Monday, September 7, 2009

Heart of America Marathon - Report

Marathons are beasts. I never know what it will take to tame the beast on any given day. Why do I do it? I don’t know; but from time to time, I must go and ride the demon down.

Crap that hurt!

I did better than I thought I would.

Ok…my hotel is about 100 yards from the start so my last pee was in the hotel room (no line, haha). I’m on IBU, despite all the health risks, because I have cramps (50 year olds are supposed to get over this but I haven’t grown up yet). Hope three doodads will keep me clean for 5 hours.

Walk to the start. Stand in the dark for about ten minutes. They are making a big deal of it being the 50th anniversary of this race; and there are about twice as many people there this year. I get to the back and decide on a slow warm up, even though it is downhill. I’m a little worried about whether I’ll be having knee problems and don’t want to aggravate it early.

First mile: 13:30. Ok…unacceptable…I start going ten minute miles. It is pretty cool, 65F, and foggy. Very soon, I start to pass all the people who sprinted the first downhill mile and some are now walking up the second mile hill. Things go well. After about 65 minutes and a request to my Higher Power, I suddenly come up with today’s theme:

Little Old Ladies Rock.

LOL!!! I start telling everyone, even embarrassing one or two slightly younger women who don’t realize I am saying it about myself. About mile 9 I’m running with one of the miracle marathoners. I seem to meet these people in every marathon. They have overcome some issue with weight or health or life through running and are now marathoners.

The dirt road for miles 9 and 10 is damp and not dusty: great.

I get to the Easley hill at mile 12 ½. I walk up this hill. I already know I can walk up a 30% grade faster than I can run it and I don’t want to blow out my achilles. Half way point is at the top of Easley: 2:16. My brain has been working every mile, but now I know for sure what is possible and what is not possible depending on how much effort I put into this race. I have no injury issues but my legs are getting tired.

Things go along fine. This race is all hills except for mile 11 along the Missouri River. About mile 17, I see a two year old dancing by a car at the side of the road. I definitely need a high five from one of these little kids. Better than Gu or Gatorade by that time. The mother sends the kid over at my hand signal and I get some skin. By mile 18, 3:05, I can feel my quads. Actually, my inner thighs seem to be more stressed; a new thing. About mile 19, there is a four year old handing out water. I get another high five.

By mile 20, I realize that the race has drained me substantially. If I put everything I got in, completely give myself up to the beast, I can do 4:30. One more downhill and then mainly uphill until the last half mile. It is my moment of truth: start to shuffle or go through the fatigue and pain. I decide to put it all in.

Surprisingly, up hills are happier for me due to less pounding. I can put my head down and bull my way up. I do so. Kids hand out sponges at about mile 23; AWESOME!

I chug my way along, even able to speed up the last half mile: 4:30:15 (approx).

I am happy with this time. I had actually thought I might have a PW. But nooooo! I ran the whole way, except for Easley. I never got over my slow start. I don’t think I’m injured (that is the good part).

I didn’t get my AG plaque (if indeed I won one) because the timers were messed up and quit posting times. So I hitch-hiked back to the hotel. Showered. Jumped in the car to drive home. I passed one car (not too far from the city) with a 26.2 sticker on the back. When they passed me, I held up my medal and waved. They held up theirs and waved. I got free “Cookies for Jesus” at a rest stop and arrived home safe and sound. Oh man those 13 steps up to my apartment were a killer!

The beast has been tamed for another month or two. Maybe I should just hire someone to beat me!

Tomorrow, I start my new job and will go back to being a normal runner.

My summer vacation of running was terrific. I’m glad I survived it.


rob horton said...

awesome to read your race report spirit-flower. i was thinking of you today and hoping you were having a glorious time over those 26.2 miles. sounds like it was the marathoning-kind-of-fun :) awesome!

Mark said...

I hear that is one tough marathon! Well done, Spirit Flower, and much success in your new job! God Bless! Hope those steps get easier!

Spirit Flower said...

You guys are great! thanks!!!

Anonymous said...

Hey rockin lil ol lady friend! It was great meeting you this AM after your race. Glad you got all the way home safely. Cool web site. If ya ever need a ride ~ just ask me! Vaya con Dios ~ Ardith K

Spirit Flower said...

Ardith is the lady who gave me a ride to my hotel after the race. That was so swell! Luckily she gave me her card so I could e-mail her this afternoon.

thanks again Ardith.

Joe said...

Great description! you beat me by about 20 minutes...way to persevere up that last hill and those long last two miles.

I just blogged about it too.

Quite a cool race...quite a challenge!