Sunday, May 15, 2011

5-15-11 Capital City Marathon

Seventh consecutive CCM full marathon. It took about ten days for me to feel recovered from the Tacoma Marathon of two weeks ago. I suspect that there are still lingering issues that will show up in later in today's race. No chance of a PR. At the start line I know that today will be remembered for two things. One is the heavy rain that is falling and will continue to come down the entire race. The other is that this is my debut as a race pacer.

I agreed to help with Club Oly's effort to provide pacers. I picked the 3:55 time and I only have to run the first half at this pace (1:57:30). Rich Brown will meet me halfway and take over pacing duties. Most of the club members are pacing one half of the marathon and are not registered runners. Matt and I will pace the first half (he at 3:45 time) and then finish as best we can. Neither of us were confident in running the whole way at that pace. My best time ever on this course is 3:54 and last year I ran 3:58 so it will be interesting to see if I can hold on with Rich. Before the start I get a Pacer bib and a Mylar balloon to tie around my sleeve. I did not think that 3:55 was a popular time to go for but as we line up, a couple of runners introduce themselves and say that they will try to run with me. It is raining so hard that for the first time ever I am sporting the trash bag jacket. Brooks shirt under Club Oly shirt under Marathon Maniac Jacket under trash bag. I am sure that the trash bag will come off but it never happens. It rained the whole race and I never felt too warm. I thought about taking it off but it seemed like a hassle so I just never did.

Start - Line up with the 3:55 group. O wait, they are lining up with me. I am supposed to pace based on gun time. I usually start my watch when I cross the start line so I forget to start it with the gun. A few seconds in I remember to start the watch and just a few seconds more I cross the mat. Should not make much of a difference. Now it is just run fairly even 8:58 pace until my relief shows up. Not a whole lot of work but just a little added stress. And I hate stress on race morning. I like to get there early and keep things very simple. Yesterday I learned that my reliever was injured and could not run. I was asked to pace the whole thing but I just could not agree to that. Fortunately Rich Brown was secured for the second half and I know that he will be there and do great. I have had mixed feeling about being a pacer because I really like to do my own thing on race day. But I also did want to try this and they are giving me a free entry for next year. Well I am here now and off we go.

Mile 1 - 8:58 Ha!!

Mile 3 - It was a very good smooth start. No crowding. Looking ahead there are plenty of runners but they are all spread out as we near Priest Point Park. I can sense people behind me though and I do a quick look back. Whoa!! I am leading a pack of about 20 runners. A spectator even comments on our nice pack. It makes me feel significant. Throughout the first half I would chat with runners and be thanked for the job I was doing. Running with a pacer sure does make it easier to stay on task. I am doing the work of looking at the watch and continually adjusting the pace, hopefully not making any sudden changes.

Mile 10 - We made it down the big hill putting a little time in the bank. On the long uphill I stayed the course and some of my group passed on ahead as I got the average time back where it should be. This is the second race in a row where I wished that I could see the seconds tick by on my watch. After the one hour mark they do not show and that usually is not a problem. The GPS reading is a little off from the mile markers too so I have to do some math and estimating now. Looks like I am about 30 seconds ahead of schedule.

Mile 12 - There is Rich and my job is done. Its funny when someone asks him how fast he can run and he gives a vague answer. So he asks what his marathon PR is and gets the answer 2:21. I told you guys that you were in good hands. Kimpossible drops back but about 5 guys are right with us.

Mile 14 - Start to not feel so great. Slight stiffening in the legs. Becoming more work like. With the task of pacing done I have lost a great amount of motivation. Just keep moving along. I actually pull ahead of the pace group for a couple of miles, but they are not far behind.

Mile 18 - 3:55 catches me. I stay right behind them for a while and ever so gradually fall farther back. Not as many spectators this year due to the rain, but great volunteers as always. Thanks Heidi, Linda, JKam and others.

Mile 22.5 - Very slowly losing my pace. Not a typical hitting of the wall. I am passing people who are struggling more. Sort of fun to see someone ahead that I recognize and very gradually catch up to them. First Angie, then Rikki, Melinda and Jeff. Melinda and Jeff will go on to find great strength at the end and finish ahead of me. In the mean time I am slogging up the great Eastside Hill. New goal is to not take any walk breaks. If I start walking I run the strong possibility of not beating 4 hours, but if I can keep running I am confident of making that time goal. So slow up Eastside, then the turn and further climbing up Fir Street.

Mile 24 - On flat ground now but the running did not get any easier. Tired and tight but otherwise OK and I am pretty sure that I can finish up with no walking. Then I hear surprise encouragement from behind. It is two of my friends who are pacing the 4 hour time. Look at the watch and calculate. No, I do not need to hurry up and stay with them as they pass me. They have gotten a couple minutes ahead of schedule. It would be nice to run with them to the finish, but I do not think that I could keep up at that pace for very long. I wish they would slow down as I am sure that they are going too fast. I stick to my own grind that I know will get me there.

Mile 25 to 26.2 - Finally heading downhill. Its been a tough one, but no real pains. Fun to see friends and family waiting for me to cross the line. I finish about 15 seconds faster than last year and I will take that. The rain and the residual soreness from Tacoma made this not the funnest time that a marathon can be. I started shivering with cold as soon as I stopped running and had to put on dry clothes right away. I still was cold and did not stick around like I usually do after this race. Pacing was somewhat rewarding but I am not sure how I feel about it. Perhaps if I was asked to do it again I would choose the 4:15 time and pace the whole way. Next year I could run Tacoma for speed, pace this race as a good training run, and then be ready for speed again in June. For now though I am somewhat apprehensive about this coming June. I am registered for three quality marathons and I am afraid that I will be very worn down and not able to run them all with good times. I'll figure out some kind of plan. In the mean time I really need to rest, recover and dry out. I may do the Public Agency Challenge 8K in 6 days, but I will wait till the last minute to decide on that.

129th place of 355
marathon or ultra #65
Capital City Marathon #8

1 comment:

Ginger said...

Nice job pacing, Andy. Yes, do the 4:15 :) What are your 3 races in June? I'm feeling the same way about not being able to put out any good times so soon.