Rochester Marathon - RunMarathon

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Rochester, New York
United States
Arthritis Foundation
Total Time = 4h 10m 56s
Overall Rank = 250/590
Age Group = 25-29
Age Group Rank = 10/32
Pre-race routine:

2 nights before marathon: cheesecake and drinks. More than several. Woke up a little hungover the day before the race.
Drove to Rochester from NYC drinking as much Gatorade and Vitamin water as I could tolerate. Finally pee'd clear that night. Had a great dinner at Marmadaddy's (got to meet Dexter too!) and then we went out to watch a band play. And I had beer. I NEVER have drinks before a race.

Woke up several times during the night to pee. Had coffee, banana and a clif bar for breakfast. Drove to race site completely worried about what I was about to do to myself.
Event warmup:

Ran from car to the chip pickup area in a state of panic as I realized there wasn't a bib number in my packet. Fun. Stressed about that, and my horrible nutrition for the past 2 days.

The race start was 1/2 a mile from the chip pickup area (which was the finish line at the stadium). 15 min. before the race I was sitting on a toilet with diarrhea. Official freakout mode fully engaged. This is going to be a bad day...made it to the start 3 min. before the start.

Got in with the 4:30 pace group (usuallly NEVER do pace groups, or the races I do are too small to have them). Was a little worried as my old PR was 4:29, but I'm not used to running that slow. I usually run races a little faster, then walk water stops so that brings my overall pace down.

1 min. before the gun, I see the 4:15 and switch to that one...
  • 4h 10m 56s
  • 26.2 miles
  • 09m 35s  min/mile

My strategy for all my marathons is to run the first half comfortably and then evaluate how I feel at that point. I usually either 1. keep the same thing I'm doing or 2. slow down.

I realized immediately at the start that the Garmin I borred from Mike (Marmadaddy) wasn't configured to the setting I prefer. Cussed myself for not thinking about it the night before. Frantically got the pace and distance fields up (although it was continuous pace not average). I can't believe I didn't even think of this before the race. Didn't find out until the week after the race it wasn't even set up to save the mile laps, so I don't have splits.

Before mile 1, a guy (John) asked if there were any Hashers in the group. Uhh, yeah! We exchaged hash names (no questions). The group was very chatting the whole run and I was happy that I was keeping the pace easily (9:30's-9:40's) and able to hold conversation. Good marathon pace. Or so I thought.

I was dripping sweat before mile 4 and started to get a little worried about my nutrition as I didn't think I would be that hot. I wasn't really hot, but I was sweating. A lot. Wished I had brought little salt packets, but nothing I could at that point. Stopped in a front yard at mile 6 to pee. Went behind a bush and caught back up with the group. Thankfully, this was my only bathroom break. I mostly hung with a much older gentleman, Steve. We chatted the pro's and con's of race courses we'd done (he'd done almost all the ones I had) and someone said "how many have you done?" I replied and Steve said "463" or something like that. Holy Shit. WTF? Apparently Steve is the founder of the "50 States Club." Race royalty people. Another great connection made during a race. Steve fell back before mile 10, but not before he said he would hold a satellite marathon in Iraq for me, I can coordinate when I get there. He is a race director as well. I was overjoyed.

I was keeping with my plan of running with the group, walking just to drink, then catching back up with the group. As we hit the trail (after going up some big hills), our pace slowed. I asked the pacer if we had banked time (I don't do math and run) and if we were slowing. He said yes, and I got worried. It was hurting to run that slow and slower wasn't going to be fun. My hasher friend had already left ahead of the group complaining it was too slow as well, but I didn't have the balls to do that before mile 6 of the race.

By mile 11 I decided I had to leave. I thanked the group and pacer, then sped up. Really sped up. Within a mile, my slight knee pain disappeared and I think I was running almost a minute per mile faster. The continuous pace was reading anywhere between 8:20-8:40. I got really worried that I would blow up, but I had no choice.

Miles 16-17 I started to get really excited and shocked. I could not believe that at what is usually my lowest point of marathons (between 14-19), I was running sub-9 min. miles. HUGE mental breakthrough. I started trying to do math to figure out what I *might* be capable of. As long as I didn't blow up too bad, I would PR. If I kept the last 6 miles under an hour, then I had a chance at finishing 10-14 min faster than ever before. So, I sped up...again.

At mile 17 I saw a guy on side of the trail who looked like Dud (dexter). The clapped and cheered and said I looked great. I yelled back, "can't stop, going for a PR!" wasn't Dud. So, thanks random dude cheering for me because I was passing everyone...

Mile 18, I saw the Hasher that left us early in the race! I didn't remember his real name, so I yelled out "Kiss My Crack!" (hash name). He wasn't feeling great and couldn't keep up, so I chatted for a minute, then left him.

From then to 22/23 I just concentrated on form and pace. Didn't walk the water stops and tried to ignore the pain and fatigue setting into my legs. It was normal marathon pain, nothing serious so I didn't let myself get down, or slow down.

24 I started to get tired. Right before 25 we went up a hill, then over a bridge, off the path, and onto the city road to take us to the finish at the stadium. I walked over the bridge as the downhills were KILLING my knees at that point. I hate downhills.

25-26. Bad. If there is a time to cramp and have pain, I guess this is the time to have it. I have never cramped in race before. I was PISSED. Both calves cramped, right in the spot they get sore from wearing Vibrams. Since I had been running at a faster than normal marathon pace and concentrating on form, I'm not suprised. I walked the first half of that last mile. Cost me well over 5 min. and I was bummed I wasn't going to have a 20min PR.

Last .2:
I debated all week sharing this, but my friends said I need to. I was moving at about a 10min mile and saw someone holding a ".2" sign. Then, a ".1" before we were about to make a left turn to the finish. People everywhere cheering. I was hurting pretty bad, and was trying to be happy about finishing and a PR.

Someone had a ".1" sign and at that moment a fleeting thought passed through my head, "This could be your last marathon. Ever."

WHOA. Since I found out about my deployment, I have not let the thought of not coming home waste space in my head. WTF was it doing popping up now? I was crippled. I started crying, almost hysterically. I couldn't breathe. I started to walk again right at the left turn. I was hoping my glasses hid the fact I was crying, but I couldn't breathe. I was gasping for air and new I would have an asthma attack a hundred feet from the finish line if I didn't calm down. I have never felt so emotionally crippled in my life. I felt like I was being stabbed in the chest and crushed. All I could think about was this being such a great race that the world might have it be my last. It would have to be my last, why else was this race so good? It took every ounce of everything I had to try to start to run to the finish just so I could get away from people. I was so embarrassed.

I have never cried in a race or training, much less had a complete emotional breakdown.
What would you do differently?:

Train. Apparently I need to have beer the night before a marathon. I've never done that before but some of my other 'marathon' friends swear by it. Something I will seriously consider doing again.

Had I carried salt packets like I sometimes do, the cramping might have been prevented. I would have eaten one at mile 6 and then probably another before 20. I'll never know, but I am a HUGE believer in learning something from every race, even if you think it goes better than you could have ever thought.
Post race
Warm down:

As soon as I finished, I assumed the tri-pod position (hands on knees to open lungs to breathe) and the chip people took off my chip. I was still balling and making terrible asthma-wheezing sounds. Medical people came up but I told them I was ok. I walked about 10 feet and sat down on a curb and cried. Hard. For what seemed like forever.

All the weight of the deployment, misssing my family and friends came to a head. At a horribly embarrassing public time. I wanted nothing more than for someone to be there with me so I could not think about it. I had no one to share the experience with. I got a massage and decided it was time to go so I could get on the road back to NYC. I walked around in a haze, but told myself to take it all in.

Started to walk back to the car, and broke down again walking past the finish line towards the course. I could not get the though of "last race" out of my head. I hurried to the car and wanted to crawl into it and hide.

Went back to Mike's, walked their dog and took an ice bath. By that time I was feeling normal and on a post-race high. And starving.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

No training and the late-race cramping. But, nothing really. It was a perfectly executed race with my timing of Shot Blocs and Gatorade/water ratio.

Event comments:

Hard to complain about an 18min. PR on no run training.

A well run race, no complaints about the aid stations or volunteers. Great course for me (not flat).

I don't know if I want to say I should learn to control my emotions because this has never happened and it's a strange circumstance. I did this race specifically because I'm deploying. I just wish all that would have happend AFTER I finished.

Profile Album

Last updated: 2009-09-09 12:00 AM
04:10:56 | 26.2 miles | 09m 35s  min/mile
Age Group: 10/32
Overall: 250/590
Performance: Good
Course: Moderate hills to mile 10. Gravel trail along canal until mile 19ish. Back onto asphalt trail (more hills) until mile 25, then city streets to finish line at stadium.
Keeping cool Average Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Good
Mental exertion [1-5] 4
Physical exertion [1-5] 3
Good race? Yes
Course challenge Just right
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities: Average
Race evaluation [1-5] 4