First the numbers:
Place(s): AG 12/31, Gender 68/281, OA 71/415
I really couldn't have asked for a better race day. The temps were perfect for me: in the high 30s to start, in the 40s for the bulk of the race, and probably low 50s at the end. I don't believe that I really started sweating until mile 10, which is unusual for me.
Here an obligatory map of the course:
Not as much as I would have liked, but that only would have happened if it had come true. I hit the 10K at about 48:40, or a 7:51 pace.
In any case, I remember having random thoughts flow through my head, thinking that I had better note things down if I wanted to write them up as a blog post, and then thinking that the only memory I'll have for the race is that I wanted to write a blog on it. Which is a tad ironic, but it's one of the dangers when you promise race reports and have no idea what to say.
I do remember cheering on and being cheered on by friends, running for a while with H, whom I hadn't seen in a while, and thinking that the way will be more clear when the half marathoners start back to the finish. They did, and it was, and I didn't feel any sort of desire to turn around with them.
Time passed, and I hit the turn around at 1:43:16, or a 7:53 pace.
Then the hills started. I really don't remember running down them, but I sure do remember every time I looked forward I thought "great. another hill. did we really run down all these?" More miles passed, and I finally hit mile 20.
There is a mystique about mile 20 of the marathon; most of us don't run more than that for a training run. And I've often said that the halfway point of the marathon is mile 20, because that's where you really have to start spending psychological energy to keep the legs moving and form from going to hell.
And it was my plan to go from marathon effort at mile twenty slowly up to all out effort at mile 26. And I think I did a fairly good job, although my pace doesn't reflect that at all, although my heart rate does. Check it out:
The red/purple represents my heart rate during the race; the blue my pace. Aside from a sharp spike at mile 11- something I don't remember and didn't feel- my pace didn't fall off (go above 8 min/mile) until about mile 21, where there's a fairly increase in my heart rate. Pretty much for the final five miles of the race, my heart rate hung out in the 190s, getting up to 204 at the end as I was sprinting for the finish line.
I would have liked to have run harder, but I don't think my body would have been too happy with me. Perhaps next time I'll see if some endurolytes or S-Caps or something will be helpful. Could be I was in atrial tachycardia- runs in the family- but it's one of those things I'd need to be running with at least a two lead to find out. Which I do, but sadly it's not set up to take as specific a reading as would be necessary to get a proper diagnosis.
It was also interesting that I felt like some of my muscles just decided to go on holiday. I swear I could feel parts of them shut down and say "Okay, we give up." They threw up their (figurative) hands and gave up. It felt like carrying extra baggage.
The end of the race was interesting- for the final couple of miles I was trying to chase down a runner whom i didn't realize till later was one of my coworkers. I mean, we never really saw one each others face, and we've only worked a couple of shifts at the same time, but it was kind of interesting.
Right around mile 26 a couple of friends of mine (G and D)showed up to cheer me on and run me in. This was particularly nice because the wind was right in my face and I was able to draft off (and be pulled in by) one of them.
Also nice was the fellow behind the microphone knew me and not only cheered me in as I finished but plugged the running fit at which I work.
My boss was there at the end and congratulated me, for which I thanked him, and I wandered punch drunk through the chip removing, medaling and watering ritual. My friends steered me towards food, other friends, and finally the massage tables. Massage. Almost as welcome as the water at the end of the race. Amazing, that.
So I got most of my goals time wise. I didn't get my "can I run an intelligent race" goal, but I figure with the temp difference and the downhill/uphill difference, I didn't do too terribly.
Some other random numbers:
1st half: 1:43:16 or a 7:53 pace
2nd half: 1:44:28 or a 7:59 pace
One minute, 12 second difference, which isn't bad. I'm not displeased.
1st 10K: 48:40 or a 7:51 pace
Last 10K: 50:25 or a 8:08 pace
One minute, 45 second difference which means more in a 10K, and is significantly off my goal, but I bowed to both RPE and heart rate, and didn't try to push myself to cardiac arrest. that would have been unfortunate.
It was a really good time. If I have friends who would want me to pace them through it in the future, I'd be happy to do so. I've heard people complain about the course, but since I don't run on it that much, I kind of enjoy Hines Drive. For now, it's time to recover, spend some quality time with a foam roller, and see what other adventures may be in the offing.
My next race is in two weeks: the Trail half marathon. I ran it for the first time in '06 in a time of 2:24:02. I think I might pace someone, I may decide to race it, or I might just go to enjoy myself and not worry about my time. Decisions, decisions... Perhaps I'll do it in five fingers. That might be fun. :)