Gorge Fest (May 30, 2003)
Well, I suspect you already heard my result on your voice mail; but here’s all the news that’s fit to print. It turned out to be a smaller event than I thought…maybe 50-100 people? The final online results will be posted later at http://www.gorgefest.com/html/10k_run.html In case you didn’t get my message, I finished at 46:57.
It seems like almost everybody passed me within the first 1-2 miles even though I was doing 8:00 or less minute miles. I felt put to shame so that’s why I stuck to a faster than intended pace. It seemed like I could sustain it so that’s why I just kept it up. Of course, in the end, I did take my GPS with me and it worked just fine to keep me from going even faster the first mile (although it was incredibly unnerving to see everyone and his brother passing me). Some of the front runners had even just finished a triathlon event staged before our race. If that doesn’t make one feel wimpy…
I did the “reel ’em in” technique again on the second half. I saw a woman 100 yards ahead and made it my mission to catch and pass her. Besides, she looked to be about my age and I didn’t want her to beat me. I was bad, though, and as I was running along side her I made chit chat about the wind we were running into and then casually asked her what her goal pace was… 8:30 she says (like me) and I pleasantly reply that well, by my GPS she’s doing 8:00 now! That takes the competitive edge off her, I suspect, and I just breezed ahead as she realized that she didn’t have to be working that hard. Heh, heh. Hope that’s not unsportsman-like behavior. I did my warm up mile with strides and then after the race I ran back to do the last 1/2 with Rodney (my husband) as he finished. He’s decided that taking a month off from training makes for much more difficult races. No kidding. Obviously, he runs to have it in common with me, not because he likes it all that much. Not bad for an old guy, though (he’s 12 years older than I).
Well, I made it! My goal was 4:10:00 and I finished in 4:10:31. I had mid-race aspirations of finishing just at 4 hours (my 1/2 mary split was right at 2 hrs) but 82 degrees does something to you! And “gently rolling” hills seem a tad more difficult. Mile 13-20 is essentially all uphill and the last 6 miles return trip of downhill just didn’t seem to make up for it! I am in no way disappointed and I am sailing on the biggest runners high that you can imagine (even if my legs are crippled and you should just see the blisters).
I ran the whole way, except through the water stations where I walked so as not to aspirate (I did that once). I kept pouring water over my head and onto my chest to try to stay cool. My GPS doesn’t work at all under those trees and it gave up the ghost for timing me somewhere around 23 miles. By that time I was really ready to be done.
I really felt like I was crawling and did see a flash of GPS time telling me I was going 11+ at one point. I knew I had to really kick it or I wouldn’t make my goal (even with the 5 minute advantage coming into the 2nd half). So I really kicked it into high gear. There was this woman who and been passing me off and on for most on the last half and she looked to be about 200 yards ahead. She pulled ahead of me at the last water station. I made it my mission to catch her. She seemed to be running about at my projected pace.
I closed in on her over the last 3 miles and the passed her around 25.5 miles. I ran as hard as I could that last bit…I was gasping for air! I’ll bet I ran 7 minute mile pace. I crossed the finish to wild cheers (in my mind) and someone handed me some water.
They untied my race chip (it was suppose to be zip-tied but mine broke just 5 minutes before the start so I tied it on). After he untied it I actually had to ask him to please retie my shoe (like I was in any shape to do it). My husband was there and I collapsed into sobs in his arms…I always wondered why people did that. Now I don’t understand why they don’t. The woman who I was chasing came down the chute and told me…”great race”.
Those last 100 yards where so hard and people lining the course were so encouraging…I kept thinking it was you guys cheering me on.
My sister and husband are treating me like queen for a day. I have been given every comfort and treat. I’m happily basking in my race t-shirt and with my medal. It’s pizza for dinner!
Well, that’s it. I talked with a nice woman from mile 6-11…she had been following and called me her “pace monkey.” It really helped but she finished at the 1/2. I talked with an older guy (50s) from mile 14-16 who told me he started running at age 46 and that “The Ave” was one of his favorite marathons. He gave me pros and cons of various other marathons. I found him after he finished and thanked him.
Will I run a marathon again? You bet! Just not for a few days
P.S. for Jason:
I know I really messed up my pace for the first half. I think I did the first mile at 10:03ish as we planned, but then the GPS wasn’t working and they only sporadically had mile markers. That first 3 miles were mostly downhill so it was really hard to hold back. I really paid for it the second half but did have enough left for that end kick. OMG that was the hardest 3 miles I’ve ever run in my life. When should I start running again? I’m trying to keep moving today but will likely be very, very sore tomorrow.