Monday, January 5, 2009

Rocket Launcher - A Race Report

I thought it was very appropriate to start off 2009 with a half marathon, as I will end 2009 with a half marathon that is the run leg of the Beach 2 Battleship half iron triathlon. And I doubt there's going to be another half marathon in between those two. So now it's game on to the tune of:


Yea baby. Broke that 2 1/2 hour target. The bar has been set. The real kicker? Broken toe and all, Wifey beat me by 7 seconds. yep, she took it at 2:21:21 with a dayum broken toe. She was so happy to see the finish line, she even turned around and asked me "is that it? is that the finish?" and when I acknowledged that it was indeed the end of our run that day, she kicked it into another gear that I couldn't keep up with.

Truth be told, the toe thing didn't bother her a bit. They heal really fast, and she treated it right all week long with ice, elevation, taping it to the next toe, and just being more careful where she walked. She also iced it down good after the race and feels ok now.

So the race results: We finished overall in 156 & 157 place out of 180 finishers. The last players came in at 3:15, so we left a little room between us and them. We maintained a 10:48 pace, which is a little slower that I had hoped, but I can live with it. Age group results are only posted for 1 - 3 place, so I have no idea where we finished there. A quick scan tells me that nobody in our age groups finished after us, so last place there is a safe bet. Again, I'm ok with that.

The course was great. It cut through downtown Traveler's Rest for the first few miles. Just a quaint, small town on the edge of suburbia. Then we made our way through the Furman University campus, and went around the lake. The Greenville Spinners had the First 50 From Furman starting about an hour after the race started, so we saw the riders on campus and I got to cheer on some of those guys. I even recognized some folks from my Paris Mountain ride a few weeks ago.

We went into Furman at about the 7 mile mark, and they had an aid station where I stopped to refill the CamelBak. There was a serious lack of aid stations along this route. Usually there's one every mile, right? They only had like 4 for the whole course. Wifey doesn't carry water, so that was really tough for her. And then they had tiny little shot glasses for you at the stations. pitiful. Well, when I stopped there at the Furman entrance, Wifey caught up with me. She was running with these two other guys, one from Greenville and one from Minnesota. They were both really cool. So the four of us ran together from there until about mile 11. Furman was a loop with some of the lake, the bell tower (a local landmark) and some of the dorm buildings within view. Then we went out the same entrance we came in, and hopped onto an unfinished portion of the Swamp Rabbit Tram Trail. That is going to be really cool when it's done. It's getting paved with a rubberized running surface and an asphalt bike surface as the money allows construction to continue. This part (maybe 2.5 miles) was all still unpaved gravel and mud. So much for nice, clean running shoes.

Somewhere in mile 11, we were going up a long, long, slow, long hill that was really not that steep when I decided to slow to a walk for a bit. This is when we lost the other two guys. And I discovered something then. I need to limit my walk breaks to about 4 minutes or less. I was ready to pick back up, but Wifey talked me into walking until we got back onto the paved survace again, which was about a 10 minute walk break. I had caught my breath which was good, but I think after about 4 minutes my body starts going into recovery mode. The muscles start to heal instead of lasting through the tear, and the joints start their repair process. And when they start the repair, then you start tearing them down again with more running they don't like that at all. So the last 2 miles or so were pretty painful.

I started out that last leg back to the start/finish line running in front of Wifey. She passed me after about half a mile of that, and didn't relenquish her lead. The debate rages on that if we had started running again when I was ready to instead of waiting for pavement again that I could have stayed ahead of her, but who really knows. Neil (the guy from MN) finished in 2:17, so I maybe could have shaved a few mins off the time by keeping his pace a little longer. Also, I kept a slower pace going through Furman to stay with the pack and talk with those guys. Any way you look at it, I was glad to see the finish line. They gave out medals, then we walked back up to the little area for some food.

I forgot to mention that it was freaking cold out there. We don't see too much cold here in SC. It was 37 degrees at the start, and got up to about 41 when we got back to the house. The weather channel said it was going to be in the 50's all day, so I was a little dissapointed. And there was very thick fog through the entire course. It was pretty neat, we don't see that kind of fog here very often.

Apparently, the second half of the course (Furman and the Swamp Rabbit) was drastically changed from last year. Most of the really difficult hills were taken out. Which was really good. Coach Katie ran this one, and we hadn't seen her in a while so it was good to hang with her. She called it a slow, social excuse to get in her long run for the week. She finished in 1:37 and won Wifey's age group. I thought that was a funny definition of slow. But maybe 10 of the people she's currently coaching were also running, including some trying to BQ and Kona. We got to meet some of them post-race, and that was really interesting. One of her athletes ran with her most of the race, and then pulled ahead and beat her pretty good! how cool would that be to come back and beat your coach?

Oh, and I'm calling this one a Rocket Launcher both as a reference to kicking off the 2009 race season with a bang, and to emphasize the number of snot rockets that I had to launch during the race. This cold is still kicking me up and down. The pom juice, listerine, and other cold remedy's got the job done, we felt pretty good before/during the race. We also took some Musinex the night before. It's 12 hour stuff, so we took it so that our 12 hours would be up after the race was over. It just loosens/thins out the mucus to really let the body move the bad stuff around easier, and boy it works great! I don't usually like OTC medications, but this really seems effective. Most anti-histaminese work by preventing the sinuses from generating mucus, therefore rendering the body unable to remove the offending bacteria. So I don't take those. Musinex allows the body to move the bacteria more easily, so I like that. And boy does it really make for a fun race/dodgerocket event. Throw in the cold weather and fog/humidity and you've got an ideal environment for discusting activity. Even Wifey tried to rocket once, and we discovered that's a talent she doesn't have. LOL:P

And apparently I'm a loser for racing on saturday and not posting results until monday morning. Sorry 'bout that. I was unable to walk downstairs and get to the laptop. Today my calves are still pretty sore, gotta roll them out more. I'm having some really bad shin pain too, but I know it's muscular as well. Nothing hurt during the race (until the last 2 miles), so I was really grateful about that. It was pretty cool to finish with Wifey too. I was pretty surprised (she was totally shocked) that she caught up with me at all, she doesn't normally do that. So it was a fantastic race, and a great way to kick off 2009!

Next up, the Myrtle Beach marathon in only 6 short weeks. Time to make those final travel plans, line up babysitters, etc. Hope you guys had a great weekend too!


Mendy said...

Fun reading your race report. I would LOVE to do that race, since I sort of grew up in TR, went to TRHS, but I wasn't ready at all after all the time I took off for shin splint recovery. Anyhoo... good job on that run!

We went to sign up for MB Half the other night, and it's sold out. I'm bummed cause this would have been our 3rd year doing it.

Plan on getting on my bike again this week, and definately ride this weekend. Looking forward to it!

Jess said...

Awesome race report and so glad to hear you and Wifey were both able to finish with stellar time despite your cold and her toe!

I'll definitely keep the Musinex in mind. I think I'm finally on the tail end of this nastiness, but it will be good to remember!

Wes said...

Excellent! How cool that you ended last year and started this year on such a high note!!! My coach told me to ALWAYS set a limit when you give yourself an out. I prefer to run walk something consistent the entire race.

Glad the ick held off and let you have a great race!!! Marathon dead ahead :-)

Marcy said...

YAY!! CONGRATS to both of you!! Excellent, excellent jobs. Especially given the circumstances!

And don't sweat not getting back to us ASAP. We just wanted to make sure you made it out alive ;-) LOL

Havs said...

Way to go, John!

Amy - the gazelle said...

Your wife is amazing!

The only half marathon that I did had 6 aid stations (well, it had three, but it was a double loop, so you ran by each of them twice) - so about every two miles....and all of them were little dixie cup size glasses or either water or some kind of disgusting stuff. Since that's my only half, I can't speak for what others do (the 15K I did had probably 3 aid stations- every three miles; I don't usually stop at them).

Congrats on beating your goal time by almost 10 minutes! Woo! I hope you're feeling better today & able to walk without too much pain.

RBR said...

WOO HOO!!! Rock on, my friend!

Congratulations on an awesome 1/2 marathon time!

I am so stinking excited about your first marathon. I know that is creepy/stalkerish/weird, but I just am!!

Sarah said...

Awesome job! So happy for you and huge congrats to you guys! I'm itching for a 2:30 half. I'll get there one day. You, sir, motivate me to bust my butt and go after those goals that I posted.

Unknown said...

Great job on the race! LOL on your wife turning back to ask if that was the finish line. I am the same.

A marathon in 6 weeks? You are a marathon monster!!! Good luck with the training!

B. Kramer said...

Great job! Good way to start off the year.