10:57 p.m. - 2008-02-18
Last Chance for Boston
Weather conditions: 36 degrees, drizzling rain, wind 10 to 15+ mph
I slipped into Dublin Saturday evening. I'd found a reasonably priced room one highway exit south from the race site. It was merely 3 or 4 minutes away from my motel. The host hotel was easy to find. It was in a business park. Since there weren't any businesses open on Sunday, the only place open was the host hotel. That meant it was easy to blockade the roads and there was plenty of available parking. Check-in and packet pickup was pretty easy. It wasn't a very large affair and these same people have been running it for a few years so they had a pretty organized system.
So I get my timing chip (heh-heh...I just typo'd timing chimp) and lace it into my shoes. I pin my bib number to my pants leg because I'm sure I'm going to shed my jacket sometime and the number is supposed to remain visible. The drizzling rain is coming down harder as the start time nears.
There are lazy days when you just don't feel like doing anything. I'd had plenty of sleep the day before day and night before so I was very well rested by my standards.
I really didn't want to be doing this. I wasn't prepared for it so it was going to be kind of a motherfucker. A leisurely 10 miles is all I'm really able to do comfortably. However, there's no way to find out what your body can handle without kind of pushing it a little bit. At least that's what I'd been thinking when I signed up for it. This time last year I'd have had my lazy ass parked in my living room, a roaring fire going, a copy of the Sunday paper in my lap, a cup of tea on the table beside me and a bag of doughnuts at the ready. What the fuck was I doing out here 300 miles from home standing in a cold rain with a bunch of other fools?
As I said before this race had kind of an oddball setup. It was a 1 mile looped course. Because it was a looped course, I reasoned that if I hurt myself or just couldn't do it, I would never be more than a half mile from my truck. They had a full marathon, half marathon, 10K and 5K all going on at the same time. It was kind of a 3 ring circus.
There were 2 starting lines. One for the 5K and half marathoners and another for the 10K and marathoners. The first group started one tenth of a mile from what would become the end timing line and the second group started 2 tenths back. Since they were timing the race and your laps by chip it made the first lap look slower but it was actually just little bit longer than all the others.
In a normal race I line up at the back of the pack to stay out of the fast guys' way. Once the gun goes off I never see them again. Sunday I saw them pass me over and over again. It's amazing to me how fast those guys can haul it for that distance. There's no world class times there but still, when you're running a marathon in less than 3 hours it's humping it pretty good.
Anyway, instructions are given, a gun sounds and the pack trudges forward.
We crawl the first tenth of a mile to the actual start/finish line and then in another tenth or so I can see my truck sitting in the parking lot. I briefly think about just getting back in the truck and going home. I just don't feel up to this and I've barely gotten started. I decide to stick it out for a lap. Just get through one lap and see if it gets better. I got through the lap and chugged a little Gatorade at the aid station. My attitude wasn't any better but I had one lap down.
This went on for a couple laps. Somewhere in the 3rd lap I shook out of my jacket. In the process of doing that I accidentally shut off the timer on my GPS unit. I didn't realize it until I was almost 5 miles into the run. Since there was a clock at the start/finish line I kind of knew what my time was. I was really just using the watch to pace myself since it has a speedometer built into it. I wanted to make sure I was going slow enough not to burn myself out early.
At the 5 mile mark I reset it. I mostly just needed to know how far it was to the finish. While there was a clock at the line, you had to keep track of your own laps. I didn't want to run more than I had to and for damn sure wanted to make sure I ran enough.
About the 6th mile my ankles and knees began to get weary. I had some soreness on the inside of my left hip/groin about 7 miles.
By 10 miles I was whipped. I was pretty tired and hurting but I wasn't injured so I couldn't justify my pussing out.
The 11th mile was a real drag. The wind was picking up in the first half of the loop. I was generally numb at this point and it was all I could do to keep from slowing to a walk. It wasn't that I had anything against walking. I really just wanted to sit down. If I wasn't going to sit down, I might as well keep jogging.
The wind started blowing a little harder on lap 12. Somehow it got a little easier. I still hurt but had kind of grown accustomed to it.
I was in some sort of daydreaming fog in lap 13. I don't know what I was thinking about, but halfway through the lap I realized I was just beaming from ear to ear. I'm not sure if I was happy I was going to finish or just hypnotized the by the magnificent, black spandex covered ass of the woman in front of me. I shook the grin from my head and told myself I was becoming delirious and to just finish this run and get the hell out of there. Finally the finish line came. A woman handed me a finisher's medal and congratulated me. A man collected the timing chip from my laces. I wandered off to the food stand to jam something down my gullet.
The website did have a breakdwon of the lap times. Once again, the first lap is slower because they started us out a tenth of a mile from the finish line to account for the .1 miles after the 13.
1: 11:49 11:49
2: 10:25 22:14
3: 10:27 32:40
4: 10:11 42:51
5: 10:21 53:11
6: 10:16 1:03:26
7: 10:29 1:13:55
8: 10:30 1:24:25
9: 10:30 1:34:55
10: 10:28 1:45:22
11: 10:39 1:56:00
12: 10:24 2:06:24
13: 10:17 2:16:40
They actually had a timing device at the half mile mark too. I'd kind of like to see the breakdowns of first and second half of laps because the first half was into a pretty good breeze. I'd just like to see how that affected runners' times. It would actually be a pretty good way to run a first marathon. Having it in February could have sucked but we caught a break in the weather. It was 36 and drizzling to start but then the rain let up and it warmed to about 40 with about a 15 mph wind. I'm glad I finished when I did. The drive back to Champaign was spectacularly windy as the warm front blew through.
Anyway, my right hip joint and the muscles on my lower shins, just above both ankles are pretty painful at the moment. I'm going to take a couple days off before I run again.
I am still thinking about one day getting through a full marathon. When I initially finished this race, I was done. I mean, not just done with the race but done with running. That's sort of why all I posted immediately after the race was a pic of me holding the finsher's medal. I was trying to back my mind off from the ordeal and think a little more clearly about it. My whole train of thought all the way home was "fuck it, I'm done!"
I know I've made considerable progress over the last year. I just happened to try to run more miles than I've ever run before on a bad brain day.
One thing it did impress upon me was just how much stronger I have to get to be able to get through a full marathon. I did 10 miles last Saturday just so this thing wouldn't be such a shock to my system. It was still sort of a shock to my system. Really, other than the pain, I feel pretty good. I'm not physically exhausted or anything. It's just a matter of conditioning those stabilizing muscles a little better than they already are. I'm NEVER going to be fast. No matter how fast I got I'd never be as quick as those guys that win these things. It's pretty tough to make headway against guys that have run all their lives. I'm pretty satisfied with lap times. I'd just like to put 26 of them together and not be terribly taxed by it. Maybe, someday! In the meantime, early May will bring the Flying Pig marathon/half marathon in Cincinnati. Earlier today I entered the half marathon. I'm going to try it again and prepare a little better.
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