Monday, May 18, 2009

Another Marathon, Another State

May 17th, Sugarload Marathon, Maine.

So, how I would I sum up the event? The most memorable part was that Joseph bugged the crap outta me. How's that for a summary? First on his bike. I had to finally tell him to "shut up" when it was plain that he was going to keep riding up and down the course by me shouting out my name and encouragement. GAH! Talk about breaking my concentration!

Then he came to run me in. I almost killed him. I yelled at him and told him to go away. And said he was bugging me and that I couldn't run. His footsteps were so loud, it kept breaking my focus and concentration. And let me tell you, at 24 miles in the marathon, you need a lot of focus and concentration. But he refused to leave, just told me to keep running. I was so annoyed.

In the end, I shaved 13 minutes off my Boston time. Fastest time in 7 years. My PR and my second fastest time were both set in the same year. Along with my half marathon PR. That was SEVEN YEARS AGO.

We drove up Saturday morning after my 1 mile run - lest I break my streak of working out every day. It was around 4 hours. We stopped at a place in Belgrade called the Sunset Grill for lunch. It was definitely a local place. All the license plates on the cars in the parking lot were from Maine.

We got to the hotel at Sugarloaf and checked in. Before we went up to the room, we got my race packet and then we drove the up to the start and back down the hotel which is at around Mile 11 of the marathon. We knew what the end of the course looked like since we drove in on it. After checking out the race course, we basically vegged out all afternoon. We had dinner at the Black Diamond, the hotel restaurant. I had my usual steak and potatoes with red wine pre-race meal. It was a very nice meal and the wine was delicious. It was a 1998 Bordeaux.

Race Day
The buses left the hotel at 5:45am. 5:45 AYY EMM!! Jeez. Thank goodness I had support crew with me. Joseph drove me up to the start at 6:15 and we got there about 6:40. I got into the porta potty line and then it was time to head to the start.

This race has a small one. About 200 people. Along with it was a 15k that started AFTER the marathon ended or something like that. It was a straight shot down Carrabassett Valley from right after Stratton, past Sugarloaf mountain, into the town of Kingfield where it ended at some lumber or construction yard. The start was literally a line on the ground that had been drawn in chalk. And without much of anything, a gun went off and you were off. It took me about 3 seconds to cross the start from the middle of the pack. And the back had crossed about 3 seconds after me.

The day was gray and drizzly, which ended up stopping and raining a bit harder until it finally stopped and started warming up. It was a soft rain. I was so glad I had on my Craft jacket that I had gotten at the Boston Marathon expo. It is awesome. It kept the rain out enough to keep me from getting drenched. And then it dried. When the tail wind hit me in the back, it came through the vents and cooled me off. It did exactly what it advertised, which is very rare in the world of technical clothing. I love my jacket! Anyway...

The course was interesting. The first 6-7 miles are gentle ups and downs on a descent. Then you hit the hills between 7 and 10 to hit the peak of 1600 ft. At mile 9 there is one big hill and at mile 10 you had this almost 6% grade down. OMG! I let my legs go. I controlled my speed by leaning forward or back but didn't use my legs to brake. I knew if I used my legs, they would be toast on the other side of the hill. I came off that downhill like a bat out of hell. And I kept going for the next half mile. I couldn't stop. I had no choice. Of course, that was my fastest mile.

After mile 11, it was rolling for a few miles and then it was gentle descent the whole way to the finish. There was one minor hill toward the end but any kind of incline at the end of a marathon is not a minor hill.

The camber was awful and toward the end I thought the inside of my left ankle was gonna have a stress fracture from it. I had been doing a pretty good job of keeping to the middle of the lane until there was more traffic. So I stayed on the shoulder. At about mile 12, I could REALLY feel my left ankle and I knew I was going to be pay for this.

I ran on the edge of the edge. I told myself early in that I was going to hit "comfortable" and try to stay there, even if it meant hanging on when "comfortable" became "hard" and then "painful." And that's what I did. I know that if Joseph hadn't come to see me at Mile 24, I would have slowed down. The minute I saw him, I KNEW that there would be pain the rest of the way.

The only thing that hurts today are the inside of my left ankle and my thighs. My feet hurt like crazy yesterday but feet have incredible recovery power. They are bit stiff but the pain is gone. But my ankle was slightly swollen this morning and now, hours later, it's more swollen. I've been icing it all day.

Toward the end of the race, the sun started fighting it's way out from behind the clouds. And there was a nice tailwind the entire course. Every once in a while it was a stiff wind and I had to brace myself and lean back into it or it would have knocked me on my face.

I wore my Zoots. They are tri shoes. Very light. They have holes in the soles to let the water out. Well they got wet in the rain. But they didn't hold the moisture so they never got heavy. And then they dried when the roads dried out. It was wild. I wore Desoto biking socks. I was worried that they were too thin but nothing else fits into the snug fit of the Zoots. Well, they got wet when the shoes got wet and because they are thin, they never got heavy. Also, when the Zoots dried out, so did they. Perfect socks! I love these shoes. I never thought I would be able to wear shoes that were this light and thin. These are the closest things to racing flats I've ever had. Of course, Joseph then told me, "uh... they ARE racing flats." Which freaked me out. I don't know WHY he does that to me. PFFFT!

The race was awesome. No bullshit. No expo. You got your packet and if you wanted the early start, you signed your name on a notebook sheet. No chip. The start was a line on the ground. Water stops about every 2 miles. The volunteers were great. The cops drove up and down controlling traffic and making sure we were safe. This was definitely a runner's race. No TNT'ers, no nuthin' other than the river on the left and houses, woods, or mountains on the right.

It reminded me of the description of St. George that my good friend Cher gave - which I got into, by the way, and where I have a place to stay if I want to do it but I'm not sure I'm gonna do it. I wonder what the camber of the roads at St. George are like.

Anyway, I think I can do better if I wanted to run another marathon. Which I don't. Ahem.

This summer I am going to concentrate on strength and speed. Back to the weights and speedwork during the week. I am thinking of doing speedwork with Joseph's Tri club on Wednesdays. And I also want to drop a few more pounds and see how close I can get to beating my PR. That is if I ever decide to run another marathon, which I probably won't.

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Blogger rocketpants said...

Nice job on your race! Fastest time in 7 years...that is awesome. I love hearing how your weight training helps all your long distance running. :-) I'm actually looking to get back to weights heavy after my half ironman in july and see how that helps for next season. Awesome job.

9:08 PM  

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