Sunday, October 05, 2008

Wineglass Marathon: 81 Seconds

Well, the big day finally arrived. Not to throw more drama on it than needed, but this race has been 4 years in the making. I finally was ready to take a stab and break 3:10 in the Marathon and qualify for Boston.

Now the rough part has been watching a group of runner friends get soooo close. Like less than a minute and yet be so far away. I was scared this, too, might be my fate.

Registration for the race went well. Some sort of issues with the numbers. Mine had I was age 44 so they changed it and I got my shirt. Well, sort of. They were out of certain sizes. This sweet old lady was passing out shirts. She took a look at me, squinted, and said..."yeah, you're a large." Girl next to me in line started laughing when I reacted, "Wow...that makes ya feel good!"

I got situated for the night the best I could. Got a few nice messages on Facebook (thanks Mark, Steve, and Michelle) and tried to watch some TV until I fell alseep. Eventually, I did, but never really did sleep very good.

The morning pre-race activities went well. I pretty much had everything ready to go the night before so not to have any pre-race stress. Did I mention my #1 goal before the race was..."NO STRESS." Yeah...I had enough in my head already. Didn't need anymore. Remember that mantra..."NO STRESS" in a bit.

So, I headed to the bus stop to take us to the beginning. Got there planned and waited for a bus. NO STRESS. And waited. And waited. NO STRESS. And wait...NO STRE...WHERE IS THE FREAKING BUS!?! C'mon man! I gotz to run this ^*$#%ing race like right &*%^&ing now...SERIOUSLY. No bus. 30 min to start. NO DAMN BUS. I was about to cut it and drive to the start...when the bus arrived. Whew. Ok...NO STRESS....

The ride seemed to take for ever but gave me time to zone in on the race. 7:15 minute pace the whole way. Easy out at the start...hold the hills in the beginning. Flatten out and steady the rest of the way. Easy enough. Just running..nice and easy...NO STRESS. Why is this bus ride taking so freaking long??? Man...this is like FOREVER. C'MON! STEP ON IT!

Whew. Ok...there is the start. No Stress. Everyone is lined up ready. Whew we made it...NO STR...

Then we head on the bus from the start line "RUNNER'S SET....GOOOOOO!"

Huh? Go where?

HOLY COW (Not at all what I was thinking or saying...but this is a family show). We were still on the bus when they just started the race. Helloooooo! I was told the next thing out of my mouth was, "YOU HAVE GOT TO BE &$%^ing KIDDING ME! OPEN THE *&$*(* DOOR!" And out the emergency door I went. Flying to the start...jumped the gate and off I went. NO *&%(*(* STRESS. Oh screw it. Too late now!

After a quick pit stop behind a gas font of an extremely mad gas station owner...and right in front of his door that read "Restrooms." (I didn't see it until I was already doing my thing.) My bad. What is he going to do, chase me? "It was the guy in the shorts with the number!"

It was now time to get my head straight and start running. And I did and started hammering out 7:15s. One after another. Uphill, downhill. Things were even splits and perfect the whole way. All in all, a great course. More hilly (is that a word?) than I expected, but beautiful regardless. The race went exactly as planned...mile 5, mile 10, hit the half way mark in 1:34 (quick note....a half marathon PR), mile 15, Mile 20...all on. It was then time for mile 23.

Now, if you know me you will recall that I have had this little problem with mile 23. Recently, it is the point in a race when the wheels come off and I have some leg cramping. Not this time! 24...still on track but things are getting really tough. Mile 25....very tough to hold the pace. I had now drifted to 7:45 pace. C'mon! PUSH! Mile 26...not looking good...I hope chip time will save me.

As I got to the finish, I saw "3:12" on the clock. Overall average pace of 7:18 minute miles. Bummer. 81 seconds. 81 stinking seconds away from Boston. I had joined the club. Not the "Boston" club..."the oh soooo close, man that has so suck feeling" Club. It was really great to see the race had about 100 photographers to capture that magical moment on my face as I crossed the finish line. But that all faded pretty quickly. I was really happy with my time. From my first marathon to now I had taken off 45 minutes which is 2,700 seconds. So, what's another little 81?

So, now, time to initiate to my secret "Plan B for Boston." Details to follow, but step one is to rest and enjoy some NY wine then have Sean from HPL make me 81 seconds faster.