Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Big Cottonwood Marathon Race Report

Let's get it out of the way: I blew up. Not in a good way. My finish time was 4:21:01, 56 minutes from my goal.

Here are my splits with commentary.

Mile 1: 7:58 - It was crowded at the start and I was content on taking it easy the first mile. If only I'd have continued to take it easy, I'd be able to walk right now.

Mile 2: 6:55 - I had no idea I had run mile 2 this fast. I hardly looked at my watch the first 15 miles. I started about 20 seconds behind the 3:25 pace group and had to catch up.

Mile 3: 7:08 - I settled in to a nice down hill rhythm, just slightly ahead of the 3:25 pacer.

Mile 4:  7:15 - I really had no idea I was going this fast. I just knew the pacer was still behind me.

Mile 5: 7:25 - It was at the end of mile 5 that I realized I wouldn't be able to keep up this effort and be able to finish. I had a choice to make: (1) Slow down and finish with a pr comfortably; or (2) Go for the BQ, knowing there's a high probability things were going to fall apart.

So little time together this marathon!
Mile 6: 8:42 - I did slow down a little and allowed the 3:25 pacer to catch up. I then saw an open port-a-potty and made a dash for it. It was my first and only restroom stop, which would be 6 fewer than the last marathon.

Mile 7: 7:33 - I'd fallen over a minute behind the 3:25 pacer, but I could still see her. I was feeling better after using the restroom and opted to go for it.

Mile 8: 7:55 - The course sloped up a bit and leveled out for this mile. I was still over a minute behind the pacer.

Mile 9: 7:40 - Still going strong.

Mile 10: 7:25 - Not only was I running tangents well but I was running on the left side of the road, which technically wasn't part of the course, in order to make up time.

Mile 11: 6:47 - The course is really getting steep and I 'm really getting stupid!

Mile 12: 7:33 - My stomach was giving me serious problems for about 5 miles, but I knew I needed calories, so I grabbed half a banana and forced my self to eat it over the next half-mile.
An actual race photo of me around mile 12.
 Mile 13: 6:47 - Apparently, the banana helped. I was about 10-15 seconds behind the 3:25 pacer, which was about how far behind I was when I crossed the start line. I should never run a mile this fast during a marathon.

Mile 13.1: I ran the first half in 1:37:44, a 9-minute pr. Even the hill adjusted time of about 1:43 (based on where the pacer was) is a significant pr. Chances are when you set a pr on the first half of a marathon, it's not going to end well.

Mile 14: 7:33 - I remember giving a little girl and her mom a massive side-5 at some point. I was out of control. I also remember trudging down a steep section and thinking to myself that I would probably pay for it.

Mile 15 7:50 - I'm coming out of the canyon just behind the 3:25 pacer.

This is how I felt at mile 15. Little did I know...
Mile 16: 8:35 - The first mile out of the canyon was fine. It was a pretty good hill, but very similar to the one I run on Tuesdays with the Wild Bunch Runners.

Mile 17:10:10 - I thought the hill was going to end, but it didn't. It was during this mile I realized 3:25 was not going to happen, so I pulled off to the side, walked for a minute, and gathered myself. I felt that if I could average 10-minute miles the rest of the way, I'd still crush my pr.

Mile 18: 10:40 - I would not run a 10-minute mile the rest of the day.

Mile 19: 13:05 - Won't this hill ever end?!?! I did see Darth Vader at mile 19 handing out water. I stopped at the aide station to make sure Darth Vader really was there and snacked on some oranges. Some may be leery about accepting water from Darth Vader, but I figured if Darth Vader wanted me dead, I'd be dead. And, to be honest, at this point, death didn't seem to be that bad of an alternative to running the remaining seven miles.

Mile 20: 11:00 - It was during mile 20 I calculated that I could average 11-minute miles the rest of the way and still crush my pr.

Mile 21: 14:45 - That wasn't going to happen.

Mile 22: 13:16 - I calculated that if I averaged 11-minute miles I could finish under 4 hours, maybe. My head was a little foggy.

Mile 23: 15:59 - Numerous times over the previous 5 miles I had thought about tapping out and lying down in the grass. This urge was never stronger than when the 4-hour pacer passed. He was about a 103-years-old. Good for him. The only thing that kept me going was the knowledge that my car was right next to the finish line and I needed to get there, so why not walk the course.

Mile 24: 15:50 I think I actually jogged about a half mile here. I put my arms up and walked like a zombie for a little bit.

Mile 25 15:35 - This is where Jeremy showed up in jeans and sandals. He asked how he could help. I just said, "talk to me." From this point forward I did the jog two telephone poles, walk two telephone poles marathon shuffle. It was so nice to have a friend there to help me finish.

This woman on the left (although, not Jeremy) could have paced me while picking up litter, too.
Mile 26:16:39 - It was a slow jog from telephone pole to telephone pole, slow enough to allow Jeremy to pick up trash on the course.

The End. Once I reached the 26-mile marker, I started to jog again. I allowed myself to enjoy the moment. I was weeping. I do at the end of marathons, regardless of time or how I feel. I kept muttering, "I'm not a quitter! I didn't f-ing quit!" over and over.

I crossed the finish line, ripped off my bib immediately, was startled by some kid putting a medal around my neck, and slumped down on a cot as a mysterious woman hung a cold, wet cloth around my neck.

I just sat with my head in my hands, feeling guilty that I'd inconvenienced my family by training all summer and by taking off for a weekend to run a marathon.  And all I had to show for it was a crappy marathon time.

Will I ever qualify for Boston?

Probably not. But I'm OK with that.

This is how I looked after crossing the finish line.

1 comment:

  1. I'm sorry your experience was so miserable the second half. That out and back is tough, especially after the downhill! Don't give up on Boston. I was so slow and marathons were so hard for me that I never even let it be my dream. Until I did. I'll be toeing the line in Boston next year for the second time. Don't. Ever. Give. Up.