06 October 2009

Twin Cities Report: Summit Street Owns Me.

I'll be honest. I don't really want to write this report. I may resort to bullet points, just so you know.

Short Story: I was on pace through 21 miles before fading pretty badly. I still had a chance when I saw Matt at 24, but simply couldn't hold it together. I ended up running 3:03:05 and am very sore. The two marathons were too close together, and I made some tactical errors in calorie consumption (not enough) during this race, mostly because I was afraid of taking in too much and having my stomach revolt like it did in Fox Cities. I'm not sure at this point if I'll try to hit the sub-3 again.

Long Story: I finally arrived with my dad in Minneapolis on Friday night after a 2 hour delay and immediately went to Murray's Steakhouse. My sister and bro-in-law were hosting myself, my parents, and my runner sister, Kathy, for the weekend. Ellie was hosting a baby shower and couldn't come. I blame her for slowing me by 3 minutes. The steak at Murray's was fantastic. I'm not sure it was the best I've ever had (Ruth's Chris or Annie Gunn's come to mind), but it was very very close. The night continued with family time until after midnight, when we finally found our beds. It was a great start to the weekend!
Saturday I slept in until about 8:30 (no idea when the last time I did that was!) and then helped myself to an amazing breakfast cooked up by my sister. After that we took a tour of St. Paul guided by my bro-in-law, who takes much pride in his hometown. The tour included a stop at Garrison Keilor's bookstore, where I picked up the funniest book I've ever read. At around 5 Kathy and I got a ride back into town and ran along Summit Street for a little pre-marathon shake out. I knocked off a couple 6:20 miles and couldn't believe how good I felt. I tried to deny the fact my legs felt a bit tired, but I was really visualizing the sprint down Summit, past the Cathedral, and into the finishing chute. The Twin Cities is an amazing course, and the final 1/2 mile is probably the most beautiful I've ever run. Kathy was hoping for a BQ (3:45) but was having some issues in the last couple months with her knee and with some exercise-induced asthma. Her shake-out run went well also, and we were both excited for Sunday. I felt a bit bad, as I had promised her earlier this year that I'd personally pace her to a BQ. I had figured on breaking 3 hours in Fox Cities and then simply enjoying Twin Cities at her pace. She told me she didn't need the pacer because of her knee issue, and those 8 seconds from Fox Cities were serving as great motivation for this run. In hindsight, the races were too close together, and I probably should have run with her.
Saturday night was a great pasta dinner put on by my sister, and an early night in bed. I slept decently well until about 4 AM, at which point I was awake for the rest of the morning. I had a normal breakfast and was dropped off at the Metrodome at abotu 7:30.
After a walk around the Dome, Kathy and I made our way to our respective starting areas and I downed a Gel before getting ready. I kept my eye open for Joe Z, who I've never met but would have recognized from other events. Adam had mentioned that he was pacing a friend to a sub 3. I never saw him, though, and before long I was on my way.
The early miles reminded me of Chicago, where you're in an urban environment and just hoping to find your pace while there are people passing you and getting passed all over the place. I made a right turn near Mile 2 and heard someone yell from behind me "Sub Three today, Nic!" I have no idea who it was (Kurt?), and it didn't register in my ears soon enough for me to react and look back. Still, it was one of the neatest experiences I've had running...somebody out there was cheering for me!
I found a groove and starting clipping off 6:45 miles. I wanted to come through half way in about 1:28:30, and my overall focus for the run was to just get to St. Paul, and THEN just get up the hills. Steve had warned me about the hills once you leave the "evil side" and after driving the course on Saturday, I wanted to be ready (and have something left) for them. (I didn't.)
The course meanders through some rolling hills around several lakes on a parkway, and it was beautiful. I was in the groove and loving the run.
I continued to feel great and absolutely LOVED the Lake Nokomis area. There were exceptional spectators throughout the course, but Lake Nokomis stood out to me for some reason. A nice group had formed, led by Sonya (Kurt's wife), who should run for office because apparently every other person in the Twin Cities are knows her. Every 10 seconds someone was calling out to her!
I came through half way right were I wanted to be (somewhere around 1:28:45) and was still feeling great. I was comfortable running with the group I was in and stayed tight the majority of the time. From Mile 16-19 the course heads back North along the Mississippi River, then crosses it and returns the other direction. At about Mile 18 you can hear some jerk guy on a loudspeaker across the river welcoming the runners to Mile 20. Hearing this got me mad, but at the same time reminded me to keep a nice pace and hold steady, as the hills were coming.
Shortly I saw the bridge over the river ahead and got excited. Almost to St. Paul! As I crossed the bridge, my pace picked up a bit. The Mile 20 "Wall" was another great spectator area, and I was looking forward to seeing Steve Q someplace near Mile 21.
I've said this a dozen times, but it always amazes me how quickly the wheels can come off.
Somewhere in Mile 20 I started to feel "it." By the time I saw Steve, my focus had gone from "I've got this" to "Uh oh." Right about this time, Joe Z came flying past me with Erik K (I think) and their Sub-3 virgin. This probably couldn't have happened at a worse time, as they looked fresh and were moving at what seemed like a 6:30 pace. I was still holding on to 6:45 miles, but they went by me like I was standing still. That sucked.
I didn't offer Steve much more than a point and a smile. I had planned on telling him I was ready for the hills he had warned me about, but when I saw him, doubt had begun to take over. I continued on, though, still holding on to an ever-more-difficult pace. It was odd to see him in civilian clothing, too, as I had always envisioned him in only running event shirts, shorts, and mud. And living in the woods, appearing out of thin air moments before the race started. And shorter. Then again, the only other time I met him, all of that was true.

Finally, Summit Street! The left turn at Mile 21 marked the final climb and final home stretch, and I decided at this point to turn off my Garmin and run on guts. I really didn't need the psychological blow of watching my average pace creep bit by bit. My dad and bro-in-law were waiting at 23, and I mustered a grimace masked as a smile. Still, though, I felt like I had a chance...I was running on fumes and the minor hills were growing with each step.
I heard Matt yelling at me for a half mile before actually reaching him. He was spot on with his assessment that I still could do it, but had ZERO room for error, and needed to run a faster pace than I was currently running. I faked a puking episode as I passed and smiled. All I wanted was to see the spire of the cathedral. The previous day's run had shown me that when it becomes visible through the canopy of trees of Summit Street, the course opens up and it's downhill.
As I continued to go into serious hypoglycemia, the chimneys of the massive houses lining Summit kept duping me into thinking I was at the Cathedral. I. Was. Done.
The crowd along Summit was AMAZING. The best crowd I think I've been around. There were dozens of radios, several bouncy houses, and an absolutely fantastic NF Endurance Cheer Section. Without Matt and the crowd and the NF section, I may have walked it in from Mile 23 on. What an amazing event.
FINALLY, I was into the downhill finishing chute (the best finishing chute around) and had made it!

I didn't hit my goal of 2:59:anything but instead came across in 3:03:05. I was tired, but the fantastic spread for the runners helped a bit. Kurt was there, too, waiting on Sonya, and I told him I didn't get "it," (sub 3) and that I had run way too many marathons this year. He agreed.

Some chicken broth in my belly really hit the spot, and right away, there was my dad, calling my name and smiling. He asked how it went, and when I shook my head, he just kind of shrugged his shoulders, and smiled. "That's still a hell of a run, Nic." Great point. Love that guy.
There wasn't much time to pout, thankfully, as I had a ride to catch and a sister to run with. We walked to University Ave (other side of the Capital, uphill...that sucked) where my bro-in-law picked us up, and immediately headed back up the course on Summit St. My dad and I hopped out of the car just past Mile 24 and waited for my sister. By this time, I was freezing, so I put on my "Finisher" shirt, inside-out, of course, and was only standing there about 3 minutes before Kathy came by. She was off her 3:45 pace by a couple minutes, but was still doing well. I hopped back in and ran the final couple miles with her. As we went back through the NF Cheer Section, I was raising the roof and doing other dumb white guy stuff to embarrass my sister (who also runs for NF), and unfortunately caused her to have a bit of an asthma attack. Not the first time I've set a human into an allergic reaction with my dance style. After a short walk break, we started down the hill and into the finishing chute, where Kathy took off and left me kind of hobbling in behind her. THAT was the finishing sprint we were both hoping for!
And now some stray bullets.
  • I highly recommend the Twin Cities Marathon. Great course. Great People.
  • After the G-I issues I had at Fox Cities, I think I went too far the other way this time, and didn't have enough calories.
  • I'm sore.
  • I'm looking forward to the trails in 3 weeks.
  • I'm not currently in possession of the ladies evening gloves. Not real sure where they are, either.
  • Sub 3 WILL happen! In 2009? TBD.
bib number:540
location:Kiel, WI
overall place:315 out of 8431
division place:71 out of 1045
gender place:240 out of 4921
chip time:3:03:05
20 mile:2:15:36


Glaven Q. Heisenberg said...

"That's still a hell of a run, Nic."

Teh Dad says it all.

Great job, Nic.

Matthew Patten said...

I kept looking at the 3 hr pacing chart on my blackberry and compared it to real time. When I saw your jersey I knew you were right on 3, and not less. That is why I yelled so loud.

At that point, you were only a few minutes behind Joe Z, Bryan P, Erik K, and John Akins. All pretty damn good runners.

Storkamp had left everybody in the dust, and still had a smile.

I was thinking racing 2 marathons so close would be tough. At least ultras you are not dealing with having to run so hard for so long.

Hey, you beat Ann Heaslett. That's something to brag about. Although, she was passing people like they were standing still at 24. She didn't look the least bit in pain.

Runner Tammy said...

Nice Job Nic,

You are to be commended for running 2 marathons in such a short time span and regardless of the time outcome you ran with your heart and great will and determination and thus deserve kudos!

I am sure you have a 3 hour marathon in you, but alas figuring out the GI system, having perfect weather and the right course on the right day are all variables that you cannot control. But in the meantime enjoy your marathoning and savor your very impressive finish time and finish stats.

I hope your recovery goes well!


Anonymous said...

I really enjoyed your race report. That is a ridiculously speedy pace. Congrats, and keep on reaching for the sub-3:00...not today or tomorrow, though, okay?

Also, I might just have to check out that book you recommended. The title alone made me LOL and LOL. FU, indeed, small, adorable animals.

Helen said...

Hey Nic - great run - again! Probably a bit close to Fox cities your legs still had those miles in them. But definitely close enough to know you can do it. Maybe you need to hire out Joe Z for the next attempt! He was pacing Brian Peterson who finished just ahead of you at Chippewa.

Hope you are recovering well - for the next one! Unfortunately it looks like I'll be cancelling the NF race also... I need to just stop signing up for things!

Rachel said...

What a run Nic!! That NF cheer section was awesome! :-) I told my fam to watch out for a speedy guy in a NF shirt looking for a sub 3. Unfortunately they spent the day chasing down a 5 hr runner. You did awesome and glad to hear you enjoyed the TCM!

KimsRunning said...

Wow!! You are an amazing runner. I love reading your race reports!!!
Great race!!!!

SteveQ said...

I'm still reeling over the fact that I was shorter when we met before (guess I really do have to work on my posture)! Didn't know chiropractors earned enough to eat at Murray's (and yeah, the steaks are amazing. Tied with Ruth's Chris). The book you found is based on a website I discovered long ago - it is funny, in small doses.

You paced the race right, and I think you might've done sub-3 even after the other marathon, if you hadn't been training hard the week before. I don't understand fueling being an issue in a marathon, though, as I've done all my best without even water.

Don't try again this year to break 3. Your mood shows you've dug a hole and it will take time to get out of it.

I think your brother-in-law and I may be a lot alike. Wait. Kathy? Is his name Don? I might know him! He might be the one who told me about the Mystic Trail!

If Ellie's baby shower slowed you three minutes, you'd still have run 3:00:05. Anyway, heckuva race.

BrianFlash said...

Great run! 3:03 is a time most of us can't even effectively dream about, much less reach so it is an impressive accomplishment.

Grellan said...

Great run Nic. I suffered a similar fate 2 years ago, albeit at a slower pace, where I did not take on enough fuel and suffered big time over the last 4 miles (positive split of about 8 minutes).

I reckon you should take on as much fuel as your stomach will allow. I'd be interested to hear what your fueling plan was/is?

All the best.

nwgdc said...

Thanks, Grellan!

Perhaps the biggest problem with my fueling plan is that is isn't one.

At Fox Cities, I took a Gu at 45 mins, then 1:30, and was sipping water/gatorade at each aid station. Also an SCap at 45/1:30, then again at 2:15.

At Twin Cities, I took a Gu before starting, then Shot Bloks at 45 mins, then part of a Gu at 1:45. No Powerade (I was afraid of Powerade...I've never drank it), and sips of water at every other aid station (about every 4 miles).

I've run 2:30 training runs with very little outside of water and been fine. I think the best plan for me is one similar to Fox Cities...it just got a bit hot at the end, and I'm terrible in the heat.

carrie said...

Hell of a run, indeed.

Hell of a runner, too. Awesome job!

joyRuN said...

That IS a hell of a run! You JUST ran a 3-hr marathon less than a month ago.

You look strong in your pics. I'm very disappointed about the lack of lady evening gloves though :(

Viper said...

Your dad is right. Seriously a great effort. Especially for having run too many marathons this year. Rest up ang target the next one. Congrats.

Kurt said...

Yea that was me at mile 7.5ish or so. Man you did great. Like we talked about after the race, If you realy want that sub 3 you need to limit yourself in the number of races you are doing. I know you can do it. Just a matter of time.

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