Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Ogden Marathon Recap

The Ogden marathon is beautiful.  With having such a wet spring this year, northern Utah is so green and nice and so I was looking forward to the beauty of the canyon.

Since I was running with Team in Training we had 2 full days of activities with the marathon in the middle planned.
My wife and I got to the Hotel at about 2:30 on Friday afternoon, and after checking in, dumping our gear and checking out the team hospitality suite, he walked about a block to Union Station so that I could pick up my Bib and check out the Expo.  It was a cool day, perfect for running, and I kept thinking that it the temp stays like this the marathon will be great.

The expo was kind of cool, but small.  I stopped by the Cliff booth and picked up wrist band that had all the splits for a 5 hour finish.  My concern was that I would start out to fast and would burn out early, so pacing was something I really wanted to maintain.
After that we went back to the hotel for our team dinner, which was just awesome and inspiring.  There we were told that we had raised over $90,000 for the battle against Cancer... That was just cool!

I was up at 3:30am because I had to dress, eat, and meet the team at 4:30 for our team picture before we loaded into the busses.  As I was heading out the door into the early morning drizzle, a janitor was handing out garbage bags that we could use as rain ponchos while waiting for the start.

The bus zone was chaos, with lines of runners waiting to board half-filled busses.  I was with a couple of friends trying to figure out where we should get in line, when a guy comes by saying “the last bus leaves in 8 minutes, you better get on one of them!”  So, we just jumped on one.  In the background I heard some runner complaining that he’d been waiting there for quite a while and that we had just cut in front.  I figured… poop or get off the pot.

In the end, we got to the starting line at about 5:30am and then proceeded to stand around in the wet for an hour and 45 minutes for the start.
While waiting there, I ran into a bloggy friend, Susette from You’ll Always Have My Heart.  It was fun to talk to her while waiting around in the rain.

Anyway… eventually we were able to get onto the road and I found the 5 hour pacer, a nice lady from Virginia who kept a great pace.  The only down side was that she had asked the people who were going to be running with her if they wanted to take a 30 second walk at each mile marker.  Most said yes, so… when they stopped at the first mile, I kept on going because I was still feeling pretty fresh and didn’t need or want a stop, especially at the first mile.
Eventually I was able to catch the 4:45 pacer (at about the 6th mile) and stayed with her for quite a few miles.

The rain started just before the gun sounded and kept going for most of the race.  Many runners were wearing garbage bags, I just couldn’t do that, so I just ran in an old hoodie that I had brought as a throw away jacket.  I tossed it at around mile 7 or 8, and it was like losing 3 lbs because it was so full of water.  I was running easier then, but I started getting cold because the wind has started to kick up just before I entered into the town of Eden.
I stopped for a trip to the Honey Buckets at the 13th mile, and found that my hands were so numb from the wet and the wind that I couldn’t undo the ties on my shorts.  So… the potty break took a little longer that it should have.

There is a really steep hill between Eden and Pineview Dam, and I found myself walking quite a bit of that.  But about halfway up, I look and here comes Mary, one of my TnT coaches trotting down toward me with these purple pinwheels on her head.  A good smile on a bad hill is a wonderful thing.  One of my huge concerns was that I wouldn’t cross the Dam at Pineview Reservoir before the hard cutoff of 4 hours and have to be taken to the finish line by bus, so I pushed pretty hard and crossed that damn dam at 3 hours 10 minutes. And then it was all downhill from there… in all ways possible.
The trip down Ogden Canyon was the hardest part of the marathon for me.  I was so tired of being cold and wet.  The clouds opened up and gave us another good dose of water; so much so that I sometimes couldn’t see because of the water running down my face.  My hip flexors began to ache, probably because of the cold, and my arms and hands were beginning to tingle, definitely because of the cold.  I was a soggy mess, but my other TnT coach, Josh, met me at about the 20th mile and ran along with me for quite a ways.  That was such a boost to my spirits.  Thanks Josh!

My shoes were full of water (as were everyone else’s) but because I was wearing my trusty compression socks (from Spun Apparel) which fit like a second skin, I suffered no blisters, hot spots, or rubbing injuries of any kind.  That was awesome!

When I turned onto Grant Ave. for the final mile, I was done.  I mentally and physically could not muster the energy to run another step, and walking was even beginning to become less of an option.  I could see the finish line, and like a mirage, it seemed to get further away from me as I trekked forward.
And then a magical thing happened; I began to hear the crowds.  People who have come to see runners finish were there, lining the street.  People were cheering, I could hear my name being yelled from the Team in Training tent that was set up along the route.  I caught sight of my wife standing there with a sign, and so I ran up and kissed her as I passed.  I had energy again, and I ran even better toward the finish line.  It’s weird, I was a block away from the finish line and I could see the girl in front of me pick up her pace and start to sprint toward the finish line.  At that moment, I thought “you should sprint too.” But then another voice said “you need to save your energy for the rest of the race.”  What race?  I was done!  Strange things go through your head when you’re mentally toasted.  And so, with a small jump at the end I hit the finish line… and forgot to stop my Garmin… for about 10 minutes.

Anyway… Here are my stats:
Tag Time: 5:15:42
Overall pace: 12:03

7 miles: 1:14:19, pace: 10:37
Half: 2:27:57, pace: 11:18
18 miles: 3:28:17, pace: 11:35
23.1 miles: 4:32:41, pace: 11:49

Overall, I’m happy with my performance, but I know that I could have made the 5 hour goal, had I not been mentally hit by the rain and cold.  I know that I vowed that I would NEVER run another full… but as my soreness wanes and the tightness becomes loose again, I begin to think… huh… I could do that again… and this time I’d…
Maybe there is just one more marathon in me…


Redhead Running said...

CONGRATULATIONS!!!! You are a marathoner! And I'm cracking up at your thoughts of a second one are already looming, that's the thing about marathons, you always think you may have one more in you. :)

I commend you for your resilience, I've never done a full in terrible weather like that, only a half and that was more than enough for me. I hope you never forget that moment of getting your second wind near the finish, that is what it's all about, realizing you did it, you're about to finish your first marathon!

Mamarunsbarefoot said...

Great great job!!! Don't you love hearing those crowds! It's the best feeling!

Melissa said...

Way to go Mike! What an awesome accomplishment! I can't imagine walking a block in the rain, let alone running a marathon in one. Pat yourself on the back for a job well done! :)

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