Monday, May 19, 2014

My 2014 Cleveland Marathon Race Report

I had a great experience at the 2014 Cleveland Marathon! This was my third time running the full marathon in Cleveland. I loved the new course although the hills on the shoreway were tough coming back towards the finish. We had perfect weather. It was chilly at the start around 49 but I quickly heated up enough to lose my longsleeve shirt and armwarmers. The sun was shining for the whole race and it was probably high 50s, maybe 60 degrees.

The Start:

Steve and I parked at the lot on West 3rd and jogged up to the start as our warmup. We used the restroom and lined up around 6:35 for the 7am start. We hung out for a while together and then I lined up around the 3:35 pace group and he moved up to the 3:20 pace group. The girl next to me was from Chicago and going for the BQ also. It would be her first time qualifying too so we had that in common. As we started I felt like I needed to use the restroom again. The first mile went fast and easy at around an 8 minute pace. Mile 2 I stopped to use the restroom quickly and rushed to catch back up to the 3:35 pace group.

The First Half:

I stayed just ahead of the 3:35 pace group as I wanted to have a little cushion in my BQ time. The first 10K felt nice and easy. My 10K split was 50:53 (8:11 pace). Somewhere around mile 12 or 13 the pace group got ahead of me but I didn't worry as I just tried to stick to my comfy pace and not worry about the pace group. My half time of 1:47:33 was on pace with an average of 8:12 and I was not worried as I was staying consistent at least.

The Next 7 Miles:

I stayed pretty consistent over the next 7 miles, slowing some around mile 17-18 and just trying to push through as steady as possible through the 30K. My 30K split time of 2:35 (8:19 pace) shows that I was not on pace anymore for a 3:35 but could still pull off the 3:40. I tried to remind myself of that as I felt the fatigue of 19, 20 miles setting in and the 3:40 pace group passing by. I'll just keep them in my sights I thought. I can still get Boston.

The Last 10K:

They say the second half of the marathon starts at mile 20 and yes it does feel this way to me. Through 20 I was able to force myself to hold on but mile 21, 22 and 23's splits tell a different story. They tell the story of a woman trying like hell to hold on yet wanting to let go. My hips and quads were aching. My spirit was breaking. I agreed to let myself walk for a minute or two a mile if I needed to but I would still need to go for the PR. My first marathon was 4:17, my second (last year) was 4:09. This year I would do better even if I wouldn't get Boston.

Miles 24 & 25 came and the hills of the shoreway hurt but I ran them. Not fast but steady. I gazed at my watch and told myself I could get 3:50. I focused all my effort on 3:50. It's not Boston but it's closer to Boston I told myself.

The Finish:

Mile 26 ticked off on my watch and I made myself run faster. Almost there I thought. 26.2 came and I was still going. I saw the finish line. There was a woman cramping up and shaking trying so hard to get there so I stopped to give her a pat on the back and a word of encouragement and then I ran it in and did some fist pumps as I crossed the line. My garmin said 26.52 and an average time of 8:44 pace. My official finish time from the marathon says 3:51:06 (8:48 pace). That is 18 minutes better than last year. I'll take it. Not a BQ but the best I could do that day.

Steve ran up to hug me as I cried tears of disappointment and yet tears of joy for the PR. I asked how he did and he told me he did a 3:16! He only needed a 3:25 to BQ and had done a 3:30 last year. He took 14 minutes off his time this year. As his coach and his wife and best friend I was elated for him!

Post race celebrating with my BQ fast husband!
Post Race:

Even though I didn't meet my goal of qualifying for Boston I still had a big PR and that alone is something to celebrate as was Steve's awesome race. We met our friends Jillian and Bryan afterwards for beers and burgers. It was an excellent day for sitting on the patio and conversing over IPAs.

Final Thoughts:

My coach says that a full in the fall will be difficult after the Ironman race but maybe in November or December I can run another. I will see how I feel and start looking at my options. I'd still like to BQ this year if possible. I know one thing I won't give up until I get it! It will be that much sweeter when I meet this elusive goal of mine!


  1. Same race report as me. That route 2 tarmac was awful for 24 and 25. Splits went from 8:05 to 13:30 brutal!

    It was my first, but well worth it! Great weekend

  2. Andrew, stick with it and you'll get to where u want to be. It's a tough race!

  3. You are such an inspiration! As I was finishing the Half Marathon, I kept looking over at those finishing the Full and I could not imagine what that Shoreway was like after 24 miles as I know how difficult it was for me after 12!

  4. Thanks Mary :) It's definitely painful and just learning to work through the pain and get stronger takes time. I'll keep trying to improve!

  5. If it was easy everyone would do it! Keep working at it and it will happen!

  6. Great report and congrats with the PR!

    Last year I did the Northern OHio marathon 5 weeks after iroman Wisconsin. It's possible to run a marathon but difficult to get a good result, as it will take a few weeks to recover from the IM, which then leaves little time to get some decent running volume in. You're essentially running the marathon on residual fitness from your ironman training. Just FYI.

  7. Ben, thanks. Yah, I know the IM is going to require some recovery. I am looking at doing a late fall, early winter one like Philly, which is 11/23. That would give me about 10-11 weeks. Another option is San Antonio which would add another 3-4 weeks.