Tuesday, March 20, 2007

The Rest of the Madness

I am by no means a running or race expert. I started running because it was too damn cold to ride my bike and I am obsessed with staying in shape. That being said, this was an awesome event. Very well organized, great support, and a fabulously difficult route.

It was my fourth race and a would be distance PR. I awoke at 5:30am, departed at 6am, and arrived at 7:am. Hey, I wanted to get a prime parking spot and checked in with no issues. Well, I did, and I had plenty of time to warm up for the 8:35am start.

The weather was perfect for a March run. Temps were around 35 ish degrees, the sun was bright and the winds were light. The race was limited to 1000 runners. They had the start marked off with 6, 7, 8, & 9 minute pace markers. I lined up between 8 and 9. I hoped to grab on to a small group that was keeping 8:30 pace, but the start was fast.

I managed to get my pace under control just before the first Hill, Roller, Climb, Mountain....whatever that was. Despite the hills I felt like I was keeping a comfortable and fast pace. It wasn't until the big hill at the halfway point where I felt like I actually slowed while going up one. At this point things started to get tight. This was sooner then I expected the PAIN, but this is coming from a guy who did NO hill training :) !!

Mile 9 brought the longest of the climbs. It would slightly level off, then shot up again. It was a tricky little devil. Mile 11 had a tough little steep son-of-a-gun roller. Some of these climbs would have been tough on my bike!!

The water stations were interesting. I had my technique planned out to grab water near the end, move to the shoulder, stop, drink, then get it going again. I did this twice very successfully. The stops were for a second or two, just to allow me to get the water down. At mile 11.5, the last water station, I tried to just grab, drink, and run all at the same time. Uh, that didn't work and I ended up with cold water all over myself.

After all of that I even had a little finishing kick. My Garmin was ticking away and approaching the 1 hr 50 minute mark as I neared the finish line. I really wanted that time and managed to just sneak in under it.

Afterwards, despite significant stretching, I had a lot of stiffness and pain. The hour long car ride home did NOT help. The knees and shins were throbbing, but an very COLD WATER, a.k.a. Ice Bath, really helped alleviate that swelling and pain. The quads and hammys are still sore, but when a flat lander runs in the hills that should be expected.

I am totally satisfied with my training and race results. I never walked and I battled through the pain, both physically and mental. I am not sure where this leaves my thoughts on running the Chicago Marathon in October though????

Anyway, today is my third consecutive OFF day and I am still not sure I am ready to run. I want to run. I mean three days OFF in a row is bit ridiculous. Maybe a brisk Eddie Vedder (the dog) walk tonight?

Plus, I am itching to get my cycling season started this weekend!!!

Thank to all those who wished me well in this endeavour. I really appreciate the nice comments. Thank you.

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