A Balance, Redefined

Birmingham Mercedes Marathon

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Member Since:

May 31, 2007



Goal Type:


Running Accomplishments:

Marathon Top 10 Finishes: 7 Bridges ('15), Utah Valley ('13), Salt Lake City ('08), Top of Utah ('07), and St. Louis ('04). Ran around the equator (24901.55) in 4,388 days.

Personal Records
Marathon 2:39 (SLC '08)
1/2 Marathon 1:12.30 (Provo River, aided '08)
10K 34:16 (Track, sea level '00)
10K 33:15 (Des 10K, aided '08)
8K 25:32 (Crack of Dawn, aided '13)
5K 16:44 (Track, sea level '00)
5K 16:07 (Running of the Leopards, aided '12)

Short-Term Running Goals:

NYC Marathon 2019

London Marathon 2020

And my largest challenge to date, raise $20,000 for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society in honor of my cancer survivorship...


Long-Term Running Goals:

Enjoy being a Masters Runner.

Get under 3 hours one more time...


Grew up outside Chicago and joined the blog while I lived in Salt Lake City. Now living outside Birmingham. I am married with two daughters. Wife thinks I'm crazy for doing marathons. And yes I am crazy I'm a scientist for a living...

Miles:This week: 0.00 Month: 0.00 Year: 2084.75
RM 090416 Lifetime Miles: 135.71
Brooks Launch Gray #17 Lifetime Miles: 250.75
Brooks Launch Silver A #18 Lifetime Miles: 254.25
Brooks Launch Silver B #19 Lifetime Miles: 252.00
Saucony Rides Blue #23 Lifetime Miles: 252.25
Saucony Rides Black A #24 Lifetime Miles: 253.50
Saucony Rides Black B #25 Lifetime Miles: 248.25
Saucony Type A Lifetime Miles: 50.25
Race: Birmingham Mercedes Marathon (26.22 Miles) 03:08:25, Place overall: 47, Place in age division: 6
Easy MilesMarathon Pace MilesThreshold MilesVO2 Max MilesTrainer 1 MilesTrainer 2 MilesRacer MilesTotal Distance

Chapter 13

Back, again (again)…

Year recap

I’m not sure if I should title this as a new Chapter or a new Book in my life. Although it has only been since June since my last marathon, the last 8 months have felt more like 8 years. We moved from our treasured Utah to Alabama, and for those not in the know it is nice down here. I finally moved from trainee to faculty and within all that have basically flipped everything upside down. I did suspect this was going to happen and really hammered the running and life before the move but so many things had been on hold since. Running of course as a hobby took back seat for a few months and just when I was getting back into it I took a trip on the sidewalk that had me sidelined the month before the marathon. In fact my 10-mile race last weekend was my only run over 5 miles in the previous three weeks…


            This was the least prepared I have ever been for a race either with training or a game plan. Usually by the night before I have my plan and goals to within 5-minute windows of target, with plans B and C on the back burner. All I was thinking going into this race was break 3:30 and I did honestly think that was going to be a challenge. So at the last moment I thought, lets hold 7 min pace as long as I can and then just jog it in.

The Race

            My number coincidences continue. This was the 13th running of the race and my 13th marathon. It was the smallest marathon I ran but the double loop course and half-marathon/relay runners did not make it seem that lonely. In fact this is a great race that I will definitely do again. The organization was great. Enough porto-potties that even 30 min to gun I found some unoccupied. Helps with the looping course you can just walk a block over. Even with the extra participants from the other events I never felt crowded and I have to say this is the most “honest” running crowd I have ever seen. They had very large corrals set up going from 13-min to 5-min pace. Almost all the participants waited patiently behind the 7-min or further back until called for the start. The temps were chilly but the sky was clear and the breeze was not too bad.

            I started out even and focused on slowing down. I kept checking my Garmin and slowing down. It was hard to let that many people pass and I kept getting caught in grooves but overall kept calm. This is a rolling course with the biggest hill coming at miles 8 and 21 on the second loop. They were manageable though and kept the course honest. The crowd and support staff was excellent. They had Gus throughout the course so I didn’t even had to bring my own and in addition to the sponsored stops a number of churches and other groups had special stops. My favorite being the beer stops at miles 11 and 24 ;) There were also some very creative signs that have me almost stop to laugh. Another goody was the sign for a local running club (BUTS) placed enticingly over the course just perfect for jumping and hitting. The first time around at mile 9 it was no problem but there was no way I was not hitting it at mile 22 as well, to the delight of the group standing around. With the course looping it was even easy on my wife with daughters in tow. She easily made four spots and now that we know the course better could probably easily make 2 or 3 more. Always great to hear their cow bells as I approach and get their high 5s!

            I was only paying attention to my pace to slow down, nothing else so the post race analysis of the digital splits from the chip is encouraging.

First 10K at 6:59 pace TOO FAST! Just kidding, I couldn’t believe I was that close.

By 25K I got my self under control and hit 7 even, how is that even possible?!?!

I did pick it up a little here through the 30K at 6:56 pace, a bit quick but what can you do?

Then the tires started to deflate and 35K was at 7:06 pace, wheels started coming off completely here and really crashing after that but I did not jog in.

Final time 3:08:25 at 7:12 pace overall.

Age group wise I was essentially in my place from the first 10K. I did have three people pass me pretty solidly during the second loop but am not sure if they were relayers or not.

Overall place 47 and 6th in age group. For seriously contemplating pulling a DNS this race I am exceptionally happy with the performance. It is my slowest performance but still a solid run.


            Stuck around a little to get some BBQ and listen to the band. Then home to soak in the ice tub and off to the park for 4+ hours playing with the girls! Very, very sore but that is what I get for running a race without properly training for it. I’m sure I will be paying for it tomorrow but for now I am glad I got the run in. 

For the number geeks, here are my Garmin splits and a comparison to the estimates from Sasha's Course Tool for even 7min flat pace and what an even pace for 3:08 would have looked like...

Mile   Course Tool Split 7:00   Course Tool Split Final   Actual Split   Avg. Pace
1   7:03   7:07   7:05   7:05
2   6:56   7:00   6:57   7:01
3   7:01   7:05   6:49   6:57
4   6:59   7:03   6:56   6:57
5   7:19   7:23   6:57   6:57
6   7:04   7:08   6:40   6:54
7   7:13   7:17   7:05   6:56
8   7:35   7:38   7:06   6:57
9   7:12   7:15   6:41   6:55
10   7:22   7:25   6:56   6:55
11   6:55   6:58   6:48   6:55
12   6:58   7:01   6:56   6:55
13   6:55   6:58   6:50   6:54
14   7:08   7:12   7:03   6:55
15   6:57   7:01   7:10   6:56
16   7:02   7:06   7:06   6:57
17   7:01   7:05   7:09   6:57
18   7:18   7:21   7:25   6:59
19   7:01   7:04   7:27   7:00
20   7:15   7:19   7:48   7:03
21   7:44   7:48   7:48   7:05
22   7:05   7:08   7:35   7:06
23   7:11   7:15   7:54   7:08
24   6:51   6:54   7:13   7:09
25   7:05   7:08   7:49   7:10
26   6:53   6:57   7:27   7:11
26.25   1:35   1:36   1:44   7:11
FINAL           3:08:25   0:07:11

Saucony Fastwitch Miles: 26.22
Night Sleep Time: 6.00Nap Time: 0.00Total Sleep Time: 6.00Weight: 0.00
From Jake K on Mon, Feb 17, 2014 at 07:55:08 from

Congrats Adam. I'm really happy to hear this went so well, considering the circumstances. After a rough couple weeks, it seemed like even running 20 miles wasn't going to be a given! So nice job!

From jtshad on Mon, Feb 17, 2014 at 08:02:24 from

Congrats! Glad you got another one under your belt and you are happy with your result. Keep it up!

From Paul on Mon, Feb 17, 2014 at 09:49:05 from

Congrats, and nice work! I make the maps for this race, btw. :-)

From Holt on Mon, Feb 17, 2014 at 11:41:46 from

way to hang it in there Adam!

From Jason D on Mon, Feb 17, 2014 at 17:20:53 from

Congrats, Adam. I was just catching up on your blog a few days ago and wasn't sure if you were racing or not.

From Adam RW on Tue, Feb 18, 2014 at 06:56:51 from

Thank you all for the support. I was happy that my fitness wasn't as bad as I had feared. Still amazing that only 8 months earlier I ran almost a minute per mile faster. Although this is a tougher course than UVM.

Jake, Now looking at my splits it looks like I did not make "running" 20 miles. From a flat split equivalent it looks like mile 19 is where things stopped for me.

Paul, The map is a good one. Did you also do it when they hosted the trials? I wanted to see how the course differed. I guess they've changed it a few times.

Now to get back into shape and try and crack 2:50 on this course.

From Superfly on Tue, Feb 18, 2014 at 07:53:39 from

Good job getting through a marathon Adam. Off the limited training you've had. That's a great effort. Wish you the best in continued progress with life, family and.... running.

From ACorn on Mon, Mar 31, 2014 at 08:54:03 from

Belated congrats. Impressive that you were able to tough this out! I'm sure you'll get down around 2:50 again once you've got the time to train the way you'd like to.

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