Tuesday, April 24, 2012

2012 Go St. Louis Marathon

The Go St. Louis Marathon weekend started early Saturday morning as I picked up Rob at his house around 8. We both were working booths at the expo, which was on the St. Louis University campus at the Chaifetz arena. This was my first road trip in my 2012 Ford Focus SEL. I was anxious to see how the mpg would do on the highway. As usual we enjoyed the conversation on the road, mixed in with some on-screen entertainment via Rob's Galaxy Nexus. I, of course kept my eyes on the road. We stopped in Cuba for a bathroom break and to get some food. When we ordered our food at the McDonalds the counter staff asked Rob his name and he responded "Frodo". After she took my order and asked my name, I responded "Bilbo". We thought that was pretty funny when they called both of those names out loud to get our food. 

Our McDonalds receipts. 
We experienced some pretty heavy rain on some sections of I-44 between Rolla and St. Louis. When we finally got to St. Louis, the rain had let up a little. We milled around the expo after picking up our packets. I really haven't seen anything at the last several expos that have "rocked my world". I did meet a couple of contestants that were from Season ? of the Biggest Loser, Jay and Jen. We spoke briefly for a few moments and I took a picture with them to send to Susan. I was slotted to work the Team Beef booth from 2-4. Rob was working the Pacer booth from 1-3. After Rob finished his shift at the booth, he spent some time setting up his brand new MotoActiv watch that was given to him to try out. The features of this watch seem really cool and I am a little jealous that he has such a great new toy. After my time at the Team Beef booth, we headed over to the hotel where I was going to drop Rob off. He inquired for me if there were any rooms available. I had originally planned on crashing at my brother's house in St. Charles, but logistically this made so much more sense that I opted to stay at the same hotel where Rob was staying. After chilling for a couple of hours in my room, Rob and I headed down to Lombardos with the rest of the Pace team. I was Rob's plus one. We had a very enjoyable meal and I was absolutely stuffed after the meal, I just knew that I was ready for a good day on Sunday. I was noticing that I was having a little cough, so I took a small 1/2 tab of Benadryl to fight off  any pollen issues. 

Being so close to the starting line has so many benefits. You can sleep later and you don't feel the stress of finding a parking space, etc. After a small breakfast of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, I walked with Rob and the pacers toward the start. I was hoping to make the Marathon Maniac picture at 7:15 but wasn't sure where the St. Louis Memorial was. After getting to the starting line, I milled around watching all the people gather. About 7:10 I saw Brian Wright and he was trying to find the MM picture too. We actually jogged down about 1/2 mile looking for it and then decided to turn around. After coming back to the starting line, I attempted to connect with Stephanie Davenport and Cara Whitney. Cara was doing her first marathon and I wanted to give her some encouragement. The corrals were so packed that it was impossible to catch up with either of them. I was able to get close to Rob and his pacing group. This was a huge day for him as he trying to redeem himself from an overheated pacing at the same event last year in which he through the pacing sign in the trash. He was thoroughly prepared for this one and I was sure that he would do great. 

He takes his job very serious. LOL
I had originally committed to attempt to run with Rob and the 4:30 pace group. I wasn't sure how I would do that using my 4:1 strategy. I really didn't want to falter at the end, so I took off pretty quick in the first 13.1. The first 6 miles weren't too bad. I had to stop and pee at mile 5.5 and that was my slowest mile (10:33) in the first half. With the temps already in the high 60s, I was already dumping water on myself when I got the chance. At mile 6, I noticed that my bandaids had come off my nipples because they were wet. I was starting to get some abrasions. I decided to take off my shirt and run with it in my hand. I came through the half at 2:09:33 and was pretty sure that I could hold that or be really close. The section through Forest Park was tough as it had some hilly sections. At mile 15, I finally saw a guy with vaseline on some sticks that he was passing out. I grabbed that stick and put the vaseline on. I put my shirt back on and had no more chaffing issues. I knew if I could stay strong until mile 20, the last 6 wouldn't be too bad as they were mostly downhill. 

After hitting mile 20, I was able to keep gutting it out at the 4:1 pace. I felt confident that I would be in under 4:25, so I gave myself permission to add a couple of extra walk segments at mile 23 and 25. I came in at 4:22:25 and was really glad to be done. This was my 4th marathon of the year and was very enjoyable. 

Monday, April 23, 2012

Shamrock Virginia Beach Marathon 2012

I have been noticing the Shamrock Yuengling Marathon Advertisements in the Runners world magazine for the past several years and I always thought it looked like a lot of fun. When I discovered that I was going to be in Washington DC that week for work, I quickly figured out a way to get the race on my agenda. The girls were on spring break that week and I thought it would be fun to take them back to DC as teenagers. Brittany couldn't attend this year because of soccer practice. Susan had to work as well.

Emily showing her power in DC.
The girls had fun touring DC while I was working on Thursday. The girls and I managed to sneak in a quick 3 miler on Friday morning before we left DC. My left gluteus was bugging me and I started to worry a little about how I would feel during the marathon.The race was scheduled for Sunday, so Friday we got the rental car and headed southeast towards VA Beach. Our plan was to relax Friday evening and the girls wanted to shop on Saturday. The traffic heading out of DC on Friday was insanity all the way to Richmond. Heading into Norfolk on Friday was also pretty crazy. We got to the packet pick up. I was feeling anxious about this marathon because I was coming off a small case of influenza 1 week prior. I knew I could do the distance, I just wanted to feel good after the race.
Courtney and I at Ruby Tuesday

Saturday the girls and I slept in a little bit and had a nice breakfast. We headed out to the local mall. I caught a flick (21 jumpstreet) and they shopped for spring clothes. After the movie, I grabbed some pizza at the food court and caught up with the girls. The weather was starting to change a little outdoors and we headed off to the go-kart track. We had a very brief but enjoyable visit to Motorworld. The rest of the day we debated on whether or not to do any more activities. Bowling was ridiculously expensive in this region, so we focused on finding a nice restaurant to eat for the evening. We settled on Ruby Tuesday very close to our hotel and headed over there. It was a fun evening and I loaded up on pasta as I like to do. Emily continued to read the Hunger Games and was having a very hard time putting the book down.

We got back to the hotel and relaxed the rest of the evening. The next morning, I had decided to forego the free shuttle to the race area, because I was concerned about getting back on time. I drove over to the starting area and attempted to look for a parking spot. I was hoping to find a free spot, but I wound up paying a guy $10 to park at his dad's business lot. This concerned me a little as I didn't want to get my rental car towed (if the guy was scamming me). But there were others there as well, so I figured it would be a safe bet. I walked over to the beach area and found the other Marathon Maniacs for the picture.
We had a nice picture with King Neptune and I headed over to drop my gear check bag. I still had a little cough that I was battling and I vowed to myself to try and take it easy.

After dropping off my gear, I had about an hour or so to kill. I walked over to the starting line area and milled around trying to keep warm. I had my arm warmers on but it was a little chilly. I spoke with a couple of runners for about 15 minutes, chatting about college basketball, etc.

It was finally getting around to lining up for this thing. The half marathon had started at 7, so our start was at 8:30. That is a little late for my tastes.

1 hour until the race
The race started promptly at 8:30 and I started my interval timer on my watch. What I had not realized was that my watch was still set from my 1/2 marathon settings from Little Rock (run 4: walk 30 seconds). I decided to not attempt to change it and went with the 30 second walk segments.

The first 3 miles, I completely missed the mile markers and by the time I hit my split I was around 27:45. I knew I was running a little quick. This course was essentially flat and had a bridge we had to run over at mile 2.5 and then again at 10 miles.

The bridge at mile 2.5
There were a lot of runners out there and it was fun to run through all of the military sections of
the course. There was one portion around mile 8-9 where we ran through what I think was Marine barracks. Several of the guys came out and cheered for us as we ran by. Pretty good considering it was Sunday morning.

I came through the half split in 2:03:55 and was thinking to myself "I did that way too quick". By the time I hit mile 20, I was texting Rob and Susan and letting them know I was slowing way down.

The sun was out and was beginning to warm up. There was a very nice breeze still blowing. Around mile 21, I gave up the 4: 30 second ratio and just focused on running short segments and walking. I was still hitting my splits but my miles were slowing way down. I really wanted to finish under 4:30 but I knew it would be close. I really wanted to feel good at the end, but wasn't sure how it was going to play out.

I came through the finish really struggling to maintain a run as people spurred me on. It's funny how spectators really have no idea what might be going on with a runner when they are cheering words of encouragement.

After finishing up the marathon, I proceeded through the chute, got my medal, food and headed straight for the gear check truck. As I was attempting to get the zip tie off my bag with a pair of safety scissors a massive wave of nausea hit me and I had to run over to the bushes and puke. As I was wrenching, my abdomen cramped up into a ball and would not release for about 20 seconds. This told me that I was severely depleted in electrolytes. After throwing up a small amount, I got my bag and slowly walked to my car. I got to the rental car and sat inside for a couple of minutes trying to recover. I plugged my phone in and charged it as it was almost dead. I got back to the hotel and walked in around 1:45. The lady at the front desk said they were offering 3 p.m. checkout. I got up to the room and the girls were getting restless and hungry. They knew immediately that I was feeling pretty bad. I went to take a shower but was so wiped out that I wound up sitting down in the tub and just laying in the water for twenty minutes. I finally was able to get out, get dressed and get on the road back to DC. By the time we got back to DC, checked into our hotel and walked to the nearest restaurant, it was nearly 8 and I was getting really hungry again. We had a great dinner at Chilis and we went back to our hotel (Sheraton Crystal City) and crashed. It was a very enjoyable trip and I was glad to have the girls with me.