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A Report of Sorts

Posted Jan 11 2009 5:38pm
So here is the quick and dirty race results for me from the Madison Marathon:
bib number: 2234
age: 38
overall place: 1189 out of 1191
division place: 59 out of 59
gender place: 455 out of 455
pace: 15:08
10k: 1:17:50
half: 2:54:52
mile 18: 4:14:35
chip time: 6:36:35

I went to bed nervous last night. It was hard to get to sleep with my heart pounding so hard.
Got up at 4:30am, ate a little oatmeal and yogurt, got dressed, left instructions for the boys how to get to the finish line and we were off. We arrived off the shuttle bus onto the square an hour before the race and we walked around and stretched. I think we were the first bus and I headed right to the porta to deposit my breakfast Diet Coke while there was no line. Mike was looking for anywhere to slip into and warm up (those businesses on the square are no dummies - they know if they open at dawn, racers with no money will hang out in their store and not by anything. So... nothing was open). We ran into Alison from the SWAT team just before the race and got a quick picture in. I believe that is when Mike commented I had a Carrot-Top thing going on. Nice.
We were off shortly thereafter and were pretty much last right from the gun. No worries, we were going to take it slow, shooting for 12-12:30 miles for the long haul. The plan we cooked p as the final version in the car went something like this: Run easy pace for the fist 5 miles, keep it p if we can through the first 10, then run 7 minutes and walk 3 thereafter With the ultimate goal of getting to the finish line between 5:30 and 6 hours, which coincidentally was when they planned to close the course. We were going to stick together, fully envisioning some walking if my knee went south.
So the first 3 miles, we managed to pass 3 people. At the mile 3 aid station I had to pee and wait in line which lost us those 3 people. I ran to catch up to Mike who was walking and waiting for me. We ran pretty much the whole first half and at the half we had made up enough time to be about 15 minutes ahead of schedule. It felt surprisingly good. Mike and I had high fived at every mile marker. mike was thanking everyone for volunteering that he saw. He took his coat off his shoulders but left them in his sleeves about midway to the half-marker. For some reason he was running then with his thumbs up and the half-off coat made him jerk around like Elaine dancing on Seinfeld. I thought I might lose an eye so I moved over a ways in the lane.
After the half marker we were averaging a 13:20 or so mile. With some cushion I wanted to walk a little while, but we walked fast. I don't know who the masochist was designing this course, but it felt like the hills were all on the second half. It was hilly, or at least felt hilly. We decided early on to walk the uphills to save power and energy. So we started walking a lot more in the second half. it still felt pretty good for a couple more miles. We passed a few people and were slowly gaining ground, still on pace.
This course was interesting. it was like a hodgepodge of all the courses we were used to running in Madison all mashed together. So it was familiar which was good, but I also knew kind of what was coming. Like those sucky hills through downtown to the Stadium ( crazylegs ) and that windy sucky patch through the Arboretum (the 10K route by the zoo).
I was feeling like we were starting to pick up the pace a little and I looked at mike and he was white. Said he didn't feel good so we slowed to a slower walk pace. That was our turning point, where we went from singing "The wheels on the bus go round and round" to the point where the wheels completely fell off the bus and started to crash. he went from feeling like barfing to trying to walk it out, then decided he needed a porta like NOW. We asked one of the bike cops who were circling behind us if they knew where the next bathroom was. they asked someone, who said in like a mile as we entered the Arboretum. Like 2 miles later we got there. I kept telling Mike if he needed to he could slip into the woods along the road and take care of business. I even volunteered my shirt sleeve. He decided no, since we were being followed by the hearse (an SUV driven by a Dane County Sheriff) and 2 police men on bikes, all about 5 feet behind us. They had slowly moved onto us as the last runners as the others we had passed gave up and hitched a ride back. Mike didn't look good heading into the pot. He was white as a sheet, stripped off his coat and water belt and chucked them on the ground. I waited what felt like forever. Just as I decided he had probably died on the toilet and I was going to break in, out popped a new man. We were able to run/walk for a mile or 2, and then we were just done. My knee had stiffened up and I just couldn't take the downhills running. Mike was cramping and hurting and we just decided we were going to walk it the rest of the way in, intent on finishing. That last few miles from the Arboretum to the finish were just an exercise in mental toughness and tenacity. With the cops behind us, we overheard them tell like everyone at every intersection, "Yep, they're the last ones, you can pack it up." Thanks guys, that's really working for my morale. I was getting pissier by the minute. people walking by or passing on their bikes saying words of encouragement just plain made me want to punch them. obviously, we are being followed by a hearse so quit telling me Good Job! It's not helping me and just makes me ornery. We passed a couple people somehow. One girl went to the bathroom. Then we passed a guy with "5:00 pace team" on his back...... I guess the wheels fell off his bus too. So the hearse followed them for awhile and got off our back.
The walking got harder and harder for Mike. i tried to walk up ahead and see if that would help him pick p the pace, but he was really just cooked. We toughed it out and just set to cross the finish whenever we got there. We passed one guy washing his motorcycle in his driveway who hollered "Keep going! You all get the same medal!" I stifled a "Bite Me." The chick we passed way back sucked it up and in the final mile shuffle jogged up ahead of us a few hundred feet and then walked ahead of us. If she hadn't been so damn nice, I'd have been pissed at her but hey I would have done the same thing so I let it go. I texted Lucas to let them know we were really close and be watching. Mike was cooked and obviously in pain. From somewhere he was able to gut it out to the finish. as we were getting towards the last few hundred yards, he said "I think I might need to go to Medical at the end." He looked rough. Just before the chute, we saw Nick and Lucas sitting on a big cement block waiting for us. They chatted with us and asked how we were doing. Then we headed in for the finish. The guy with the mike wanted to interview us. Mike said no. I again stifled a bite me. we crossed the finish and we got a medal and a warm bottle of water. The lady said there was food and massages around the other side of the tent. She lied. They were all packed up and and pulling down, not so much as a fricking orange to nibble on.
We finished. It sucked, but we lived. And the 5:00 pace guy came in behind us so we were not DFL.
We got home and inspected our wounds. My knee hurt in anything but neutral. My big toe hurt under the nail, and I gleefully stripped off the polish, sure I had earned my badge of honor - the coveted black toenail- or at least a good blood blister, but nada, nothing but pink nailbed. Rats.
We ate some Red Robin, and DQ sundaes, and headed for the hot tub, all of which were the best ever.

The Good:
- I was so proud of Mike today. That was tough and he was hurting for a long time. I know he thinks he disappointed me somehow, but whatever I couldn't be prouder.
- My kids were there for the finish. I can't tell you how motivational it was for me to keep going knowing they were waiting. And to see them there at the end - the best.
- It's done and we are members of the finishers club.
- I know I can do this again. Smarter and faster.

The Bad:
- It hurt. We both got a healthy dose of respect today for the distance. I will definitely pay more attention to doing ALL of my long runs.

I probably have more witty repartee to share, but I am tired and going to bed so it will have to wait for tomorrow.
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