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2000 Richmond Marathon Experience
by Peter Hall

I first started running as a means of getting in game-shape to re-start my illustrious amateur soccer career by running laps and lengths of a soccer field for about an hour a day. I had never played in British Columbia, Canada, and had heard nothing but good things about their soccer programs.

I soon found, however, that this was not enough distance and in actuality, was more boring than anything. Trail running came next, but again, found that it was not adequate to prepare me for soccer. I really dreaded the hills on the trails so I started road running.

Surprisingly, this did the trick as it provided both the diversity I needed to be satisfied with my running along with the needed vision to be able to set distance goals. I also thought that playing chicken with traffic could be an interesting experience! Over the period of about six months, I found that I could comfortably run five to ten miles without a problem. At this point, I decided that I should test-out my found success and run some 10K races, all of which were very satisfying. I might add that the shirt concept is very cool!!

Soon after, someone said the magic word to me that changed the way that I looked at running, training, and life, "Marathon"!. Once I heard the word, I lived for this event with undying dedication. I would plan everything, and I mean everything I did around my training, including my work and leisure time. I trained and became injured. I trained, and exulted in my distance running personal records (PRs). I trained and had trouble sleeping. I trained and loved every minute of it. I trained and experienced everything related to preparing for a marathon. I've even decided that perhaps the best part of the marathon is the 16-20 weeks of training in all sorts of dynamic conditions that improves every aspect of your life!

The main criterion that I used in deciding upon a marathon was the weather and location both relative to where I live. I included as part of my training the marathon selection process! Maybe this was the funniest part of my training. I finally chose the Sun Trust Richmond, Virginia Marathon, set for November 18, 2000, because it was at the perfect time of the year for a Canadian to be able to enjoy a 26.2-mile event in better weather than found in most Canadian cities at that time of the year. In addition, Richmond was within a day of driving from where I lived at the time… Perfect, Richmond, Virginia - November 18, 2000.

As I came close to the date of the marathon, I had it securely planted in my mind (due to my confidence in my training) that I would no doubt complete the marathon, but that I would also hit the wall at some point unknown to me at the time. While I had run 20 miles three times in my training and found it difficult, I was able to complete the distance without stopping. "Where was the wall going to be?" I asked myself. So, as the race began, I felt really good. I had a good night's sleep, ate right the night before, and started out well. When I reached the six-mile mar, I felt even better. Got to the 10 miles mark and felt that if I could compete at this level, then I would be fine. Then came the half marathon point and I started to feel like (even though there was only half to go) my legs were hardening. I continued to press on thanks to my mental training that taught me to run "through it". Next came miles 16-18 where some sort of "wall" appeared in front of me. I finally hit the wall at mile 18 (bummer) where I had to walk for a half-mile. I then started running again, and then stopped for water at miles 19 and 20. Something interesting happened at mile 22… The wall seemed to go away and I discovered two brand new legs (with some leftover pain from the previous pair) and was able to run the final four miles without a problem to complete my first marathon in 4:01:40.

No, this is not even close to the best time ever, but my time placed me in the mid-pack of 2500 runners. I considered my finish an average day at the office yet perfectly about right for me. When I crossed the finish line, I had that one personal moment where, to myself, I could say, "I had completed a marathon, Yes!".

About Peter Hall
Peter, 34, is a consultant employed by Accenture located in Wilmington, DE. There, he builds capacity planning software models. Peter's previous employment includes stints with Adexa, Molson Canada, and CDS Ltd. where he has worked extensively with different APS and ERP software systems. He holds a Bachelors degree in Mathematics and a Masters degree in operations research both obtained from the University of Waterloo. Peter's interest in running started three years ago with a desire to get back into shape to play competitive recreational soccer. From that experience, he decided that running itself was what he loved to do. Soon after, Peter completed three half marathons and a full marathon (described in the article above). Still an avid runner, Peter is planning to run both the Ocean State Marathon and Hartford Half-Marathon this coming fall."

Thanks Peter for your enjoyable account of your Richmond Marathon experience.

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