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The time, 4 hours, 59 minutes, wasn’t what Rose Ellen Adams wanted.
The experience was.
Adams, who wrote a diary for The Republic about her preparation for the Mill Race Marathon as a beginner runner, encountered some serious challenges that threatened her chance of finishing the first marathon of her life.
“At Mile 12, I stepped in a hole and twisted my knee,” said Adams, who is 40. “Then there were all the intestinal issues that plagued me from Mile 18 to post race.
“But when I was running and struggling with my knee, I was thinking that a year ago, it was hard for me to walk up steps or around the block.
“I literally ran around my city today, and that’s pretty awesome.”
Adams lost more than 130 pounds after taking up running.
Tim Proctor, who wrote the other The Republic training diary from an experienced competitor’s standpoint, finished in 2:57.29, eighth overall. He accomplished his goal of running a sub-3 hour marathon.
“People say you hit the wall at Mile 20, but for me it was 22,” said Proctor, a 43-year-old who was running his first marathon. “It was starting to get hot, but the people were cheering. Psychologically, that really helped.”
Proctor was 11th overall in the final mile.
“I could see the guy who was 10th, and I was closing,” he said. “I turned the corner on Jackson (near the finish), and I just didn’t have the kick.”
When three runners were disqualified, Proctor was moved to eighth.
“It is great to have done this,” he said. “But I can ride my bike three to four hours and not feel as wrecked as I do now.
“The marathon was everything I expected. It was hard as hell.”
Proctor said he ran a solid strategic race, sitting back off a faster pace set by his friends, who left him behind.
“It was tempting to stay with them,” he said. “But I let them go and eventually I passed them all up. It’s just a race of attrition.
“If you go even two or three seconds a mile faster than you plan, it can come back to bite you. I was pleased with my discipline. My fastest mile was 6:32, and my slowest was 6:55. I didn’t waver.”
Adams said she probably went out too fast.
“I was super psyched when I was running through Mill Race Park (at the start of the race),” she said. “I could see in my splits, I started at an 8:44 mile, then I was in the 8s for the first five miles. I was in the low 9s the next seven miles. I could see that around mile 18, I really had trouble.”
Proctor said he was having trouble at the Mile 18 mark as well.
“I was running on my own,” he said. “The field really gets spread out and it’s pretty lonely. I was worried whether I could keep going at my pace. But the people who made the effort to get out and cheer really made a difference for me. It was a little pick-me-up.”
Adams also received a boost from the spectators.
“I ran by one little girl and I thought it would be cool if she thought about what we were doing and internalize it, giving her confidence to do amazing stuff herself.”
Although Adams wanted to think about all kinds of subjects as she does on training runs, the race played games with her mind.
“I was consumed about thoughts about the race,” she said. “I did, though, finally think about how completing a marathon is an amazing accomplishment, and that we have to take what the day gives us. The day gave me knee pain and intestinal issues. But from Day One, my goal was to finish.
“At the beginning of my training, I mentioned that I would have to walk half the thing. I had to walk very, very little and I am proud of that.”
Proctor was proud that he didn’t waver on accomplishing his goal.
“Whenever you put yourself to the test, you learn something about yourself,” Proctor said. “I set an objective that sounded scary to me, but it was about going out and achieving it, and I did.”
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