Sunday, December 4, 2022

Race Report: 2022 Rehoboth Seashore Marathon

On December 3, I ran the Rehoboth Seashore Marathon in Rehoboth Beach, DE.  This was the third time I’ve run this race.  It always has a good post-race party, and I knew several other runners who were planning to be there.  There were so many 50sub4 runners that it was an unofficial club reunion.

There aren’t any major airports in Delaware.  The closest cities with large commercial airports are Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Washington.  I opted for Philadelphia, since I was already familiar with the drive.

I flew to Philadelphia Friday morning .  From there, the drive time to Rehoboth Beach was about two hours.  I had a meal on the flight, so I didn’t feel any need to stop for lunch.  I got to Rehoboth Beach in the early afternoon.

The last two times I did this race, I stayed at a hotel that was about four miles from the city center.  This year, I was able to get a room at a hotel that was closer.  After checking in, I didn’t need to drive again until Sunday.  I was able to walk to everything.

For most of the year, I’ve had sciatica on my right side.  Early in the year, I usually felt it in my right hip or on the right side of my lower back.  In September, I started having pain along the outside of my right leg.  At the end of September, I had a cortisone shot near my L5/S1 joint.  Within days, I felt good as new.  For the next seven weeks, I had no pain at all.

Unfortunately, that didn’t last.  Two weeks ago, I started having minor discomfort in my right leg.  At first, I thought I pulled a hamstring in my right leg.  It felt tight and slightly inflamed.  I had gone so long without symptoms that it took until the next day before I realized there was nothing wrong with my leg.  It was my sciatic nerve again.

It feels worst when I spend too much time sitting.  It feels best when I keep moving.  Since then, I’ve made a point of walking or running for at least a few miles each day.

Friday, I did more sitting than I’ve done in the last two weeks.  First, I was sitting in the airport waiting to board my flight.  Then I was on the plane for three hours.  Then I had a two-hour drive.  By the time I got to my hotel, I was feeling more discomfort than I’ve had in weeks.

Packet pickup was under a large tent across the street from Rehoboth Beach Running Company.  It was about half a mile from my hotel, which was my first opportunity to do some walking.  Besides my race bib and T-shirt, I also got the wrist band I would need to attend the post-race party.  After picking up my race packet and bringing it back to the hotel, I already felt better.  After that, I continued to walk around town.

First, I walked to Cinnabon to pick up some rolls for breakfast.  Then I walked over to Dogfish Head Brewery for a beer flight.  I never had lunch, so I also had a bowl of chowder to tide me over until dinner. While I was there, a few friends arrived, so I sat with them until they were done eating.

I had dinner with ten other runners at Shorebreak Lodge.  It was nice walking to dinner and not having to drive around looking for a parking space.

I had no trouble getting to sleep, but halfway through the night, I woke up with a sour stomach and had trouble getting back to sleep.  I eventually felt better, but I never fell asleep again.  I rested in bed until it was time to get up.  I felt like a zombie, but I started getting ready.

The race started next to bandstand, which is close to the boardwalk.  The bandstand was only two blocks from my hotel.  Last year, I had to leave early, so I had time to drive into town and find a good parking spot.  This year, I didn’t have to leave the hotel as early.  I got there about 30 minutes before the race, so I could join other 50sub4 runners and Marathon Maniacs for group pictures.

The temperature at the start was in the low 50s.  That would be ideal, except for strong winds and periods of rain.  I dressed a little warmer than usual to compensate.  I wasn’t expecting it to rain for the whole race, but I kept a plastic rain poncho folded up in my fanny pack, just in case.

The course has a mixture of surfaces.  Parts are on city streets, parts are on gravel trails, about a mile is on the boardwalk, there are two wooden bridges, and there’s also a steel grate bridge late in the race.  When I did this race last year, I was still recovering from a knee injury, so I had to walk the boardwalk and the wooden bridges.  This year, my knee is 100 percent, so I was able to run those sections.

The parts of the course that concerned me this year were the trail sections.  They’re pretty runnable, but there are some small rocks imbedded in the trails, particularly in the last few miles.  Last year, I managed to trip and fall three times.  I just wasn’t picking up my feet.  With that in mind, I decided to run this race at an easy pace.  I didn’t care too much about my time.  I just wanted to run cautiously and stay upright.

As I was lining up to start the race, I noticed my friend Shane was leading the 4:20 pace group.  That was a little faster than I expected to run, but it seemed like it might be a reasonable pace to start, since the first two miles have good footing.  My friend Heather also lined up near Shane, although she didn’t expect to run as fast as 4:20.  As we were waiting for the race to start, the sun rose over the beach behind us.

The first two miles were a loop around the city center.  I started out running close to Shane.  The pace felt pretty easy at first, but I was careful not to get too far in front of him.

By the end of the first mile, I was running with Heather.  We started to get a little ahead of Shane.  By the end of the second mile, we had turned so that the wind was at our back, and I immediately felt warmer.  I had started the race wearing a Tyvek jacket, which was open in the front.  I knew we would have the wind at our back for several miles, so I took off my jacket and tied it around my waist.

There wasn’t any rain before the race, but I started feeling drops as soon as we started running.  It wasn’t a steady rain – just a few small drops.  With the wind at my back, I wasn’t too worried about this small amount of rain, but I knew we would get more rain at some point.

After two miles, we turned onto the boardwalk.  I paid close attention to my footing, but I didn’t have any problems.  We were on the boardwalk for about a mile.

Shortly after leaving the boardwalk, we turned onto a road to begin a long out-and-back section, which would take us several miles from the city center.  Runners doing the half marathon had a much shorter out-and-back.  We could already see the fastest runners coming back.

We didn’t recognize the fastest men, but two of our friends were among the fastest women in the half marathon.  Sadie was in second place, and Krista was also on a fast pace.

Each time we saw one of our friends, Heather stopped to take a picture.  When I realized I was suddenly ahead of her, I slowed to a walk until she caught up.  We still had the wind at our back, and my hands were getting sweaty.  I had been wearing polypro gloves since the start of the race, and I decided to take them off, even though I knew I might need them again later.  Waiting for Heather gave me time to take off my gloves and stuff them into my fanny pack.

I was starting to feel some indigestion.  My dinner on Friday included more meat than I usually eat, and it felt like it was still in my stomach.  My dinner entrée tasted good, but it probably wasn’t the best choice for the night before a race.  At the aid stations, I drank Gatorade.  That seemed to gradually settle my stomach, but it took a long time before I felt better.

Heather and I were constantly talking.  When I talk, I have a tendency to speed up.  More than once, Heather told me she needed to slow down, so I slowed down too.  The pace didn’t feel as easy as it did at first, so I was more than happy to slow down when I realized I was going too fast.

As we continued along the road, the trickle of runners coming back became a dense pack.  Then we went around a circle, where an aid station was set up.  After the aid station, we started heading back.  Those of us doing the marathon made an immediate right turn and left the road for a gravel trail.  The runners doing the half marathon kept going back the way they came.

The first time I ran this course, I found this junction somewhat confusing.  I had not yet reached the circle, when I heard volunteers saying, “marathon runners turn right.”  I saw runners on the trail, but that was on my left.  The volunteers were talking to runners who had already gone around the circle.  To them, this was a right turn.  This year, I knew what to expect here.

The next several miles were on a trail that was mostly gravel, but occasionally had some small rocks imbedded in the trail.  The rocks weren’t a big deal, but I paid close attention to them.

By now, we were noticing more rain.  It wasn’t raining hard, but it was more than a few stray drops.  With the wind at our backs, I wasn’t too worried about getting cold, but I knew we’d eventually have to come back and run into the wind.

Since the first mile, Heather and I had been ahead of Shane’s 4:20 pace group.  By the middle of the sixth mile, we could hear them behind us.  They eventually caught up to us.  At one point, I no longer saw Heather.  I realized she must be behind the pace group, but it was tough to see her through a dense pack of at least a dozen runners.  I wanted to move behind the pace group as well, but that was easier said than done.  There wasn’t much room on the trail for such a large group.  I found myself running just ahead of them for a few minutes before finally working my way back through the group.  Then I saw Heather and slowed down until she caught up to me.  This was just before the six mile mark.

We had been running through a wide clearing next to some wetlands.  Eventually we reached a bridge over a marshy area.  Last year, I walked the bridge.  This year, I was able to run it.  The surface was a bit springy, but that no longer bothers my knee.  I was also pleasantly surprised to see that the surface was fairly runnable.  I didn’t see anything I could trip on.  The bridge was wet, but that also wasn’t a problem.  The wood had a coating that gave us good traction.

After the bridge, we returned to a gravel trail, but it wasn’t long before we turned onto a road.  It was somewhere along here that Heather’s friend Barb caught up to us.  After that, the three of us ran together.

Overall, I was staying warm enough, but my hands were getting a bit cold.  I had to put my gloves on again.  Pulling them on over hands that were already wet took some effort.

As we continued along the road, we had to climb a hill.  It was the first time I had found the terrain to be tiring.  Overall, this race is fairly flat.  This was the biggest hill, and it wasn’t really that bad.

Much of the course was outside of town, so there weren’t many spectators.  When we heard cheering, we knew we were getting close to an aid station.  The loudest cheers were from the aid station at Fort Miles Artillery Park.  This was a landmark I remembered from last year.

After running through Fort Miles, we turned and ran down a small hill. Eventually, we would need to run up this same hill.  That was something else I remembered from last year.

I don’t recall when we first started seeing the fastest runners coming back, but after Fort Miles we started seeing runners we know.  Each time, I knew Heather would stop to take their picture, so I took a walking break until she caught up to me.

One of the friends we saw along this stretch was Karen, who was finishing 50sub4 at this race.  Shortly after we saw Karen, we saw a pace group approaching.  We eventually recognized them as the 4:00 pace group.  Karen needed to stay ahead of them to break four hours, which she did.

Eventually, we saw Shane’s 4:20 group coming back.  They were much farther ahead of us now.  That wasn’t a surprise.  We knew we had been slowing down.

The turnaround point for this out-and-back was at roughly 11 miles.  Before we got there, we saw friends who were running faster.  After the turnaround, we started seeing friends who were behind us.  The first person we recognized was Glen.  Glen and Heather have a friendly rivalry.  Heather wanted to finish ahead of him, but she was surprised how close he was.

As we saw more friends, Heather continued to stop and take pictures.  Barb and I kept running.  At one point, I wondered if Heather would catch up after taking pictures of several friends in rapid succession.  When Heather eventually caught up to us, we learned that she had briefly fallen behind Glen before passing him again.

When we reached the 13 mile sign, I looked at my watch for the first time.  I looked at it again when we reached the halfway mark.  We were on pace to finish in about 4:26, but we continued to slow down in the second half.  When we reached the short hill before Fort Miles, we walked part of it.

After running through Fort Miles, I knew we were getting close to a downhill section.  By now, water had soaked all the way through my shoes.  I wear orthotics with replacement insoles, and if water gets between the insole and the orthotic, the insole can slip forward.  I was worried about running downhill, because that’s where it’s most likely to happen.  As we ran down the hill, I could feel one insole slipping forward.  So far, it wasn’t too bad, but there were a lot of miles left.

We were running into the wind, but I didn’t feel it too much until we got back to the bridge.  On the bridge, we were high enough off the ground that we were much more exposed to the wind.  After the bridge, we were running through an open area.  In other places, we were somewhat sheltered by the trees.  Here, we felt the wind resistance.  We couldn’t wait to get through this section.

Eventually, we got back to a wooded area, but only briefly.  Then we reached the road, where we were exposed to the wind again.

By the time we reached the road, my insole was getting worse.  It had slid forward so far that it was bunched up under my forefoot, with no padding under my heal.  When that happens, there’s not much I can do about it.  Even if I found a place to sit down and took off my shoe to adjust it, it would only be a few minutes before it slipped forward again.  Every step was uncomfortable, but I just had to do my best to tune it out.

After we got onto the road, I noticed the rain was picking up.  For the first 18 miles of the race, it was only sprinkling.  For the rest of the race, it was a steady rain.  Running into the wind with this much rain, I started to get cold.

I still had a Tyvek jacket tied around my waist, but it was as wet as the rest of my clothes.  Putting it on now wouldn’t do much good.  I still had a rain poncho in my fanny pack.  I didn’t think I would need it, but I was wrong.

I asked Heather and Barb if they could take a walking break while I put on my rain poncho.  I could get it out of my fanny pack while I was running, but I had to slow to a walk to put it on.  It took longer than I thought.  The wind was blowing, and my gloves were wet.  By the time I finally got it on, Heather and Barb were running again.  I had to work to catch up to them.

We had to run into the wind for another mile before we turned .  Then we were no longer going directly into the wind.  Our new obstacle was standing water in the street.  There were puddles everywhere.

Earlier in the race, I was having indigestion.  Now, Heather’s stomach was bothering her.  Every now and then, she would tell us she needed a break, and we would walk until Heather was ready to run again.  More than once, she told me I could go on ahead if I wanted to.  I had no interest in that.  I was cold, wet and miserable.  Running with Heather and Barb helped pass the miles.  I didn’t really care about my time, but I definitely didn’t want to run the remaining miles by myself.

As we ran past the street where we would eventually finish, we briefly got to see faster runners approaching the finish.  They were coming back from the out-and-back section that we were about to start.

We still had about six miles to go.  About a third of that was on city streets.  The rest was an out-and-back section on another trail.

As we left the downtown area, we had to cross a bridge over a canal.  Going out, we ran on the sidewalk.  The runners coming back were in the street, where the bridge was a steel grate.  I didn’t look forward to running on that surface when it was wet.

After crossing the bridge, we turned, and we got to experience a tailwind.  Running with the wind at our backs was easier.  It also wasn’t as cold.

After about a mile on streets, we reached the last trail section of the course.  It was here that I tripped on small rocks and fell three times in last year’s race.

The trail surface was mostly gravel, but the drainage wasn’t as good as the trails we ran on earlier.  There were puddles.  I didn’t initially see any rocks.  It was hard to believe I was frequently tripping on this section last year.

Most of the trail had a nice runnable surface, but eventually, I started to see a few spots where the soil had eroded enough to expose some small rocks underneath.  This year, I was watching for them like a hawk.  I saw every rock, and I made an effort to pick up my feet as I ran over them.

We had to run about two miles on the trail before we reached the turnaround.  On the way out, we saw the faster runners coming back.  On the way back, we saw slower runners who were still on the way out.  Heather once again looked for Glen.  It was several minutes before she saw him.  There wasn’t any question that he wouldn’t be able to catch her.

When we finished the trail section, I felt a sense of relief.  I had made it through this section without tripping.  We still had more than a mile to go, but we would be on pavement the rest of the way.  Unfortunately, we were running into the wind again, and it was getting tiring.

Often, Heather or Barb would say something that reminded me of my experience at some other race.  Then I would tell them all about that race.  I think my story-telling helped distract them from the fatigue of each mile.  With less than a mile to go, I finished telling one story, and Barb asked me to tell another.

When we got back to the bridge, there weren’t many runners still on the way out, so we were able to move over to the sidewalk.  We stayed on the sidewalk until the next turn.

The last aid station was in a small park.  When we left the park and returned to the street, we had about half a mile to go.  It wasn’t until we made the last turn and got close enough to the finish line to see it that we started to speed up.  In the last block, we saw several of our friends cheering for us.  They had already finished.

The three of us finished with a few seconds of each other.  I crossed the line in 4:35:13.  I received my medal and a heat shield.  Then the three of us posed for a finish line pic.

This race always has a large post-race party, with food, beer, and music.  Just past the finish line, there was a buffet line under a tent.  I think I enjoyed shelter form the rain as much I enjoyed as the food.

I picked up a plate and filled it with a biscuit, a scrambled egg patty, bacon, and macaroni and cheese.  There were many other foods, but that was as much as I felt like eating.

The party was held at two locations.  We could either go to a restaurant called The Culture Pearl, which was on one side of the street, or we could go to a large tent on the other side of the street.  Inside the restaurant, there were tables and chairs.  Inside the tent, there was no place to sit, but they had a DJ, and everyone was dancing.  Most of my friends started at The Cultured Pearl.  It was nice to be able to sit down.

Our wrist bands for the party each had three beer coupons.  Inside The Cultured Pearl, we could choose either of two beers from Dogfish Head Brewery.  I had one of each.  Later, after everyone was done eating, we went across the street to the tent, where we met the rest of our friends.  They had different beers there, so I had one more.  Besides the beer, people were coming around with trays of Fireball shots.  I love Fireball, but I didn’t want to get hammered.

Several of my friends were celebrating big milestones.  Karen finished running sub four-hour marathons in all 50 states, and she was one of four runners who ran their 100th marathon at this race.

Others were celebrating good race results in the half marathon.  Sadie won the masters division in that race.

I’m not sure how long I was at the party, but eventually, I had to go back out into the cold wind, so I could walk back to the hotel.  I felt a little bit of fine drizzle, but the rain had mostly stopped.

After getting out of my wet clothes, I took a good long soak in a hot bath.  Then I did some stretching.  I needed some time to recharge.

Later, I joined about a dozen of my friends for drinks at Cooter Brown’s Twisted Southern Kitchen.  Most of them had already eaten dinner, but I had dinner at Cooter Brown’s.  They had an entrée called a Piggy Mac Bowl, which was pulled pork served over macaroni & cheese.  That’s comfort food.

I slept better Saturday night.  At one point, I had trouble getting back to sleep after getting up to go to the bathroom, but when I got back to sleep, I crashed pretty hard.  I slept so hard that I slept through my alarm.

There wasn’t an alarm clock in the room, so I was depending on my phone alarm to wake me up.  Apparently, if I’m sleeping hard enough, I can sleep right through it.  When I woke up, I looked at my phone to see what time it was.  It was 6:06.  I had set the alarm for 5:15.

I needed to drive back to Philadelphia for my flight home.  I wanted to get on the road by 7:00 AM.  Fortunately, I had given myself a generous amount of time to get ready.  I already had food for breakfast in my room.  Instead of taking my time, I had to rush, but I was still able to pack up and check out on schedule.  My wet running clothes had time to dry overnight, but I had to pack my shoes while they were still damp.

Leaving Rehoboth Beach on a Sunday morning there wasn’t much traffic.  The drive to Philadelphia was quicker than I expected, so I arrived at the airport with plenty of time before my flight.

The first time I did this race, there was a snowstorm in Philadelphia, and the airport was shut down for hours.  Since then, I’ve always been nervous about flying out of Philadelphia in December.  This year, the weather in Philadelphia was nice, so I had no trouble getting home.

Race statistics:
Distance:  26.2 miles
Time:  4:35:13
Average Pace:  10:30
Lifetime Marathons/Ultras:  471
Delaware Marathons:  5

Sunday, November 20, 2022

Race Report: 2022 Gobbler Grind Marathon

On November 20, I ran the Gobbler Grind Marathon in Overland Park, KS.  This race fit nicely into my “every other weekend” race schedule, and it gave me my fourth marathon or ultra in Kansas, which brings me one step closer to completing my fourth circuit of marathons in all 50 states.

I was originally planning to drive to this race.  The drive time would’ve been about seven hours.  In recent months, I’ve found long drives to be extremely uncomfortable.  When I priced flights, I found the airfare to be quite reasonable, so I flew to Kansas City and rented a car.  As my flight was on it’s final approach, I looked out the window.  I was pleased to see there wasn’t any snow on the ground.  I knew it was going to be cold, but it was reassuring to know I wouldn’t have to content with slippery conditions.

I arrived in Kansas City just before lunch.  For lunch, I went to a Neapolitan pizza restaurant called Spin!  They have several locations in the greater Kansas City area.  I went to the one that was closest to the location of packet pickup.

Packet pickup was held at Garry Gribble’s Running Sports at the Ward Parkway Center, which is on the south side of Kansas City.  When I got there, I was surprised to see a line that went all the way around the inside of the store.  That was the line for packet pickup for either the marathon or half marathon.  When I got in line, there were about 50 people ahead of me, and the line moved slowly.  I was there for about half an hour.

The T-shirt I got with my race packet was a long-sleeve shirt with a hood.  The design includes a turkey.  Now I have another shirt that I can wear for Thanksgiving gatherings.  I used to wear the shirt that I got at this same race 12 years ago.

I stayed at the host hotel for the race, which was the Doubletree in Overland Park.  It was easily the closest hotel to where the race starts and finishes.

The day before a race is usually a rest day, but only because I don’t usually have time for a workout when I’m traveling.  This time, I had the afternoon free, and my hotel had a fitness center and a pool.  After unpacking, I went to the fitness center to do some strength training exercises.  I followed that with a 20-minute spin on the stationary bike.

I spent the rest of the afternoon relaxing at the hotel and watching college football.  Then I went to dinner at a pizzeria that’s also a taproom for a local brewery.

I was able to get to sleep early, and I slept well, which rarely happens the night before a race.

When I got up on Sunday, it was 22 degrees.  It would warm up quickly during the race, but it would also get windy at times.  This was one of the coldest marathons I’ve ever run.

I have circulation issues in my legs if they get too cold.  To keep my legs warm enough, I wore a style of pants that fit like tights but have a thicker fabric that’s more like sweatpants.  I’ve worn these many times for cold weather training runs, but it was the first time I ever wore them for something as long as a marathon.  On my upper body, I dressed in layers.  I wore a long sleeve polypro shirt, a tech T-shirt, and a Tyvek jacket.  I kept the jacket open in front, so it wouldn’t obstruct my race bib.  I also wore a winter hat, and I had two layers on my hands.

The race started at 7:30 in an office park called Corporate Woods.  We were able to park in the parking lots of the various office buildings.  The start was only half a mile from my hotel.  Had it been a warmer day, I probably would’ve walked.  Instead, I drove and parked.

I was conflicted about when to leave.  It would’ve been tempting to wait until the last minute to drive over there.  Then I could avoid the need for a last-minute bathroom stop and also minimize my time in the cold.  There were just two problems with that plan.  First, I didn’t know if all the nearby parking spaces would fill before I got there.  Also, I didn’t know when they would block off the streets.  The shortest route to building 40 (the closest building to the start) included a street that’s part of the marathon route.  If I waited too long, it would almost certainly be blocked off.

I went to the race website to see what it said about road closures.  I couldn’t find anything about it.  It turns out the information I weas looking for had been included in an email.  I probably saw it, but I couldn’t remember.

The race started at 7:30.  I left the hotel at 6:45.  I didn’t actually start driving until several minutes later than that, because I needed to clear the frost from my windshield before I could drive.  When I left the hotel, the first turn I need to take was already blocked.  According to the email, they closed the road at 6:45.  Had I left 5-10 minutes earlier, I would’ve been fine.

I didn’t know how to get to the start without crossing the course, and I didn’t have my phone with me, so I wasn’t comfortable trying to improvise.  I got to the start, but I had to drive around a couple of barriers.

I was planning to wait in my car with the heat on until 15 minutes before the race.  Then I started to feel like I might want to make a bathroom stop before the race.  With 25 minutes left before the start, I got out of the car and started walking toward the start.

As I got onto the road, I saw a row of port-o-potties a short distance away.  Then I saw what appeared to be a line.  It was unbelievably long.  I asked people if this was the line for the port-o-potties.  It was.  I went to the back of the line, and realized there were well over 100 runners ahead of me in line.  There were 10 port-o-potties and a single line for the next one available.  By now, I had 20 minutes until the race started.

I didn’t think I would have time to get through the line, but I waited.  Nine minutes before the race, the woman behind me gave up and headed to the start.  With five minutes to go, I was tempted to do the same thing.  I wondered how long it would take to make it back to the start area.

A minute and a half before the race, I made it to the head of the line.  Believe it or not, I was able to do my business, hurry to the start area and make my way through the crowd before the race started.  I think they started a few minutes behind schedule.

I started the race with the 4:10 pace group.  One of the pacers was Eric, who I ran with two months ago at the Heartland Marathon.  Starting with Eric was a way of making sure I wouldn’t start too fast.  Besides the marathon, there was also a half marathon, a 10K and a 5K.  When I did this race 12 years ago, I started too fast, because the people around me were all doing the 5K.  I wasn’t going to make that mistake again.

I was able to make a bathroom stop before the race, but I paid a price for it.  The extra time standing outside in the cold caused me to get cold.  When I started running, my legs felt ice cold, and my feet were partially numb.

Each pace group had two pace leaders.  One ran in front, a little ahead of pace.  The other ran a little bit behind pace, to bring up the rear.  Eric was the trailing pacer for the 4:10 group.  I started out running with Eric, but after a few minutes, I found myself getting ahead of him.  As long as there was another 4:10 pacer in front of me, I wasn’t worried about starting too fast.

The early miles were on roads going around Corporate Woods.  I was running near the lead pacer for the 4:10 group when I heard him tell one of the runners that he would stop for about 10 seconds at each aid station.  My face felt like it was frozen, so I was planning to skip at least one aid station to give my face a chance to thaw out.  I knew I would need to start drinking eventually, but I wasn’t perspiring yet, so I felt I could afford to skip at least one aid station.

I couldn’t see an aid station yet, but I allowed myself to get ahead of the 4:10 group, knowing it would probably happen anyway when we reached an aid station.  Just ahead of me, there was a 2:05 pace group for the half marathon.  They had the same goal pace, so I was comfortable getting ahead of the 4:10 group as long as I wasn’t also getting ahead of the 2:05 group.

Going past one of the office building, the street was paved with bricks.  The soles of my feet were still numb, so I felt a bit uneasy on this street.

Somewhere just past two miles I saw the five mile sign.  Obviously, we were going to come by this spot again.  Then I reached a street with signs indicating we needed to turn left on our first loop, but right on our second loop.  That confirmed my suspicion that we would run two laps around Corporate Woods before leaving this area.

Just before we completed three miles, we passed an intersection where 5K runners were directed onto a paved trail, while everyone else stayed on the road.  Then we ran through the start area and began the second lap though Corporate Woods.

As I started my second lap, I was now in front of the 2:05 pace group for the half marathon.  I didn’t know if my pace was going to be sustainable for the whole race, but I needed to run at a fast enough pace to warm up.  My legs still felt cold, my feet still felt numb, and my thumbs also felt numb, even though I had two layers on my hands.

When I got back to the street paved with bricks, my feet felt better.  Some of my toes were still numb, but the feeling had returned to the soles of my feet.  This time around, I wasn’t as worried about tripping.

There was an aid station that we passed on each loop around Corporate Woods.  The first time I reached it, I just kept running.  When I got back to it for the second time, I slowed to a walk to grab a cup of Gatorade.  I had to use both hands to hold it.  I was slow and deliberate, because I didn’t want to spill ice cold Gatorade on my shirt.  It felt cold going down my throat, and it briefly gave me chills, but I needed to start taking in fluids.  For now, I was cold, but it was going to warm up at least 15 degrees before I finished.  Sooner or later, I was going to start sweating.

I got back to the spot where the 5K runners moved to the trail on the first lap.  This time, everyone else moved to the trail.  The rest of the race would be on paved trails through the woods.  There were sharp turns and lots of small undulations.  There weren’t any big hills, but there were lots of places where the trail would rise or fall by about five feet.  I found it hard to stay in a consistent rhythm.  I would slow down going up a small hill, and then I’d need to lift my effort to get back to my previous pace.  It was starting to take more effort just to run at the same pace as before.

The lead pacer for the 2:05 group passed me.  I didn’t try to keep up with him.  Then the lead pacer for the 4:10 group passed me.  Then the trailing pacer for the 2:05 group passed me.  Eric was still somewhere behind me, but I knew he would catch up to me soon.  Then I’d have to decided if I would work hard enough to stay with him or if I would resign myself to running the rest of the race alone.

Just before 10K, we left Corporate Woods.  The rest of the race would be out-and-back along paved trails.  By now, Eric had caught up with me.  I picked up my effort so I could run with him, but I didn’t know how long I could sustain it.  The pace now felt tiring.

I was almost to the seven mile mark when I heard some noise in the distance,  I realized I was getting close to an aid station.  By now, my hands had warmed up enough that I could get by with just gloves.  I was also wearing shell mittens, but those made it more difficult to hold a cup.  I took off the mittens and stuffed them into my fanny pack.

Sure enough, as I came around the next bend, I saw the aid station.  This time, the Gatorade felt better going down.  I had finally warmed up.

It was shortly after that aid station that I started to see the runners in the half marathon who were on their way back.  Their turnaround point was at least two miles away, but the fastest runners were already coming back.

The other runners in the 4:10 pace group were all running with the lead pacer.  By now, I was the only one still running with Eric.  Our conversation made the miles pass easier, but I was finding the pace to be tiring.  I told Eric I didn’t think I would be able to stay with him for the whole race.  He reminded me that I said the same thing eight weeks ago at the Heartland Marathon and I not only stayed with him, but surged ahead in the last two miles.  I was skeptical, but he had a point.

When I felt like I was warm enough, I took off my jacket and tied it around my waist.  The shirt underneath was getting sweaty, and I immediately felt the cold wind after taking off my jacket.  I knew I would gradually warm up again.  I expected the temperature to climb into the upper 30s by the time I finished.

Somewhere between 11 and 12 miles, we left the main trail to run an out-and-back section on another trail.  It was on this section that we passed a port-o-potty.  Eric took the opportunity to make a bathroom stop.  He told me to keep running, and he would catch up to me later.  I kept running, but I eased up slightly in my effort.  Keeping up with Eric was tiring, and I welcomed the opportunity to back off a little.

Before I reached the turnaround point of this shorter out-and-back section, I saw the rest of the 4:10 group coming back from the turn.  There were enough turns in the trail that they often disappeared from view.  Now I could see that they weren’t as far ahead of me as I previously thought.

After making the turn myself, I could see where Eric was.  He was gradually catching up to me, but it would still take a while.

Just before the 13 mile mark, I crossed a bridge over a creek.  I was surprised to see that the water was frozen.  The temperature dropped down to 20 degrees overnight, but running water takes longer to freeze than still water.

I started paying attention to my watch, so I could see my time at the halfway mark.  When my watch read 13.1, my time was 2:04:30.  I was on pace for 4:09.  I still didn’t think I could keep up this pace for the whole race, but I was half done now, and the remaining distance would gradually feel more manageable.

A couple of my fingers started to get numb again, and I wondered if I was going into the wind on this section.  If so, they would warm up again when we turned back onto the main trail.  Soon, Eric caught up to me again.  When we returned to the main trail, my hands did indeed warm up again.

We still had four or five miles before the turnaround point of the main trail.  I struggled, at times, to keep up with Eric, but I was determined to stay with him for as long as I could.

When we made the turn and started heading back, it started to feel easier.  More than once, I commented to Eric that I wasn’t noticing the hills as much in this direction.  Each time, he pointed out that we were currently going downhill.  I’m not sure, but I suspect the trail was more uphill going out and more downhill coming back.  I also suspect we had some wind resistance going out, and the wind was at our back coming back.  In any case, keeping up with Eric seemed to be getting easier.

As we completed each mile, the remaining distance seemed less intimidating.  Eight miles left, then seven, then six.  I was tiring, but it seemed plausible that I could stay with Eric until the end.

Sometimes Eric would notice that we were getting a little ahead of our pace, so he would slow us down.  Each time, it was a huge relief.  One time, he noticed we had slowed down in our previous mile, so he picked up the pace.  I briefly fell behind, and I had to work hard to catch up to him, but I eventually did.

In the late miles, I started to feel warm.  I didn’t want to take off my hat or gloves, and I didn’t have any other layers that could be easily removed.  I pressed on, knowing there weren’t that many miles left.

With about two miles to go, Eric said we were a little ahead of our pace, and he was going to be easing up the rest of the way.  I could see the lead pack of the 4:10 group in the distance, and I decided to see if I could catch up to them.

I must’ve been looking down at the trail, because I didn’t notice when the leading 4:10 pacer disappeared around a turn.  When I reached the same spot, I kept going straight.  Eric saw that I missed a turn, and he yelled to me.  He had to yell three times before he got my attention.  Then I backtracked to the place I was supposed to turn.  Fortunately, he got my attention before I ran too far out of my way.

After making the turn, I regained sight of the other 4:10 pacer.  I was still determined to catch up to him, but I only had about a mile and a half to go.

It took a lot of effort, but I caught up to him in the last mile of the race.  I asked him how he was doing in relation to a 4:10 pace, and he said he was 57 seconds ahead of schedule.

With less than half a mile to go, I saw a building that looked familiar.  I asked the pacer if that was Building 40, which was the closest office building to where we started.  He said it was Doubletree.  In fact, we were within sight of both Doubletree and Building 40, and Building 40 was the one I was looking at.  It’s worth noting, that this is yet another race where the course went within sight of my hotel.

When I got the last split from my watch, I saw that I ran mile 26 in 9:15.  That was my fastest mile of the race.  I surged ahead of the 4:10 group and finished on my own, crossing the line in 4:09.  I ran even splits.

This wasn’t as fast as my times in the Twin Cities or Chicago Marathon, but it’s faster than I thought I would run today.  I’m happy with that result.

After I got my finisher medal, I turned around and waited for Eric to finish.  Then we made plans for lunch.  Eric knows how much I like pizza, so after we each had time to shower and change clothes, we met for lunch at Minsky’s Pizza, which is Eric’s favorite pizza place in the Kansas City area.  We split one of their prime cut pizzas, which have five kinds of meat, including bacon.  I noticed several other pizzas on their menu that would also be worth trying, but I fly home tomorrow and probably won’t get there again on this trip.

Race statistics:
Distance:  26.2 miles
Time:  4:09:00
Average Pace:  9:30 
Lifetime Marathons/Ultras:  470
Kansas Marathons:  4

Monday, November 7, 2022

Race Report: City of Oaks Marathon

Last February, I was scheduled to run the Charleston Marathon, but the race was cancelled.  I received a credit from Capstone Races that I could apply toward the entry fee for any of their other races.  After looking at the other races they sponsor, the one that made the most sense for me was the City of Oaks Marathon in Raleigh, NC.  I needed another North Carolina race for my fourth circuit of marathon in all 50 states, and this was a race I could easily fit into my schedule.

The course starts and finishes in downtown Raleigh.  When I saw that I could stay at a hotel that was close to both the start and the finish, there was no question I would stay downtown.  I love the convenience of being able to wait until 15-20 minutes before the race before leaving the hotel.

I flew to Raleigh on Saturday.  Packet pickup was at LeRoy Martin Middle School, which was also the site of the Saturday kids run.  We needed to sign up for a packet pickup time.  I picked a time that allowed me to pick up my race packet on my way into town from the airport.

After packet pickup, I went to lunch at a pizzeria on the edge to downtown.  I waited until after lunch before continuing to my hotel.

I stayed at Hampton Inn in downtown Raleigh.  It was two and a half blocks from the starting line and even closer to the finish line.  When I got there, they didn’t have any rooms ready, so I parked my car and the ramp and set off on foot to do some sightseeing in the downtown area.

Deb and I visited Raleigh in 2008.  I know we did some sightseeing in the downtown area, but that was so long ago that I can’t remember what we saw.  This time, I started by walking over to the state capitol.

As I was walking around the capitol, I saw a trolly turning onto Fayetteville Street.  That’s mostly a shopping district.  I’m pretty sure that’s one of the areas Deb and I explored 14 years ago.  This year, I focused more on architecture.

Next, I walked over to the Executive Mansion.  I couldn’t get a good picture from the front, because there were some canopies in the way.  Here’s a side angle.

From there, it was a short walk to Historic Oakwood.  This is a neighborhood with some handsome older homes.

A few of the homes in the Oakwood neighborhood still had Halloween decorations up.

After walking down Oakwood Avenue, I explored some of the neighboring streets, which also had examples of the older architectural styles.

When I got back to the hotel, they had a room ready, so I checked in and unloaded the car.  By now, I had been on my feet for the last two hours.  My phone and I both needed recharging, so I relaxed at the hotel until it was time for dinner.

When I did a Google search of things to see in downtown Raleigh, the list included a few restaurants.  They tended to be BBQ restaurants, but I didn’t want to eat anything that heavy before the race.  Another place was the Raleigh Beer Garden.  Besides having more than 350 different beers on tap, they also serve food, including pizza.  It was just around the block from my hotel, so it wasn’t hard deciding where to eat.  The hard part was deciding which beers to sample.

Earlier, I noticed a sign at Hampton Inn mentioning construction and asking guests to please excuse the noise and mess.  At the front desk, there was a bowl with packages of ear plugs.  There were also a few individually packaged pairs of ear plugs in my room.  I never noticed any construction, but I later realized there was another reason for the ear plugs.

Hampton Inn has a policy of giving any guest a full refund if there’s a problem with their room and management isn’t able to resolve it for them.  This hotel was making one exception.  I found this notice in the bathroom.

To summarize, the hotel is in a noisy nightlife district, and the noise can make sleeping difficult.  They can give you ear plugs, but they can’t make the noise go away.  I always sleep with ear plugs, and the ones I brought were probably better than the ones the hotel provided.

I got very little sleep the night before I arrived.  In fact, in the last week, I only got more than four hours of sleep once.  After dinner, I went to bed early.  I eventually woke up and heard some noise, but by then I already had four hours of sleep in the bank.  I had some trouble getting back to sleep, but I probably got another four hours of sleep before I had to get up.

The marathon started at 7:00 AM.  I set my alarm for 5:30.  The race was on the same morning that we set the clocks back, which made it easier to get up early.  Going to bed at 7:00 PM the night before also didn’t hurt.

It was an unseasonably warm day.  When the race started, it was 65 degrees.  The forecast high was 81, and I expected it to get into the upper 70s before I finished the race.  With that in mind, I wasn’t inclined to push too hard for a fast time.

When I signed up for the race, I didn’t know much about the course.  A good portion of it is on a paved trail through the House Creek Greenway.  When I reviewed the elevation profile, I didn’t see much in the way of big hills, but there are lots of smaller undulations.

I run best when I can stay in a consistent rhythm.  I don’t run as fast when I have to constantly speed up or slow down going over small hills.  I’m still recovering from a high hamstring injury.  I feel OK when I’m running a nice consistent pace, but I need to avoid making sudden accelerations.  That was another reason to just go easy today and save my best effort for another race.

Besides the marathon, there was a 5K, a 10K, and a half marathon.  The 5K started 20 minutes later, but the marathon, half marathon, and 10K all started together.  I didn’t want to go out at the same pace as runners doing a 10K race, so I was careful not to line up too close to the starting line.

I apparently lined up too far back.  When the gun went off, it took a long time for the people in front of me to start moving.  It took more than a minute before I crossing the starting line.  That’s OK.  This is a chip-timed race.  Even after starting, however, I felt like I was held back by a wall of runners who were starting at a pace that felt uncomfortably slow.  It didn’t help that the first few blocks were slightly uphill.

I worked to get around people so I had more room to run at my own pace.  I wasn’t trying to run fast.  I just wanted to be able to run at a pace that felt natural.

As we rounded the first turn, I finally found plenty of room to run.  Now we were going downhill, and I couldn’t help but get going too fast.

I wasn’t even done with the first mile before I felt sweat from head to toe.  I paid close attention to the forecast temperatures, but I never thought about the humidity.  As it turns out, the humidity probably bothered me more than the heat did.

I finished the first mile in 9:13.  That would’ve been about right in a flat race with cool weather, where I was trying to improve my time.  On this course and in these conditions, it was too fast.  In the second mile, I tried to ease up.  That was easier said than done.  By now, I was already surrounded by other runners who started at the same pace.  Also, the second mile was mostly downhill.  I wanted to slow down, but that mile was a few seconds faster than the first one.

For the first several miles, it seemed like we were always going slightly uphill or slightly downhill.  None of these hills were particularly steep, but it was rarely flat.  I gradually eased into a more reasonable pace, but it took several miles.

Early in the race, there were lots of turns.  I knew we would eventually head west out of downtown, but I lost my sense of direction.  In the early miles, I quickly lost track of where we were.

The first hill that I found to be tiring came during the 6th mile.  I could feel myself slowing down on this one.  My first five miles were all faster than 10 minutes.  Mile six was the first one that was slower.  After that, almost all of them were slower than 10 minutes.  That’s probably the pace I should’ve run from the beginning.

There were several places where the courses for the different races would diverge, but later they would merge together again.  As a result, there might be runners around you who had run a different distance.

Just before the 10K mark, we turned left onto a major street.  I saw runners on the other side of the street who were going the opposite direction.  At first, I assumed they must be doing the half marathon, and they had reached their turnaround point.  Then I noticed the color of their race bibs.  They were all doing the 10K race.  I passed the 10K mark for the marathon and then saw a sign marking the four-mile mark for the 10K race.

We ran almost eight miles before the marathon and half marathon diverged.  I initially found it odd that we would go that far before the half marathon runners would head back toward downtown.  Then I thought about all the turns in the early miles.  We had covered a total distance of almost eight miles, but as the crow flies, we were only two or three miles from where we started.

At eight miles, we turned onto the greenway.  Before, we were on city streets.  Now, we were on a paved trail.  Like the streets, the trail never seemed to be flat.  It was always either uphill or downhill.  At first, the hills were fairly long and gradual.  It was only a mater of time, however, before I started to encounter hills that forced me to slow down.

I have a friend who lives near the course.  I hadn’t seen Julie in several years, but when she found out I was running, she told me she and her husband Miles would be watching for me along the greenway.

The first time I saw Julie and Miles was around 11 miles.  I had sent Julie a photo, so she would know what I was wearing.  I didn’t know what she and Miles would be wearing, but after seeing them once, it was easier to look for them.

The section of the course along the greenway was out-and-back.  I was just past 11 miles when I saw the lead runner coming back.  I didn’t know exactly how far it was to the turnaround, but I knew it was well past the halfway point of the race.  It could plausibly be as far as the 16-mile mark.  If so, this guy was already almost 10 miles ahead of me.  That seemed unlikely, but he had a huge lead over everyone else.  I ran at least a mile farther before I saw the second-place runner.

Along the greenway, we sometimes had views of streams or ponds.  I was sometimes tempted to stop and take a picture.  I had my phone with me, but I never stopped.  Already, I felt like I needed to press on.  I was afraid if I stopped to take a picture, I would have trouble getting started again.

When I reached the halfway point, I was surprised to see my average pace was 10 minutes per mile.  That’s only because I was running faster in the early miles.  My most recent mile took almost 11 minutes.  That would become the new normal.  I never got below 10:30 gain, and I was usually closer to 11:00.

I still didn’t know how much farther it was to the turnaround.  I was half done, but it wouldn’t feel like it until I was headed back.  I was starting to see more runners coming back, but it was still a slow trickle compared to the steady stream of runners still going out.

Somewhere between 14 and 15 miles, I saw Julie and Miles again.  Julie briefly ran alongside me, so we could talk.  Before the race, I had told her my pace would probably be around 10 minutes per mile.  She said I was right on pace.  I told her I would be much slower the rest of the way.

I saw a pace group coming back.  It was the four-hour group.  Up until now, I had only seen one pace group.  That was the 4:15 group, who passed me a few miles into the race.  I knew about how far back I was from the 4:00 group, so I finally had an idea how much farther it was to the turn.

When I finally reached the turn, I looked at my watch.  I was reading 15.45 miles.  I was finding the greenway to be tiring.  It was about 7.5 miles going out.  Now I had to run the same 7.5 miles in the opposite direction before I would get back onto city streets.  I didn’t realize it yet, but there were long downhill sections going out that would be uphill coming back.

Somewhere around 16 miles, I briefly felt a breeze.  It felt good, but it wasn’t there for very long.  I realized this was the first time in the race that I had felt any wind.  It would also be the last time.

The greenway was well-shaded.  That’s the good news.  The bad news is that the same trees that sheltered us from the sun also blocked the wind.  There was never much wind to begin with, but the breeze couldn’t reach us here.  A little wind would’ve helped mitigate the high humidity.  Instead, there was no relief.

I recognized a bend in the trail where I had last seen Julie and Miles.  I saw them again.  I told them my pace the rest of the way would probably be 11 minutes per mile.  As it turns out, that was wildly optimistic.

Coming back, I struggled more with the hills.  I noticed long tiring hills that I wasn’t expecting.  Obviously, I had already run these same hills in the downhill direction, but I didn’t notice how long or steep they were.

I was expecting to see Julie and Miles again at 20 miles.  That was roughly the same spot where I first saw them.  I knew I would have to climb a short but steep hill to get up to the street where I saw them before.  As I came within sight of that hill, I saw some flashing lights.  There was a bicycle and a motorcycle.  A pair of EMTs were attending to a running who was down.

When I saw Julie again, she said she and Miles would see me at the finish.  I was tempted to provide an estimate of when I would finish, but I realized anything I said might be misleading.  I really didn’t know how much more I might slow down.  I was hanging on by a thread.

As two runners passed me, I heard one of them say, “Three more.  Three more.  Three more brutal miles, and then we’re home free.”  I assume he was referring to having three more miles along the greenway before we got back onto streets.  I didn’t know about the “home free” part.  Maybe he knew something I didn’t.  All I knew is that we had three more miles along the greenway, and I couldn’t wait for them to be over.

At most of the aid stations, I drank either water or a sports drink.  I didn’t feel like I was drinking enough.  At one of the aid stations, a volunteer was meeting runners well before the aid station.  I took the opportunity to get a cup of water from him and also get a cup of sports drink a minute later at the aid station.

As I was getting close to 21 miles, I encountered a hill that was too tiring.  It was longer and steeper than any of the other hills I had encountered.  I had to walk the rest of it.  I planned to walk this one hill and then run the rest of the race.

When I reached what I thought was the top of the hill, I rounded a corner and saw that it was still uphill.  That happened three times.  I walked the entire hill.  It seemed like I was walking for several minutes.

When I finished that mile, I was pleasantly surprised to see my time for that mile was 13:02.  I thought it would be slower.  Maybe I wasn’t walking for as long as I thought.  Alternatively, maybe my running pace going up a hill wasn’t that much faster than my walking pace.

After that hill, I came around a familiar bend and the course briefly leveled out.  I saw two runners who had stopped at the side of the trail.  Then I saw another runner curled up on the ground between them.  The conditions were getting dangerous.  The temperature was now in the upper 70s, and the humidity was still oppressive.  In some cities, they would cancel the race under these conditions.  I wanted to run the rest of the way, but I had to respect the heat and humidity.  The rest of the way, I walked every hill.

At some point, I wondered if I should be pouring water on my head.  I knew from experience how effective that can be when you’re overheating.  I also knew from experience that some of the water would end up in my shoes, and I would develop painful blisters.  I wasn’t willing to accept that trade-off.

Somewhere between 22 and 23 miles, I heard drums in the distance.  I remembered passing a large drum band earlier in the race.  My recollection was that they were right where we entered the greenway.  Now that I could hear them again, I knew I was getting close.

When I reached the drums, I turned onto a street.  Was I home free?  Looking ahead, I saw a long downhill section.  Would it be mostly downhill to the finish?  I got my answer soon.

I saw runners on the other side of the street going the opposite direction.  It was a short out-and-back section.  Going out it was downhill.  You know what that means.

After crossing the street and starting up the hill, I asked myself if I could run most of it and only walk the steeper part at the end.  I couldn’t.  I had to walk almost all of the hill.

After that out-and-back, the rest of the course was a fairly direct route into downtown.  It was far more downhill than uphill, and I had to walk anything that was even remotely uphill.  With about two miles to go, I found that I couldn’t run an entire mile, even if it was all either downhill or flat.  I had to include some walking.  I was at my limit.  I needed to do a run/walk mix to get to the finish.

I passed several restaurants that I remembered passing earlier in the race.  That didn’t give me any awareness of where I was.  When I passed them earlier, it was after making so many turns that I never knew where I was in relationship to downtown.

I saw one restaurant that didn’t remember seeing before.  It was called Insomnia Cookies.  Their sign said they deliver warm cookies late in the evening.

With less than half a mile to go, I finally made a turn and saw a long downgrade in front of me.  I couldn’t see all the way to the finish, but what I could see was all downhill.  A volunteer in the middle of the street told me there were two more turns.  Knowing that helped frame my expectations.

I forced myself to run all the way down this hill.  As I passed the “26” sign, I looked at my watch.  I was going to break 4:40 if I ran the rest of the way.  I wouldn’t have cared at this point, but I knew Julie and Miles would be watching for me.

When I made the next turn, I could see that it was still downhill most of the way to the last turn.  I also saw the “13” sign for the half marathon.  I just needed to hang in there for a little over a minute.

When I made the last turn, I could see the finish.  I could also see that the approach to the finish was downhill.  I needed that.  I saw Julie and Miles in the crowd.

I crossed the line in 4:38:11.  I wanted to rush back to where I saw Julie and Miles, but first I had to stagger forward to the end of the finisher chute.

The finisher medal was in the shape of an acorn.  It included a spinner that depicted an oak tree.  It was an appropriate medal for a race called “City of Oaks.”

When I finished the race, it was 79 degrees, and the dew point was 67.  My first priority after finishing was rehydrating.  I accepted a water bottle from one of the volunteers and starting drinking immediately.  I never noticed what kinds of post-race food were available.  I didn’t feel like eating anything.

Julie and Miles met me shortly after I finished.  I found a place where I could sit down, and we talked until I was able to walk back to the hotel.

I had a small package of trail mix in my room.  That was as much as I could eat.  I finished my water and made a cup of tea.  I always take a hot bath after a race, but I had to be careful not to get the water too hot.  I was cooling down, but it wouldn’t take much for me to overheat again.  I just wanted the water to be warm enough to relax my legs, so I could do some stretches.

Later, I had dinner with Julie and Miles at Raleigh Beer Garden.  There were still hundreds of beers that I had not yet sampled.  We had a nice visit.  We were at the restaurant for two and a half hours.

That night, I slept for 10 hours.  I felt much better in the morning.  I didn’t feel sore or stiff, but I still felt dehydrated.  Physically, I’ll be back to normal within a few days.  Recovering from the psychological toll may take longer.  When you struggle this badly in a race, it can really shake your confidence.

Race statistics:
Distance:  26.2 miles
Time:  4:38:11
Average Pace:  10:37
Lifetime Marathons/Ultras:  469