Timing wise, things went almost exactly as expected. How that came about, however, was unexpected. I anticipated not doing so well because my training has gone pretty crappy the past few months, but there was the added element of surprise of stomach issues during the race. That was not fun. Still, I broke 3:30 which I had hoped to do, so I'm pretty happy especially considering those factors.
My detailed plan (which I kept quiet about) had been to go out fast and see if I could hold on. Fast meaning fast enough to BQ. I knew the odds were very much against it (at least 200:1), but what the heck. If at the halfway point I couldn't hold on to that pace, I'd just run what I could to still finish with hopefully a decent time.
I learned that this is one of those plans that sounds good beforehand, but in reality it was pretty stupid. With my stomach acting the way it was, on top of going into this race under-prepared, I was miserable that second half. I won't do that again. However, I'm happy that I pushed through it.
I woke up not really feeling sick, but at the same time I could tell something didn't quite feel right. A few trips to the bathroom confirmed what it was (I'm trying to be discreet). Still, I thought I had gotten it out of my system but not the case.
Saw Jim Gott, who I didn't think was going to make it, so that was good. Also met up with Ryan, Danielle and Tim. Tim is friends with Mindy and her husband Pete, who were also in attendance. They were going to ride their bikes around the course and cheer us on. Mindy proved to be a HUGE help late in the race, but I'll explain that later. Ryan, Danielle and Tim, by the way, all did very well.
Miles 0-5 - Speed
The starting cannon went off and so did we. I went out at a good clip feeling great, but the first mile was way too fast (7:12). I eased back to more acceptable levels and pushed. My stomach churned a bit, but was still okay. I was alone for a bit, but was hoping to link up with someone to run with. Just as I was thinking this, along comes Amanda.
Miles 5-10 - Pairing up
Amanda and I were moving along well together, and she was great company. However, I could tell that she had energy to spare and I knew I wouldn't be with her for the duration. Still, we hit our splits with ease and were having fun.
Miles 10-15 - Uh oh
Now my stomach was really churning and it became obvious that a bio break was desperately needed. Crap! (no pun intended) I was really enjoying Amanda's company and would have liked to have run with her a bit longer, but this was going to turn into a really embarrassing situation if I didn't take care of things soon.
Somewhere during mile 12 there was an open porta-potty and I ducked in. Fortunately, the pit stop only took somewhere between one and a half and two minutes. I hit the next mile in 7:18, but that was really tough, and it became obvious that I needed to slow down.
I also vurped (hybrid between a burp and vomiting, usually with less vomit than a full on ralph) a few times. The stomach was simply not doing well. I was afraid of anything with sugar so taking any Gu was out of the question and I limited drinking Gatorade, opting for water instead. I prayed I wouldn't cramp up and thankfully, I never did.
I crossed the half marathon mark in 1:38:57, which was :43 seconds quicker than last year when I finished in 3:21:37. But seeing how I was feeling, I knew beating that time wasn't going to happen.
Miles 15-20 - Keep moving
The splits continued to slow and I did some quick math and figured I could still break 3:30 even at this rate. The key was to just keep it slow and finish and try to ignore the hordes of runners that were now passing me.
Miles 20-25 - Hills of Death and Mindy the Angel
This stretch features some unrelenting hills that are really tough. Needless to say, my pace continued to slow. I was miserable. I vurped some more and just tried to concentrate on continuing to move.
Just as I was feeling my worst, along comes Mindy on her bike. Long story short, she rode by my side for around two miles and her company was extremely welcome. She also gave me some water which was great as it helped lessen my worries about cramping. More importantly, she lent a sympathetic ear to my whining about my stomach and she was extremely encouraging. Mindy got me close to the top of the hill and I urged her to go back and help Tim (who's from Florida and I mused could probably also use some help). Thank you Mindy! Also saw my father and step-mom drive by during this stretch which was nice and gave me a bit of a mental boost.
The Final 1.2 Miles - Final Stretch
Most of the final stretch is downhill, which of course is great. I was still pretty slow, but did pick it up a little.
A small uphill exists during the final few tenths of a mile, and at the crest of the hill, I saw another runner I thought I could pick off. The finish line was in sight and I put in my kick. Somewhat similar situation as last year. I passed him and like last year, I later found out he was in my age group. Cool. By the way, the guy was a great sport and said nice job.
I finished in 3:27:56, beating my time from two years ago by :02. My bib number that year was the same as this year, #40. Kinda eerie...
So all things considered, I'm pretty happy with how it all turned out. Definitely far from my best race in more ways than one, but it was fun. I'm glad I toughed it out and still finished okay. Good mental victory. I'm also very thankful that I never crapped my shorts during the run.
Ryan, Danielle, Tim and Jim all also finished well and seemed quite pleased with how they did. Very happy for them, especially Ryan since it was his first marathon and he exceeded his goals. Danielle also crushed her PR. Jim has been battling a calf injury and still finished strong. Tim did awesome especially considering that you can't get hills like this in Florida where he lives. Big congrats to Andrew for running his marathon up on Prince Edward Island in 3:00:05. Wow, smoking! And I win the beer!
1 - 7:12
2 - 7:32
3 - 7:24
4 - 7:13
5 - 7:23
6 - 7:24
7 - 7:29
8 - 7:30
9 - 7:24
10 - 7:34
11 - 7:34
12 - 9:06 (bio break)
13 - 7:18
14 - 7:50
15 - 7:54
16 - 7:48
17 - 8:09
18 - 8:13
19 - 8:24
20 - 8:20
21 - 8:30
22 - 8:41
23 - 8:46
24 - 9:15
25 - 8:28
26 - 8:06
last .2 - ?
2008 MDI Marathon Results
Overall placing: 78th out of 699
Age group (35-39): 15th out of 52
Ran 26.2 miles @ 7:56/mile pace.
Lower 30s to upper 40s, sunny.
Shorts, sleeveless shirt, Moeben sleeves.
No running for me until next Sunday. I'm going to overdue this recovery so I can hopefully get going on work for the Western States 100 on a smoother note.