Saturday, November 3, 2007

Midsouth Marathon

My first marathon is now history. My official time was 5 hours, 37 minutes, and 31 seconds. This includes the bonus mile that I ran due to being misguided off course by a state trooper. Luckily for me, another trooper picked me up and drove me back to where I went off course. I was somewhat dejected but chalked it up to being my mistake and kept running. I eventually caught and passed a few people that I had passed much earlier before my free bonus mile. Without the added luxury of an extra mile, my time is 5:14:52 (12 min pace). It may have been even faster had I not been so dejected for being off-course. Since I ran over 27 miles, does this make it an ultra-marathon?!

It was a great race and due to the small amount of participants, very personal for each of us. The aid stations were at every mile and the volunteers did an excellent job making sure we stayed fed and hydrated. I brought a few goodies along, but didn't really need them because the aid stations had all of it and more. All of the volunteers were very friendly and thanked us for coming to their race. Hopefully all the racers did as I and thanked the volunteers profusely!

It was cold at the start (40 degrees) and warmed up to 68 by the finish. My sweat rate was light due to it being cool, but I was sure to drink (and eat) as much as I could. I had no GI issues, but had alot of trips to the port-a-potty to pee. My feet were not an issue, save for one blister. My knees were sore, which I attribute to pounding the black top (trails are so much more user friendly!). I took two Alleve before the race, but should have carried another dose for later in the race (pain in knees and groin/hips).

One big mistake that I made was trying to outrun people that were passing me. A group of four women (the only one I knew was Jan Show) almost passed me on a downhill section at mile 9. Since my male ego could not allow this to happen, I stepped on the gas on the uphill section to distance myself. Of course, this action was pointless and detrimental to my waning stamina. They were smart enough to walk/jog the big uphills and increase their pace on the downs. By the turnaround at mile 13, they had all passed me and would increase their distance ahead of me the remainder of the race by 30-40 minutes.

The following is from my Garmin, which had me finishing at 5:14:52 (using the bonus mile):

5 miles at 53:07 (11 min pace)
10 miles at 1:46:22 (11 min pace)
13 miles at 2:22:01 (11 min pace)
16 miles at 3:00:08 (11:25 pace)
19 miles at 3:38:46 (11:52 pace)
22 miles at 4:18:54 (12:10 pace)
24 miles at 4:43:27 (12:10 pace)

I was doing great up until the turnaround and then the wheels started to wobble. Next race, I will force myself to start even slower than a 11 min pace.

Sidenote: running in rural Arkansas was beautiful (scenery) and disgusting (roadkill). The leaves were changing colors making for a wonderful backdrop. Every now and then, I could smell rotten roadkill and a few, unfortunately, were skunks!

For me, this was a gut-check for the upcoming St. Jude Marathon. I didn't want to push it, but wanted to get the feel for 26.2 miles on the hard pavement. I made many mistakes and will (hopefully) learn from them and not repeat them on December 1st! It would be great to finish in under 5 hours, which is possible for me.

Mistakes made & lessons learned:
  • Once again, my pace was too much to sustain the entire race (not too bad, but...).
  • I need to run my race and not try to compete with others.
  • Walk or jog the hills...don't attempt to keep pace on the hills.
  • Carry Alleve/Tylenol/etc.
  • Try to stay off sloping section of the road. When possible, I ran on the center strip of the highway. When traffic didn't allow this, I tried to run the white stripe on the outside.

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