Sunday, May 6, 2007

Flying Pig Marathon - Race Report

Oh the difference a year can make.

The Flying Pig is a special race for me because it marks my one year anniversary of this crazy running world I have become a part of. It was fun to run the race this year and remember all of the spots that kicked my ass last year. Mile 15, the 1 mile section of Columbia Parkway at mile 18, the “hill” (if you can even call it that) at mile 19. When I came across the finish line in 2006 I felt like I couldn’t walk another step, and I didn’t. I stood there with my hands on my knees, throbbing with pain as my vision slowly faded in and out. Then after sitting for a long time I hobbled sloooowly back to my car. Not this year. I don’t believe in “The Wall” but if it does exit I didn’t hit it today. My legs grew wary as the day went on but I was able to keep a constant pace throughout.

And now the report…

Kim arrived Saturday just after 2:00. We went right to the expo to pick up our race packets and spent some time looking around. Then we came back home and watched the Kentucky Derby. Not because either of us cared about it but because we had been watching the pre show for the past 2 hours so we felt obligated to watch the actual race. After that we ate dinner then watch Access Hollywood, which featured a compelling story about David Arquette’s transvestite sibling. Then we watched some of the Reds game while I tried explaining to my mom on the phone that wearing my race t-shirt to the race tomorrow would be a big running fashion no-no. She wasn’t aware that there were rules about that kind of thing, “Yes mom, there are rules.”

After that riveting evening we went to bed early to rest up for our big day. We woke up at 4:15, ate and got ready. We both didn’t really know what to do with ourselves. There was really no preparation to take care of, no drop bags, extra socks, shoes, food. After all we were only running a marathon! After sticking it to the man at McDonalds we went over to UDF to get Kim’s coffee and made our way downtown for the start. We were supposed to meet Rob at 6:00 by the baggage busses but we were running late and by the time we got there, about 6:15 Rob was intelligent enough to make his way to the starting carrel, Unfortunately, I wasn’t. I wanted until 6:28 to line up. By that time it was so backed up there was no way of making it to the 3:50 pace group, which was my goal finishing time.

The gun went off and 3+ minutes later I crossed the starting mat. I was way behind the 3:50 group by this point and was doing my best to dodge through traffic and find an open area to get in a steady pace. I was worried how much all the bobbing and weaving I had to do early on would affect me later on but I didn’t see any other way. After we crossed back into Ohio around mile 6 the crowds thinned out and I was able to set a pace. This is around where the hills begin. Being as far back as I was I didn’t have the luxury of take it easy on the hills, nor did I need to. I used my ultrarunner quads to power up these little marathon hills. After mile 9, where the main climb ended, I was feeling pretty good but was wondering where the heck the 3:50 group was. I was running an 8:30 pace and knew they couldn’t be to far ahead.

Then, finally, at mile ten I caught up. I was relieved because I would finally be able to settle in and stop playing catch up. After a couple miles with them I thought to my self “self, you have been running 8:30 per mile the whole race, you feel pretty good, why slow down now?” So I speed back up to my 8:30 pace and continued cruising. I chuckled on the inside when I reached mile 15 and remembered how I felt at this point last year. This is when I started getting confident in my ability to maintain this pace throughout the race. My previous PR was 4:18 and I don’t do much training under a 9:00 pace, so I didn’t know what I could do for 26.2 miles on the road. Then I hit the stretch of desolate highway on Columbia Parkway. Last year I think we ran 30 out of the 26 miles on this stretch and it was all up hill, this year it was only 1 mile and it was down hill. Amazing how that works. Coming off the parkway we got a bit of a boost from the crowds after being away from them for a few miles.

When I hit mile 20 I knew I was good to go. I remembered last year being in the 4:30 pace group and the leader told us at the start of the race “you run the first 10 miles with your legs, the second 10 with your mind and the last 6 with your heart.” It was a nice saying and it came in real handy last year. My legs were definitely feeling the pace, but I knew I had enough to bring it home. At mile 24 I caught up with a couple guys in there late 50’s. They were starting to speed up, feeling the finish. Somehow ultrarunning came up and I told them about my adventures, and how I was training for Mohican in June. After that they started to drift away and one made the comment “You think you’re in shape, then you get this guy whose trying to run 100 miles!” That made me laugh, and the finish line was now about a mile away, so I picked up the pace. I was probably doing about 7:30 pace for the last mile then with about .25 to go I made my sprinting attack to move up as many places as possible in the overall finishers list. I think I caught about 10 people in the last ½ mile. I crossed the line, a final time of 3:43:26, 8:31 per mile, no huffing and puffing, no hands on the knees “I better sit down or I might fall down” , no blackouts, just a nice finish, and a year of running in the books, I’ll be back….hopefully for a BQ.

13 comments:

Rob "Buckeye" Powell said...

Josh,

That was a great report with a great story of achieving your goals. BTW, that is also a PR if I remember correctly! Nice job and I will see you next weekend.

Rob

Mike said...

I have emailed you, I have called you, now let me say here...AWESOME job! I so wish I was with you guys! I am looking forward to Kim's report.

Mike

Sensationally Red said...

You are the man! Amazing race.

Kim said...

Good race report!! Of course I got to hear it up close and personal, the best way!!
Thanks for the weekend!!

Josh said...

Rob,

Yes sir, a PR indeed. I'm sure running with you would have made it even more enjoyable, and would have been my only chance to keep up with a speed demon like Rob Powell!

Mike,

I got the 4 hour monkey of my back, and your turn is coming in two weeks! You are gonna kill it at cleveland!

Red,

Thanks! The Pig is a great marathon, you should come down and run it one of these years.

Kim,

Thanks for coming down and keeping my company this weekend. It was a fun race, eventhough we did have to run on the road!

Maria said...

Josh, I didn't get to meet you when you were here running with the group at Squires Castle but I just had to tell you how GREAT that finishing time is! You should be so proud. And it was a great race report :)

Josh said...

Maria,

Thanks, I was happy with my time. I hope we will get to meet sometime on a run!

Mike said...

Josh,

I was wondering now, and thought I would ask on here for everyone to share - how is your body feeling after that PR? I know you are becoming the recovery king with the frequency of your long runs, but I was wondering how you were getting on.

Josh said...

Mike,

I have very little soreness, but my quads are definitley fatigued.

Addy said...

Wow!!! How awesome :) Congratulations on the huge pr and getting well below a sub 4 hour finish!!! What a way to celebrate your running anniversary :)

I'll be doing a remotely similar thing in that the marathon I'm running in June was my first marathon a year ago, and I'll hopefully also be able to see my increased fitness. You seem to have had a sharper learning curve with this whole running this though! I'm not even up to a 50k yet ;)

Seriously though, congratulations on the great job out there!!

Josh said...

Addy,

Thanks! I wouldn't call it a sharper learning curve, just too stupid to know better, lol.

E-Speed said...

great job! It's so nice to read about all of you that felt good for the last few miles, as I was suffering!

peter said...

Great job, all your hard work the last year paid off. Way to push it at the end. The Flying Pig is certainly a must-do.