Wednesday, April 23, 2008

A First


I took the red eye from LA on Friday night. The lady behind me had a really awful sounding cough. I prayed I would not catch a virus.

Sunday morning I went to see the trials. It was definitely the highlight of the trip. I could not believe how exciting it was; I got to see the runners eight times and was very impressed with the gutsiness of Lewy Boulet, but knew that Kastor would eventually catch her.

The "Race":

There was something about this day I just could not shake. I just did not feel like running a marathon, much less racing one. I actually hoped to miss the buses. Ah, but it was meant for me to start it... The ride took a LOT longer than I expected; it took just under two hours. Runners were exiting the buses to release fluids et Al. We finally arrived at the athlete's village and it was already 9:30. I grabbed a water bottle and headed to the baggage buses. It was still a bit nippy on my way to the start. I am carrying three gels with me and I am wearing a skull cap, arm warmers and gloves. Just before the start I need to pee for a second time in a half-hour span. I don't feel the usual excitement that I feel before a marathon. It was kind of cool to see the fly over by F18s??? but it was still cloudy. Then the clouds broke and it felt a bit warmer than I'd like for a good marathon. I decided I would still try to hit my A goal. Foolish.

First mile passes by in a not-too-bad 7:31. I am okay with it. Several runners are leaving me behind. Mile two in 7:17. That's what I am talking about, bank some seconds for the eventual slow down in the Newton hills. Mile three in 7:28. Hmmm was hoping to see sub 7:20s. The effort feels a bit easier than MP but I am not concerned. The desire to press the pace is just NOT there. I cross the mile five marker in 37:40, and I KNOW that I cannot sustain this pace for the entire race, so I go to goal B (sub 7:41). Mile six in 7:31. Great some seconds in the bank. I know I am slowing down but when I see a 7:52 for mile seven my inner demons come out strong. A 7:42 eight mile brings me back closer to B-MP. My body is fine. My legs while a bit shaky at the start have settled down. Mile nine, 7:52. Damn. Mile 10, 7:47 (1:16:26 - 7:36 pace).

I know in the current mental state I am, I cannot fulfill goal B, so I contemplate thoughts of dropping out. Yes, this would be my first DNF. I go into easy pace mode. I start high-fiving every single kid I see to my right. The outside of my left foot is beginning to ache. Could it be the onset of PF? Not surprisingly mile 11 reads 8:14. The pace feels more like a jog. I go though the Wellesley tunnel of screams and I give high fives to as many women as possible. I am having fun. The pain in my foot disappeared for this stretch. As soon as I exit it, it comes back. Damn.

It looks like this will be the day. I will DNF. My first. Hopefully my only one.

Mile 12, 7:59. Can I run this pace for the rest of the race? The pace does not seem like a total melt down. Mile 13, 8:13. No. I call it quits soon after the half-way point (1:41:42). No need to battle my demons for another 13 miles. They won today. By a big margin. There will be another race to exorcise them; and I will, you can count on it.


Anonymous said...

I'm sorry to hear about your DNF. I've read 2 or 3 stories like this so far. Keep us updated as you continue training towards your next goal.

chelle said...

Huh...this is almost exactly what happened to Adeel. Practically the same blog entry even, though he was more torn up about it. Something must have been in the air that day. What a fickle mistress this sport can be!

Love2Run said...

Did you really talk to me in the early miles? Sorry I missed that, maybe I was too busy taking pictures! You should have hung in with me and we could have suffered through together. Better luck in the next one.

Mindi said...

Ah, DNF. Sorry to hear it. I had a very tough Boston last year (knowing by mile 12 this was NOT my race) and the last half was indeed one of the more painful things I have ever experienced.

Recover well and look ahead!

E-Speed said...

sorry to hear that the day didn't go as planned. It will just make you want it that much more next time.