Sunday, October 5, 2008

Round and Round Cowtown Marathon I Go

Literally, round and round, twice around, with each loop a half marathon. Not really a fan of loop races, but this one was okay because each loop was 13.1 miles.

Cowtown Marathon - 4:34:39 (10:28 pace; 168/288)

I had a lot going wrong going into this one. The obvious: no training in the last 2 months. But other stuff went wrong as well. First, I woke up hacking phlegm that would never come off the back of my throat. Scratchy and unpleasant, not the best to run a marathon in. Secondly, I started a new job that has me walking 8 hours a day, or roughly 9-10 miles, 5 days a week. My legs didn't really have that much rest. Finally, I had to get up at the god awful time of 3:50 because of of the 2 and a half hour drive, if you including picking up my friend Jill.

Anyway, I finally got to the race and had to wait in these huge lines for the bathroom. Also a fairly long line for gear check. Anyway, right when I stepped out of the bathroom the announcer blew the horn and it was perfect timing. I immediately went to the 10 minute pace area because I was guessing I would run a 4:30 marathon and that would be a good place to start. Unfortunately all the walkers and 15 minute pacers were there as well and the first 1.5 miles was stuck behind all the people who were not supposed to be at the front of the line. I don't think they realize that there is a reason there are pacing sections. To have you run with other runners your speed and to not slow down the other runners! At one point I was stuck behind three women walking! I could go on for a long time on this but, alas, I won't.

Anyway, the first half went about as I thought it would. I ran a 1:59. But I knew early on it was going to be a long day. By mile 5 my right hip was starting to have little aches and pains, and my legs still felt heavy. A few miles later and my left knee start aching. By the end of the first half my calves were already starting to cramp. It went, pace wise, about what I thought, but I had a lot of aches and pains that I knew would slow me down a lot in the first half.

The second half was botched horribly. I went from running the first 14 miles all sub 10 minute pace. Then I ran the second half in 2:35! Whoa, what a horrible split. But I kind of thought this was a huge possibility, even though I hoped it wouldn't happen. The second half ended up running an average of a 12 minute pace as I resorted to a run walk shuffle, with my longest mile clocking in at 12:42 (mile 23). The phlegm/congestion was definitely an annoyance, one that was always there. Eventually somewhere around mile 12 another sign of congestion appeared as this weird noise happened every time I stepped down and water or some fluid jostled around by my left ear. Strange.

The final interesting yet scary incident of this race happened about mile 23. The last time I had ate was at mile 21 and I figured I could finish the race without eating again. Anyway, back to mile 23, I noticed I was starving. I mean my stomach was growling and all I wanted to do was eat, but I figured I would still wait for the finish. Mile 25 rolled around and I started becoming dizzy. If I tried to run for any length of time the dizziness would build up and I would get a little cold. So I started walking and running intervals even more than I already was. Run, then walk and let my body convert some more fat to energy. By the time I finished I was not in the best of shape. I should have overcome my stubbornness and just ate again, but I didn't, and it probably took about 20 minutes of struggling to eat a bagel after the race before I had enough energy to stand up and walk around. Probably not the best move on my part, but a lesson learned and a symptom identified. The same thing happened at Pacifica earlier this year as I dropped because I was so hungry, and I realize now that if I would have continued on then then I would have become dizzy just as I did today.

All in all, I am pleased with how this marathon went, even with all the nagging problems that happened. As well the result was my third fastest marathon, and my 14th overall marathon or longer. Good result, good race, good everything (except final mile).

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