Sunday, October 11, 2009

Long Beach Marathon

2:49, 14th overall.

finish-2:49:22 - 6:28

This race was a character building experience.

I had waffled about what shoes to wear, what I was capable of and what was the best for the day.. and as logical as it was to wear the new 10oz 905's from new balance, the lure of the 5oz lunar racers was too much. I figured I could make it work if I put some super feet in them for support, but they made the fit tighter and the heel slip. I used extra thin socks and tied a runners loop in them, but I had pretty bad blisters by mile 4, and a bloody shoe at 22. Also the tendons on top of my ankles are really tender now.. Basically I need to train more in light, neutral shoes so I can race as is in the lunar racers.

The race started smoothly, cruising around and over bridges at 6ish pace. I was really relaxed and let the contenders and pretenders sort themselves out for the first few mile watching everyone settle. The course mile markers were off, and it made me a little worried that I was slowing down over a minute per mile without even noticing it, which is usually a bad sign of exhaustion. Fortunately the splits evened out eventually and I figured it out.

I caught up to P.B approaching mile 10 as he was not having a good puke-free day. As I approached mile ten, I began to feel exhausted. It was the kind of total body feeling that you're supposed to get at mile 20, except it was mile 10. This worried me a bit, but I kept driving to 12 hoping it was just a phase. I reached mile 14 and knew it was going to be a long day on the back half with the splits just not going back down despite every effort. My legs felt like they were running in soft sand in heavy boots. Everything ached and every muscles felt lead filled. I wanted someone to slap me in the face to give me some adrenaline or something to get my turnover back up. Unfortunately, there was nothing to do really as my whole body was spent from battling the flu last week.

The pace went from 6:05's up to 6:30's or more as some hills showed up (note: there is not only one 50 ft climb in the race, almost every time I went over 7:00 there was some uphill). I was a zombie cruising through miles 15-18, and was looking forward to the "6,000 screaming college students" supposedly at CSULB out to cheer on the racers.. but there were only about 60.. and that was kinda depressing since I go there and it was pretty much a ghost town with another needless hill. I was pretty out of it and so were the water stations not quite set up yet. On one no wanted to hold any cups out, and they just left a few hundred filled cups on the table. I didn't break stride and I didn't try hard enough to grab a cup, and ended up knocking over or spilling 20 cups trying to get a few oz of water. At another, I went through 3 volunteers gripping the cups to tight before I got a cup in my hand to drink.. and I really couldn't of cared less in either instance. I was at my limit, and every step closer to the finish was invaluable.

I saw JJ and EC heading out along the way back, BC cheering, and then AD and her mom, and got a boost out of their cheers, but there wasn't much I could muster back.
At 22 or so, one of my blisters burst.. and then 30 seconds later another. I felt like I must've been down to bone, and had to hobble the next two miles before the pain subsided. Running the last 3 mile with A LOT of 2:50 half-marathoners wasn't fun. They were like a herd of cattle that were making it difficult to run a straight line or focus. Coming into the finish, I had a small kick to pass two other marathoners and secure the sub 2:50. The finish line was a mess, and I opted to sleep for a bit before walking a couple miles to the car. I ached and ached and ached, and will probably ache for another few days, but I'm still really happy to be back and running after so much tapering and resting and recovering. I gotta have my adrenaline fix.

Overall the day was truly a character building a day. I had a lot of reasons to opt for the half-marathon, but I kept driving on for the full. I didn't even believe at mile 12 that I'd be under 3:00, but I did a good job of controlling my emotions and just doing my best. I think this is often more easier said than done.. When things go wrong, emotions can get the best of you and keep you from just focusing on just doing what you can to your very best. I think I've come to learn this well and apply it in races. I paid a hefty physical price, as I'm hobbling like a rookie marathoner, but I'd take that any day over the shame of quitting.

Next on tap, Javelina Jundred on Jalloween, and the Chimera 100 mile in OC in December. Mileage is gonna come back up once these blisters heal.


Runnerchiq... said...

Great job securing sub-2:50. Your mental spirit is tremendous and you have a lot to be proud of. Hope your aches and pains subside soon! :-)

Dominic Grossman said...

fact: the aches and pains are subsiding.. and my mind's looking forward eagerly!

daniel and tina said...

ayurvedic healing tip for blisters...tumeric!! its an astringent, antifungal, wonder spice. its going to sting a little but it works. heal well and great job!