For part one, read here.
And I’ll reiterate –
OMFG that hurt. No, seriously, that F’ing hurt!
Instead of the link, here’s the actual course profile:
That’s a profile for a saw, not a stinkin’ marathon. At least not one that anyone with a lick of sense would run. But there were 200 that signed up, which is the race cap. And many of us were repeats, so we really had no excuse. As Trent, the race director exclaimed at the start – “Hello Idiots!”
The horn went off at 8am sharp. And started immediately uphill, although this grassy field was a gentle rise. After that, it kept going up. In the first few miles, a small sign notified us that we had climbed 300 feet already and that we had 3200 feet to go. Trent’s always looking for ways to encourage the runners.
I won’t bore you with mile-by-mile details, since it was a matter of going uphill, going downhill, going uphill, going uphill some more, then going downhill. Followed by an uphill. There really aren’t any consistently level sections of the course. It’s always up or down, just some sections more up or down than others.
I really didn’t have any goals for this race. All year it had been scheduled as an “A” race, but my glute issues of the past month, coupled with some long, long days preparing for my replacement as well as training him, then travel from Iraq, all while suffering from the “Iraqi crud” meant that Friday’s 5-miler was the only run I had in the past five weeks. No excuses, just reality.
And the glute issues were my own fault. While preparing for the hills of this race, I pushed myself too hard on the treadmill. I’d warm up and then start out at a 8:00/mile pace. After a few minutes of that, I’d start ratcheting up the elevation, getting up towards 8 degrees while maintaining the same pace. After a long summer of long flat runs, the glutes just weren’t ready for that effort. So they spasmed on me and remained knotted, no matter what I did to try and release them. And the tension from those knots pulled hard on my calves, which made it very, very difficult to run without significantly changing my running form, which would do nothing but lead to more significant injuries.
Anyway, back to the race.
Up, down, up, down, up, down. The miles ticked by, some faster than others. And another word of encouragement by Trent appeared at mile 18 – “The winner is already finished”. The sad part was that it was true. And when I passed it, they had been finished for at least 20 minutes.
One thing I did not do this marathon was stick to a Galloway run/walk plan. I wanted to see if my fitness from a year of run-focus had improved. I didn’t walk, other that the water stations, until about mile 17, and that was by design. One advantage I had by running this race last year was knowing which hills were worth attacking and which ones were better walked. I found quite a few times last year that I could walk certain hills faster than I was “running” up them. By mile 23, pretty much all of the uphills became walkers. But one huge difference between last year and this year was that the downhills after mile 20 did not become absolute agony from all of the pounding.
The quads started cramping mildly around mile 21. Nothing unbearable, but still painful. It was a “low-grade” cramp, meaning I could work through it just fine, but it was there continually to remind me that I shouldn’t push my luck too much. About midway through mile 23, my left hamstring immediately made itself known. A quick cramp that had me pull up real quick and yell out “BULL$h!+”. I was too close to the finish to be bothered with this. A quick stretching walk and it didn’t reveal itself the rest of the race.
The last miles went by quickly. One guy was a hundred yards or so ahead of me and I could hear persistent footfall behind me. But I wouldn’t let anyone catch me and I caught the guy ahead of me with about 50 yards to go to the finish line.
2008 time – 4:25:39 (waiting for web site verification); 2007 time – 5:25:54. That’s right, a 1:00:15 PR for the course.
2008 time – 4:25:39; 2008 Country Music Marathon time – 4:29:47. That means that this was a 4:08 PR for the distance! WHOO HOOO! Not too shabby for not having run in five weeks.
And as a point of comparison, here are the two race profiles:
Makes me curious to know was time I would have pulled off had the course been flatter. But no matter what PR I set in the future, I’ll likely be most proud of this one, given the course profile.
I started thinking PR at the halfway point. I hit 13.1 at 2:08, compared to last year’s 2:15. I didn’t think about it too much at that point since I still had a long way to go. But I kept ticking away the miles and doing the math. A PR was mine to lose. The difficult thing was evaluating how close I’d be, since I somehow managed to turn off my Garmin for about 1/4 mile during mile 17. During the race I was thinking it was turned off for closer to 1/2 mile, so I estimated a five-minute difference between my watch time and the course time. So watching the clock, evaluating my condition and dancing on the fine edge of having my legs completely cramp up, I ran.
The proof was in the pudding.
It’s a good thing I don’t have to go to work tomorrow. I don’t think I’m going to be able to get out of bed.
And other than a possible 5K with Goddess, that’s the end of the 2008 racing season.