Well the 6th time is the charm.  I finally broke 4 hours on the marathon today.  This is the 3rd time that I run the Colorado Marathon, 6th overall.  I beat my previous PR of 4:15:34 by almost exactly 25 minutes with a 3:50:36.  Last year at the Colorado Marathon I ran a dismal 4:50:25.  I am very happy to break 4 hours, I was on schedule to be in the low 3:40’s but couldn’t muster it, but there is always next time.  

 I think that my recent training at the gym and my loss of over 15 pounds since my last marathon PR were the factors leading to my performance today.  So a heads up and thanks to Trainer Tom at 24 Hour Fitness!

So, here are the stats on the race.

Official Time: 3:50:36 (1:46:06 Half) 8:49 Pace
Race Number: 226
Ranking: Overall – 198/686, Age group (M3034) – 25/56, Male – 151/394
Distance: 26.2 (26.42 garmin) Nike+-well sensor died at the start
Temperature: high 30’s at the start, high 50’s at the finish (perfect race conditions!)
Starting: Steven’s Gulch Campground area in the Poudre Canyon
Ending: Downtown Ft Collins on Linden Street
Start Time: 6:15 AM
Ending Time: 10:05 AM
Gear: Shorts, short sleeve tech shirt, hat, sunglasses, injinji socks, Equalon 2’s, Forerunner 305 (my HR monitor died and was not used during the run).
Nutrition: Pre-Race = 1 GU, 24 OZ gatorade, half bagel, supplements (endurolytes, anti-fatigue, sportslegs, race caps)
Nutrition: Race = 2.5 GUs (couldn’t stomach all of the 3rd), 40 OZ GU2O (with endurolytes added), about 30 OZ H2O, supplements (8 endurolytes, 4 anti-fatigue)
Caloried Burned: 2839
Splits: 5K (24:54), 10K (49:39), Half (1:44:11), 20 Mile (2:39:43), Marathon (3:50:37)


3:15 AM – Rise and shine, shower and grub.  I had my usual pre-race meal of oatmeal, golden raisens and honey.

4:02 AM – Leave the house to go to the staging point for marathon busses.

4:23 AM – Marathon Bus departs the station.  Part of the race brochure mentions a ride to the start on a luxery bus,  ahh spare no expense.  The ride up the canyon was more interesting than previous years, as the driver seemed to be swearving in and out of the cones at times.  It was actually quite a fun ride.

5:08 AM – Marathon Bus arrives at Steven’s Gulch and we wait our turn to exit the bus, which actually happens about 10 minutes later.  It is always interesting driving from the staging (which is close to the finish) to the race start.  The first time that I ran the race, we were like holy crap, this race seems so much longer than 26.2 miles!

Before 6:15 AM – stretching, watching, talked with a friend, porta-pottied early to skip the massive line.


We lined up and waited for the call to start.  The sun was starting to peak over the mountains and the weather looked great.  I had my garmin set and IPod was ready to go.  We were told to stay within the cones otherwise we would be disqualified.  Then the bull horn sounded and we moved like the normal slow herd of cattle trying to get going.

About .25 miles in my IPOD anounced “Activity Stopped”.  I thought, ahh No, I’m running… I continued to run, but restarted the nano in hopes that everything would be good.  Then I got the “Searching for Sensor” and I turned on the music and continued on.

I started a little slower than my desired pace and pushed on.  Around mile 2 the herd had dissipated a little and I evened out the pace at 8:00ish.  I also started the mental “road kill” tally (which was 49 Net by the finish). 

Throughout the first 22 miles I relied on my own GU2O drink, so I didn’t stop at any aide stations.  I drank on the run, which was something new for me, usually I stopped to take a drink.  Drinking from the flasks while running was actually much easier than I thought it would be.

I continued on, feeling great and enjoying the scenery.  One thing about the Colorado Marathon is that there aren’t too many spectators.  Especially through Poudre Canyon.  I saw 2 or 3 specators by the time I reached the bottom of the canyon 17 miles into the race.

Around mile 9 there was some chanting music playing across the stream.  It was hard to tell what it was, but it was considered moving.

I passed over the half marathon timing pad with a 1:44 (garmin time).  A guy sitting in the car next to the pad shouted out 1:46.  I continued running at my 8:00ish pace just feeling great and enjoying the run.  I had just passed my previous half PR of 1:47, so things were going well.

At mile 15 I passed a runner who was running in memory of his brother Aaron.  As I passed I said for Aaron.  I got a burst of energy and continued down the canyon.  It reminded me of 2 other marathons that I had run in memory of a loved one.  Last year I had ran the Colorado Marathon in memory of my Mother-in-Law.  In 2006 I ran the Vegas Marathon in the memory of my mother.  Someday, I will be running Boston in the memory of my mom.

Right at Mile 17 you break out of the Poudre Canyon and turn onto Highway 287.  This is the first major spectator area.  There were all kinds of people snapping pictures, cheering, a couple CSU Ram costumes were there, cowbell, and just plain energy to pump you along the journey.  This spectator area was the largest of the spectator areas, only surpassed by the finish.

I continued on 287 for a couple miles, still feeling good.  Soon the hill at mile 19 was on the horizon.  I blasted through the hill at a little slower pace.  I still hadn’t walked once during the whole marathon, but that would soon change.

Mile 20 came and passed, I started to feel the affects of running a little, but I was still going strong.  Mile 20 passed, it was my slowest mile yet at 8:33.  Much better than I have seen at previous mile 20’s.  I was 16 minutes ahead of my fastest 20 miler. 

Soon after mile 21, I started to get short of breathe.  I have had this shortness after returning home from visiting sea level.  But never 21 miles into a run.  I was sapped and was forced to take walk breaks to regain my breathe.  This shortness continued for the rest of the race and seriously messed with my pace.  Once I was finally forced to walk, it took a toll on my mental and physical self.

 I pushed on, my main goal of sub 4 hours would still be mine.  My primary goal was sub 4, my secondary goal was to get under 3:40.  I thought that maybe the shortness was from dehydration, so I drank more and started getting double doses of water at the aide stations.  It didn’t seem to help much, but I continued on. 

I came up to the corner with .3 miles to go and saw the finish.  I opened up, I wanted to get under 3:50.  I pushed and passed a few people on the way to the finish chute.  Just missing a sub 3:50. 


In the finisher chute, the clipped off my tag, handed me my medal and a bottle of water.  I got a 2nd bottle of water and headed out to walk around and get the legs use to walking again.  I looked for a friend but didn’t find him.  I still couldn’t get rid of my weezing.  I drank and drank, stretched, walked around.  Finally about 15 minutes later all systems were go.  I checked out the standings and saw that I ended up 198th overall, 32 in my age group (if I remember correctly), and 157 out of the men.

I was walking around and another Nike+er approached me.  I met Jeffowsley and his family, very nice guy.  This was his first marathon and he ran a sub 4 also.  I chatted with them for a little and then we parted ways.  I then decided that I should head home and start the relaxing 🙂

So here are my Graphs:


 2008 Colorado Marathon


2008 Colorado Marathon Splits













2008 Colorado Marathon Elevation Profile


Calories Burned during the 2008 Colorado Marathon


2008 Colorado Marathon Medal & Bib


2008 Colorado Marathon Timing Chip