Paavo Nurmi Marathon: A yearly tradition of "the before shot" wasn't forgotten this year, although we didn't allow ourselves as much time as usual. The morning conditions were picture perfect! When we woke at 5:20am, the temps were low 60's. By the time we got the starting line, the temps had risen to maybe low 70's?? There was a nice amount of cloud cover; not a lot, but enough to keep me happy for the time being.
I was feeling pretty good at the start, but I didn't allow that to persuade my game-plan, which essentially was "keep it reigned in!". I knew my training had not prepared me to run my ideal PR goal of 10 min/miles, so I used my experience to make a smart plan (I think....). The race started just a bit behind schedule; only 5 minutes, so by 7:35am we were underway. I don't know how many runners total there were, and one of these years I have to remember to have Julie get a shot of all the people as they descend the first hill at the half-mile mark, which is where this first shot was taken.
The course from miles 1 through 6 is "off-limits" for vehicles, so Julie was not able to meet up with me until then (a good hour later). Cloud cover decreased quite a bit during this first hour, however, I had forgotten about all the tree cover (shade) that was present. The temps were very manageable---nothing excessively hot! Whew! This shot is my coming off of mile-6, about a mile into the "long slow climb" that ends just after 9 miles. I was staying positive and smart, averaging 10:15-10:30's, but slowing a bit on this first mile climb.
*chuckle* Yup.....this shots speaks the TRUTH! I was realllllly starting to feel the climb once I came into mile 7 (2 miles into the "climb"). I couldn't resist a little goofy-ness since I wasn't going for a PR this year.
Trudging along, just coming into mile 8 here. I suppose I can't brag about being in front of our Buddy here, huh?? *grin*
Just crossing the Mile 9 marker, with the summit looming very close-----I was definitely running out of gas. I have taken my share of walk-breaks, limiting them to one for each mile stretch, but.....I really started loosing track after mile 8. One nice bonus though: cloud cover was now almost 100%! It actually had been "threatening" a possible rain since about mile 7.
Typically, after the "Summit" cheer, Julie heads directly to the 13.1 "half-start" to start preparing herself for her part, while I trudge on during the last 4 miles on my own. However, I did somewhat beg for her to meet me at Mile-11 as one final "you can do it" cheers. I was surviving on "mental toughness" because my legs were verifying what I already knew---they weren't ready for this course this year. And then, of course, the GLORIOUS Mile 12 is what I live for!!!!! It was sheer JOY to coast for about half a mile!!! I came into the Hand-off at 2:27:42; satisfactory for the lack of training, but still disappointing.
After taking a short cool-down; (and panicking searching for the vehicle!!!!), I was now in the driver's seat, cruising to the first "meet-point" for Julie; Mile 15. She was having a great first 2 mile run, averaging 10's--yeah :0) But this part of the course is similar to my first 6 mile stretch---no vehicles allowed. So after snapping this shot, and stocking her up with some Halls Fruit Flavored cough drops (SUPER way to keep the mouth hydrated AND a few sugars); I sent her on her way; while I drove the long way around to meet up with her at mile 21.
The clouds remained to fill the sky, although now the possible rain threat had clearly passed and the clouds cleared up some. Temps still felt like they were in the mid-high 70's; with a slight wind picking up; not enough to complain about because it WAS a nice way to have some cooling-effect.
Although Julie's half isn't considered "hilly," there are some climbs that are enough to zap some energy from you!! Here she is just after mile 21, climbing a short, but SHARP hill stretching about 200m. ---Smiling all the way. I hadn't really been doing any calculations to see what her average mile pace was, but she had to be in the low 10's based on when I met up with her.
After the mile-21 station, the course veers onto a main Highway, and although there is some Police patrolling, there are Idiots that just don't "get it!" I had people literally "on my bumper" as I drove along going 40MPH (which I felt was still a bit fast when the side of the road is lined with runners, spectators, and parked cars.) However, now that I've voiced THAT frustration, here is Julie coming into mile 22.....
....and mile 23. I met up with her at mile 24 but didn't snap a photo. She was still smiling, having run 11 miles of her stretch. She was also just kicking back, enjoying, not killing herself nor beating herself up by pushing her body beyond what it could take. In fact, when she met up with me at my mile 11, and inbetween my "I'm sorry that I'm not ready for this race today" comments, she simply said "Hey! At least I'm running today and not in a body cast! No biggy---just enjoy!" Ya see, almost a month and half ago, Julie was in a rather severe car accident. This may seem like a cliche, BUT, she seriously had a Guardian Angel watching over her that day!!! Her car essentially wrapped itself around a tree after she had been clipped by a passing semi and flung into the air and off the road. She walked away from the accident with bumps and bruises (one NASTY seat-belt burn). I still can't believe how she survived it after seeing pics of the damaged car!
She came into the Finish Chute smiling. Once she found me in the crowd, she let out a cute little wave that brought many of the race fans to laughter, and she crossed the finish line at 4:46:24 (her leg being, 2:18:42). We hugged, congratulated each other, and .................... rested!!! *laugh!* Julie wasn't ready for anything to drink or eat yet, so we sat and watched other finishers come across the finish line. Finally, after about 20 minutes, we started to make our way to the Post-race refreshments (nope---no beer for us!!! I don't see how ANYONE can drink alcohol after running that far!!!) Instead, we had some sugar-ladened Mountain Dew and we ate some of the traditional Mojakka, "Finnish stew." We debated what the meat in the stew was since neither of us really knew, and we never agreed on it either----she says beef and I said venison (deer meat). So, if anyone has heard of Mojakka, please enlighten us?????
And, of course, we need our "after shot." We decided to wear the race t-shirts this year in the after photo----we called it "Orange Sherbet" color!!! (not quite Orange Crush) *wink* So, after cooling down, relaxing and all the such, we hit the road to head back home (about an hour drive), stopped at the local grocery store for Orange Sherbet (laugh)!!! We shared race-day stories with DH and other family members via phone, and relaxed Saturday evening watching the Olympics.
So----I have 3 weeks until my 9-mile race, 3 more weeks after that is my next Half-marathon, and finally 3 weeks after that is my Full Marathon. Yesterday's "non-trained-for race" was motivation enough to strive me to push a bit harder during these next 9 weeks. I can't wait until the Track-n-Field coverage of the Olympics too to steal some motivation from the World-Class athletes. The marathon usually doesn't get full coverage, but I'll do what I need to do to see as much of it as possible! AND (although Angela thinks I'm crazy---and I'm kinda agreeing with her), Julie and I are still keep our mind open for the 50-miler which is two weeks after our marathon. We clearly have no Super-Fast race in mind, but it's just the next step in the mind of wacko-goal-orientated-runners!
Happy Olympic Spirit!!!