Sunday, May 1, 2011

Marathon #4; the good, the bad and the ugly.

Let's take them in reverse order because the good was very good and the other two can be dispensed with quickly.

This is a totally personal thing and has nothing to do with the event itself. I'm very frustrated with myself for having a delusional goal for this race. I worked hard and I really thought I was finally going to break 5 hours and 30 minutes. Not only did I miss that mark, I came in 7 minutes slower than my previous best (my 1st in 2008). I'm not disappointed (afterall I did start and finish) but I'm frustrated at my failure to be realistic in my abilities.

And really this is minor. The race was great. But all except the first and last miles were open to traffic. This was an issue early on when runners were still bunched up. At times there were cars coming in both directions. In the end, the cars had to figure out where to go we just kept running. I did not hear about any people accidents but I did see a dead rabbit, a dead racoon and a dead turtle. Not sure if they were casualties of the race or not but they were pretetty ugly.

I finished and I did have fun (hills notwithstanding). All the people were so great; runners and volunteers. The aid stations were well spaced and did not run out of anything even for us back of the pack folks. The runners were awesome as well. I started seeing people on their way back when I got to mile 10. Everyone one of them had something nice and encouraging to say to those of us who hadn't made it to the turn around yet. I got a shout out from one of my new FB frends Rick! I also got a shout out from Kristie around mile 17-18 as she drove back to the start after cheering her relay team. At least that's what I think she was doing. She declined to find me new legs though despite asking what I needed.

So my plan to run the first mile and then start my 3 and 1 intervals was foiled because I couldn't find the 1 mile marker. In fact, I'm not sure it existed because I saw all the markers on the way back except that one as well. Anyway, I knew I was past 1 mile and was just about ready to start my intervals anyway when I came upon the 2 mile marker. Here there was a water stop so I walked there and then started the 3 and 1's. I did well sticking to them until mile 11. The hill there did me in. I finished  a run interval on it and then couldn't get my brain on board to start again after the minute walk so I walked to the top. It was totally my brain's fault too. In fact, I faltered again a couple of times between 21 and 23 and it was totally a mental thing. My body was fine. My legs and feet felt like they were in a marathon but they were working just fine. The were only a few 'bad' hills the rest were rolling and not so dramatic but hill after hill after hill just wore me out mentally. I was pleased that I didn't mind the out and back. Given my aversion to Kelly Drive in the Philly marathon this is a big deal. I think the difference is that at 13.1 I really was on my way back. It started spitting rain when I got to mile 20 but that actually felt kind of good.

I think the funniest thing about the day was watching everyone try to get on and off the buses that took us back to the satellite parking. It was slow going for many.

Despite the 3 hour drive home - which included sitting at a light for half an hour while a convoy of trucks carrying Make a Wish kids went by - I'm not doing too bad walking around or going up and down the stairs. Tomorrow might be a different story.

So this race was a competition between North and South. The race director had to give up his vision of a two separate race courses but he kept the theme going with everything else. We had blue and gray bibs. Points were awarded for certain finishers (overall, first man, first woman etc) and with those awards came points for the team that person ran for. In the end, North beat South 13-10 so everyone on the North team got this neat pint glass with the logo etched on it and a sentence from the Gettysburg Address. I had nothing to do with the winning of the war (I'm not THAT old) or the winining of North over South in this race but I was part of the team so I still got one.


  1. Congratulations!! Very proud of you! Am I understanding right that Dave wasn't with you so after running 26 miles you had to drive yourself home? Bet getting out of the car after that was WAY harder than climbing out of the Prius after the Goofy run...

  2. Congratulations! I was in Kristie's car when she drove past you. They cam to pick me up because I ran half of the third relay leg after completing the second as I needed an 11 mile training run for my half coming up. I'm sorry I didn't get to actually meet you. You're lucky you left when and how you did, because we got stuck as they closed the highway completely because that convoy of trucks apparently got into an accident! Driving home yourself had to be hard - I know my drive home was painful to say the least. Congrats again on another marathon!

  3. @KT - no Dave was umpiring a softball tournament this weekend (and next and the one after's that time of year)

    @Jamie - I'm so sorry we didn't get to meet. I was really hoping we would. I wonder if the convoy I saw was a detour from the accident? Driving home was not too bad. I stretched, changed into dry clothes and took an aleve. I was actually able to get out of the car at home. Today was a bit rougher but that's par for the course. Looking forward to hearing about your half! - Paula

  4. Ok so in my defense the new legs request was a bit unrealistic...I probably could have accommodated most other requests. :-) Great Job Paula you looked great despite the crazy hills!!!! And as for the hills perhaps you didn't underestimate your abilities, but the difficulty of the course?

  5. Oh so now I know who anonymous is! LOL. New legs was unreasonable and had I asked for anything else I have no doubt you would have found a way to get it for me (except a ride to the end which I also thought about asking for!)