Friday, September 11, 2009

Eleven is the second half of my new favorite number

Why you ask? Because I ran my eleventh marathon last Monday. The first half of my favorite number is 7 because they sale Slurpees there. Nothing can beat a Slurpee and some nachos for a post race refuel!

I had been training very well for this marathon. Better than I had trained since St. George in '03. I was running faster too, although unfortunately I was not very consistent. For whatever reason I could never get myself to run more than 5 days a week often missing out on 8 miles of training in a week. I say unfortunately because this came back to haunt me in the last 8 miles of the marathon.

The Story:
Julie and I packed up the girls after church on Sunday and drove 2 short hours to Columbia, MO, home of the Heart of America Marathon. This race has 2 claims to fame. It is the 4th oldest marathon in the country and this was the 5oth running. This is also the hilliest/hardest non-mountainous marathon around. It is not a course that you are going to set any personal records on. They really push the second selling point. I think that this is why despite being around for so long the field is usually only 100-150 folks that are mostly locals. This year being the 50th anniversary the field ballooned to over 200.

We checked into our hotel, drove the course (it looks scarier in person than the elevation map found here) and went to Fazoli's for dinner. Nothing better than greasy pasta the night before a big race. Once we got back from dinner we took the girls swimming. As Julie and I were getting ready by the pool Cambree decided she couldn't wait any longer. She stepped down on the first kiddie step into the pool. We figured she would stop and sit down right there. I guess two years is not long enough to make a good guess as to what your own child will do in certain situations. She kept walking... and by the time she stepped off the second step she was floating face down. Julie may or may not have been closer to the pool but she was the first one to jump in and save her. Usually I wouldn't think Jules could out run me but... this might be one situation where she could and may have done just that. Anyway, Cambree was just fine. Her parents, however, were quite shaken up.

After the swim we all got ready for bed. I put my Ipod in and Julie chased Cambree around the hotel room for a couple hours or so until she gave up and fell asleep. We were extremely pleased to find a hotel just a few hundred yards from the starting line so Julie and the girls didn't have to get up at 4:30am with me. I got up and headed to the start by myself.

The temp was perfectly in the 60's and there was a nice crowd of runners at the starting line. After chattin' with a few ol' timers I headed to the start line with the other 200+ runners. The gun went off and so did the heard of runners. The first mile was downhill and I tried to hold back but it was hard not to let the legs go. Mile 2 was the first big hill. It was so foggy I could only see a few runners ahead and a few behind me. I got into my groove and relaxed for the next 5 miles. By mile 7 the sun was starting to try and push through the fog but I was still wishing I had brought my goggles.

Around mile 7 I met up with a guy that reminds me of my track coach in high school. Turns out he actually was a high school CC coach and this was his 69th marathon. I only have 58 more to go. I made it up the hill at mile 8 and then started the long descent down to the Missouri river. I left my new friend Jim and started running with another new friend Dan. Dan and I ran and talked strategery for the next hill, Easley (not to be confused with Easy). His plan was to walk the hill so he didn't "blow up" by the time he was at the top. Having driven the course I thought walking up Easley Hill was probably the way to go. This thing was a "Triple Black Diamond" minus the snow or an "HC" minus the bikes if I have ever seen one. It came right before the halfway mark so I was still feeling good when I got to it. I ran the first little bit and then decided to walk for a while to try and prevent myself from falling apart at the top. Dan didn't take his own advice and he ran away from me. That's ok though because Jim caught up with me right before the top. Just a note, these pictures do NOT by any means give credit to this hill.


Easley Hill part I

Easley Hill Part II


Easley Hill Part III

Easley Hill Part IV

I hit the halfway point at 1:46, which is right where I wanted to be, and I was still feeling pretty good. I ran with Jim for a while then he let me go. The course was nice rolling hills at this point and after a few miles I had caught up with Dan. I felt great until mile 18. That's when I started to loose my mind. Thoughts of, "you'll never make it" and "why do you do this?" kept running through my brain. I knew I was in for a long finish. Somehow I managed to make it up the long hill at mile 20 and started to feel much better mentally. Unfortunately now my legs were starting to go.

I slowed to what felt like a snail's pace and watched Dan run away from me. By mile 22 I was done, again. I walked a good portion of mile 23 which was a up the same hill that we ran down in mile 1. Halfway up the hill Jim caught up with me again. I tried to go with him but my legs wouldn't let me. I managed to find my own pace again and was thrilled to make the last turn onto Broadway street in downtown Columbia. I was still with it enough to hear the announcer call my name and inform the whole crowd that this was my 11th marathon and first Heart of America.

I finished in 3:42:42. A little off my goal but a respectable time. It was the first marathon I have run since 2003 in which I went faster than 3:52. I ended up 5th in my age group and 59th overall. Jim assured me that this was a rather fast field. I took his word for it since it was his 69th marathon and the dude beat me even though he is well into his 50's. I was beaten by only 10 women. If you don't believe me you can check the results here. I am not sure if I will run this one again, but it sure was a well run event.

Where's Daddy?
I only wish I could have come in this early. If you can't read the clock it is at 3:16



Julie says I have to run more. She is still in search of a perfect marathon finish photo.
I thought this one is good enough, but I guess I 'll have to run another.




3 comments:

josh, erica, nora and wells said...

I think I finally figured out the genetics of your family. Hayley had BJ's coloring, Julie's facial features. Cambree has Julie's coloring (complexion, hair, etc.) and BJ's facial features. They are both a beautiful mix of the two of you. That last picture did it for me. I figured out mine too: Nora has Josh's eyes, mouth and hair, and my nose and body type/ build while Wells has my eyes, mouth and hair, and Josh's nose and body type. I knew I should have been a geneticist. Congrats on a race well run!

LoveYaMissYa said...

Congrats on marathon #11! You need to come back and run one around here and stay for a visit! We miss you guys!

Tassi Smith said...

Congrats!!! That is a great accomplishment. I hope someday I can do the same. Well maybe not eleven but at least one.