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May 18, 2009

Red Deer Marathon 2009

I finished in 1:14:57 and placed 2nd in the half-marathon. I am happy with that performance; it is almost 3 minutes faster than last year.

The weather for the race in Red Deer was fabulous. Perfect temperature, and just a light wind. The race start was not crazy fast this time. I stayed behind the eventual winner Brian Torrance for about 2 km or so. At that point, I felt the pace was a bit slow, so I figured I should just go to the front and help with the pace. So, I went to the front and suddenly I noticed I got a bit of a lead. This kind of surprised me, since I know Brian is faster than myself. I kept going at a pace I thought I could keep for the whole distance, and I knew pretty well Brian would catch me later on. I figured it would happen going around the island at 11 - 12 km or so, and sure enough, that is what happened. I find it hard to run on that gravel stuff around the island, but Brian is a great cross-country runner and he kept a good speed going around this part. I had trouble keeping up with him.

Matt Norminton, the fastest runner in this field, was running behind us at a slower tempo pace intentionally (he was pacing the lead marathon runners for the first 10 km or so), but apparently he was picking up the pace and was chasing us down. Brian knew this, and ran like a bat out of a very hot place, and I did my best to keep up with him, but could not quite do it.

I was not too far behind at about 14 km, but at about that point, my legs started to give up a bit and I had to slow down, while Brian actually picked up the pace. Up until this point, the pace had been about 3:32 per kilometre, and as I was starting to slow down, Brian went even faster. Impressive.

I was worried Matt would come from behind and blow by me towards the end, but fortunately for me, he didn't. I probably slowed down 10-15 seconds per km on the last 3-4 km due to fatigue, but I tried hard to keep up a decent pace even though both lungs, heart and legs were exhausted.

Right at the end, there is a "famous", fairly steep hill that always seems so hard to run up. Because it comes so late in the race, it seems tougher than it really is. I stumbled up it, and at the top I looked behind me, expecting to see Matt come up it like a locomotive. Nobody there, sigh of relief! It's just downhill from here to the finish, which is nice.

A few minutes later, as I am running towards the finish clock, I see I will at least go under 1:15. I am happy with that. With a taper and a flatter course, I think I could go under 1:14.

Next is Calgary full marathon in 2 weeks, and I have no idea how that is going to go. Realistically, I am think 2:48 to 2:45 is doable. There will be many fast runners in this race, and a top 5 finish won't be easy! I just hope I can have a good race where I don't totally crash at the end. We will soon find out!

Photo from the 2008 race

By Robert Renman - www.dolphinstreet.com

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Posted by Robert Renman on May 18, 2009

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