Sunday, December 11, 2011

Rocket City Race Report

Overslept by 20 minutes. Actually had the most peaceful sleep ever before a marathon. I didn't wake up once during the night. No tossing and turning. Usually I'd be up every hour or two. Guess sleeping in my own bed does the trick.

Paula and Dylan drove down with me. We had to make one stop, because I'd forgotten lube for my feet. Trip down wasn't bad, just at 2 hours. Hadn't checked the weather before we left, and surprised to find temperatures at 35 degrees. I'd thought it would be colder, but not quite as windy. It was overcast as well, which made it seem even colder.

Got my bib and found the W brothers. We all went up to their room to chill out for the hour before the start. I decided to go with shorts, calf sleeves, beanie hat, mittens, a compression long sleeve and another layer for the wind, an armless Fleet Feet t-shirt. Didn't wear my race ready shorts with pockets for my gels or succeed caps. I planned to carry them.

Left the hotel with about 15 minutes to go, because the lube that I just bought, I'd left in the van. Went back out to the van to lube up. Had all of my stuff ready to go and the cannon fired. Holy shit! I thought they'd started the race early and I still had one shoe off. Figured out quick enough that was just the start of the wheel chair race. Gathered up my gels and succeed caps and somehow lost 2. To late to get anymore. (mistake, should have grabbed 2 more) Jumped out of the van and jogged to the start.

Should have hung back in the van another 5 minutes or more. Last time I ran this race, I stayed in the hotel lobby until the masses moved to the start. Oh well. This did give me enough time, 10 freakin' minutes to go find a spot to take a leak. Found a loading dock adjacent to the start that was out of the wind. Talked with another masters runner who was running his first marathon. His half PR was a 1:14 and wasn't sure what to expect. Never saw him again.

From the gun, I decided my strategy would be to run as close to 6:49 as possible. When the wind was at my back a few seconds quicker. The first four miles were a loop around downtown and then back by the start for the stretch heading south. Mile 1-4 splits (6:50,6:51,6:36,6:43)

Met up with KC and we ran together for awhile. The 3:00 pacer was a no show. We knew once we made the turn around mile 15, the wind would be in our face. Saw JL ahead earlier and had thoughts of keeping him in sight, but wisely decided to let him creep on ahead. Mile 5-10 splits (6:41,6:48,6:46,6:53,6:52,6:57)

Seemed like we had a pretty good little pack together until about 10 miles. This part of the course is a slight downhill and the wind seemed to be at our backs, so I picked it up a smidge. According to the Garmin I was on a 6:47 average pace at this point. Hit the half way mark at 1:29:40 with 20 seconds in the bank. Mile 11-15 splits(6:44,6:49,6:52,6:54,6:59)

Mile 15 was the first slow mile, but it was into the wind, expected. The bigger surprise was the next mile a 7:34, yikes the wind was kicking my ass. Sucked it up and trudged on, but lost contact with the group. This is when my quads started tightening up. I hadn't taken any of my succeed caps. Dropped one when I took a gel. Didn't really think they would be a problem. I knew from the start that I only had 2, so I counted on taking one at about 18 miles and then another around mile 22. I had been drinking powerade/gatorade every other water stop and my gels were on schedule. Mile 16-22 splits (7:34,8:43,9:44,10:10,9:58,11:24,12:00)

Did the first walk at mile 17. Quads were tight and cramping but not locking completely. Continued this off and on for quite awhile. Tried to latch on when BQ1 went by and the same when his brother finally caught me. At mile 21, I stopped completely and drank at least 4-5 cups of powerade/gatorade. Another couple of miles of the run/walk before everything loosened up enough to slog the last 3 miles home. Might have helped to that the sun came out somewhere in the last hour. UGH. Mile 23-26 splits (10:52,8:37,8:36,8:16) and 7:34 pace for the .32 according to the Garmin. Only able to get to close to 8 minute mile pace after the cramping eased and able to run nonstop.

BQ1 finished in 3:09 (plus 3rd in age group). His brother continued the family tradition and qualified in his first marathon with a 3:14. DT got his qualifying time as well with a 3:17. Celebratory beers all around sure tasted great.

Cramping quads is a new one for me. Must have been the cold, wind and not enough sodium. Odd that the calves held out, but the sleeves really help there. The decision to stop completely at mile 21 was due to the cramping in my neck and jaw plus the quads. Probably looked like Dr. Jekyll because of the way I was holding my head.

(edited to add splits, after reading BQ1's log entry from his race)

5 comments:

Jeff said...

Hey Dirk,
Sounds like it was a rough day. A couple of my buddies also didn't have great races. The marathon is a fickle mistress.

Old Man said...

Thanks Jeff, didn't get greedy, conservative early, 1:29:40 at the half.

would have thought the powerade/gatorade would have compensated for the lack of Succeed caps.

marathons are humbling

Mike said...

Marathons are humbling indeed. Perhaps you can roll this fitness into an early Spring Marathon. Good Luck!

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