Place: 389 out of 4530 Overall, 59 out of 335 AG
Pace: 8:14 / mile
Distance (via Garmin): 26.29 (Hooray tangents!)
Average Heart Rate: 186 BPM
We've all had those days where nothing seems to go right and you know that it isn't going to be good from the start. Everything from spilled cereal, to a dog that won't go poo, to kids that won't get their butts in gear, combine to foreshadow a day that is going to be a struggle to get through. Unfortunately, while nothing foreshadowed my crappy day, Sunday was one of those days for me.
The Day Before the Race:
Since I actually like spending time in the house that I am paying a mortgage on, instead of flying directly from San Jose to San Antonio and back, I made a "pit stop" home in Phoenix on Thursday-Saturday. The downtime was incredible. However, that meant that I flew out the day before the race and didn't land until 1pm on Saturday. So, as soon as I landed I made a Bee-line to the expo and picked up my loot.
What loot you ask? My Rock Legend medal for running 7 Rock and Roll events for the year! I started planning this year over 18 months ago and it was awesome to finally feel the 3lbs in my hands. Worth all of the sweat and frequent flyer miles. Read more about the Heavy Medals series on the Rock and Roll website.
Here is the medal next to my race medal (click to enlarge). The Rock Legend medal is easily twice as thick and three times as long (that's what she said) as my normal race medal - which is pretty good sized itself.
The competitor group didn't disappoint at the expo and had both Frank Shorter and Meb Keflezighi giving tips to success. I hung out and waited for Tricia from endurance is only physical to pick me up to go to dinner. Since my wife wasn't able to make the trip (for the first time ever) and I didn't have anyone cheering for me, Tricia let me hang out with her family for the weekend. It was really nice to have somewhere to go and people to see. I TRIED to keep my off-color jokes to a minimum.
One of the highlights of the expo was a "Hell Run" booth that featured two guys dressed up like KISS. I'm not sure what KISS has to do with Hell, but apparently you have to wear a LOT of makeup for both. A Hell Run is more of an obstacle course that combines a 5K with boot camp, fire, and mud. Of course, I had to get my picture taken with them. Although, I will say that I was a bit disappointed by the tongue representation by the KISS dudes. Poor showing on their part, Age Group award for me!
I'll let you be the judge on who is the best KISS stand-in
How is it that my tongue is easily twice as long as his?
Finally, just before heading to bed I attended a little blogger meetup hosted by the previously mentioned Tricia from Endurance is Only Physical. She is the mega blogger and now marathoner who actually got to interview Meb!
Also in attendance at dinner were Leah, Crystal, and Dawn. Unfortunately, because
I would like to say that I am 100% calm cool and collected on race day. This being my 11th marathon, it should be rather routine, right? Wrong. I'm a ball of nervous. For example, when I put my heart rate strap on it showed my heart rate at 125 beats per minute. Oppsies! Since I was flying solo and didn't have anyone to share my excitement with, I tried to capture it via picture. In my head, I had envisioned a picture like this:
However, since I was by myself and had to set the camera timer, these are what I ended up with. For me, hotel room loneliness is not crying over a pint of ice cream, it is poorly timed, self shot pictures. (Note that I was jumping in my room at 5am. I'll bet the people below me LOVED that. Funny, just thought of that right now....)
Opps, jumped too soon
(Still happy though - with ripped leg muscles)
Hmmm, didn't even jump for this one
Ahh yes, jumped, but too high
(This is when I just gave up)
After I took all the pictures I could handle in the hotel room, I made it down to the starting line, got to my starting coral and got to running!
Miles 1-5: Pace~7:30
The race started just like any other. Each coral was let off around 60 seconds after one another which meant that I crossed the starting line only a minute after the gun. Little did I know how important this would turn out to be. The reason? A TRAIN!!! I remember crossing over a set of train tracks just after the start because they had them spray painted bright green. A great idea. The course turned and we ran along the train tracks for a mile or two. However, no sooner did I turn I heard the familiar whistle of an approaching train. Yep, an UNSCHEDULED train stopped the race dead in its tracks. Everyone who was in corals 1-4 was fine and past it, people in corals 5-8 were held up waiting at the train tracks, and the people in corals 9-30 weren't able to cross the start until it had passed. No word if the Boxcar Children were spotted.
I feel a bit bad for the Rock and Roll marathon people because they're probably going to take a lot of heat for the train. I suspect that since it was an unscheduled train there wasn't a lot they could do about it. I mean, it isn't like they could have asked the train company "do you have any trains scheduled? No? Ok, but do you have any UNscheduled trains......scheduled?"
Miles 5-15: Pace ~7:30
By mile 4 I knew something was up. I normally warm up over the course of 3 miles or so and running becomes rather fluid. That was NOT happening. My legs felt heavy, I was tired, and my cold was prohibiting me from taking deep breaths. By mile 5 thoughts of doubt started creeping into my head. I started to doubt if I had it in me to run at that speed for another 2:40. That is when things started to go downhill very quickly.
Running is an endurance event, but if I learned one thing from this race it was that I really need to practice training my mind - not my lungs. I have the lungs to complete a 3:15 marathon, but right now my mind seems to be set on 3:25. It is a bit too soon to say how this will effect my training going forward, but it WILL be taken into account.
Miles 15-26.2: Pace ~8:30
The last 10 or so miles were a slugfest. I had used all of my energy, plain and simple. I don't think that I went out too fast (because I ran 22 miles at that same pace in Denver) I think that a lot of little things just sucked the life out of me.
In fact, when the course crossed and I saw Tricia and her husband at mile 20, she later remarked that I "didn't look very good". That means that I must have looked a lot better than I felt, because I felt like death. I ran/walked to the finish to what only can be described as a place called "Suck-Ville".
While my Heart Rate is high, it really recovers quickly when I walk
Finally finished. Ugg
Since I wasn't feeling 100% at the end of the race, I txt'd Tricia's husband and told him I was going to take a quick shower. I needed to get into clothes that didn't smell of Sweat, Cytomax, and failure. I made the <1 mile walk to the hotel, showered and headed back to congratulate the new marathoners, Tricia and her husband. I met up with them at the family meet up zone and celebrated with 64 calories of delicious beer.
Marathoners! Funny how we all matched
My first beer in over a week. Shortly after this picture was taken I stripped down naked and ran around singing "It's Raining Men". At least that is what the police report said.
So, what now? That is a very good question. I have a 10K planned on Thanksgiving but after that everything is very up in the air. I'm going to take some time off from actual racing (not running) and let my body recover completely. I was feeling pretty worn down towards the end of this training cycle which may or may not have led to my implosion on the course this past weekend.
Thanks to everyone for your support. I honestly did think of my blog while running. While most of the thoughts were something like "Awww crap, how am I going to explain this!?" I know that I couldn't be half where I am today without everyone's support.