Sunday, July 15, 2012

Race Recap: Grant-Pierce Indoor Marathon

Respect the distance. That is my take away from my 29th marathon finish. Respect the distance...because if you don't, it will bite you hard.

The Grant-Pierce Indoor Marathon is a race I wont forget for a long time. I'm a marathon junkie. I love the distance. So, when I saw this race it peaked my interest because this would certainly be a different way to experience 26.2 miles.

The race was created in 2010 so Michael Wardian, a well-known runner in the ultra running community, could attempt to break the indoor marathon world record, which he did in a time of 2:27:21! And if you're wondering who Grant and Pierce are, they are Michael's sons. Michael is from the DC area and for the past couple of years I've been following his running career. I liked the idea of being able to run in a race with him and get the chance to introduce myself (which I did!).

Anyways, onto the race. Since I knew I would have my phone nearby, I decided to tweet during the race using #IndoorMarathon. Judging by the responses I got, it would appear my followers (aka kickass running tweeps) enjoyed reading my updates! Thank you for all the messages! Much appreciated!

So, allow me to use my in-race tweets to show how my race went from good to bad. 

45 mins in. 42 laps down. Feeling good! 

I will say the weirdest part about this marathon was the fact that I had no idea what mile I was on throughout the entire race. The only way I could judge my progress was by asking for my lap count from my friendly volunteer lap counter, Beth. Instead of 26.2 miles, it was 211 laps that was stuck in my head.

I knew right from the get go that I was running too fast. But, for whatever reason, I did not slow down.

Mistake #1: Don't start off fast.

Hour and a half in. 88 laps down. Not dizzy yet! Feeling great!

Still running stupidly fast, I realized I was on a PR pace. Let it be known, I had no intention of trying to PR in this race. I knew my conditioning wasn't at the level I wanted it to be at to try and break it. But, the idea of setting PR excited me, so I decided to go for it.

Mistake #2: Don't change your race plan mid-race.

2:15 in. 124 laps out of 211 down. Started out a bit too fast. Gonna take it easy this last part. 

This was the point in the race where I knew I was in trouble. My half marathon time was about 1 hour and 52 minutes. I knew there was no way I would even come close to matching or bettering that time in my second half. In fact, I did what I hated most during a marathon...slow down. I like running negative splits. That was not going to happen.

Oh, and what I meant by "take it easy" is that I was now in survival mode.  

3 hours in. 160 laps down. Dealing with some stomach cramps and tight quads. Ah, the joys of a marathon! 

As the race continued on, it was like roller coaster ride. At times I felt alright. Other times I thought about dropping out because I felt like crap. I ate a handful of these Powerbar gummies thinking they would make me feel better. Nope, they only made me feel worse by giving me stomach cramps.

Mistake #3: Don't try something new for the first time during a race. 

Finished! Rough 2nd half. Had to deal with some wicked stomach cramps. Oh well. Important thing is I FINISHED! My 29th mary!

Finally, I crossed the finish line (well I had already crossed it 210 times) in 4:14:02.

To give you an idea of how badly my body shutdown on me in the final stages of the race, it took me about 2 hours and 20 minutes to run the second half (remember my first half was 1:52).

After the race I was pretty disappointed with myself. I made a lot of rookie mistakes that I shouldn't have. I know better than that. But, as I said earlier, my take away from this race is to respect the distance. I did not do that and paid for it dearly. But, what I can be satisfied about is that I stuck with it, never gave up, and finished. And, at the end of the day, that's all that matters.


  1. Even though there were some not so great parts... overall it seems like an amazing experience. Would die to meet Mike Wardian. Pretty awesome. plus the belt buckle and certificate are sweet too! congrats, I bet it was really tough out there!

    1. It was tough, but mostly because of my own doing. Michael is a real cool guy!

  2. Excellent recap! Sounds like such a cool way to run a marathon, albeit a dizzying and repetitive one. Not to mention your finishing time is certainly nothing to sneeze at, well done. By the way, how's that inside knee feeling? I imagine you don't get to change directions midway through, that's a lot of turns. Much respect!

    1. Thanks! Knees felt fine but my quads and IT bands took a good beating from all the left turns. I was hoping we would get to change directions, but we were not allowed to because it would of messed up the timing system.

  3. great recap, Doug....and such a different kind of marathon experience from what we're used to. The bottom line is that you saw it through....good job!

  4. Congrats on the finish! I don't think I'd be able to get through a whole marathon on an indoor track. You're stronger than me by just finishing!!

  5. Congrats!! That is absolutely amazing!

  6. Wow, what a race, running 211 laps sounds mentally tough. Great tweets and post about it. Sorry you had a tough second half, but congrats too!