Sunday, December 14, 2008

Dallas White Rock Marathon Relay

Part I Time: 92:57
Part I Distance: 16.19 miles
Pace: 5:44
Splits: 5:06, 5:14, 5:11, 5:28, 5:39, 5:33 (roughly end of 1st leg), 5:58, 5:56, 5:36, 6:10 (roughly end of Jilane's leg), 6:07, 5:30, 5:59, 6:24, 6:26 (roughly end of Meagan's leg), 5:32, 1:03 (for .19 miles or 5:27 pace)

Part II Time: 27:36
Part II Distance: 4.20 miles
Pace: 6:34
Splits: 7:14, 6:31, 6:07, 6:25, 1:18 (for .20 miles or 6:30 pace)

White Rock Marathon Video/Photo Montage

Team OK Runner Elite plus Aja who debuted in 3:23. Post race shot courtesy of David "320."

Team OK Runner Elite finished 3rd overall in the 5-person relay and first in the mixed open division.

Where to start? How about at the beginning that's always a good place. Things kicked off with a wake up call at 2:30 am when room 709 got a knock at the door. Scotty was closest and he answered only to find two young ladies dressed not all too scandalously, but they asked if he called. Presumably someone called an escort service and they mistakenly arrived at our door. I hope whoever called received proper attention.

When I really got up a little after six I slugged down some coffee and pinned the bib to my jersey. I was leading off the race and got to the start line with about 20 minutes to spare. I mingled around before jumping into the sea of people and squeezed my way toward the front of the race. Up front I could see some familiar faces that were lined up with the elite. I was surprised to see former California prep-star and recent winner of the '08 US Marathon Champs Fernando Cabada up there. He was joined by Fasil Bizuneh and a bunch of Kenyans.

By the time the gun sounded I had made my way to near the front and was able to run unimpeded for the first straightaway. I know I went out too hard through the first 800 meters as I was with a group of half-marathoner elites. I was hoping to run a strong first 6 mile leg and needed to settle into a rhythm quickly. There were a couple relay runners that were just in front of me that I tried to latch onto. I was feeling good for the first 3 miles but then started to struggle the next three. I wore a Garmin on my left wrist which took mile splits and on my right wrist I had a running clock on my Timex. For whatever reason the first mile on my Garmin synced perfectly with the course mark, but the second split was way off. According to the course mile marker I would have run a 5:45 mile (estimated) and at that point all the splits were a little off from my GPS watch and the course mile markers. What that means for the satellite technology or the marathon course, I don't know.

Marathon leaders racing around White Rock Lake. Photos stolen/borrowed from C. Lowe's FB page.

Just before the 5 mile mark there was a steady incline that put me in the tank. I had just closed the gap between me and a Mexican looking relay dude, but I was not feeling the wind and was having a hard time getting into a comfort zone. The hill allowed me to close the gap even further but cresting the hill the guy gapped me again and I was pretty much thinking that I had a 20 miler on my hands and not the 6 mile leg I was running. I didn't back off but not being able to relax due to the wind made my mind wander. Soon I smelled the musty scent of the Kenyans who were in the process of walking me down just beyond the 5 mile marker. I was surrounded by a group of 8 or so "Munyans" and a few other guys trying to latch onto the group. I'm pretty sure I was also walked down by a couple of the lead women half-'thoners which just added insult to my misery. Luckily I was almost at the relay exchange zone and was able to slow down.

I handed off the green slap bracelet to Jilane in an exchange area that deviated just slightly from the course. There was a little fiasco that occurred once she was on her way back to the course, but it wasn't as bad as what happened in the men's half-marathon race when an athlete took a wrong turn and finished 6th. It's hard to say who's fault it is when something like that happens.

I felt much better on Jilane's leg because I was able to back off the pace. We were still running a dip under 6 minute pace so I was still getting a good long run. The wind wasn't helping anybody on this day, as breezes were consistently in the 20-30 mph range with gusts in the 40s. I had to use the bathroom around the 9 mile mark so I jumped in/out of the port-a-potty in a hurry. I tried to catch up to Jilane as quickly as possible so that I could block the wind around the lake. She ran a strong leg and I felt comfortable dropping a 5:36 mile to catch back up, but I still wasn't feeling great. Jilane handed that green slap bracelet off the Meagan for the third leg.

Meagan and I started the leg with the wind at our back and I was feeling comfortable. I ran ahead to use the restroom again and then caught up to help pace. As I was running down Meagan I noticed a high schooler 20 meters back from a sexy Santa slut. I clipped past the elf ho and made my way back to Meagan's side, but not before I had to yell at her for not running the tangents. We were running on a left hand bend and Ms. Meagan thought it wise to run 15 feet off the curb as we approached the 12 mile mark. She quickly fixed her tactics before we turned back into the wind where I allowed her to draft off me. As much as I would have liked to see Santa slut again, I didn't want to go through the embarrassment of being rolled up on again. Coincidentally, if Santa had rolled us, it would have been within a quarter mile of the last time we got rolled up at White Rock Lake. The section from mile 13 to the end of Meagan's leg was absolutely brutal. The wind was a bit cold off the lake and there was nothing to block its wrath. I attempted to gear up mentally knowing that the exchange zone was near and my 5 mile race with Scotty D would be on.

Meagan finished up wanting me to run harder which I guess meant she was feeling good. She passed the bracelet to Scotty D and I felt the pace change immediately. At first I tried to gap him, but that last for 2.5 seconds when I realized the wind was at its peak and I was nearly 15 miles deep. I fell a stride behind Dizzle and started to draft for about a 800 meters when we made a turn and the wind was at our back. The wind's push felt great for about 800 meters and then we had to turn back into it. I made it about 100 strides before I called it a day and told him to start getting after it. I stopped my watch to end Part I of my workout. I stood by the side of the road for about a minute before starting Part II at a very slow clip.

The marathon leader's just before the 19 mile mark. Photos stolen/borrowed from C. Lowe's FB page.

My shoulders were tight probably because of the hunching into the wind. I couldn't believe how sore they had become just from running, it felt like I had played a day's worth of football or baseball. I must have jogged about a mile to the cheers of spectators telling me good and relaxed I looked. Aerobically I felt fine, but I was mentally discouraged from running in the wind. I knew that Team JJJSM would be waiting at mile 20 for me so I needed to forge ahead and get to the next exchange zone. As I trotted along I looked back and saw a marathoner named Jason who was having a terrible time fighting the wind. Being the humanitarian that I am, I picked up the pace and told the guy to just draft off me. I felt better having a new mission of getting this guy through the roughest section of the race and closer to the finish. When we were leaving the lake the second place female joined our group and it wasn't until after the race that I realized it was Liza Hunter-Galvan of New Zealand. She was not enjoying the wind either but her performance was respectable considering the conditions. I think I deserve 2.5/26ths of her paycheck because that's about how much I paced her during the race. I even handed her a cup of water and offered a Clif shot around the 19 mile marker which was significant because the Hooter's girls were there.

Scotty finished his leg well and passed the stick to Jerry who closed things out for our team. Jerry is coming off his win at the Tulsa Marathon and despite not running much the last few weeks he's still in great shape. Scotty and Jerry brought the team average down quite a bit over the last two legs and closed the gap on the two relay squads ahead of us. The team performed well with a finishing time of 2:30:09.

I got to the 20 mile mark in 2:03:30ish according to the big clock but that included a couple pitstops and a whining break. Overall my performance was not what I really wanted but I'll take it with the far from ideal conditions. I have a better idea of my current level of fitness and will look to fine tune things in the coming weeks/months as we approach the Austin Marathon.

Also of note was Aja Clark's stellar 3:23 performance in her marathon debut. She ran a smart race and qualified for Boston in the spring. Meagan will soon have a recap of her and Jilane's pacing job during the latter miles of Aja's race. See above link for Jilane's commentary on the former Sooner's performance. Other Normanites that fared well were Jenny Graef in the half with an 8th place finish time of 1:24:36 and Andrea Larabee's 10th place in the full with a time of 3:09:17.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

5:07 to start a twenty miler? I like it.