How a football game helped me finish a marathon

I have season tickets for Illinois football. But their game against Nebraska was moved to Saturday night, which made it impractical for me to see that game and do the Quad Cities Marathon the next day (a 3 hour drive from Champaign) So I gave up my tickets and watched the game from a Motel 6 room in Moline…it was the South Florida game all over again. Illinois gave up almost 700 yards in total offense (over 700 before “victory formation” plays took a few yards away) but Nebraska fumbles kept Illinois in the game; it ended 42-38 Nebraska.

Oh well…but the bottom line is that I gave up a game to do this marathon.

I was to remind myself of that a few times.

I had thoughts of trying to outdo my 6:14 last year. But that weather: 70 F and humid to start and throughout the day…with frequent drenching downpours.

The TBK Bank Quad Cities Marathon

I really thank the volunteers for their great work.

Anyhow….I really felt the effect of age during this race. Why? I really find it difficult to do proper marathon training; I had lots of 20 mile walks but none of the necessary speed work; most of my stuff was high 14-low 15 pace for 20 miles..mostly just over 15 minutes per mile.

And that is what I averaged: 6:42 for 26.2 or 15:27. And I added about 8 minutes in the final 5K (58 minutes!)

My watch:
1:08:02 (5)
2:20:03 (10)
3:04:53 (half way)
4:53:24 (mile 20…fastest 20 in a long time..since last year’s marathon)
6:21:12 (mile 25…major collapse between 23 and 24)

Here is my 2018 race as comparison (perfect weather)

Roughly what happened was this: yeah, it rained hard for much of the race (with brief periods of let up) and the “bike path” parts of the course had standing water on it: this is the mile 5 to 9 (near where the Quad Cities Bandits play) Weather: 70 F with suffocating humidity. I never do well in such conditions.

Still, my first 10 miles were not that bad; I did slow down when the half marathon split off from the marathon (fewer people to chase)

Of course the Rock Island part took a while and was sort of empty; I was chasing a run/walk couple. They really got away later.

I was starting to tire as I walked to the Arsenal Island part and my goodness..the parts without the half marathon people was EMPTY; I was too damned slow. I was chasing one relay runner who too got away.

About mile 16 I endured the first of a couple of collapses. It was pouring, my pace..well, still sort of ok but the feet were hurting and I was by myself. Dang, you are on that island for a long time and about mile 16 I started to feel sick. I slowed and thought: well, I guess that is another DNF but I forced myself to keep going forward, slowly.

After a very slow mile (maybe 18 minutes?) I started to feel better (the rain revived me) and I picked it up to a 15:xx pace again. I thought to myself: I GAVE UP THAT GAME FOR THIS; I HAVE TIME TO FINISH AND SO I WILL. And by the time I got off of the island it was 4:53 (mile 20); I’ve done worse. I even had a bit of pep to my step..for a while.

Now came that long 10k out and back stretch (it used to be 15k). Miles 21 and 22 took forever and I was really getting whiny at mile 23…man that took forever.

Then I felt sick again..slowed again and maybe did a couple of miles which felt like 20 minutes. They really weren’t quite that slow but they felt like it. DAMMIT, I GAVE UP A GAME FOR THIS.
I got passed a few times but ended up almost catching a couple of women ahead of me…and that long, “just walk to the next traffic light” stretch. But the end came and the RD, who knows me, high fived me and told me “welcome home” I teared up a little.

Conclusion In come ways, I hate what I’ve become. You can see my old performances and while I did DNF this race thrice (usually when it was hot) I was almost 2 hours slower than walking PB and 3 hours slower than when I did this race as a runner.

But…well, this one was WORK. It was one of my toughest marathon finishes ever..even if it took me longer than my 2003-2005 50K walks. (5 miles farther)

Quad Cities History
1998: 3:55 as a runner (hot)
1999: 3:45 as a runner
2000: 1:40 for half of a relay
2001: 1:49 for half marathon (week after giving blood)
2002: 4:44 marathon as a walker
2004: 5:12 marathon as a walker
2005: 5:34 marathon as a walker.
2007: DNF at mile 23 (walker)
2008: 2:25 half marathon (walker)
2009: 5:28 marathon (as a walker)
2010: 2:39 half marathon (as a walker; knee surgery in July).
2011: 2:22:27 (half marathon powerwalk)
2013: 2:20:59 as a runner
2014: 2:24:17 powerwalk.
2016 DNF mile 20 (run/walk) heat
2017 DNF mile 20 (walk) heat
2018: Marathon powerwalk 6:14:11.
2019: Marathon powerwalk 6:42:06