This is one of my all-time favorite running pictures. Janet Chan (also wearing a medal) ran with me all summer season getting ready for Berlin. Mary, Connie, and Kelly came and ran with me from mile 10 (just outside of Angel Stadium) to the end. (Kelly is my secret weapon for PR-ing.) I PR-ed by about 2 minutes, but a PR is a PR.
This is the other half of my most favorite running picture (actually I have a bunch tied for first place). This is the bunch above plus the Soares. I’m standing next to probably the fastest guy I personally know. I hope I’ll be standing next to him for Sunday’s pictures, again.
This is a picture of me and a crazy woman. When Kelly Rogers went to pick up her race packet for the half marathon on Saturday, they had mistakenly put her into the full marathon. Instead of letting them correct the mistake — which they were absolutely willing to do without complaint — she decided (over lunch) that it was a sign to run the marathon. So she did. Having never run more than 15 miles before.
Long Race Report and Other Ramblings: The Race “Expo” was at a winery. Not a bad idea. I do these races as “business”. I fly in, do the event, and fly out. I hardly ever hang around (by myself). The expo thing made me drive into the country side and see a little bit. The winery was nice – and we all got a bottle of “Finisher’s Red”. And a jacket instead of a t-shirt. I thought it was stupid at first, but I wore it to dinner on Saturday night and again to fly home on Sunday. If I never wear it again, I’ve worn it more than the beach cities challenge (or whatever) jacket. I thought this “Welcome Runners” sign was funny because at Born to Run the sign said “welcome balloonists”. I don’t know if DeLoach is going to benefit from this sponsorship, but it was nice visiting the property.
Saturday day I napped for a while, but really wanted to nap longer earlier in the day. Saturday night I had dinner with Kelly (crazy woman) Rogers and her son Dillon (Berkley student) and Steve and Michele Cameron (college mates of my coach and Kelly). It was interesting talking to locals, how they came to live in this small northern community. If the Northrop job was secure, you could work from home in one of these smaller communities — it’s probably not an accurate picture of forever, but the weather was fabulous this weekend. Dinner was at an ale house (does everyone from Loyola drink IPA?). No pork chops, but I had a cobb salad with lots of proteins.
After laying out my clothes and taking a picture for FB, I was in bed by 9:30 and thinking I’d never get to sleep that early, was awakened by something about 10:15. So I felt good about that. I went right back to sleep. I got pretty good rest during the night. I woke up randomly all night, checking the time, but went right back to sleep each time. At 2:15 I went back to sleep thinking, “great, two more hours”. And then I over slept. Actually, it’s a miracle I made the race. I had set the alarm for 4:15 PM. I work up at 4:39 AM. I had wanted to leave at 4:30. Because I had laid out everything the night before — yeah for Jonathan Pablo — I just and to put it all on…but that includes all the taping, smearing of toe protector stuff, etc. I needed to hurry and be thorough at the same time. (And throw stuff into the suitcase, because I was checking out.) I had to take my tupperwear of oatmeal to the office to get hot water. And then I was off to the parking structure. I checked out all the parking, etc the day before, so the drive to parking was pretty OK, and I was in the parking structure by 5:05.
The race started at 6 AM in the pitch dark in a little downtown park with no lights. OK, 2 street lights. (Today, a friend said, “we thought about just walking through the porta potty lines calling your name”. They know me too well.) It wasn’t possible to find/see anything/anybody. And I had to make the choice whether to run “blind” for the first thirty minutes or so, or carry my clear glasses on my head all day. I eventually put them into my gear check bag. Kelly Rogers, who I know a lot better today than I did on Saturday, was waiting near a light and we found each other. Kelly is a lot faster than me, but she said, on more than one occasion during the weekend, that she wanted to be supportive of me. (I didn’t like that I appeared to need the support, but I’m trying to be gracious about that sort of thing this year.)
By the second mile we were ALONE. Kelly didn’t know any different (how different to have your first full be 1200 peep, rather than 25,000) so I had to tell her that the field usually spreads out during the course of the race — but not until the 10th mile or so. We were clearly in the last 100 or so runners by the second mile. Luckily, there is a 7 hour time limit on the race, so I knew the support would be there at least for a little while.
Running along in the dark the sun started to come up and I stopped to take the out-of-focus picture. (My camera doesn’t do well in motion.) What’s important about the picture is the cloud cover. Santa Rosa can apparently be blistering. But it was VERY pleasant in the morning. Most people were finished well before the sun came out.
According to my garmin, which I cannot get downloaded, the first 10 miles were good, and then in 11 I slowed down. This picture is next to the course marker for 10 miles…so in 10 miles I had only wandered 0.1 – pretty good. Unfortunately in the picture the glare is blocking the average pace, a new metric for me this training season. But I think it was under 13:30, which is my target for the entire race. (However I cannot run the entire race at 13.30 because there’s no “wiggle” room for potty breaks…see comment above for relevance.)
Kelly was obviously able to go faster, and I urged her on…and she finally took off about mile 10? (I had a potty stop.) However, she never got all that far in front of me, and I caught her about 15, I would say — which was the edge of her known territory — and we ran and walked in the rest of the way. We ran all the way to 17 and then ran and walked to 20. Obviously, at 20, I was significantly behind my goal pace and significantly over time. I want to be at 20 miles at 4:30.
We finished in 6:40 — quite a come down from my last big marathon — which was Berlin. (I did the Disney World Marathon as part of the Goofy Challenge, but I walked the last 1/2 of the race and finished in 7 something.) I am highly confident that I can do 20 miles in 4:30. The coach would, of course, like a little breathing room.
Kelly and I finished the marathon and had lots of pictures taken of us. Then I sorta staggered around — rather than being a good post-marathon guide for her — she was totally in uncharted territory. Luckily her son Dillon was there to take over, so we parted company. I got my gear and wandered over to the car. I probably pushed too hard to get moving toward the shower.
I had the opportunity to chat with an organizer while getting my gear from bag check. She asked what I thought of the race. What I think is that is was a really nice course. VERY pretty to run through. But it was not, as it advertises itself, flat. No way. Nothing about it was flat. Not a bad thing, but if you’re going to say you’re a flat, fast course, then you better be flat. I think the race does itself a dis-service concentrating on the flatness rather than the beauty. At one point we ran, literally, through a winery building. Not a big draw for me, but an interesting moment in the course. Now, in fairness, we’re not talking about Mt. Everest hills here, either. But there were rollers throughout the course.
But the hardest part was the 10 miles of gentle grade back to the finish line. I don’t know what a 1% grade is, but let’s say 1%. It’s still stinking up hill for 10 miles. At one point Kelly and I were talking about I don’t know what and my response to her was “what on you doesn’t hurt?” No answer. I know that her knees were hurting her during the race, and probably today. But she made it to work — which is more than I can say about my first long race. (She’s done half marathons before.) For me, my shoulders were VERY right during the race and still are today. The sore “point” in my right glute was painful to the point of me wondering if I’d have to stop because of the pain (it eventually went away). But to the coach’s point (what hurts): nothing that much. It’s just a long way.
I went and took a shower (Thank You Karla Jones) and laid down for awhile. During the shower, my left ankle (which was FINE during the event) started to hurt. By the time I got to the airport I was limping. However, I took myself outside to the patio of the Charles M. Schultz (of Peanuts fame) airport and had sushi while being entertained by Doug (Greg?) of West LA talking about racing.
The flight home was uneventful. I got my car, went to El Pollo Loco and ate chicken for late supper. My ankle hurting so badly I could not imagine what had happened.
My ankle hurt this AM, so I made an appoint with Dr. Arnette. He did needles, then adjusted my ankles, and found the pain coming from the back calf muscle on my left leg — which is tied to the “point” of pain in my right glute. The ankle isn’t really the issue, but that’s where the pain is residing. Later in the afternoon I also saw Lisa Fillis, who recommended Arnica gel. WHERE has that been all this time? The pain is virtually gone from my ankle. I’m taking at least a couple of days off.
The coach and I had a long talk this afternoon about my training. He wonders if he’s been too easy on me since July. I wonder if I haven’t done enough distance? Last year I ran 2 hours or so every Wednesday night through El Dorado. I didn’t do it this year. I’ve done all sorts of other things, but I haven’t done those long mid-week runs. It’s an interesting question. I can run “short” distances – up to an hour – at pace, but then I drop off. I am highly confident that I can run 20 miles in 4:30 (including potty and aide station breaks) – however just to prove that I can, I’m going to do another long run on the 14th of September.
It’s a hard discussion to be having 5 weeks before the marathon — one week is a little recovery, one week I’m traveling — so 3 weeks of long, high mileage training is in store for me. It’s what my favorite coach says … “train harder”. Starting with the Disneyland half on Sunday. This afternoon I wasn’t sure I’d be able to run, but this evening I’m sure I will be. I’d like to run for a PR. (Although I’m going with a support team of 2 – seeing that Kelly would be running with 3 extras.) Maybe it’s a toe wonderment (see below), but I think they’ll have settled down by then.
And the other thing I have to do…move up 1/2 size in shoe. My toes are like hamburger. While the 9.5 seems to fit — I’m pounding the hell out of my toes — and sometimes I come to these shoe decisions so slowly. It’s obvious as I write this. Why did it take me over a year to do something about it? Aarrugh.