Monday, October 08, 2007
Let's Get This Over With
Sopping-wet-dog-of-a-runner tries to make the best of it
It wasn't my day. And while I did my best to change the hand I was dealt, I just never gained the upper hand during Twin Cities. The plan was to ease into the effort and work down from 6:10 or so to my goal pace of 5:54 by 5 miles, but in the end I didn't run a single mile at my planned pace.
6:11, 6:03, 6:00, 5:58, 5:58, 5:58, 6:00, 6:00, 6:02, 6:02, 6:03, 6:09, 6:14, 6:32*, 6:08, 6:16, 6:20, 6:35, 7:26*, 6:38, 6:43, 7:00, 7:08, 7:18, 7:20, 6:45, 1:19. I think the first half was 1:19 and change, the second half was of course much worse to bring home my 2:48. The two asterisks mark miles that included porta-john stops (yes dear readers, when it rains it really does pour).
As I mentioned to Mystery Coach, the 5:58 miles felt like 5:50 or faster, and when I noticed it was going poorly early and adjusted down to running 6's the body felt no better. Being forced to start in the second wave after giving 5 or 6,000 runners a two minute head start complicated things further, as I found myself working through seemingly solid walls of people once I began catching the first wave at mile 1. I never fully realized just how helpful it can be to be working at the same or similar speeds as the runners around you until running a few miles dodging pack after pack of runners traveling a minute or 3 slower per mile. Everyone was quite courteous, but it was a challenge just the same to be swimming upstream the whole race.
By 10 miles I was absolutely certain a PR wasn't in the cards, and by the half I knew I wouldn't be breaking 2:40. By the time I closed the first porta-john door behind me after miles of my stomach clamping down this had turned into the train-wreck race I guess most of us eventually face.
Miles 15-20 I focused on trying to run within myself enough to ensure the last 6 wouldn't be a death march, but by the end it seemed even worse to be running with only pride on the line instead of precious seconds or minutes.
I will say without hesitation that the spectators at Twin Cities were the most kind-hearted and enthusiastic bunch I've ever experienced, and they certainly helped me through what felt like one long hill between mile 20 and 25. Seeing Patrick (thanks for the pic and sorry for calling you Chad) and Chad himself was great, and staying with the Hashizume gang made all the suffering more than worthwhile.
Thanks also to all of you for the encouragement, and I hope to have a more upbeat marathon report the next time around.