Race Reviews

Running the 2009 Suntrust National Marathon

The Course

The Suntrust National Marathon is a beautiful course. They made some changes to the course since the time I ran it in 2006, and it made the race even more scenic. It is inspiring to run past the Capital, WWII memorial, Washington Monument, and the Lincoln memorial. I thought to myself, the sacrifice so many Americans have made puts perspective on the effort it takes to run a marathon.

Temp and Gear

The race started off pretty cold and never fully warmed up (30º-40º F). For me this makes for good running weather. I was dressed properly, so I was ready to go. For this race I wore Nike Vomero 3’s, Under Armour Cold Gear tights, Under Armour sleeveless running shirt, Under Armour long sleeve performance shirt (shirt from the 2008 Under Armour Baltimore Running Festival), gloves, and a Brooks running baseball cap.

Running

Sara, Jeff and I started out at a comfortable pace.  There was a little weaving to avoid runners that lined up in the wrong pace corrals and the race was thick with people that were only running the 1/2 Marathon.  It actually might have worked out for us because it kept us from gunning it out of the gate.  I felt like the first 7 miles went pretty quick.  Somewhere around 10 miles we lost Jeff and did not see him again.  Sara and I pushed on at our steady pace.  At the 13.2 mark I started feeling a little fatigue.  I told Sara if she was ready to go she should leave me.  We were together until about mile 15.  I slowed a little and Sara kept pushing.  There were some switch backs, so I saw Sara two more times before the end of the race.  I was really proud of how strong she was running. (it was her first Marathon)  I got to mile 22 and knew if I wanted to make it in under 4 hours it was all push from here on out.  I wasn’t sure if I had anything left in my legs, and was sooo ready for the end of the race.  I promised myself if my legs kept moving the finish line would get closer.  They put some rolling hills between us and the finish line and I could see the distress in some of the runners.  To keep my mind busy I started picking out the weak runners the way lions pick out the weak animals in a heard, then just chased after them and passed them one by one.  There was one girl I passed and then 3-4 minutes later she came blowing by me.  I thought “good for her”.  It was going to be close for me to be under four hours and wasn’t sure if I was going to make it.  I left it all on the road.  Approaching the finish I saw Judah (trainer and pro at the local running store, Charm City Run).  Judah gave me a cheer and it was enough to give me a little more kick.  When I passed the finish line, I looked at the official clock it read 4:03:08, then I looked at my stop watch that clocked the time from when I crossed the start and it read 3:59:4?.  I tried to stop it but my fingers were cold and they fumbled the button.  It stopped around 3:59:55.  I thought, “I think I did it!”.  I stumbled into a hug with Sara and was in a daze.  I had to pee.  I made my way through chip return and headed for the port-a-potties.  The race was over!  I ate a banana and drank a Powerade, sat and waited for Jeff.  Eventually, I made my way to the DC Metro station and rode the train back to where I was staying.  DC’s public transportation is great and easy to navigate.

Results and splits

Place Div/Tot  10ksplt Pace  Hlfsplt Pace  20mspli Pace  Guntime Nettime Pace  Name                   Ag S Race# 
949   131/225   56:42  9:08  1:57:29 8:58  3:01:56 9:06  4:03:08 3:59:44  9:09 Thomas Neuberger       38 M  1618

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