Sunday, April 30, 2006

Country Music Marathon Race Report

Arrived back in Raleigh just a few hours ago, and I'm still trying to let the events of the weekend sink in. I guess the best way to sum up the Country Music Marathon is that it far exceeded my expectations -- literally.

My goal going into the race was to finish in 4 hours, 30 minutes, which would have been close to a 15 minute improvement over my finishing time in my first marathon. Going into the race, I felt like I could possibly even finish better than 4:30 -- perhaps 4:20 or 4:25 -- but didn't want to jinx myslef.

Never in my wildest dreams, however, did I think I would better my goal time of 4 hours, 30 minutes by 17 minutes, 42 seconds, but that's exactly what I did in finishing the Country Music Marathon in 4 hours, 12 minutes and 18 seconds. That's also 32 minutes and 20 seconds faster than my first marathon that I ran at Disney World just three and a half months ago.

So what do I attribute the improvement to? I believe there are several factors. At the top of the list is my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, who has given me the strength and ability to run. Some of my favorite passages of Scripture are those that equate life to a race.

To remind myself of the source of my strength during the marathon, I applied a temporary tatoo of Philippians 4:13 to my wrist that I picked up from the pre-race expo from an organization called Team 413. Every time I checked my time and pace during the race, I couldn't help but see this verse. Throughout the race I meditated on this passage and prayed, especially from about mile 22 on to the finish.

Better training and preparation also played a big part in my improved time. Beginning to train for my second marathon virtually as soon as my first one was over helped me build upon the base I had already established by running faster and longer during my training runs.

I also paid stricter attention to my diet while training for Nashville than I did for Disney. With better eating habits and increased training, I toed the starting line at the Country Music Marathon close to 25 pounds lighter than I was at Disney in January. Not having to carry all that extra weight around undoubtedly was a huge factor in the improvement of my time.

I read somewhere after the Disney Marathon that every pound of body weight you lose translates into about a 3 second improvement per mile. My improvement in the Country Music Marathon lends strong support to that assesment. Based on the amount of weight I lost, my calculated improvement for the marathon should have been 32.226 minutes. My actual improvement was 32.333 minutes.

I also knew the Country Music Marathon course would be more difficult than Disney's. The Disney course was relatively flat, but Nashville is especially hilly. To prepare, I incorporated some serious hill training into my training program. When the hills in Music City got challenging I could tell myself that this is what I had trained and prepared for.

Last, but certainly not least, I attribute a large part of my improvement to the support and encouragement given to me by my family and friends. In Nashville, I had my own personal cheering section around miles 1, 3, 8, 20 and the finish thanks to Katina, Scott and Jennifer making the trip out to support me (Thanks guys!). But those of you too numerous to name who couldn't be with me in Nashville support me more than you probably realize. Your words of encouragment and affirmation help keep me motivated and believing in myself.


At 12:09 PM, Blogger Christopher said...

Props to you Chad... you da man!! Really glad to hear about how much you beat your target goal. And an excellent report you filed here.

At 11:31 PM, Anonymous Sandi Karchmer Solow said...

Hi Chad -- no idea how I stumbled on your blog, but I am glad I did. So nice to read about your running. I am very impressed that you've hit the marathon circuit. I'll check back to see how you're doing!
Sandi Karchmer Solow (UGA and colleague)

At 11:35 PM, Anonymous Sandi Karchmer Solow said...

PS - here's my e-mail: SandiSolow at

At 12:11 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think you should be the topic of discussion on the next 'Monday Night Live'...


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