Monday, February 2, 2009
2009 Maine Track Club Mid-Winter 10-Mile Classic
Photo from Maine Running Photos.
I think that photo pretty much sums it up: Feet barely off the ground? Check. Satan face? Check. The perfect picture of pain? Check. Wave of people ready to pass me? Check.
When I got up on Sunday morning, it was 6° and snowing. Ah, race day. As expected, it warmed up considerably as we headed to Cape Elizabeth, and in fact, conditions were pretty much perfect. Well, perfect for a February road race in Maine. Temps in the low 20's, no wind.
D and I did a short warm up and stretched. I felt fine, and I wasn't nervous at all. (D was nervous enough for the both of us.) I didn't even need to go to the bathroom 4,000 times pre-race. Perhaps, that's not a good sign.
We met Ian at the starting line, and he immediately called me out on my pre-race sub 1:10 prediction. I mumbled something about my uncertainty of this goal, but in my mind I was thinking, "Hell, yeah. I didn't come out here to stink up the joint." Then the cowbell rang, and we were off.
After nearly, running into an icy snowbank in the first 100 yards, the rest of the first mile was uneventful. Ian and I chatted for most of it, and I was still feeling confident. My hamstrings immediately let me know they weren't thrilled with the pace, but I hope they would loosen up. I suppose they kind of did, and I continued to feel OK as we hit the second mile—the hilly second mile. Ian got a bit ahead of me, but I was just trying to stay smooth and relaxed through the hills. I passed a ton of people who thought it wise to sprint the first mile, but something was amiss. As I passed the mile 2 sign, I was feeling...well...sluggish. It only got worse in the slightly less hilly third mile. Then as I passed the mile 3 marker, I was toast.
I never had a hit the wall moment, but the next 7 miles were just a pile of awful. I watched Ian's orange hat steadily pull away until it just blended into the line of runners moving steadily away from. My back started to tighten up sometime in mile 4. I repeatedly has to stretch it out over the rest of race in hopes of avoiding the angry demon from last year. At some point before the 5-mile marker, I had a brief moment of feeling good. It lasted about 10 seconds, and that was the end of that. I knew I was in real trouble when I hit the 7-mile marker, I thought I had picked up the pace over the last mile. In fact, I'd slowed down. Then for the next three miles each time I was praying to every deity I could think of to make the mile markers appear sooner. "Oh, Thor, please smite the other runners with a mighty thunderbolt, so I can finish in the top 75!" Apparently, pagan gods take Sundays off, as wave after wave of runners over took me in the final three miles. Through 8 miles in 56:01. I told myself that if I could really dig deep I could still break 1:10. Instead, my back kept cramping, and I ran the slowest mile yet. Even when I tried to kick down the final hill in the last 100 yards to the finish, I could barely lift my legs. Well, at least it was over.
After the race, Mindy was nice enough to let D and I tear through her trash and poop and puke all over her furniture. Oh wait, that was her dog. We actually showered at her house and went out to a delicious and large brunch with her and her friend Claire. The bacon, sausage and pancakes helped wash my crankiness away. Hopefully, I wasn't bad company.
Here are the ugly numbers:
Mile 1: 6:41
Mile 2: 6:59
Mile 3: 6:59
Mile 4: 6:47
Mile 5: 6:53
Mile 6: 7:05
Mile 7: 7:11
Mile 8: 7:28
Mile 9: 7:33
Mile 10: 7:16
Final: 1:10:51 (Chip Time: 1:10:59)
As predicted, I'm cranky. But, as not predicted, I'm motivated. I really need to get my act together. I have no one to blame but myself for this fiasco.
Here's what I've learned/decided:
1. Training matters: I half joked about the fact that my training for this race was lackluster. And, well, the result really shows that. I'm not sure how I expected to barely do anything before this race and still run well.
2. Not just running matters: The combination of skiing and not doing a single push up, sit up or other core strengthening exercise is just plain stupid. As Mindy has said to me many times, doing PT exercises makes you feel injured. And, she's right, but they're essential. Despite what you may think (and I know you do), I'm not a perfect physical specimen. I need to do my exercises.
3. Smartitude: I didn't really recover properly after the GAC Fat Ass. "Look at me, I ran 40k! I'm invincible!" Not so much. I didn't pay enough attention to proper recovery. I need to be smarter about these things.
I guess, in short, I need to start taking this thing seriously, so I'm not in a perpetual state of cranky. The seriousness starts today. And, that first step is proper recovery. Today, I am sore. Way more sore than I was after the 40k, but not quite as sore as I was after MDI...but close.
On a happier note, D ran a great race finishing in 1:16:27. Why? Because she's much tougher than I am. Also, the aforementioned Ian rocked the house. I'm going to take a little bit of credit for scaring him into running so well. It was the best executed of all my race strategies!
Ian with his game face, me and D post race: