Saturday, May 30, 2015

Vermont City Marathon

I'm not very good at race reports. By the time I get around to it I'm on to something else.
Back in November, after the cross country club championships, I decided I needed a bit of something to get my ass out the door more often. I was pretty pissed at my place in Pennsylvania although I had a blast with my team in that environment. That course was amazing and so was the experience. I threw my hat into the GP marathon which ended up being Vermont City in May. I figured it would be perfect timing. I could start my build up in February and avoid almost all of the winter. I couldn't have picked a worse winter to train. We all know by now it was ridiculous with the snow. Oddly enough the experience in Pennsylvania kept me more focused that I have been in a real long time. There were a ton of treadmill runs and some of them ended up being some of my long runs...pretty sucky. I also joined Strava which helped me stay honest with my team and myself. I figured if they are suffering out there then I should be also.
Fast forward a bit, after a solid winter( for me) and a bunch of solid 18-20+ runs and a bunch of real solid up-tempo 14-16 milers, race day arrived and I was healthy. I figured I should be anywhere between 2:40 and 2:45. Not haven't run a marathon since 2003 I was a damn wreck the entire race week. Race morning was even worse, sweating and crazy nervous. I lined up about 10 rows back as the gun goes off and I immediately settle into a very easy 6:20 first mile. I was completely shocked at how easy it felt. I found three BAA guys, McGIll, Levy, and Lawrence.
They looked like they were escorting McGill to keep him in check a bit. I settled in behind and we chatted a bit and began clicking 6:20s like nothing. Miles 1-8 were a breeze but a bit warm. We hit mile 9 back into the start area and the pace got frantic real quick. The crowds were super deep and awesome and we all fed off of it and went a bit harder. McGIll broke with Lawrence and I followed about 3 seconds back. I knew at some point it was going to hurt so I purposely stayed back a bit. We all started to reel in the Women's leader( Kasie Enman)and as we caught up, the pack came back together a bit. We ran that way until about mile 11 or 12. It kind of felt the BAA guys were trying to help Kasie along. McGill got impatient and went harder with Lawrence and this is where I lost contact. I went through half way at about 1:22 and I was ok with it. Any faster I felt would be a mistake for the later miles. The drums at mile 15,on the only hill on the course, were amazing. I had heard about it but wasn't prepared for how awesome it sounded and how much it helped me get fired up. For weeks leading up to the race, I knew, and was told, get up over and you are home free. I broke away from Kasie and the group I was running with, got to the top, and preceded to run the next 5 miles all alone. The lack of crowd support and the twisting course was the toughest part of this whole race for me. My only salvation was a fading Chris Lawrence up ahead. I got by him about mile 18 and prayed for the bike path. Anybody who has ever run a marathon knows that the last 5-6 miles are pretty much where you can either make your race or ruin it. I made it to the bike path and for the next 4 miles dropped so many F-bombs. You can get pretty angry out there and I was pissed at everything. I was pissed at the uneven pavement. I was pissed at the guy who dropped his bike 4 inches from my legs. I was pissed at the woman taking a crap in front of me. I could finally hear, off in the distance, the race announcer getting the crowd all fired up. I took a quick left and then a quick right onto the grass and ran down the straight away waving back to the people who were so encouraging. I was done, literally and physically. Every muscle in both legs quit working just passed the last finish mat....2:46:30. I hobbled to the massage tent and within 10 minutes I was back on my feet. What a strange feeling to be so psyched and so miserable at the same time. I want to thank my teammates for helping me through all the training. I hope you had as much fun as I had.

Krissy K took the photo.

Friday, January 2, 2015

Frosty 4

It's kind of strange that I have never raced on New Year's Day. It's not like I'm out partying all night. I'm usually sleepy by 10 pm. Yup, pretty boring but rested. I decided to head over to Salem and race the wicked frosty 4 miler. My training is going well with all the time off from work because of the holidays. Warmed up with Jim, Martin, and Dennis. The start was pretty slow with two guys getting away early. I let both go knowing one of them was last years winner and the guy is quick. The second place guy looked a bit big and I thought there was no way he was holding pace. I caught him around the two mile mark but couldn't get around him. We crested the only hill and I started to get tired and of course the wind was just killing us. He pulled slightly ahead and that is how we finished. A pretty good effort and a good start to the new year. My legs felt great afterwards and I never really bonked on the cool down. I'll be over 50 miles this week for the first time in forever....
I'm pretty focused on a 15k in February followed by the 10 miler.