Verse of the Day!

Monday, February 20, 2006

The day after....

First off, for all of you who have run marathons before (or are preparing for one), just let me get this out of the way- I know, I know, "start slow." I knew that, but I didn't particularly feel like I was going too fast. I made it under 4 hours and that was my goal, even if I didn't run a particularly smart race. Now, onto the happenings...

Towards the end of last week, I started getting worried about the weather. It looked like it was going to be colder than I would have preferred, with the possibility of rain. At this point, though, there was no turning back. I had too much time and energy invested in this. We had planned to spend the night at my parents house in Salado and then go to the start from there. We considered staying in a hotel closer to the start, but ultimately decided that we could get there from Salado without a problem.

I had driven to the start when I went down to get my race number and chip and it took about 45 minutes to get there from Salado. We (Regina, Drew, and I) left Salado about 5:00 am to give ourselves plenty of time to get there. I wanted to be at the start by 6:15 (for a 7:00 am start). Well, between the weather and a wrong turn (don't ask) we got within about 2 miles of the start by 6:15. Traffic- the one factor I didn't account for (file that away for next time). About 6:30, I got out and started stretching along the side of the road while Regina kept inching along on the road. About 6:45, with the entrance to the starting area almost in sight, I decided I should heading that way on foot. I came across a cop who was directing traffic and he said the start had been pushed back to 7:30 due to weather. What a relief! So, I backtracked a little and found Regina and got back in the warmth of the car. Then, at 7:15, I decided to travel on foot again as Regina inched along. I thought we might get to the parking area in time, but I didn't want to risk it. Turns out Regina and Drew did make it to the start, but they were looking for me on the right and I was looking for them on the left. Oh, well...

Yes, it was cold. About 28. I ran in shorts, but started out with a hat, gloves, a trash bag, and some old socks that I cut the toes out of and fashioned into sleeves so that I could get rid of them along the way. It's amazing what some people will just toss along the course as they heat up. Someone tossed a finisher's jacket from last year's marathon. I thought about picking that one up. Onto the actual run...

Mile 1- 9:23:
The start is very crowded. It starts on the Freescale site and it's basically on a narrow two lane road for almost half a mile, so you're just trying to stay upright for that part (which some people failed to do as they hit some ice in the gutters). It then fans out onto half of a wide 6 lane street and you have some running room. I started out with the 3:45 pace group thinking I could hang with them. (More on that later.)

Mile 2- 8:41:
I was still getting warmed up here, but did trash the trash bag somewhere during this mile. It was cold, but my body was warming up now. I did feel a little tightness in my hamstring which worried me. (I'd been having some problems for about a week and a half and had been getting treatment for it, so I was worried about that going in.) Not enough to hurt, but just enough to remind me that it was there and that it could inflict great pain at any moment. It didn't slow me down, though.

Mile 3- 8:19:
Cruising along with the 3:45 pace group, feeling good. There are some uphills in this section, but no big deal compared to the hills of Woodway.

Mile 4- 8:17:
It flattened out in this section. I still felt good and was pleased that my pace was fairly even over the last 2 miles. Somewhere around here, I started running with Andy. I guess he was bit behind me because I had taken my "sleeves" off and he wanted to know how I took my long sleeve undershirt off while running and keeping my other shirt on. I assured him that I wasn't that coordinated and told him about my sock/sleeves.

We started talking and running together. It was nice to have someone to talk to and we were running about the same pace. Like me, his goal was 4 hours, but he also thought he could run in the 3:45-3:50 range. He was more successful than me. (At least I assume that's him- he's the only Andy from Chicago that finished.)

Mile 5- 8:14:
Buoyed by running with someone, and a little downhill, we run this one under the 3:45 pace (which would be about 8:30 per mile). We actually leave the 3:45 pace group behind, as they tend to walk (or slow down significantly) through the water stops.

Mile 6- 8:15:
More smooth downhill. By this point, I know that Andy is from Chicago and actually used to work at the Freescale site back when it was Motorola. Not sure what else to say.

Mile 7- 8:38:
Another long uphill, hence the slower pace, but we pass through the 10 km point at a 8:35 pace. I was still feeling good and the hamstring actually started loosening up. I think the uphilll helped stretch it out. Uphills actually feel good every now and then, as they require some different muscles.

Mile 8- 8:28:
We passed the arboretum during this mile and there were big crowds there. It's a huge boost to hear people cheering you on. Your name is printed on the bib, along with the number, so people call you by name. (I think they should print the name bigger than the number, though. They don't really use the number for much anyway, since all your info is associated witt the chip.) I had on a Baylor shirt, so I got a few Go Bears or Sic' em Bears. That was nice, too.

Mile 9- 8:16:
We went under MoPac and I recognized part of this section from the half marathon I did in Austin several years back. This is just east of the Arboretum and is a nice area to run in. This was mostly downhill and we had obviously picked up the pace.

Mile 10- 8:14:
A quicker pace still, and we were still feeling good, so we were able t pick it up a bit. Not too much to look at here as it went by a UT research center and through an industrial area.

Miles 11&12- 16:54:
I remember seeing the marker for 11, but I guess I just zoned out and forget to hit the split timer on my stop watch. Anyway, we were still running about 8:30 splits and felt good. Just before mile 12, Regina and Drew were waiting to cheer me on. That revived me a little to see them and they encouraged me to push on. Here's a pic Regina took of me (that's Andy in the background). I think I surprised her a bit when I ran up to her and gave her a kiss.

Mile 13- 8:35:
Almost halfway! Still feeling good. Nothing hurts too badly. My hamstring's still a little tight, but it's manageable.

Mile 14- 8:25:
I made it throught the halfway point in 1:53:45. This seemed like a reasonable pace and well under the pace for my 4 hour goal. This section (and the next few miles) were pretty quiet, through some residential areas.

Mile 15- 8:32 &
Mile 16- 8:36:
At this point, I'm really pleased that I'm still hitting my splits in the 8:30 range. I'm still feeling good and my hamstring has actually stopped bothering me at this point.

Mile 17- 8:59:
There was a pretty brutal uphill just at the end of mile 17. It really started to take it out of me. Andy stuck with me but I could tell he was feeling stronger than I was. I was still feeling good, just not quite as strong.

Mile 18 & 19- 18:35:
The pace continues to slip, but I still feel pretty good. I think most of the slow-down came on mile 19. When I saw the 18 mile point, for some reason I was thinking that it was just a 10k after that. I quickly realized that would actually come at mile 20, but I think it distracted me enough that I forgot to hit the split timer.

It was at this point that when people started yelling at me that I looked good, that I tended to doubt them. Or maybe I looked better than I felt. I also lost Andy in here somewhere. We got separated at a water stop and he was a bit ahead of me, but I made my way back to him. He was getting his MP3 player back out, so I figured that couldn't be a good sign- he knew he would be leaving me behind soon. At the next water stop, we got separated again and I couldn't catch up with him again.

One thing to stuck out at me- We passed the state cemetery during this section. What a depressing place to be buried (or to know you will be buried there eventually). It looked like the type of field that you would see at a school that's not very well cared for. No trees. No paths. Just random headstones scattered about. I hope I don't end up there.

Mile 20- 11:02:
Regina and Drew surprised me at a water stop during this mile. I was expecting to see them a bit later. I was also stopping to use the facilities at this water stop (see the pic in her post below), so I talked to them for a few seconds as I waited for a port-a-can to become available. That's part of the reason for the slow split. As she noted, she was worried about me at this point. But I press on...

Mile 21- 9:35:
It was nice to get to a part of Austin that I recognized. This went through the UT campus and then up the capital building. I also started running with a lady for a few miles here. She happened to be free from Chicago, too. Didn't catch her name, though.

I was actually quite pleased with this split, even though it was well below the pace I wanted to run. As we passed the football stadium, we started a brutal uphill section that ended at the capital. I think that was the beginning of the end, though...

Mile 22- 9:27:
We ran around the capital (the long way- it sure was tempting to take a shortcut across!) and headed down Congress as we left the capital grounds. The only reason my time was this good was becuase it was downhill and it was downtown, so there were lots of crowds cheering you on. That got my adrenaline going again a little bit.

Mile 23- 10:56 (ugh!) &
Mile 24- 12:14 (bigger ugh!) &
Mile 25- 10:39:
This section was along the north side of Town Lake on 1st St. It was an out & back, almost 2 miles each way, with hills. By this point, my body was shot. I was struggling with just about every step. Regina and Drew met me each way and that helped a ton. I expected to see more spectators (since you could see people twice), on this section, but there weren't really that many along here. I had to stop and walk a few times on the uphill sections. Finally, I got to the turnaround at about mile 24. I was in the home stretch now, but it was by no means over.

I saw Drew and Regina just before the 25 mile marker and Drew ran with me for a little while (pic in Regina's post below). That was a huge boost. Thanks Drew! I joked with Drew that he could run the rest for me and carry my shoe across so the timing system would pick up my chip. He didn't seem to want to do that, though.

Mile 26- 9:49:
At this point, I knew that I was getting perilously close to being out of reach of 4 hours, judging from last few splits. I knew that I would be really mad at myself if I did all that work and I ended up finishing in 4:01 (or, even worse, 4:00:01), so I managed to pick up the pace ever so slightly, despite the muscles in my legs twitching. But I was starting to hear the music at the finish line and I could see the tents and stuff just across the river.

.2 mile 26.2- 1:43 (about an 8:45 pace):
Now it's just across the river, turn the corner and the finish line will be in sight. I was sure I could make it under 4 now. It was just a matter of making it to the finish. I did and it was a wonderful feeling, despite the pain and all the hard work.

I accomplished something that, statistically, very few people do. Yes, I'm still sore, and may be for a few more days, but it's over and I can enjoy it now.

I wanted to say a special thanks to Regina and the kids for putting up with the running, especially the long Saturday runs, and all the stinky clothes hanging around the bathroom. And thanks to "my" trainer, David, for all the advice and treatment he's offered me.

My dad asked me yesterday afternoon if I wanted to do another one. At this point, I don't know. Regina says that's like asking a woman when she's going to have another baby just after giving birth. The pain hasn't subsided enough to make that determination. Only time will tell, but I can always say I've finished one (or will it be my first?)...


At 2/20/2006 6:44 PM, Anonymous David Chandler said...

Great Job, come by if you need any more treatment.

At 2/20/2006 10:05 PM, Blogger TheCrazySquirrel said...

Could that post have BEEN ANY longer? Geez.

I ran like 38% of a marathon once. 10 miles. I wasn't all that tired though. But now...I couldn't run half a mile.

At 2/20/2006 10:10 PM, Anonymous mark said...

there was a short entry for those of you with short attention spans....

At 2/21/2006 3:12 PM, Anonymous Lisa Love said...

I always new there was one crazy person in our family--now I KNOW it's not me! I am proud of you little bro!!!!

At 2/21/2006 5:10 PM, Blogger Teresa said...

That is an awesome achievement. And the even more awesome achievement is the great family that yall have that supported you! :) Yay!


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