13.1 mile Train Wreck

Ok, maybe not all 13.1 miles, but a good chunk of them.

This morning was the Tom King 1/2 Marathon in Nashville. As forecast, we got there just in time for the thunderstorms to roll in. At 7am, in a driving rain and occasional clap of thunder, Goddess started her very first 5K, which she smoked with a 39:24!

While she was running, I warmed up under the overhang of LP Field, which is where the Tennessee Titans play. I’m not a football fan, so I won’t insert any comments about whether they play or not. If you do, I’ll shrug, since it doesn’t mean anything to me.

Lots of warming up, lots of stretching, then a run inside the stadium to watch her finish. For both races, the finish line was on the east side 50-yard line, after entering the stadium on the northwest corner and then running the perimeter of the field. Quite a unique finish, with everyone’s sprint displayed on the Jumbotron. Here’s the view, with the final turn before the final 50 yards:


So at 8am we started the 1/2 marathon. A nasty start at that -> 48F, pouring rain and a good flash of lighting right before the gun went off, with the course turning into a 5-10mph wind after the first 1/2 mile. Good stuff! Starting off at a very comfortable 8:18 pace, I was right where I wanted to be, slowly warming up and then picking up the pace for a 1:45 finish, which needed a 8:00 average pace to pull off. That’s a pace I’m comfortable with for 10 miles on training runs, so I knew I’d have to push it a bit to go the full 13.1. But it’s a race, so isn’t that the idea?

I typically take several miles to warm up, often not feeling supple and smooth until the 5-6 mile range. Well, that never happened. For the next 10 miles, my average pace dropped a very even 5 seconds per mile, then I flattened out at a 9:02 average pace for the last 2.1 miles. I just never warmed up.

Before the start, I made the decision not to wear a jacket, since I heat up so quickly. So I was wearing an UnderArmour compression shirt under a long-sleeve technical running shirt. That wasn’t a bad decision, since I was pushing the arms up after mile 9 and was quite warm above the waist. Below the waist was where the train wreck occurred.

Down there I was wearing UnderArmour compression shorts under a pair of Nike running shorts. The quads were half-covered, but apparently not enough. I chose not to wear tights since I do heat up so quick; plus I didn’t want to deal with them soaking up water and making my legs heavier than my soaked shoes and socks (layered Injinji and Thorlo) would be.

For the first 8 miles, I wasn’t uncomfortable, but the legs were giving what they could (cue Scotty – “I’m giving it all I can, Captain”). At 8.1 miles, the fun began. The knee pain that cut short my run last Sunday reappeared. Luckily it wasn’t the stabbing pain that it was on Sunday, just an ache. Something to keep an eye on, so I pressed forward. Another mile or so down the path and I could feel both of my hamstrings start to tighten. Again, nothing significant, just something to keep an eye on. During these miles, my average pace was only dropping about 2 seconds/mile, so it wasn’t any significant discomfort.

As soon as the ache went away in my right knee, my left ITB started tightening up, which pulled on my left glute and made for a fun couple of strides. As fast as it appeared, it disappeared. And that’s when the right ITB pulled the same stunt. I tell you, I had a stinkin’ Rolodex of pains going on. The legs just spun the wheel and pulled whatever card showed. Fargin’ Bastages!

Like I said earlier, the goal was 1:45. Well, that slipped away. So I then hoped for a PR of faster than 1:49:38, which I set last October. That slipped away, so then I hoped to beat my January time of 1:55:46. Well, that slipped away, too. So then it was all out to come in under 2 hours. The trick was that I wasn’t sure what my time was. My Garmin turned off for about three-tenths of a mile between 9.5 and 10 miles, probably when I was pushing my sleeves up.

I snuck it in at 1:59:44. 60 of 91 in my A/G; 480 of 939 O/A. Here’s Goddess’ capture of me just yards out of the finish chute:


Afterwards I told Goddess that I was going to change my tagline of “Races are a celebration of me being fit” to “Races are proof I’m too stupid to give up“. Quite a bit of frustration there, especially since I’ve been very diligent about stretching, especially my glutes, on a daily basis. But as the day wore on, my normal over-analysis of every run made me realize that I just never warmed up during the race, even though I did a warm up and headed out at a good clip.

The Good

– My Injinji. After first wearing them at my marathon last month and coming out completely unscathed, meaning absolutely no blisters at all, I bought another pair. Since my foot moved around so much during the marathon, I used the Injinji as a liner inside my Thorlos. Even with completely soaked feet, not so much as a hint of a blister today. Those socks ROCK!

– The fine gentlemen at the turn around point @ 6.21 miles. Runner’s choice of Michelob Ultra or Amber Bock. The bock for me, thank you. And since it was just an ounce or so, it didn’t impact my run. But it sure tasted good, even though it wasn’t even 9am yet.

The Bad

Did you not just read my post above?

The Ugly

– Not a single thing. Even the weather really wasn’t that bad. I don’t mind running in a driving rain. I just wish I had warmed up.

I’ll keep stretching and rolling and hopefully I’ll loosen up for the Country Music Marathon next month.  But I’m not betting on it.

Looking forward to tomorrow.  I’ll spend a few hours casting Wooly Buggers in front of a few browns and rainbows.  I may even catch one.

5 thoughts on “13.1 mile Train Wreck”

  1. Sounds like a painful experience. I’m glad you survived to see that super-cool finish line! I’m sure it was just a bad day and that your legs will be on their best behavior for the marathon next month.

  2. Doesn’t look like too much of a train wreck from here. I mean, you’re hardly going to be getting a call from the US Olympic team with that time . . . BUT sometimes it is just about not giving up. So you finished with an OK-ish time, and no real lasting physical injuries. And Goddess did her first 5K, so you got to play together. And it was running in driving rain, which you know is just great fun. Kinda.

  3. The way I see it – anytime you get to drink while on the run, it’s a good run. Anytime you get to drink while running AND finish a half-marathon – that’s just a spectacular day!

    Congrats on pushing through!

  4. @Karl,

    I’m not going to make the Olympic Team?

    Way to crush a boy’s dreams, Karl.





    It’s all good. Like everything else, there’s lessons to be had in them there moments.

    Maybe one day I’ll learn them.

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