Well after 12 weeks of specifically training for the Memphis marathon the day came to run. I began my training with using my triathlon training from the previous months as the base and started building my long runs in September - November. The training was going very well up until 3 weeks before the race. Just after I finished my last long run of 21 miles. My knee was very sore the next day. I decied to layoff of it for a few days. I went for a run on a treadmill that next Thursday and it didn't go so well. I could barely run. I was traveling at the time, so I decided that it would be best to stay off of it for a few more days. When I got home the week of Thanksgiving, I went for another run that I could barely complete on that Monday. I figured I to not run on it for another week and the week of the marathon. So by the time the marathon came, I had only done a long run of 3 miles the Wednesday before. It felt pretty good. So, I was feeling pretty ready for the marathon.
I was staying in Downtown Memphis at the Springhill Suites. It was a pretty good hotel with it only being a few blocks from the start. I wouldn't have to worry about parking or driving after the marathon. The dinner the night before was at a restaurant called Papa Pias. I had the chicken parmesan and it was a great meal! I was able to get to bed early and slept well. Of course when you stay in hotels all the time, it can be pretty easy to get used to the beds.
The morning of the marathon started off well. I got up took a warm shower to loosen up the muscles and then taped my knee with the KT tape that I had. It seemed to be pretty effective in helping with my knee pain recently. I then had a breakfeast of cliff bar, banana, and gatorade endurance. After that, I proceed to walk down to Autozone Park where you could check your gear and wait around for the start. The temperature was around 54 in the morning with a slight wind. Now the only thing that I was thinking about, should I go for a time of 3:40 - 3:50. I decieded to join the pace group of 3:45 and hope that I could hang on. I've been reading the book Lore of Runniing lately and it seems that the best strategy may be to start off faster and hang on because it is very diffcult to run a negitive split. At 8:00 am the marathon was off and running. I was with the 3:45 group. The group had a pretty energetic pace leader who was an experienced marathoner. The first half was pretty flat with some small up and down hills. I was holding strong till around mile 15. Around that time I started to feel my legs start to tire a little. The race course also had even more rollers after mile 15 which I think started to effect me. I was thinking that not running for 3 weeks may hurt. I know the marathon is all about overcoming the mind, but around mile 19. I told myself to walk for one aid station and then get going again. Well that was the wrong decision and after that I was run walking for the remaining 7 miles. The finish finally came at a time of 3:55:02. I was very happy to fight for the sub 4 hr time. Just after I crossed the finish, I experienced my first hamstring cramp that would have brought me to the ground had not two catchers been in the area. I'm glad my body waited till the finish. This is my third marathon and it's always amazing after completing any long distance event how the adrenline wears off after crossing the finish. It makes you wonder how you completed the race in the first place. Overall it was a great experience and I'm ready to complete another marathon again, this time I hope to not hurt my knee and modify my training a little to not allow for injuries to crop up.