I finished the Hatfield & McCoy Reunion Festival marathon on saturday. Race Report:
The short version: Went to west virginia on friday, finished the marathon in 5:07:47 about noon on saturday. 7 pm saturday went to the ER for some emergency fluids, came home on sunday. today, tough time walking.
Full version: Really started thursday night. A stupid tree in the backyard snapped in half thanks to a storm that blew through and fell on top of my grape & muscadine trellis', crushed the vines and took out the fence in the backyard. Stupid sweet gum trees. There's still 40' of tree standing, and another 30' laying on the ground that I still have to cut up and dispose of. There are 2 other trees behind the one that snapped that will also have to come down. So I guess I know what I'm going to be doing every weekend through the fall. dang it.
So I was pissed about the tree when we drove up through the mountains. We covered 6 states in 5 hours straight up and over through South Carolina, North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, Kentucky, and West Virginia. I love the mountains, and it was a beautiful drive. I was very glad to see this sign:
The packet pickup and pre-race pasta dinner was at the hotel we were staying at. We arrived about 5 minutes before the dinner started, so we got the packet and sat down for dinner. The town was incredibly quaint, small mountain town. Beautiful scenery, fog rolling in over the hills, all that pretty stuff. They even had a couple of actors playing Devil Anse Hatfield and Randall McCoy, the family heads during the fued. I guess a small town has to use whatever you've got to attract tourists, but most places would shy away from something that gruesome.
The race morning was cool and foggy. A perfect way to start. There was about 150 people registered for the half, and 250 for the full marathon, plus whoever registered on race day morning. Temps were in the low 70's for most of the race, and the vast majority of the course was not spectator friendly. I had a disposable camera that I carried with me, so more pics from the course will come once that's turned in. But here's what Kelley took at the start:
Me with Randall McCoy (L) and Devil Anse Hatfield
Here's the old fueders with our friends from Wilmington, NC in costume as hillbillies. Turns out, they are good friends with our friends Jon and Kim down there.
Waiting to start
And we're off!
The scenery on the whole route was just beautiful. The start was in a town called Goody, Kentucky. We took off from the grocery store parking lot.
And just like that we are off. I hit the lap counter on the garmin at each of the 25 aid stations, so that's how I'll split the times up here.
Lap 1: 2.14 miles/9:45 pace
These were pretty uneventful. My shirt was already soaked with sweat and humidity by the first aid station, which I thought was unusual. It usually takes about 8 miles to soak that much. It was pretty flat, maybe some small hills but nothing that I had to stop and walk.
Lap 2: 0.91 miles/10:18 pace
Lap 3: 1.12 miles/10:21 pace
Lap 4: 0.97 miles/11:19 pace
Lap 5: 0.27 miles/11:53 pace
Really? Aid stations only a quarter mile apart? You can also see my pace dropping as the hills get steeper. I also plugged in the shuffle around 5 miles in, and started running with tunes.
Lap 6: 1.06 miles/10:40 pace
Lap 7: 0.80 miles/14:40 pace
This one was the big, huge hill that they had in the route. It was so big, so steep, and so long that everyone I could see was walking up it. the elevation change went from 893 ft to 1295 ft over less than a mile. pretty steep.
Lap 8: 1.34 miles/8:30 pace
This one was coming down the other side of blackberry mountain. I used a high heel kick to keep myself in the air more, so I just kind of floated down the big hill.
Lap 9: 1.01 miles/10:20 pace
Lap 10: 0.59 miles/11:16 pace
Lap 11: 1.3 miles/10:50 pace
I think this is where the half marathoners split off for their finish line. I was very glad to see it come just to know that I was now halfway done. And my time at the half was over 10 minutes faster than my half PR, so I was very pleased with that.
Lap 12: 1.54 miles/11:18 pace
Lap 13: 0.9 miles/12:22 pace
Here's where it started getting more off road. They have had some flooding recently up there, and it washed out part of the course. I mean it started getting really nasty. You had no choice but to walk gingerly through the mud or slip and fall if you tried to run through it. The aid stations started getting a little farther apart here too
Lap 14: 1.64 miles/11:58 pace
Lap 15: 0.92 miles/12:17 pace
Lap 16: 1.06 miles/13:26 pace
I think we were about through the mud here, and this is where the funniest thing happened. Right before the mile 16 marker, some dude with about 3 teeth driving a rusted out pickup truck was driving down the one lane road we were running on. He slowed down just long enough to offer me a puff on a joint he was smoking. I told him it smelled like good shit but I would have to pass. He replied that "hell yea it's good weed, you're in kentucky, boy!" I laughed about that for the next 2 miles.
Lap 17: 0.91 miles/13:58 pace
Lap 18: 2.31 miles/12:27 pace
The hills were really starting to roll through here. Miles 17 - 19 felt pretty strong, but I would walk the uphills when I needed too. When the mud and roads ended, we ran the cart path for a golf course. People were playing golf even as we were running past the tee boxes. it was nuts. Then we even had to go over a swinging bridge over the river to get from one part of the golf course to another. Swinging bridges bounce so much that you had to walk your way across.
Lap 19: 0.91 miles, 11:48 pace
Lap 20: 1.17 miles, 12:57 pace
The garmin counted my side to side movement apparently. I knew when I saw the mile 20 marker, and the garmin said 20.26 miles already that I was going crazy. I was in uncharted territory since none of my training runs went over 20 miles. I saw kelley then since we were back on some roads, and she got a few pics of me. I saw my time at the 20 mile marker, and knew that if I could run the last 10k in under 1:10 I could still break 5 hours.
Notice the sweat line near the bottom of my shorts. I was that soaked.
Lap 21: 1.32 miles/12:54 pace
Lap 22: 1.12 miles/13:35 pace
Here I had instantly changed my goals from "finish - maybe under 5 hours" to "don't die".
Lap 23: 0.87 miles/13:03 pace
I hit the lap button here just to get my time for what the garmin called 26.2 miles
Lap 24: 0.19 miles/9:34 pace
The last push to the finish line.
Crossing the finish line, I got a high 5 from the Hatfield & McCoy guys. It was a pretty cool way to finish.
That's one happy marathoner! Sitting down at the finish line feels good.
Got another picture of me at the finish line with the Hatfield & McCoy guys wearing my finish medal and holding the moonshine jar with a cedar block noting my 128th place finish. that was a surprisingly cool award. close up pic of the medal and jar to come later.
Total according to Garmin: 26.40 miles/5:07:47 total/11:39 pace per mile/6664 ft of ascent
Check out that elevation profile! notice the huge hill at mile 7? and you can kind of see where the rollers got really steep in the last half.
Those are some serious hills! The girls from Wilmington said the course was so tough that they finished over an hour past their marathon PR's. I was incredibly happy with a 5:07 finish. I finished in 128th place out of 250ish runners! WHAT? I'm always back of the pack. with that many runners I expected to finish 225th or later. Kelley said they were bringing runners off the course by the vanload. Apparently they were dropping like flies. The official results aren't up yet, but I can't wait to see the final numbers. I've never run anything and finished middle of the pack before. So I conquered a tough course and finished my first marathon in style.
Then everything started to go horribly wrong. I had some water at the finish, but turned down the cold towel and sports drink they offered. I had a banana, and my normal recoverite. Then I had a chicken sandwich, barbecue sandwich and about half a pizza after grabbing a quick shower. I slept most of the afternoon.
I'll spare you the gory details of what happened next. Being a prince of over-disclosure, you know it's nasty if I am actually not willing to share. But I ended up going to the emergency room about 7 pm. And you know how much I hate doctors of all kinds. But the diagnosis was "extreme dehydration with heat exhaustion", and basically I couldn't process anything liquid or solid anymore through normal means (eating or drinking). It was disgusting.
They gave me 2 bags of IV fluids, with various (and fantastic) painkillers and anti-nausea medication through the IV as well. Also had a cat scan, and blood and urine tests showed some hyped up kidney function thanks to the heat exhaustion. They released me about 3:30 am, and I was feeling lots better by then.
Slept in the hotel until about 9 am, packed up and headed for home. I slept most of the way home, and didn't get out of the car at all until we got back here about 2:30 pm. Then I remembered how bad my legs hurt. I slept most of the ride home, and had no solid foods (all gatorade, all day) until about 9 pm last night. Then it was just some saltine crackers and an english muffin.
The worst part is that I know it's my own dumbass fault. I KNOW I am supposed to drain the camelbak every 6 or 7 miles to stay properly hydrated. Since it was so humid and there was 25 aid stations, I should have filled it up more often than that to stay properly hydrated. Instead, I got caught up in all of the race excitement and didn't empy it the first time unil mile 12. Then, I filled up again around mile 20. Then again at mile 25. So obviously I was in a hydration deficit towards the end of the marathon. And my crazy brain just didn't tell me enough to overcome it.
Today (Monday 6/15) I'm feeling pretty good. It's nice to be on solid foods again. My legs are pretty sore, but I can still move around ok. I'm eating everything in sight. And I'm looking forward to a recovery week of no workouts. I might go hit up a couple of miles thursday night, I know I need to in order to work out the last bit of lactic acid from the legs.
Overall this was a good challenging marathon that I would run again. The bad parts: Kelley didn't like the town very much. There was a lot of poverty, railroad workers, more smokers than I have seen gathered in one place in a long time. The coal mine and railroad are the only industry there, so the town is headed for a swift downfall as green energy takes away the coal industry. The hotel we stayed at was incredibly dirty, burns and stains everywhere (bedspreads, chairs, even the toilet wasn't clean). So kelley was pretty freaked out. I can't run the race again because I don't think I will be able to ever get her to set foot in west virginia again. The good parts are that the people are incredibly friendly. The ER nurse looked just like Faith Ford (even though she had no idea who Faith Ford was), and everyone at the hospital was so nice and on the ball. They made quick decisions and got the job done. The town was also quite beautiful. The mountains are short, low elevation compared to the NC mountains, but it sure was scenic. and the weather was great.
It's going to take me forever to get caught up on all the other blogs from this weekend. Hope you all had a good one!
I'm glad my first marathon is in the books. I'll post more pics and details as I get them.