On Saturday, April 6, 2019
| Dan Fucinaro (Dan)|
26.2 milez in 03:19:09
Thanks to God, my family and friends for a wonderful race at the Eisenhower Marathon in Abilene, Kansas! A few special thanks: Carl for organizing a fabulous send off run a few days before. And to Dick Beardsley...I often listen back to his speech on a CD called "A Matter of Faith", where he ties in his running, his career, and his sobriety with his personal lifelong faith. I had listened to it again on the drive down to Abilene and some things that stuck with me in the race were the idea of not giving up, and trusting in God, especially when things look the worst.
Many of you know that the main reason I ran this Eisenhower Marathon race was in hopes of getting a 2020 Boston Marathon qualifying time...for me this is sub 3:25. I had blew my chance in Miami a few months before. And even with the fact that I would be running the 2019 Boston just 9 days before Eisenhower, I thought this would be a better opportunity to Boston-qualify (BQ) than on the hilly Boston course AND on other races after Boston, as you get into the slower race times associated with summer races. So a BQ was my main objective, but I had formed a few other goals for this specific race...
One goal was to "redeem myself" from my 2004 Eisenhower Marathon
performance. That race was my very first marathon, and I had made every rookie mistake there was to make, and then some, in it. Finally, a last goal in the 'return to Eisenhower' was the same as my other races: to try to do my very best with my fitness, the weather, and other factors, on race day.
I am so happy that I can say that I feel I personally achieved these 3 goals in the race!
I got into town the day before the race, and was greeted by "Welcome Runners" signs all over their main street, Buckeye Street. At packet pickup was the same kindness and warmth that I had experienced with the people of Abilene 15 years before. Checked into my hotel and got to bed as early as I could.
On race morning, weather conditions were much better that morning than on the 2004 race day. My Garmin said 48 degrees with 7 mph south wind...weather from the internet had predicted temps climbing to low 60's by 11:00 am and the south wind picking up to about 15 mph by then. And it was cloudy, so I had that going for me. The 2004 race was significantly colder and more windy, with a bit of rain as well.
The start of the race was the intersection of Buckeye Street and SE 3rd Street, right in-between St Andrew's Catholic Church on the west and the Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library and Museum on the east. Abilene was the boyhood home of President Eisenhower, and hence the marathon was named for him. One of the many nice things about this small town race was free parking right near the start/finish and minimal waiting at the portable restrooms. Chatted with a few folks from the area and also some with Nebraska gear on! I would go on to see the Nebraska folks out cheering for their runners and would also chat with them post race.
The start went off at 7:00 am and I wanted to get this race "right" from the get-go. The initial headwind going south was not problematic at that point, so I tried to relax and nail down a pace of 7:30-7:40 per mile on my Garmin, which would put me at about 3:20 finish if I held the pace throughout the race. The pace over the first few miles felt "do-able" for the entire marathon--challenging enough, but not the speedier pace of a shorter race. I had to think of the many miles ahead.
The course was different than the course in 2004, and I had studied it beforehand. The new course was a double out-and-back for the full marathon. And the out-and-back consisted of a southbound stretch; then heading out for a clockwise (hOg-wise) loop of Brown Memorial Park plus an east turnaround, then going out of the park to a southwest turnaround, then doing a COUNTER clockwise (counter hOg-wise) loop of the park you were just on with the east turnaround, then a northbound stretch to the start/finish. So full marathoners did this twice; half marathoners did it once. There was also a 5K and a 10K for this race.
I liked the new course, and it was not confusing given I had done my homework beforehand. I found it had broken up the race into manageable bits. The course had lots friendly volunteers both at the places where you turned and at the many water/Gatorade stations.
I got to "know" many of the runners just from being out there on the course, whether we talked much or not in the actual race. There were some brief conversations, but I did not want to mess up their race, or to mess up mine. There were some runners that would pass me, or that I would pass, but there was always good sportsmanship all around and no dog-eat-dog attitudes. There was one couple with matching "Just Married" shirts where I shouted my congrats to them!
Heading back to the start/finish for my first out-and-back I had briefly chatted with a woman who would go on to be the 2nd place woman in the half marathon. Just after my turnaround at the start/finish to begin my 2nd out-and-back, she was finishing and I cheered her. I knew that the 2nd out-and-back would be a bit more windy than the first, especially feeling it in our faces in the initial southbound miles. I knew not to overly "fight" the wind, just get through it for a few miles and soon I would be making the turn to the park and out of the headwind. That headwind, plus the fact that I had half of the race behind me, had slowed my pace for a few miles, but surprisingly recovered physically and pace-wise once I hit the park. The familiarity of what I had ran before was a comfort. I knew there were just a few more southbound stretches with the headwind, so I tried to keep focus. Obviously the increasing miles were taking their toll. Past 20 miles, I would see folks walking and I thought how nice that would be, but I did not give in. That was their race and their business, mine was to do everything I could for the BQ. Finally I was on the northbound stretch with a tailwind and just over 2 miles to go. I was doing the math in my head, and it not only looked like if I kept it together that I would not only run sub 3:25 for the BQ, but sub 3:20. I was even tempted in the last half mile or so to take a brief walk break but thankfully did not and finished in 3:19:09. More than 5 minutes quicker than my BQ time! And, I really felt like I had run the best race I could...steady, fighting the urges to overly speed or overly slow here and there, and thinking of struggling for a few hours in the race is better than giving up or giving in when things got difficult.
After the race, I had many lovely conversations with fellow runners, their supporters and the fine folks of Abilene who volunteered and cheered us on. I was actually 2nd in my age group, but got the award for 1st place men 50-54, as the actual first place in the age group was the overall race winner. After showering and checking out of my hotel, I visited the Eisenhower Presidential Library and Museum before heading back.
It was my 55th marathon, and I had come full circle from my first marathon there in 2004. Lots of wonderful memories, lots to be thankful for, and many memories to come!
Song of the day: "Abilene" by Sheryl Crow.
| Barb (getfuzzy)|
Spirit of White Bear Lake 5K
3.1 milez in 00:30:56
Nice race, nice people.
The weather was meh but at least it wasn't super cold and rainy!
I'm just plugging away at this running thing. :)
Rockin K trail run
26 milez in 04:17:00
| Scott Haug (hOg)|
10 milez in 00:59:48
| Steve Scoville (hskrrs)|
10.0 milez in 02:05:53
On Sunday, April 7, 2019
| Erik Hash (Hasheri)|
Star Wars Rival Run Half Marathon
13.1 milez in 01:32:13
| Bob Garcia (leanto)|
Florida Lake 5k
3.1 milez in 00:21:45
On Monday, April 15, 2019
| Dan Fucinaro (Dan)|
26.2 milez in 03:30:32
| Scott Haug (hOg)|
26.2 milez in 02:54:27
|Total Races: 9 | PRz:|