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4843 Views 12 Replies Latest reply: Oct 18, 2010 1:02 PM by @RunRayRun
@RunRayRun Pro 122 posts since
Apr 15, 2009
Currently Being Moderated

Oct 18, 2010 9:06 AM

First Marathon at Baltimore Done!

WooHoo! I’m officially a MARATHONER! I did not meet my goal but crossing the finish line is PRICELESS! It is still a PR ☺


I signed up with the 4:00 pace group to have a consistent pace but just after ½ mile, I decided to do it on my own since it was weird they are running too fast. I saw 8:30s in my Garmin so I just slowed down and planned an average of 9:05s and pace not to go down at 9:09s. 14 miles really went fast and my total average pace was 8:59s and really feeling great and strong.


Mid mile 15 - out of nowhere, my left calf started cramping. I took it slower and it disappeared. Then came the hills and the merge with the Half Marathoners at mile 16. Suddenly, I lost my momentum, as it was hard to pass people. Runners were walking the hills in the left side and the middle of road. But I managed to get around them somehow. I came to a reality after mile 17 that I wasn’t going to make my 4:00 goal as my average pace started to fall 9:01s, 9:02s, 9:03 etc…


Whenever I start to speed up in 9:15’s and up, my left calf starts to cramp again. It was really frustrating. While going at 9:30’s and slower it goes away. I saw a lot of runners stretching it out, maybe having the same issues. I remember the same left calf locked up really tight in my first half marathon in Baltimore last year and the Marine Corps Half Marathon last spring at the end of the race. It was really painful and don’t want to experience that again. But I decided to not waste my time and just take it slow from then on. From here, I really don’t care about the time anymore and I just want to finish. Even in the last 3 miles, I know it will be downhill but I couldn’t speed up due to the pain.


I really have no idea about the cramping. I thought I was doing a good job in hydrating, stopping for a Gatorade drink at every water station, taking GU every 45 minutes and S!Caps every hour. Is there such thing as cramping due to over hydration instead of dehydration? Maybe that was the issue. Or having just 2 good hours of sleep affects it somehow?


The worst pain came at mile 25.5, the whole left leg was excruciatingly cramping. The spectators/runners behind me saw me running just on my right leg/limping and the pain reaction. I can hear them shouting `Ray you can do IT!!!`. I closed my eyes for a bit and really prayed hard that if God could just give me extra strength to finish, opened my eyes and saw my wife and my daughter cheering me on and saw the mile 26 marker. I have no idea what I felt. It was electrifying and the pain miraculously disappeared as I cross the finish line smiling and strong. The feeling was awesome!!! I never felt anything like that before ☺.


I really like my 1st marathon medal. As a bonus, I also received my Maryland Double medal (for running ½ marathon in Frederick last spring).


Really, thank you everyone for the support. I'm not so active on this board but I do surf around here once in a while and read some of the good advices. It was just a year and a half ago that I signup here and really got some good tips/advices, learned a lot. I highly recommend the Baltimore Marathon to anyone. Very challenging course, great volunteers, nice technical shirt and awesome spectators. You really would feel like an athlete. I tried to absorb a lot of the noise and cheers. I really like it, especially when they read my shirt.


Now I need to find a good recovery plan and training plan for the New York Marathon in 3 weeks. I can’t believe I’m doing it again. It is really no joke to run a marathon but worth all the training/pain as you cross the finish line.


Official Result:
Clock Time: 4:11:50
Chip Time : 4:09:56
Overall Place: 1342 / 3354
Gender Place: 1004 / 2119
Division Place: 143 / 296
S1: 50:51
S2: 1:55:25
S3: 1:59:45
S4: 2:55:48
S5: 3:04:57
Divt: 296
Sext: 2119


From Couch to Marathon, DONE!


Good luck to all MCM runners. Promise, I'll run it every year (maybe) starting next year! Also, sorry to post it here. I know this is the most active forum here :).

~ Tumblr ~ DailyMile ~ Twitter ~

  • nwfdrool Amateur 13 posts since
    Sep 15, 2009
    Currently Being Moderated
    1. Oct 18, 2010 7:44 AM (in response to @RunRayRun)
    Re: First Marathon Done!

    Wow, good for you. Never in my life, injury or not, would I even clock that kind of time I was there for the Half and it was quite a challenging course. I did not prepare myself for the 8 miles of hill ascent But, I did manage to make up time around the lake and on the downhills to the finish and was able to finish strong. Gave me hope for the MCM It was a great sight to see my family cheering me on in front of Camden Yards. Good luck on your next race. Two marathons in one season is nuttty!

  • KarlD_Navy84 Legend 879 posts since
    Jan 19, 2008
    Currently Being Moderated
    2. Oct 18, 2010 8:07 AM (in response to @RunRayRun)
    Re: First Marathon Done!

    That's an excellent result anyway you look at it; even more so with it being your first marathon.  Well done.  I could definitely relate to you regarding the leg cramps.  I had pretty bad ones in my calves and hamstrings starting at about mile 22 in my first marathon (MCM 2006). The same thing occurred during the next two, though to a lesser degree. It seems like you were doing all the right things. But everyone responds differently to the various supplements. Gatorade and Powerade just doesn't do it for me.  About a year and a half ago I switched to some products made by Hammer Nutrition.  I haven't had any issues since. Like I said, everyone is different, but it may be worth a try given your history.  I would also consider doing some kind of stretching even on days that you don't run.  It doesn't have to be a full blown routine on your off days, but anything to help you stay loose will be a benefit.  Nice job, and good luck in your future races..


  • Kyle39 Legend 202 posts since
    Sep 8, 2008
    Currently Being Moderated
    3. Oct 18, 2010 8:24 AM (in response to @RunRayRun)
    Re: First Marathon Done!

    Congrats on a great first marathon!  I've run 4 and still haven't come close to your time.


    Do you take ibuprofen or naproxen before you race?  That can mess with your body's ability to process electrolytes.  Killed my 2008 MCM due to calf and quad cramps.  Still finished, but my 2nd half was 38 minutes slower than my first.


    Or you're simply running too fast.



    3 weeks to New York - wow!  I don't think there's much of a training plan for that.  Considering that most plans have you taper for 3 weeks prior to the marathon, you're really just starting another taper.  And, considering that you just ran a marathon, not just a 20 miler, I'd make it an easy taper if I were you.  Maybe just 8 miles for the weekend long runs and do the same midweek runs as you did for your last taper.  And keep the pace easy, especially this week.  Heck, take 3-4 days off, too.  Otherwise you may be doing more harm than good.

  • BOSNPM We're Not Worthy 2,482 posts since
    Nov 20, 2007
    Currently Being Moderated
    6. Oct 18, 2010 9:28 AM (in response to Kyle39)
    Re: First Marathon Done!

    Great race, three weeks till #2.  I have ever ran one 3 weeks after a full!  I think I would try for 8 this week-end and 12-13 next.  God luck, I am pretty sure sleep was not the cause of your problem, not many people sleep well the night before.

  • lenzlaw Community Moderator 10,539 posts since
    Jan 18, 2008
    Currently Being Moderated
    8. Oct 18, 2010 9:58 AM (in response to @RunRayRun)
    Re: First Marathon Done!

    Congratulations on your first marathon!  That's a good time particularly with the calf bothering you.  I had similar problems in last year's MCM where my calf would start to hurt if I picked up the pace.  A little massage and dynamic stretching could make the difference.  I'm also going to attempt 2 marathons three weeks apart this year - MCM and Philly.  It will be interesting, to say the least.




  • MarathonDream Pro 288 posts since
    Dec 14, 2007
    Currently Being Moderated
    9. Oct 18, 2010 10:44 AM (in response to @RunRayRun)
    Re: First Marathon at Baltimore Done!

    I can try and help you on two fronts


    • Leg cramps can be caused by many things but most of all it's pure depletion. You may be going out too fast in the beginning so keep that in mind. I've tried a few supplements but my current formula consists of taking Electrolyte tablets made by SaltStix and drinking V8 vegetable juice. I drink 1 12 oz bottle of juice each day before the race. It appears to be higher in sodium than most sport drinks. As for the pills, I take 2 every 45 miutes or 1 water stop after I GU.


    • I did 2 marathons in 3 weeks last fall. I pretty much took 3 - 4 days off then ran the taper schedule again. You must start out slow especially since your body has never ran 26 miles before. Make sure you aren't injured before you start your recovery runs. Pushing it now is purely in your head. Your body remains in decent shape even if you skip a few days.



    Congrats on your first marathon! I hope you have a great time running NY!

    Training For: 50k Ultra Marathon (2nd)

  • RubyBPG Legend 1,604 posts since
    Jan 19, 2008
    Currently Being Moderated
    10. Oct 18, 2010 11:24 AM (in response to @RunRayRun)
    Re: First Marathon at Baltimore Done!

    The first time is always the best! Congrats ur a Marathoner!!!!

  • MikeDaMarine08 We're Not Worthy 2,498 posts since
    Aug 14, 2008
    Currently Being Moderated
    11. Oct 18, 2010 12:40 PM (in response to @RunRayRun)
    Re: First Marathon at Baltimore Done!

    Way to go Ray!  You were way ahead of me as I lined up behind the 4:30 pace group.


    The 4:00 pace group was not the only one going out too fast. The 4:30 group was running solid sub 10's when they needed to be running 10:17 for the first 13 miles. Many of them try to "bank" time as they expect to slow a bit near the end of the race. That is a fine strategy as long as your pace group know that is what you are doing... which often they don't.


    Congratulations on your first Marathon and good luck in New York!

    MCM '09, '10, '11

    Richmond Marathon '09

    RNR Arizona Marathon '10

    RNR Mardi Gras Marathon '10

    Shamrock Marathon '10, '12

    Frederick Marathon '10

    Madison Marathon '10

    1/2 Sauer 1/2 Kraut Marathon '10

    Baltimore Marathon '10

    Outer Banks Marathon '10

    Seashore 50K

    Houston '12

    Flying Pig '12

    Next Race - MCM Baby!!!!!!

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