about losing control. The few “uphills” were offset by an equal number of “downhills” with neither more a 1% grade. Basically flat. I still felt I was running easily when it started raining at about the 18-mile mark. It was at this point that I realized I might be fading as I had missed seeing the 17-mile marker (or forgot about it).

The rain started coming harder and I was getting a little colder at the turn around at the 19.5-mile mark. We headed back into the wind which wasn’t as bad as it had been at New York or Naperville, but at this point, it was unwelcome. At 20 miles (2:46) I still felt like I was in control and it was just a matter of holding onto my pace until 23 when I would push for home.

Things went pretty well until 23 miles (3:13) and I felt that a little push would get me to my goal of 3:38. My mind said “GO!” but my legs said “NO WAY!” Mile 24 was 8:45 and everything faded fast from there. I was just barely running, but never gave up and shuffled my way to the finish in 3:45:49. I was short of my goal, but it felt good to give everything I had on that day! In the past I would have walked at some point, especially during those last two miles. But I was not going to give in today!

As usual, it takes a village to get to the marathon finish line. Thanks to Coach Joe for a great plan! Like the Cubs, wait till next time! Also, thanks Joe for the inspiration I pulled away from your race the week before at Ironman Arizona! It’s amazing what your mind can do. Thanks to Chilly, Jim, Kevin, Coach Suzy and everyone else for the great words of encouragement and strong vibes to help keep me positive. And most of all, thanks to Pat for being so supportive and following me to all these great “vacation spots” so I can scratch this endurance (and enduring) itch! As always, without you, none of this would have any meaning!


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