Sunday, August 14, 2011

Paavo Nurmi 2011 [2011 Running]

Saturday, 8/13/11
5:00 AM

Bright and early out of bed to shower, eat some oatmeal and drink some eye-opening coffee.
Temperature: 60 degrees F, mostly cloudy

5:45 AM
Hitting the road to pick up Bethann's dad, who lives 5 minutes away from the farm up in Ashland, and then settling in for the hour drive to Upson, WI, the start of the Paavo Nurmi Marathon and Marathon relays.

6:45 AM
Arrival at Upson, and smiling for the happy-smiling-before-race picture
Temperature: 61 degrees F, mostly cloudy

After a little bit of loosening up with a walk after that long ride, a bit of Fatherly advice was passed along to daughter. Jerry (Bethann's dad) is a former marathon runner; his marathon of choice being Grandma's Marathon in Duluth, WI.

In the background is the lovely shuttle bus that transports the 2nd-leg runner to the mile 5 marker for those participating in the 5-person relay. These groups ALWAYS keep the course lively, having exchanges at miles 5, 10, 15 and 20.

And what's a race without the lovely porta-potty lines!! :0)

By the time the race was to start, I think the caption for Bethann here is......."ummm.......time to get this show on the road already?!?!?!?" ;0) **rubbing her hands together impatiently?**

7:30 AM
Right on the spot, the gun sounded to start the race, and Bethann was off!

All we could do was give her a hoot-n-hollar and send her on her way. The first 6 miles of the course is closed to she was on her own, along with the other 555 marathon runners and 66 relay teams (that added another 300+ individuals to the course sidelines).

In addition to Bethann's dad joining us, Ryan also played along as chauffeur for the day.

8:40 AM
After skirting around for an hour trying to pass the time, we were so excited to see Bethann in the distance coming off of mile 6.

With two cameras going (ya see mine in my hands?), it was nice to have shots of both of us supporting the other. As the pictures tell, the clouds were breaking up; mostly cloudy turned into partly cloudy, with temperatures holding around 65 degrees F.

It was cute seeing the high-five between Ryan and BA....just bummed that I missed it in this picture. :(

9:01 AM
Just passing mile 8 a few moments back, she shared later on that this was the best she was feeling. She had a moment of "oh my goodness....8 already?" The miles were flying her own words.

9:15 AM
Just past mile 10, she was still looking strong, not having walked once.

We were able to give her one more HURRAH at mile 11 to push her to her finish before needing to get me to the hand-off point.

The little town of Gile, WI was the host of the Half-marathon start and the point of the 2-person relay handoff. Banners and flags were strewn along all the streets; a festive looking moment for Bethann to finish to.

AND 2:19 (10:36 pace!) after she started, she was handed 2 dozen baby roses by DH Ryan, but sadly no pic. Awesome PR for Bethann, who ran her first Half in 2:24!!!!

And with skies clearing :(, temperatures reaching 69 degrees F, I was off.

9:58 AM
The first time I expected to see them was at mile 15, NOT mile 14. What a fun little surprise, not even a full mile into my run {{later to find out that BA needed to pee, so they stopped at the gas station that just happened to be at mile 14, so the boys snapped a picture}} :0) I don't try to be a gadgety runner......ipod strapped to upper arm; Garmin Forerunner on wrist....and I elected to run with my favorite water bottle not really knowing if the temps were going to keep climbing. The visor is wonderful for sunny running days; with my eyes being so light-sensitive, most of the direct light doesn't need to hit my sunglasses.

10:09 AM
Moments after mile 15, a high-5 exchange between BA and myself was captured. With only 2 miles into my run and relatively flat roads, I was doing alright. Holding right around 10:30's.....

And at this point, the course is once again closed to vehicles ...... until mile 21 (mile 8 for my Half). what can I remember about miles 15-21?
Sun, LOTS of sun
Wind; a nice breeze on any other day, but a bit too strong for my running convenience today
Hills; my legs just AREN't trained strong enough (yet)

Mile 16 (mile 3) had a nice down hill and I capitalized by hitting 9:15 pace for much of the 300-400 meters (according to my Garmin).
Mile 17 (mile 4)'s a blur. I don't even remember seeing a mile marker......must have been zoning out
Mile 18 (mile 5) I DO recall because I knew there would be an aid station. And yup...there was....right at the top of another climb. The sponges that were shared were PERFECT! And ICE BAGS!!!! I had forgotten completely about ice bags at these aid stations from running back in 2006. At least once nice thing about miles 18-21 is the aid stations at every mile, and actually an aid station every mile to the finish line. But the ice bags and sponges.....and there was a fire-hose out somewhere around mile was at least nice to be able to stay relatively cool! The breeze finally was able to be relieving once I dumped water on me and sponged down; it offered its cooling effect on the skin.

Ummm...miles 19 and 20....I just remember too many hills that I had forgotten about. Bigger hills than what are present on my training roads at home. There were a few men that I ended up piggy-backing with since we all were taking on a run-walk pace; all at different paces and times. THEY, however, were running the full-marathon.....and were actually HITTING miles 19-20, whereas I was only hitting miles 6-7. WHAT?!?!?!? 6 and 7 only?!!?!?!? Oh boy! 6.55 (MY half-way point), I looked at my watch and saw 1:14 ticking. HEY! Alright.......that's good! Even if I continue at this pace, I'll finish at 2:28, which is sub-2:30 (my goal time).

11:22 AM
Ahhhhhhh.......coming around a curve after mile 21 (mile 8 for me).......what a sight!
Bethann saw me walking and came out greeting me, trying to get me running again. Nahhh.....nahhh...Bethann. A walk'll do me good right now! GOOD TO SEE YOU, THOUGH!!!!!! I handed my water bottle over to her since there was going to be an Aid Station every mile now until the finish.

And for the next 2 miles...I was on my own again. At least a few things had now changed since the course veered North...
The sun was behind me; and the cloud cover was picking back up
The wind/breeze seemed to be gone
The hills....yeah.....they were pretty non-existent too!!! :0)

11:47 AM
The fan-crew caught back up with me just after the mile 23 aid station. There are so many thoughts that run through my head while running.....being a math person, I usually run my numbers. But since I purchased my Garmin, the numbers didn't take much effort. However, I DO run the numbers that would be needed to make my goal time. With about 40 minutes left before reaching my goal time of 2:30, and a little over 3 miles left.....I figured I was sitting pretty good!!!!!!!!!!!!

Oh.....those poor marathon runners!!!!!!! EVERY one that I trudged past, I gave a "WAY TO GO! My hat goes off to you for running this whole marathon!!!"

And shortly after passing this gentleman at mile legs said....."hey! That was 10 miles! Good job! We're done." LOL.....oh, I laugh about it now, but at the time......I kept saying....only a little walk! Only a little.....or I'll lose my 2:30 time....

and....hey! Where did this head-strong breeze come from??? :/

12:06 PM
SO.....a walk turned into a power walk all the way to mile 24 (at about a 14:10 pace, according to my buddy Garmin). And there's something about this picture that I absolutely LOVE! Jerry (BA's dad) snapped this one. I love the CAUTION sign right next to me.......the runners all lined up along the road. Oh....and the traffic! There were some GREAT horn honks (ALL GOOD!) and yells out the windows from the passing-by traffic. Traffic was much better this year than I remember in years past. Although Jerry has different thoughts....which are understandable. But....Hwy 51 is a major highway into Hurley; it simply can't be shut-down on race days. Hmmm......maybe a 45MPH sign would be nice (kinda like 'Men-at-Work; construction speed limits'. **shrug** It didn't bother me this year like it did in years past.

And after mile 24 (11 of my stretch) legs still were on vacation. With about 20 minutes left before my 2:30 goal time.....I simply shrugged and shouted to Bethann.....I'll see you in 30 minutes at the finish line, having full intentions of just power-walking to the finish.

Somewhere between miles 24 and 25 (miles 11-12), I made a mental connection with my legs to just run a little bit. And they did....for about 2 telephone pole lengths, and then I was back to power-walking. Heading out of Mile 25, a climb was ahead of me, and I power-walked it the best I could....watching the 2:30 tick away on my clock. **shrug**....I'm really okay with it all....truly!

And the crest of the hill...with 12.6 miles showing on my distance-traveled window on the Garmin....I convinced my legs to find a little something again. And they did ..... for a little while at least :0)

Just before the corner leading to the final stretch of the race, Bethann met up with me. She did the best she could to get me running again, and once we turned the corner....I did :0)

If you've never run a race before......I wish I could explain the exhilaration you feel when you hear .....first, the music blaring......and then.....the crowd cheering.....and then...with a BOOMING voice...."And coming down the stretch we have Amy Skattebo, part of the 2-person relay "BOO x2" from Shell Lake, Wisconsin." BOY! If THAT isn't enough for the legs to find energy to run the final 400 meters....!

So, OFFICIAL finishing time: 5:02:12 for our marathon relay. My watch showing 2:42:50 (12:25 pace) for my half :\

My legs were SO HAPPY to just be able to stop...... ;0)

All-in-All; the day was fabulous! I'll openly admit that the conditions weren't the ideal for me (INCLUDING not being back to the running-shape I was three years ago after 9 weeks of training and two years off).

BUT......I CAN run. And I DID run. And I did it with BETHANN, who had an AMAZING run and got my butt back INTO running!!!

{{LOL...and for my former running buddy, Julie-----There was NO hurling in Hurley this year!}}

So....was this enough motivation to keep me running and improving to the next race????

T'scha!!! You bet'cha!!!!!

August 27: 12-mile rutabega fest
Sept 3: 5K OR 15K (Lake Run) in hometown, Shell Lake
Sept. 17: Half-marathon in Barron, WI
Oct. 15: Half-Marathon in Ashland, WI; the same course that I have run my marathon on three times. I would LOVE to try for a PR since it's an ideal course! But, I don't know if (realistically) I'll be physically there yet.


scraphappy said...

CONGRATULATIONS! Hearing your mile by mile makes me want to be out there running again. Sounds like a great day. Are you motivated to get out there and train hard for a new PR or happy to be running at all? As hard as it is not to be competitive, even with yourself, there is SO MUCH to be said for just getting in some miles. What's your next race?

Amanda said...

Having seen Christopher run halves and full marathons in the past I really enjoyed your blow by blow account. Well done you. That's a pretty good time, even if not quite what you were after. You haven't got even near persuading me that it's a fun thing to do though!

Ellen said...

Congratulations! I love the idea of running but I don't know if I could ever do it...well done!!

Infinity Quilter/Knitter said...

A huge CONGRATS to both of you!!! The main thing is that you DID IT!!! You made great time (in my mind). Love all the pictures.

Hubby is kinda hinting that I could "easily" do the Cellcom half WALK next year. Um, let me do some 10K races first.

Alycia said...

That is so awesome!!! I am proud ofyou!! Are you running all those other ones you have listed too? you are nuts!!

Linda said...

Congratulations of a great finish! I really enjoyed reading your mile by mile recap of your race. I've not been brave enough to try a half marathon. However, yesterday I ran 6.2 miles to celebrate my 62nd birthday. It wasn't a race, but I did keep my time - 1 hour 13 minutes, which was an 11:46 minute pace. I like to think that's not too bad for an old broad ;-)
Linda in Southern Illinois

Andee said...

VERY IMPRESSIVE!!! I am glad you are happy with your race...seriously amazing! I am in awe! Congratulations!!!