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