Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Wineglass Race Report

Where to start? Had a great sleep and then up at 6am for a light breakfast with the usual cereal, coffe and juice. I was not feeling overly tense or nervous, just a sort of ready feeling and after mapping out my splits and gear the night before the only decision to make was when to leave for the bus and how much extra clothes to wear. After being dropped off, the bus ride from Corning to Bath went very quietly as I kept to myself in the back of the bus. Arrived at the start area in plenty of time and relaxed while imbibing a quart of gatorade. There was little happening except runners milling around and the usual lineups. One bit of entertainment was a runner duct taping gel packs to his shorts. I wonder how far he got with that and if it worked in training too!?

About 30 minutes before the start I found Andrew & Marc in the very short bathroom lines and so entertainment and laughter was assured. We discussed our race strategies and decided that the best warmup was going to be no warmup at all. The temperatures felt only a little cool and the overcast skies just added to the perfect conditions as we lined up near the front of the crowd. Finally, we were off and Marc and I ambled down the road for the 1st easy mile in 7:37 (too fast, not the 750 planned). It was difficult to run this slow early on but the fear of going out too fast and ruining all my training kept me in check (sort of). Next miles were still too fast in 7:35 to 7:31 as I pushed it on a small hill to get past one group! Slow down will ya! The next few were more of the same as I completed my 6 mile warmup in 45:06 just about 1 minute faster than the planned 46:00.

It was a bit of a relief to get to 6 miles and then be able to open up the pace a bit as the next few miles went by in 7:19, 7:18, 7:14 all feeling ridiculously easy and holding back and watching my pace (according to Garmin) closely. This pattern continued for the next several miles as I cruised along nicely, slowing catching runner after runner and still the feeling of holding back more than ever before in a marathon. The 1/2 floated by in 1:37:30 and still feeling great but wondering when the wheels would start to come off. Not for awhile yet, next mile in 7:07 was my fastest as I allowed the horses loose for a few minutes in getting by a group of runners. The course between mile 15-20 is a blur in my mind but splits were all around 7:20 as my only task was to focus on the pace and attempt to run as relaxed as possible, waiting for the real race to come. And come it did, starting with some hamstring issues about 16 miles, likely due to the constant flat downhill nature of the course. Some strategic hand massages helped and the pace held up for awhile longer.

Mile 19 was nice in that I got to see my photographer for the 1st time in the race and surprised her by swooping in for a good luck kiss. I heard a funny comment from the crowd saying "you're going to loose time for that!", to which I replied "not a chance!". But then I immediately proceeded to get distracted and started up a conversation with Mr Alaska (nice shirt and had lived there for several years) and my next split dropped to 7:40 as we talked away. I had thought we were cruising a bit faster but not so and when he slowed at the next water stop I applied the gas again, though looking back for him to keep up. Miles 21 and 22 went back to 7:21 and 7:16 but the pace and effort were starting to make itself felt, with the feeling of 'holding back' now long gone. About this point the hamstrings started acting up once more and then the dreaded side stitch hit as I struggled through the next miles in 7:29 and 7:31.

Why do things always get so tough in these last miles? I was a good boy and started nice and slow, why can't these last miles feel as easy as the 1st ones? Miles 25 and 26 in 7:42 and 7:40 were just a blur of counting (but not able to get much past 20) and one foot in front of the other, telling myself just one more mile, just from the flashing light to home, just one more mile, just through this tunnel, just to the end of that block. Finally the Glass Museum and the bridge and finish was almost in sight! The guy at the turn called out 3:11:xx and 1/2 mile to go and I was able to calculate that a 3:15 was in reach but unable to go any faster than one foot in front of the other. Finally, finally the finish! Can I stop now? In the hok position, "are you all right?", looking at my watch unable to get grin off my face, wait till I see Andrew, finally able to move, wow, glad that's over but that was worth it!

Post race, much food, drink, the world's best post race massage, debriefing with Andrew and Marc, nice awards including champagne for placing in my age group and then back to the hotel for a nice shower and rest.
It was a perfect day, what more can I say?


Phil said...

Great report on a great race Mike. All your training really paid off. I loved the imagery of you "floating" through the 1/2 marathon mark. Congratulations on your age group placement.

Andrew said...

Phil stole my comment about your "floating" comment. Is there anything better than floating through the half?? It was definitely a good sign.

I was looking at your previous PR last night, what an improvement!! Just about 2 minutes, yes? Excellent job! You know, we really didn't have enough time afterward to trade war stories (plus I was spent) so I am glad we have blogs to turn to.

When you came through I think I was laying on the grass watching the world spin. I wanted to go up to the finish and cheer you and Marc on but I couldn't get myself together. I'd stand then sit. Walk then lay down.

Sub 3:15, looks like we'll be doing more of those 22 milers at Boyden with negative splits. Sub 3:10 is next!!

Thomas said...

Great report, Mike. I see you didn't really stick to that 6 mile pacing strategy, but still started slow enough to keep going until the end. All in all it was a top class effort! There aren't many runners who can best their PR in your age group.

hunter said...

Congratulation for the PB!

Chad said...

Sweet. Congrats on the PR and sub-3:15 Mike.

Olga said...

It was a perfect day, indeed:)
Are you ready to be a Maniac?

Neese said...

excellent race report, my favorite part was kissing the photographer :) i have one of at my races too :)
congrats on placing!

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