08 October 2007

WTF was that?! (part 2--race recap)

This has been my laptop's wallpaper for the better part of this summer. I had been preparing for Mile 25.5, the uphill approach to the final 385 of the marathon, with every hill I ran in training. I always have had a great kick up this hill. Not so much this year, though.
The plan was in motion on Sunday morning. I was in the front of Corral C and was sitting down, conserving some energy next to my sis. We both commented on how muggy it was, and that we were both almost sweating. Not a good omen. When the corrals got combined, I politely made my way up to between the 3:20 pace group and the 3:10 pace group, and got ready for the start. I was on the left side, as Ellie would be on my left at mile 2, and I wanted to be sure to see her. I ran at a comfortable pace from the gun, avoiding any needless weaving, but at the same time keeping the 3 guys pacing 3:10 within reach.
I was sweating almost immediately. It was just plain muggy. When we were in between the buildings for the first miles, there was no air movement. I remember reading somewhere that it's been documented that a runner on a treadmill creates his own environment of humidity in the air around his body. Imagine 36,000 on a street with no wind moving up and down it, and buildings blocking any side wind. It was a bit rough. In my head I just took it a mile at a time and relaxed, kept the water and gatorade up and stuck with the plan. I'll see how it goes through 17, then I'll know where I'm at.
I ran the first half with the pacers, finishing 13.1 in 1:34 and change. I saw my family at mile 12.7 and felt great! It's at that point in the course you head West. The crowd thins, and it gets a bit tougher. I knew this going in, but I don't think I expected the sun to be that hot, and the wind to be that non-existant. Miles 14-16 really started to zap me. My rhythmic breathing started to get a little choppy. It was at mile 16 I decided I had to back off. I slowly watched 2 of the 3 3:10 pacers pull away, thinking to myself, I know one is behind me. We'll see how I feel when he catches me. Oddly enough, he never did. I have no idea what happened to him, but that was just one weird part of the day.
I wanted to be sure to tell Ellie and my family that I was okay and had decided to back off my pace before things got ugly. I got my phone out of my shorts, only to see the window say "Goodbye" and shut down. Apparently there was too much water spilled over my head and down my back.
Now I just wanted to see someone from the NF Team (there were several groups and they rocked!) or my family to let them know I was ok but slowing down. That didn't happen until mile 21, when I saw Maria's Marathoners from the NF Team, gave them Ellie's number, and continued on. Things were getting rough, as at mile 23 my stomach wouldn't take anything but ice, and that was in short supply. Two words kept going through my head: Death March. That's what it felt like. I mixed a slow jog with walking and knew that I just wanted to earn that $110 medal.
At mile 23 my brother-in-law, Brian, and niece, Alaina (who has run a 7 minute mile at the age of 12) joined to boost the spirits. It was wonderful to have them there. they told me Kathy had slowed way down but was plugging along. I honestly almost cried thinking of her--we have run the last 3 LBCM's side by side, and to have such a miserable time alone wasn't fun. I just hoped she was smart enough to slow down or pull out if need be.
Finally, Michigan Avenue, and a straight away home. The walk/trot/jog continued and the crowd really helped. Turning the corner to Roosevelt and that hill from my desktop was a nice sight. I saw my brother-in-law, Doug, and imitated a cowboy on a horse as I passed him. The crowd chuckled, cheered, and truly picked me up.
I finished in 3:44. Although the time disappoints me, I'm happy I was smart enough to know it wasn't my day and I didn't hurt myself too much. I didn't even miss my 7:45 appointment this morning!
Kathy came in at 4:19, and we hugged for a while. To have her there, and Ellie, of course, meant a lot. Before we met up with Kathy, Ellie and I had a nice chance to talk, with an ice bag on my head and a beer in my hand (it was the ONLY thing cold in the finish area!). I told her that I have no idea what I was thinking about an ultra for, as I have a LOT to learn at the 26.2 distance. She was proud of me, and that meant a lot. She has had to live with a BQ-obsessed runner for a summer, and I can't tell you how good she's been.
I'll get to Boston, and I'll be taking her with me. We are now looking forward to the 50 mile relay in 2 weeks, and then I'm doing my 1st annual Birthday run (I run my age in miles) this December. I'm looking forward to posting some pictures from this weekend as soon as I get them. I could write another 7 paragraphs about this weekend, but I'm not even sure that would be enough. Congrats to Doug (wow, what a time), Tom (who has a great post about the marathon), and Jess too for experiencing a marathon like no other!
I'm sure I'll be adding posts with other stuff I've left out, but until then, thanks for the support, and damn it, I'm gonna run a 3:10!


Doug Cichon said...

Great job, Nic!

I'm glad you were smart enough to slow down and not add to the number injured yesterday. Boston will come in due time, Chicago just wasn't our race!

amy@runnerslounge.com said...

Congratulations on your finish! What a great post about your experience. I hope you are taking some time this week to celebrate and recover.


Amanda said...

great recap of the race and congrats for doing it smart.

Doug Cichon said...

I forgot to mention something earlier.

Once my running was reduced to a shuffle, I was checking for your bright NF jersey every time someone passed me!

By the way, did you end up putting a quote on your jersey? I didn't, it was way too difficult to write on my shirt, and all it would take is one mistake to blow it!

nwgdc said...

no quote...i ran into the same problem you did.

Marcy said...

Congrats for even finishing!! All these horror stories of people being diverted and no water, etc . . . That was just pure craziness. You did awesome, especially in those conditions. And yes you WILL BQ :-) Great attitude homie!