That’s it, I’m taking up chess…

OMFG that hurt. No, seriously, that F’ing hurt!

No, seriously.

But that’s what lets us know that we’re alive, right?

If you don’t know what I’m talking about, look at the elevation profile for the marathon here.

Total time – 5:25:54. Not too shabby, especially when you look at the course. That and the fact that it’s my first marathon. Ever. 1/2 Marathon time – 2:15:30. How’s that for a positive split? I’ll let you do the math.

To make a long story even longer, it started on the drive this morning. We timed it well to get to site 15 minutes before the start. The fog was pretty dense in spots on the drive into Nashville, which slowed us down a bit. Then about 1 mile from the start, a beautiful 8-point buck decided he needed to be on the other side of the road, which put him right in front of us. How do I know he was 8-points? I can still see him in mid-flight right off the nose of the car. I don’t remember anything else, but Goddess tells me I gave a quick tap on the brakes, which was apparently just enough to let him slip by.

The starting speech was quite comical. With a name like the Flying Monkey Marathon, what else can it be? With instructions on how to deal with the flying monkeys and an admonition to not rush, since the keg wouldn’t be tapped until noon, which meant we should all shoot for a 4:59 finish to get there just in time.

Started off slow and easy. Maintained a 9:30 pace through the first few miles. Not surprising, considering my lack of running over the past two weeks, miles 3-5 were pretty miserable. My legs were not waking up. The 150 foot climb and the 200 foot descent in the first 3 miles didn’t help them feel any better. I got into my groove by about mile 7 and cruised through the next 10 miles, hitting the 1/2 mark at 2:15:30, which averaged 10:20 over the distance. I wasn’t out here to break any records, just hang on to the finish.

Mile 17 was the start of some ugly times. As you can see on the profile, that mile was a 200 foot drop, which led up to the ugliest hill of the course through miles 18-20, which saw 300 feet of climbing. This put the hurt on. Up until now, the only time I walked was through the aid stations (I’m quite pleased with that). Throughout this climb, I adopted a racewalk strategy, which worked out to be faster than I was able to run up that hill.

By the time I hit 20.1 miles, it was all downhill from there (except for the uphills). The elevation drop was 215 feet over the next six miles, with some short but not-so-sweet uphills. Problem was, the legs were deep in the hurt-locker even going downhill. So it was a walk-run strategy for a while. But I got it done. Average pace for the last 13.1 miles – 14:34. Average pace for the whole 26.2 – 12:26.

Man, I’ve got to try a flat race.

The Yazoo beer served at the finish line was loverly! Huge props to Trent, the race director (who also ran in the race) for working a deal with them. The scenery was gorgeous the entire time. Luckily, the severe thunderstorms that blew through on Wednesday didn’t strip all of the trees. With my slower second half, I saw a thousand and one photos I would have loved to have taken.

A friend of mine flew in from D.C. to run this race. It was his eleventh this year, including Antarctica and The Lewis and Clark Bozeman marathons. After driving him over the course yesterday, he was hoping for a 4:30 finish. He ran his fifth fastest marathon ever, coming in right at 3:30! Now he’s curious what he would have done had it been a flat course.

Times aren’t up on the website yet, but I thinkthe first place guy finished in the 2:45 range. He blew past me heading back in just as I was approaching the 10-mile point. He was already 6 miles ahead of me. Quite humbling.

If you’re looking for a late-season marathon, I absolutely cannot endorse the Flying Monkey enough. Small, low-key and not to be taken seriously (except for the course). Today was only its second running, but already had folks fly in from Alberta, Seattle, D.C. and even Italy! It’s an extremely well-run event, with some schweet swag (including a personalized long-sleeve Patagonia technical running shirt – in addition to the standard cotton race T-shirt!) and some good times with your fellow runners.

I hope to be there next year.

But first, I gotta relearn chess.

17 thoughts on “That’s it, I’m taking up chess…”

  1. Mike ran a 3:30 on that course? I hate him. 🙂

    I’m impressed that you were able to run a marathon at all after the IM not too long ago. And downhill at the end is never really as great as one thinks it should be. I really just makes it hurt more.

    T’s looking for a good chess partner. I’ll keep the beer chillin’ in the fridge.

  2. 😀 “It was all down hill from there (apart from the uphills)” !

    I guess you’re a ‘glass half full’ guy then. Good, tough race – get dug in, take up chess, and hibernate for the winter now – you’ve earned your R&R for this year.

  3. @Beth –

    Beer? Did I hear beer? I’m there! 😀

    The downhill’s definitely left a lot to be desired. I was not a fan. I thought it was odd that a lady was walking down the hill just past the halfway point after running up the hill leading up to it. She said it already hurt more going downhill. It didn’t take too long and I figured it out for myself.

    I’m eyballing a 1/2 Marathon in Memphis on 5 Jan and another in March down in Florida. I’ll stick to those for now.

  4. @Karl –

    Hehe. Actually, I’m a “drink it till it’s empty” kinda guy.

    When the race director passed me, I told him that I was looking forward to mile 21, since it was all downhill from there. His response was “yeah, except for the uphills”. So that’s where that came from.

    No hibernating, although there will be some time off. But I’m eyeing a couple of 1/2 marathons in the first quarter of next year.

  5. @Brent –

    Cheers, Brent.

    And the lesson I learned from that? Look for a flat course. 😉

    Hehe, actually it’s time to hit the gym, although leg presses won’t be for a few weeks.

  6. @Jay –

    Thanks, Jay. 😀

    Yeah, they were up. And down. And up. And down.

    I’m eyeing a couple of flat ones now. Figure it would be nice to see what that’s like.

  7. with those hills, that’s a great 1st mary! Congrats… I’m doing gasparilla because it’s so flat…yea, I’m a big woossy

  8. Congrats on your marathon! That sure was a twisty, turny, hilly course!
    Tucson has one this weekend…it’s mostly all downhill (or loss in elevation) with an uphill at the finish. A real quad burner for sure…and guess what ? I am NOT running it! Downhill courses are the worst!
    (But if you are young and lithe and have done your lunges people can PR on the course and qualify for Boston!)

    Thanks for the heads up on the AXE…now I won’t buy some for hubby for Christmas! 🙂

  9. Bill, congrats on your finish and thank you so much for your kind words! Of course, you and everybody else who runs this thing are fools ;). We hope to see you next year!

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