The short story: I finished with a time of about 2 hours and 20 minutes. Not the time I was hoping for, but a respectable time nonetheless. The course was hilly and boring and the weather was warm and humid. I’m just happy it’s over.
The long story: On Saturday, we drove to Delaware and took the boys to the beach. The weather was hot and sunny, perfect beach weather. Not so much perfect “day before a race weather”. After the beach, we stopped at a brewery and took their tour and got some cases of beer. At that point, Jones, Shoo, and Beer Geek were all happy guys. We headed back to Annapolis, had dinner and took the boys swimming at the hotel pool. We all retired early to prepare for the next day.
The day of the race I woke up early and had a small breakfast and a cup of coffee. Then I headed downstairs to walk to the starting line which was at the Naval Academy Stadium about three quarters of a mile away. I ended up catching a ride with a bunch of other runners, which was nice, as I knew I’d be less stressed once I was actually at the start. I did a short jogging warm up and then stretched while I waited for the portapotty (There were about 1200 runners, most of them women, so you can imagine the lines). About 15 minutes before the race I ate a Gu and started moving towards the 10 minute pace balloon.
The race started and I crossed the start only about a minute after the gun and ran a nice pace for the first three miles. There was a huge uphill to get onto the bridge, but I took it in stride. By mile 4, though, I knew this was not going to be a good race. I was already exhausted. I frequently run 6 mile runs at a much faster pace, so the only thing I can think of was that I was dehydrated from the previous day and it was already humid and beginning to heat up. By the 6 mile point, I was barely faster than a 10 minute pace, but I was hanging in there. I was walking the water stops, but maintaining the 10 minute pace ok. Around mile 8, I ate another Gu and drank some water and slowed my pace a bit. Then at a little past mile 9, I started feeling shaky and broke out in a cold sweat. I could hardly walk, much less run. I tried drinking some water and nearly threw it up. Finally, I made it to the next water stop, where I figured I’d hangout and maybe quit. At that point, I was finished with almost 10 miles in an hour and a half, so I decided I could walk the rest and still finish before the course closed. Thankfully, that water stop had gatorade. I drank the entire four or so ounces they gave me (normally I just take a sip or two) and it made a huge difference. I was able to run again for most of the next mile and a half. I walked parts of some of the hills, but kept chugging away. I got more gatorade at the 11ish mile point and that helped me run for another mile (Thank goodness for my Garmin. I totally used it to play mind games and keep myself going) I ate my last Gu at around the 12.5 mile point and jogged the rest, with the exception of one last killer hill. The finish was a downhill finish and I didn’t have enough energy to do more than jog across the finish line. I finished in about 2 hours and 20 minutes which is just over a 10:30 pace.
I had to laugh when one of the guys handing out the finisher’s necklaces offered to take the chip off my shoe. I think he took one look at me and realized I’d fall over if I bent over myself.
While the race was incredibly hard for me, I did enjoy it and I definitely plan to race this length again. I like it because (for me at least) it is an endurance race, but one where I think I can eventually bring my times down. I think the MCM will be much more of a “just finish” sort of deal and I have no intention of running another marathon after that one. However, I will never do a run of this length again without gatorade in my fuel belt. And I won’t be hitting the beach before the MCM. LOL