Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Hyannis Marathon - Race Report

Short Version:


Dang. Once again, I did not make my goal of getting under 4 hours.

Longer Version:

The day before the race, it was kind of cold (low to mid 30's) and a bit breezy. But the forecast called for a little warming and not much wind. Looking good.

We met up with daughter and boyfriend who drove over from NYC, and we drove the marathon course and then hit the expo. After picking up my shirt and chip (and a few goodies), I was kind of excited to meet Bill Rogers (an inspiration for me), who was autographing posters. It was actually a little embarassing. I was wearing my Grand Canyon "Rim to Rim to Rim" sweatshirt and he asked about it. (It's a hike organized by some former co-workers.) I did mention it was mostly hiking (not so much running). But when he autographed my poster, he wrote "congratulations on the Grand Canyon marathon". Oops.

The pasta dinner at the Sheraton was fine and Rogers was the speaker. I appreciated what he said about how he thinks for a lot of people, at least for us very average runners, it takes about three years for the body to adjust to racing the marathon (without cramping). Of course, I'm at about 2 1/2 years right now, but I felt like I was prepared finally to have a really good race.

We were able to get a pretty good night's sleep. It was very quiet in the hotel (unlike the previous night), and at 7:30 I was up and eating a little breakfast. After a bagel with almond butter, half a banana, and some energy drink, I spent the next hour in the hotel room getting dressed and stretching out. We then drove over to the start and I just went over and got in the line for the john. Timed it just about perfectly. As I finished, I handed my extra clothes to my support team, sucked down a GU and took a few sips of water, then found my place in the ranks.

Big crowd. I was not expecting that many people at the start. They started the marathon, the half marathon, the marathon relay, and a 10K all together at 10:00 a.m. It was more than a minute after the gun went off that I crossed the starting line.

I pretty much stuck to my plan as far as effort goes in the first 6 miles (except for the first mile which was a good 40 seconds slow because of the crowds). I started at about a 9:05 pace and slowly increased to 8:45. At 6 miles I was supposed to hit 8:35 per mile, but after that I mostly just kept bouncing around 8:40 to 8:50 per mile. Not quite as fast as I planned.

The course, though stunningly beautiful, was just a little hilly. No killer hills. And not enough to really wipe you out. But over the course of 26.2 miles, it added up.

The temperature was just great (at least for a New England February marathon). Sunny and high 30's for quite a bit of the race. And since I had a support crew, I had them provide a shirt change for me. Just before mile 18, I pulled off my (now very sweaty and chilly) shirt and swapped it for a nice warm dry shirt and a pair of gloves. That felt great. Little did I know, however, that the race photographer was right around the corner. The race pictures might be interesting.

Though I wasn't running quite as fast as I had planned, I was still running strong. My pace never fell off through the first 18 miles. And even miles 19 and 20 only slowed a little. I hit 20 miles in 3 hours exactly -- still feeling pretty good. The hill at 21 miles, however, really wore me down and I was slowing just a little too much. And then, just after 23 miles, a cramp hit my left leg.

Short history. In my first marathon, I started cramping (big time) at mile 20. Both legs -- calves, lateral side, medial side. My second marathon I went out way too fast and I got dehydrated which made the cramping worse -- it started at mile 16. At Phoenix, I made it to mile 22 before I started cramping. Again, both legs -- all sorts of muscles.

This time, however, I made it to mile 23 and then only one muscle cramped -- left leg, lateral side. I did have to stop briefly to walk it off. It didn't last too long and I was off and running again. But I lost about 1 1/2 to 2 minutes there. The last few miles were slower. I was out of energy and really digging down just to keep going. Just after mile 25, the same muscle cramped up again. Once again I stopped to walk it off. It took me just a bit longer to get myself going again, but Anita really gave me some encouragement in that last mile to pick it up and finish strong.

I ran it into the finish with my left leg on the verge of cramping up again.


Almost exactly the time I got in Phoenix about one year ago. Not what I was hoping for.

And on the negative side for the race itself -- they were OUT of the complimentary beers when I got to the post-race party!

But I felt better running this race. I felt stronger and more consistent throughout the race. I think my splits were more even (further analysis will tell). And of course, I went farther before I cramped, and then when I did, it was much less severe than previous races. My next marathon will be around the 3 year anniversary of my first one. A reliable source says I'll make it through without cramping at all.

And to paraphrase Bill Rogers, any marathon where you don't end up in the medical tent is a good one.

After a few hours rest and recovery, we went out for a very nice Italian dinner (Alberto's in Hyannis -- highly recommended) to celebrate my race and our daughter's birthday. There was pasta, wine, dessert and about 5 glasses of water.

I'll post a few pictures and a few other comments in the next day or so. Until then, I'm in recovery mode.



Blogger Audrey said...

hi kurt!!! Yeah!!!! what's 4 minutes?? just kidding, i know it's important to you.

it will come. it will come. congratulations on getting another 'thon under your belt

2/28/2007 8:59 AM  
Blogger Ellie said...

Not what you were hoping for, but the same on a hilly course on a cold day as last year on a flat course with temps in the 60's. I'd say not to shabby. Next time you'll hit it!

2/28/2007 11:20 PM  
Blogger D said...

Kurt: I am sorry that you are disappointed with your time. It sounds like you really executed your race well until the cramping. Bring on the next marathon!

3/02/2007 4:56 PM  
Blogger runliarun said...

It's just our perception that a race should be under a round, neat number of hours. I doubt the universe really cares about seconds or minutes. Well, we do, I know. It was still not a bad race.

You mean the cramps are going to come no matter what one does?

3/02/2007 7:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sounds like a lot went right with this one. If they were out of beer when you finished then there must have been a lot of disappointed people behind you.

3/02/2007 11:13 PM  

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