Sunburst marathon race report.

Or, The Good, The Bad and the Ugly return. (Sequels work for Hollywood, why not for forums and blogs?)

Actually, this race didn't have much bad or ugly about it, really. It wasn't an optimal race, but considering the problems (lack of training), it was a nice race.

The Good
I finished. That's always a plus. I even brought the time back under the 4 hour barrier, with a chip time of 3:56:34. The splits were, in general, much more consistent than Lake Geneva as well.

Mile 1: 8:18
Mile 2: 8:22
Mile 3: 7:57
Mile 4: 8:10
Mile 5: 8:06
Mile 6: 7:55
Mile 7: 8:11
Mile 8: 8:25
Mile 9: 8:22
Mile 10: 8:15
Mile 11: 8:18
Mile 12: 8:16
Mile 13: 8:16
Mile 14: 9:15 (stopped for a Gu -full stop, not a slowdown)
Mile 15: 8:39
Mile 16: 9:00
Mile 17: 8:57
Mile 18: 8:57
Mile 19: 12:02
Mile 20: 9:36
Mile 21: 9:48
Mile 22: 10:16
Mile 23: 12:14
Mile 24: 10:45
Mile 25: 11:20
Remainder: 8:43

(My Garmin got a little wonky at parts - the course is an out and back, then a different out-and-back, and I'm not sure I had a decent signal when I started. It's USAT&F certified, so I'm not sweating it.)

I held on longer than at Lake Geneva, but since I really couldn't do much in the way of distance running between the two races, I didn't get to compensate for an abysmal lack of training. The humidity was bad, and the temps were a little warm - it would have been easier to handle this later in the summer, when I am more acclimated to such conditions. At the end of spring, I'm still thinking 50 degree days are warm, so 65 degrees and high humidity at the start is not fun.

The race has some ungodly number of aid stations. 23, 24 - something like that. In part because it is an out-n-back, so you can just recycle aid stations (so to speak), but I think that they really did not want a repeat of Chicago. At the finish line (see below), they were handing out towels which were soaked in ice water. Heavenly.

The finish line is quite cool, although I was not in any mood to appreciate it. The race gets very congested at the end, since all events (5k run, 5k health walk, 10k run, half-marathon and marathon) all start at the Hall of Fame and end at Notre Dame (on the 50 yard line!). Although they stagger the starts, I was having to dodge around some of the final half-marathon crowd, plus the health walk people - which is painful at mile 25 and 26. I was having to take sporadic walk breaks, though fewer and shorter than at Lake Geneva, and finally I decided that I would not, repeat, would not, let anyone pass me. I was running (staggering, more like) and turning right to enter the stadium when another marathoner comes up on my right. He sprints ahead of me, and I take off after him - the finish line less than 100 yards away. We barrel down the entrance, passing several other runners (walkers are on the left side, runners on the right), and burst onto the field, with me still a couple feet behind him. A volunteer is directing traffic, and tells us that there is only about 50 yards left. We speed up, when we come up on another runner. He dodges left, I cut to the right, barely squeezing in between the runner and the ad hoc fencing. I manage to find some more speed, and I am matching my opponent, stride for stride. I pull in front of him, the finish line only feet away. Faster still, both of us, when he cries out, and I sprint ahead, beating him by several seconds on the clock.

Afterwards, we congratulate each other on such a fine finish. We fought, not over first, or second, or even eighty-nineth. I think we fought over 165 and 166th place.

I did prove, to myself, that I can run several races in close order. My slower times (still 15 minutes from a PR, and even behind my debut), I can attribute mainly to a lack of preparation. I now have all summer to prepare for the USAF marathon, in September. They say that you have to wait for the pain to subside before you can contemplate running another one, but I signed up for it on Saturday night. Call me silly, call my crazy, or call me Goofy, but I am really growing to like this event.

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Blogger enveehaze said...

Great "crossing the finish line" story! Have been enjoying reading your blog. Thanks for the comment on mine. My husband thinks his next might be in Tupelo, MS in AUGUST!!! Yuck - hot hot hot. Good luck in September.

1:49 PM  
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3:48 PM  

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