Thursday, December 27, 2012

Honolulu Marathon 2012

Just like I wrote the TC Marathon blog post on the way out to Hawaii, now I find myself writing the Honolulu Marathon blog post as I’m heading back to Minnesota. Actually I’m at the airport but same thing.  
Unfortunately, I did not sign up for the Honolulu Marathon when they were offering a $26.2 registration fee for Hawaii residents, however fortunately, I was able to register as a Hawaiian resident right before the race paying $100 something rather than $200 something. Regardless, this race has much more than monetary value to me. Running the 2011 Honolulu Marathon last year left me wanting to experience the Aloha again and again and again. Uncle Paul told me he needed some help with work on Oahu and I decided to book a 2 month trip to Hawaii, making sure to be back in time for Christmas and the special role I will be playing Christmas Eve (Ho ho ho!)
I left Minnesota a couple days after running Twin Cities Marathon and arrived at the Big Island during the buzz of Ironman World Championships.  Aunty Share was able to hook me up w/ a little gig working with semi-professional triathletes Andrea Bess and Thomas Vonach in which we promoted a nutritional supplement Biestmilch. It was heaps of fun talking and connecting with many of the triathletes. Ironman day came and I got the opportunity to pass out water on Queen K at Lapakahi Park, spectate (road leading to finish), work the massage tents for a couple hours in the evening, then spectate until the last finisher came through. Very special to be a part of this event and might see myself trying to qualify for the race.
After TC Marathon, I had 2 months until Honolulu Marathon and was not sure of my goal for the race.  I knew it was going to take some time to recover after racing TC, however even a month after, it felt like I was just slugging to get through my runs. I had the idea of wearing a costume like many of the other runners do for this race but decided against it (another time).  Just a few weeks out from the race, my legs felt like they were starting to come back so I compulsively decided to shoot for 3 hours just to see what would happen. I would have bet 100% against myself for being able to do this so close to TC and especially with how dead the legs were leading up to it, however thought it would be fun to experiment and see what happens.
  My Sunday long-runs leading up to Honolulu were pretty consistent distances as previous marathon training plans, however a bit unconventional in location and the type of runs they were. It probably would have been smarter for me to just do a couple intermediate runs throughout the week rather than put the higher mile Sundays in but out of routine and habit, did my typical Sunday long run lead-up schedule for a marathon with regards to distance. For the 20-miler, I met up with Paul S. whom is a 9x H.U.R.T. 100-miler runner and we ran a loop of the H.U.R.T. course at night. What a blast that was and it was fun putting time on the feet rather than shooting for a pace. The 1.5hour run 2 weeks from the race I decided to do running the first 45min up Kohala Mountain Rd right outside of Aunty’s house and 45min back down. Prob not the smartest if I was going to be shooting for a time at Honolulu but was fun to throw all these unconventional runs in just for pleasure. It was pretty cool running everywhere from the resort lagoons in Ko Olina-Oahu
to Manu Road in Waimea-Big Island.
 Sure would be fun to spend more time out here and continue exploring and running throughout all these beautiful varying locations.
A few days before the race, I flew over from Big Island to Oahu and went to the Marathon Expo. This expo is pretty funny because almost all the vendors are from Japanese companies and it feels like you are in Japan. Bumped into Yuki’s friend Tomo at the Docomo bag handout which was funny because Tomo and I had only met once through Yuki at Marukame Udon Restaurant.  After overstaying my welcome at expo, I decided to rent a scooter from one of the local places in Waikiki. The whole time I had been out here I had wanted to rent one and was always waiting to do it w/ someone else but decided just to do it myself. Putzed around town for a bit, cruised up to the Hawaii Nature Center where the H.U.R.T. race starts, then scootered the marathon course. After, I scootered back to where I was staying at Uncle P’s in  Ko-Olina taking the backroads which was an adventure. In the AM, scootered back to Waikiki to return the scooter and meet Aunty Sharon and Uncle Randy in town. They booked a hotel in Waikiki right off the finish line which was super convenient. Dinner Saturday night before the race I planned on going to Marukame to eat a couple servings of Curry Udon but when I got there the line was humungous so walked down Kuhio St. to Ihop where they were having an All-you-can-eat pasta dinner. Ate 3 large plates of spaghetti and after buying some groceries for the AM’s breakfast, headed back to the hotel and got settled for sleep in the hotel w/ Aunty, Uncle and Bella.
The race starts at 5am so I woke up around 3:15 after getting to bed around 11. Felt excited and ate up a bagel w/ almond butter, banana and drank some Gatorade.  Walked over near the Honolulu Zoo where the bus pick-up was and took the bus over to Ala Moana Blvd to the Start Line. Was overwhelmed with the 1000’s of runners and kept laughing at people’s funny running costumes. Probably walked pass 4 people eating (onigiri) rice balls. Went over to near the Start Line and ran into Andrea and Thomas and their Team Ichiban. After hanging out w/ them for a bit, warming up a little down the street and finding a nice corner to go to the bathroom, headed over to the start-line and snuck in towards the front. The elites were escorted to the front and boy did they look ready to run. Heard the national anthem as usual and a quick countdown and we were off. Like last year, there was a nice firework display which makes the start very exhilarating.  Started off hitting about 6:50’s and it was nice to be a little more familiar with the course this year. I remember hearing the Japanese guys around me GPS’s beeping at every kilometer and am still unsure if I would like feedback as often as that. Saw some other guys looking at their watches quite a bit and figured they were also shooting for under 3 hours so decided to use them as pacers rather than rely on that rather than my own GPS. The course felt much more familiar this year after staying in Waikiki last year for 1.5 months.  Passed Aunty/Uncle/Bella on the way out to Diamondhead and made it to the hill. My pace slowed significantly going up the hill and I knew the time would have to be made up later as even at around 6 mile into the race, my legs were much more tired than usual at this point. It was a fun feeling running up Diamondhead because there was a spot on the course where there were no street-lights or volunteers and we were running under tree cover so it was completely dark. Made me giddy running in the pitch black w/ so many others around. Even at this point, I knew I was going to blow-up but was just trying to hold on and see how long I could hang onto 650’s. Was running on the highway out towards Hawaii Kai and the sun was starting to rise. There were some spectular views of the mountains with the rising sun illuminating them. This year also, there was a decent headwind heading out towards Hawaii Kai so more often than not I was trying to stick behind another runner to cut back on some of the it. I was still near some of the runners from earlier on and some of them sped off. Saw the first wheelers come past us on the other side of the highway heading back to town and knew I would be seeing the lead runners soon. The lead group blew past and I marveled at how effortless and easy they made it look, while I was already struggling pretty bad at a relatively early mark. It was mainly my hamstrings that were feeling the most fatigued. Came across another guy who blew up and said he was just in surivival mode. We chatted for a bit and after hearing another story of a Marine who spent time in Japan, kept on. It was mile 15 and was doing the loop in Hawaii Kai and was feeling like a pile of junk. My legs were on the verge of cramping, every mile was getting progressively slower and more painful. I ended up catching up to Testutomo whom runs in a Micki Mouse Costume and had passed me last year at Honolulu near the end of the race, and I had passed him at Boston in the Spring.
 After catching up to him an exchanging a few words about how I remembered him, I used what little energy I had to pass him and attempted to put a lead on to try and stay ahead of him. He caught me several miles later and with his quick step-step cadence he yet again passed me this year. Look forward to seeing him at other races!
Despite the pain and uncomfortableness of trying to run a race I was not prepared to run, I often was able to remind myself to enjoy everything as much as possible because of relatively how quick it would be over. Was fun running back with seeing the thousands of others runners on the other side of the highway running out towards Hawaii Kai but was a little shameful for how bad of shape I was in. Got one shout out from someone who recognized the TCRC shirt I was wearing. Saw a bunch of silly costumes, shouted out to many of the Kokoku and Tohoku Highschool runners, and kept trying to trudge through the fatigue and cramps. Overthought bringing Salt Caps with and even my biceps were starting to cramp up.  Throughout the race I had more GUs than normal with probably consuming 7. I couldn’t feel much of a difference taking them, but am sure it would of made a difference if I wouldn’t have. Took a turn off the highway and was in the residential neighborhood which was a sign of getting close to the finish. I remember thinking I had to go to the bathroom so went into a Biffy, stood there for a bit, decided that I didn’t actually have to go and stepped out, thought I needed to go again so went back in, figured out that I actually didn’t need to go, and got out and tried to keep putzing along. My legs kept cramping and unfortunately for the final stretch I wasn’t able to speed up much and even worse, jump at the finish line. Waved over at surfer Joe the announcer whom I’d met earlier at the expo who was announcing the finishers. Went and had a couple hot malasadas, got a Shiatsu massage, had a couple more malasadas and went and watched the finishers coming in for the next couple hours. It was wild how many runners kept on coming and coming and how it never got old watching them run by. Sad to think this race is over but at least I can look back on pictures, re-read this post and if I miss it enough, can always sign up for it again.
Next race on the calendar is Zumbro 50 in April and am excited to do another one of these again!

Splits: (Note nice progression in pace after 13 miles ha)

Monday, October 22, 2012

Twin Cities Marathon 2012

Right now I am sitting on a flight from SanJose to Kona for my 6th time to Hawaii (everything in moderation right?).  Now I get the challenge of trying to preserve the memories of another race that came and went so quickly.

Prior to race
I don’t think I’ve had more time to prepare for a race than this one. Having just graduated and not having a job after doing Upward Bound in the summer, I had a little more than 3 months to train for my first time racing the TC Marathon. My goal was to finally get under 3 hours. I was excited to be racing TC on my own for after running it the previous 3 years with Tavis and Brandon.  I was excited that the TC course takes place on which 90% of my runs the last 5 years did. A majority of the marathon training runs were ran on E/W Riveroad so I coulnd’t be much more familiar with the course. Along with this, I would bike the course about once a week just to soak in the sites and become even more familiar with it. I wanted it to be that on race day, it would be automatic to figure out how much effort I needed to exert when. It seems like when I don’t know the course well, I’ll spend surprisingly a lot of effort just deciding when to give what. We learned a concept in one of my KIN classes called teleo-anticipation, which suggests that our bodies adjust levels of exertion/muscle recruitment based on the perceived distance/time the exertion will take place. A good example of this is how it’s not uncommon to feel the same level of fatigue after a 5-mile run compared with a 10-mile run. I guess a less drawn out version would just be saying that we prepare ourselves for what we plan ahead to do. The teleo-anticiaption concept mentioned that people who are doing their first few marathons have a difficult time perceiving the entirety of the race and inevitably slow down because they were unable to dispense limited effort efficiently through the race and save some for the end.  With this thought in my head, and after multiple failed attempts to break 3 hours (Eau Caire, Boston, Honolulu) I was very aware how I would feel after 20-miles at marathon pace and just had to figure out a way to prepare to deal with it mentally and physically.  Thankfully I was able to work with Chris and get a training schedule figured out (talk about a confidence booster knowing my plan was written by 3x Olympic Trial Runner).
            What gave me even more confidence was I would often imagine myself while doing training runs on the course that I was at that respective distance during the actual marathon (long winded, I know) A long-run that really boosted my confidence was ending a 22-miler at the 20-mile mark of the TC marathon route. This semi-simulated being more tired than I actually would be on race day for miles 5-20 of the actual marathon route. Chris had me mix in some strength training on distance-taper weeks which also helped me feel better. So many different factors changed for this race that I can’t really attribute what actually helped take about 7 minutes off my previous PR.  I do know though that it was a combination of different training, completely different diet, being about 5 pounds lighter than running any race before, and being so familiar with the course. What kind of drives me crazy (could also be now from all the coffee on the plane) but not knowing what’s the best way to get a PR for next race. Wish it was easier to have blind confidence in my decisions on why I do something.

As I was going around chalking the course the night before the race, my transmission dropped in my car and I was stuck waiting longer than expected to eat the pre-race dinner (but huge thanks to Kayla/Trisha/Matt for helping me out during it) after getting the car towed back to the apartment, I scrambled to just eat anything. From what I can remember I had an enchildada, white rice with PB, Pizza, Icecream, carrot cake and cookies and downed it down with powerade (everything in moderation right?) I had not been eating much if any sweets before this, but read that more glycogen gets stored when high glycemic index foods are consumed so unlike being careful of eating “bad” foods before a race, I found myself eating a mess of different “bad” foods. What made my weight drop down to 164 was consuming mainly a plant-based diet thanks to Scott Jurek’s Eat & Run book and another book called The China Study. I attempted a slight carb depletion/repletion diet the last week of the race for whatever reason. Think that I spend so much time/effort trying to mess with less significant variables as compared to the actual running component of training for a race.  That’s why I’m excited to get into ultras and do the “JFR” plan “just flippin’ run”. But I guess in order to get fast at ultras it takes the same principles of consistent training and periodization that having quick marathon time does (not that I have one yet). Anyways after eating my mess of a dinner, hung out and relaxed until bedtime. Got to sleep around midnight and woke up a few times during the night. Ate some white bread w/ peanut butter, white rice and drank a little bit of power-ade. Kayla and Kyle then drove Brando and I up to the Metrodome. It was chilly in the AM and we were wearing old clothes that we would be shedding before the race. Gathered in the usual overcrowded Metrodome and waited until about 10 minutes before the race. Headed over to the start line and bid farewell and good luck to Brando. Got near the 3:15 pace group and listened to the national anthem(always love this part). Was standing next to a super fit East African (must have been his first marathon which didn’t help my nerves before we started). Then the gun was off.

 As always, there was so much excitement with the start. I was feeling nervous about how I would feel later on in the race, although I also felt relaxed at how well I knew the course and excited to see family and friends at mile 20, along with other friends watching. It was suprising to finally be running in the race that consumed so much of my thinking for the last three months. I’m thinking to myself “this is actually happening now!”. Within the first mile, I was greeted by passing TCRC runner Tony K. who said he was shooting for a 2:45 I believe (he had an awesome race. At mile 2-3  I was then greeted by passing Steve who often runs at Hyland on Fridays and also had an awesome race.  The temperature had a nice chill to it and all things seemed within normal limits. I was beginning to heat up passing by lake Calhoun at mile 5 so through my long-sleeve under my TCRC shirt to my dad and continued on. Gada whom I met in the Upward Bound program and also wanted to hit 3 hours passed me after we exchanged words for a bit. The splits at this point were just a few seconds shy of being on at a 3 hour marathon pace so I was happy to not have went out to fast, and also not be too far behind. Passed Lake Harriet and hopped onto Minnehaha Pkwy.  A band at one of the bridges we ran under was playing The Final Countdown and was stimulating to hear that. I was getting very excited to hit W River Road because of how familiar it was to me. I was happy I could shut off mentally and just let my legs and the course bring me closer to the finish. Took a Ralph onto Cedar Ave and saw the usual Scottish Club playing their bagpipes as the planes flew over not too high above us. After turning onto W River Road, CA Caitlyn was there cheering me on and followed me almost until the Franklin Bridge. Saw Brian Peterson on this stretch and Kurt for maybe the 4th time already during the race cheering.  On the Franlkin ave Bridge I passed Gada and told him that he had it in him, but knew he was struggling. As I was turning onto E River Road, heard some people screaming my name but didn’t find out who it was until after the race. Popped another Gu with some water and proceeded to the 20 mile mark. Saw Uncle GG and his friend biking along the path right before reaching “the wall”. Right past the Alarc Wall the whole immediate family was there along with some friends cheering on. Kayla and Kyle ran up to either side of me with Kyle playing Gangnam Style and Kayla handing me a GU and a cold wash cloth. Talk about first-class service! After running with them for a few seconds and getting the goods, I was own my own with the last 6 miles were ahead to run. Was almost exactly on pace at the 20-mile mark and kind of sped up during the excitement of the Franklin Bridge, and passing the family and friends. Heading up the hill leading to the Lake Street Bridge was a little worrisome for me because I knew this was the tougher part of the course. Surprisingly my legs were not as tired as they typically were at this point in a marathon, however I knew things could change in a hurry with a.) the last 6 miles of a race being the toughest and b.) the last 6 miles of TC are by no means relatively flat. I tried to conserve as much energy going up the couple hills before getting onto Summit Ave. Once getting onto Summit Ave, I was starting to feel more and more confident that I could pull off a sub 3 hour marathon. I remember a quote from the intro of the movie Unbreakable  (3:54) where I think Tony K. says something like “you start to get goosebumps on your arms, if I can execute for just the next 15 miles, it could mine” referencing a win in the Western States, but I slightly modified it to my situation saying to myself, “if I can hold onto this pace for the next 3 miles, I will finish under 3 hours. It still felt like there was some energy in my legs but I could tell they were starting to get on the verge of cramping in my hamstrings.  I got to the TCRC spectator section and it was crazy. Both of the RVs were out and there were so many people cheering. I lifted up my shirt and gestured over to the crowd as the DJ shouted out something that made the crowd go even crazier. It was such an adrenaline rush to run through all of that excitement and it was just the pick-me-up I needed at that stage in the race. I got a little emotional right after passing them because I was starting to realize that I only had to run 2 more miles to get this done. Despite thinking I had it in the bag for a few minutes, I realized that I needed to pick it up or it would be close and might miss it by a few seconds. I began to get really nervous thinking of something such as a cramp stopping me. I was trying to pick up the pace more and more to ensure of making it on time.  After struggling through the last bit and feeling my legs dangerously close to cramping, made it to the top of the hill where we can see the capitol. Tried to speed up as much as possible until I realized that I was going to make it. After knowing I was going to get it for sure, I laid off a bit to make sure I wouldn’t hurt something in my legs. Did the usual jump at the end and was pretty excited to have finally achieved something I failed out so many times before.

After finishing, drank a few chocolate milks and met my Dad and Suzy. They drove me back to the 20-mile mark where the marathon party was going on and was greeted with an excited group of family and friends. I was happy to not have had to go back to everyone not meeting my goal like has happened in the past.  It was such a nice feeling accomplishing that and then spending time with so many people that came out to support the runners. Snacked on a few donuts as we watched more runners go by. Saw Gigi run by and was surprised at how strong she looked at mile 20 for her first marathon! Congrats to her!  Also Congrats to Tim for completing his first marathon! Had a couple drinks and after saying goodbye to the family, we passed out alcoholic beverages to some of the last runners advertising them as “carbohydrates” and “flavored water” although they knew what we were passing out. After watching the DNF bus roll throw, we packed up all the party paraphernalia and walked back up to the apartment where I got to having a feeding frenzy. It was such a nice feeling to have finally got sub 3, right at the end of the time staying at Kayla’s apartment, end of the time living on campus, and end of the time before leaving MN for Hawaii. I went on a walk with Jigon on the riverroad after and it was crazy to think about how after all that preparation and buildup of excitement, that it was all over. Kind of am getting used to that feeling but also am trying to figure out how to preserve all those good feelings. I guess that’s why I blog. Am in Oahu with Uncle Paul now doing a lot of physical work so am finding it difficult to run on a usual basis but I think that was a good thing for recovery right after. Am currently signed up for Honolulu marathon and am thinking about running it with a costume and just enjoying the atmosphere, rather than get worked up about meeting a time goal. Last year I was disappointed when I didn’t get sub 3 out here and wish I would have just absorbed the fun atmosphere more.  Well I guess until next time!


Friday, July 6, 2012

Ironman Coeur d'Alene, Idaho 2012

It has nearly been two weeks since I participated in the 2012 Ironman-Coeur D’Alene and with the past weeks to reflect on this experience, it is safe to say it has been my favorite race to date. Many things contributed to this race being so enjoyable to me and just want to give a shout out to Aunty Sharon and Uncle Randy for making it possible. I guess things started with one day, Brando and I were at Twin Cities Running Company on my birthday (Aug) and I got a call from Aunty Sharon. After the usual birthday singing, she told me that she had got me something big and told me that she had signed me up for Ironman Coeur D’Alene (CDA). I was beyond surprised and had one of those moments where you know things are going to change. I did not really comprehend the entirety of the gift I had just been given or how much training would be expected to complete the event but I just knew that I had a massive adrenaline rush for the unknown physical challenge ahead of me. I had nearly 11 months to train for the event. Currently, I was signed up for Honolulu marathon (Dec) so decided that I would start training for the Ironman after that. During my research program that summer, I remember dreading to try and write my training program for the Ironman. I knew I was capable of coming up with something online and tailoring it to myself but less than half-heartedly believing in the effectiveness of all the planning and logistics that an IM training plan would have, I finagled together a training plan in the library one day. “Unfortunately” I logged off of the computer I was using without sending the training plan to my email so it was gone. At first I was super angry because of all the time I spent putting it together but even right at the library, I realized how much I was dreading to do all of the prescribed swims/bikes. With that, I was going to train when I could fit it in and just do what I thought needed to ben done to do to get by (cross the finish line). Unfortunately, I see myself using this wing-it “strategy” in other areas of my life and am kind of disappointed in myself for it. Perhaps I’ll learn soon.
 During the school year, I found out that I was going out to the Boston marathon (April) and I avoided biking much to not make my legs feel heavy during marathon training. Jeremy lent me his road bike and I was able to get out on it a few times before but not much substantial training on it before the marathon. I was trying to swim a couple times a week but found that without the structure of a training plan, it was easy to see a couple weeks go by without getting into the pool. I knew that after Boston I was going to be cramming a lot of swimming/biking in. The following week after Boston I was signed up to volunteer at the Trail Mix 50k/25k but impulsively signed up to run the 25k with Jeremy and a few of his friends. I think I just wanted to prove to myself I could run it, and it would give me another week or so to prolong the necessary swimming/biking I would do. Finding excuse after excuse, I was not even coming close to putting in the training time that people recommend to be able to even finish an Ironman. The end of the school year was approaching and I was feeling pretty anxious about graduating and the Ironman rapidly getting closer. After the Spring semester was over, I had to take a May-term biomechanics class to finish up my KIN degree. Even though this was an accelerated 3-wk class, I found myself having a ton of time to finally start focusing on biking/swimming. I felt confident in my running ability already but in the race if I started the run with nothing left after the swim/bike, I knew it was going to be a painful experience getting to the finish. With this motivating fear, I started biking with Jeremy’s bike 4/5 times a week and would bike from home to school (35 minutes if hammering) several times a week. I would throw in swims/runs pretty much anytime I could in-between studying. I did one 6 hour bike 4 weeks out and thanks to Spencer who I met out on the trail, it was surprisingly not as taxing as I thought it would have been. Of course, my muscles were pretty fatigued after but when I woke up the following morning, it was nothing like after grinding out a 22-miler on your feet. During this time, Tav asked me to be part of a corporate fitness contest were they tracked how many minutes of exercise per week teams would get and this motivated me to do as much as possible too. 3 weeks from IM, I slugged out a 3 hour run. I was able to get in 1 open water swim with Tav’s wetsuit however his wetsuit was sleeveless and after watching a youtube video of last years IM swim, I found out the cold water temps required a full wetsuit. Luckily, I was able to get a full wetsuit from Cody a week before. Since the bike I was borrowing from Jeremy was too small for me and would have costed about $300 to ship to Idaho, I decided to just rent one in Idaho. Getting dangerously close to the race, I was so caught up in starting a new job, putting things together that I was just in reaction mode.
 I got into Spokane, Washington Friday and met Aunty and Uncle there were we went right to registration to pick up our race packets.
We went to the house we would be staying at and where Aunty’s training friends from Hawaii were also staying. Uncle took me down to the water and I got to try swimming in the full wetsuit for the first time. It wasn’t as uncomfortable as I expected but with the water temp below 60 degrees, I found it super hard to relax in the water. The dark, cold wavy water in combination with Uncle giving me some stroke suggestions after I got out of the water, left me feeling very uncomfortable and worried that I wouldn’t even be able to finish the swim. This wasn’t a very good feeling knowing how much was invested to get me to do the race. The car ride home, I felt a little sick to my stomach thinking about having to swim double the distance I ever had before in water conditions that barely allowed me to swim. We got back to the huge place we were staying at not too far away from the race and had a large yummy dinner.
The group we were with rented out this house for the weekend and it was intimidating seeing all their bikes and gear set up when I got there when I hadn’t even picked up the bike. Needless to say, I felt very thrown together and was again flying by the seat of my pants. The following day we went to pick up the bike I was renting. When we got there, they took the bike off a rack and cut off a $2500 price-tag on it. It was my first time riding a triathlon bike with the gear thingys being on the aero bars.
I road the bike outside the shop for about 10 minutes and felt semi-comfortable with the gears. The bike felt like a bullet and that every single bit of energy I put in made it go forward. I needed this comforting feeling after the experience in the water the day before. We brought the bike to the check-in and after Uncle patiently shuttled me back and forth from the home to the course several times, all my stuff was set to go in their respective transition spots. We went back to the house and had another huge delicious meal.
I was worried how I was going to do gastrointestinally the following day at the race because I had ate so much and moved so little in the previous 2 days. The other 4 people who would be competing the following day were in bed by 7/8 and I knew I had no shot at going to bed that early. My nerves were really kicking in and I was preparing myself to get through whatever I needed to finish the following day. I was still scared that I wouldn’t finish the swim and all of the other expenses for the race would have been wasted. Surprisingly, it didn’t take me too long to get to sleep with the old fan that was blasting on me and after habitually waking up several times during the night before a race, I woke up to the alarm.
 Race Day
 Went downstairs and had a breakfast of banana/almond butter, almond butter on some type of bread thingy, and a glass of water. Things were happening very quickly and gathered my swim stuff and we were out the door. We got to the race course and people were buzzing around all over the place. Some people had their wetsuits on already but not feeling very comfortable in mine, tried to wait until the last second to do so. I vividly remember where I was sitting and the people around me while I was waiting to put the wetsuit on. Uncle helped me put it on and after waiting for a few minutes we started to towards the beach. When I had tried swimming several days before in Lake Coeur D’Alene, water kept getting into my ears from my swim cap so Sam borrowed me some of his wax to put in my ears. With the wax in my ears and two swim caps over my head to protect for the cold water, I could barely hear anything that was going on. We were being crammed into the beach entrance area filing into where we would be started and I remember feeling as if I was about to enter a war. With my hearing obstructed it was dead silent and we were all walking to the water.
The announcer was mumbling things as we waited for 7:00am. Prior to the start, they sang the national anthem and this was pretty nostalgic for me because it brought me back to the uncomfortable feeling of playing in the varsity hockey games as a sophomore. Suddenly, the cannon was off and we started are way towards the water.
 I’ve heard from multiple people that before doing a cold water swim it is a good idea to get in the water before the swim starts to get over the initial shock of being cold. Even though I heard several times, I still chose to not touch the water before the actual race started because of how cold it was and again how long I wanted to delay the reality of having to overcome what I had feared. As a not-so-strong swimmer, I was in the back 25% percent of the people and after the cannon went off I held back for nearly 10 seconds watching the madness in front of me.
 Despite the water being in the upper 50’s, with all the adrenal that was pumping the water did not feel too cold at all. Of course there was the initial shock of being cold, but the mental power of the fear of not being able to complete the swim was overriding any feelings the cold water was physically supposed to be having on me.
For the first few minutes, it was nearly impossible for me to swim as I had been practicing in the pool. There were too many people around me, my body felt rigid and tense from the cold and I kept having to stop my stroke and look up to spot which direction I was going. (had not practiced spotting prior to the swim) Realizing this wasn't very efficient, I just tried to relax as much as possible and follow peoples bright feet under the water. Many of the people were wearing black booties to prevent them from getting too cold in the water which sometimes made my following strategy difficult. I remember just wanted to get out to the far buoy so then I could think to myself that I am at least 25% percent done because 25% felt so much closer to 50%. The swim course was counter-clockwise and consisted of 2 loops. Turning back towards land at about 20 minutes was heartening for me because right then I realized there was no way I was not going to finish the swim unless some disaster happened. This feeling helped me relax a little bit more and just continue the swim and look forward to getting out of the water. Things were manageable at that point and the only issue was my neck was getting tender from the wetsuit rubbing on it. I only felt comfortable breathing to the right side which didn’t help the rash that was developing. It felt like a long time heading back to the land and at about 40 minutes I heard the mumbling of the announcer on the speakers again. It was very energizing hearing something other than the sound of yourself blowing bubbles and the silence of the water. In addition, the half-way point can be exciting in any race. I made it to the end of the first loop and it was required of us to hop out of the water and run across the beach and get back in for the second loop. I was in absolutely no rush to get back in the water and remember chatting to another guy as we walked back into the water.
 It felt surprisingly good to get back in the water after being able to spend 20 seconds outside of it. My muscles were not as fatigued and could relax in the water more than the later portion of coming towards shore. It felt much, much longer to get out to the turn around spot and I remember mistaking the turn around buoy for an earlier one. This was a little flattening but dealt with it. As I made it out heading back towards shore again, the water was getting extremely choppy and I was getting more and more uncomfortable in the water. I was not able to get more than a 1-2 strokes in without having to sit up and breathe for a second. I wasn’t sure how much to attribute the sloppiness of my swimming to fatigue or the conditions but after talking with others after the race, the water really did turn crazy out there. A couple times I sucking in a bunch of water and I haven’t had that feeling since I was a kid in a swimming pool. At least I was hydrating.
On the way back to the beach, I just kept listening and listening for the sound of the announcer again as it would tell me when I am nearing the finish. My chest was really sore at this point along with hamstrings and calfs beginning to cramp a bit. I was nervous in the water thinking if I was already cramping what the rest of the race was going to be like. Because of this, I tried to use my legs as little as possible, as many people suggest to do in the swim. Finally, I heard the voice of the announcer and was crawling out of the water. It was an accomplishment in it of it’s own for me to finish the swim and I think I celebrated a bit after getting out of the water.
At this point I knew there was no way I wasn’t going to finish the race, however knew a lot still had to be dealt with it to be called an Ironman at the end of the day. After all the warm water sunk out through the legs of my wetsuit as I was getting in the water, unlike others around me, I was slightly jogging to my bike. Probably because the people around me at the end of the 1.5 hour swim were not so competitive, I felt to have had more urgency to get onto the bike. I was also excited myself to be doing anything other than swimming and get on the fancy bike. After nearly a 10-minute transition spending time drying off/warming up, putting socks on legs that were cramping and making sure to turn on my GPS tracker, I was out on the bike.
 Leaving the transition area was like leaving a blurry tunnel with all the excitement of getting out of the water and the spectators hollering at us. It is such a exhilarating feeling to be in a hurry and not having to worry about anything else other than the present. I saw Aunty and Uncle and they seemed pretty excited to have saw me out of the water. The ground was wet and I ran across a grass field in my clip-in bike shoes and was still was not able to clip-in to bike for almost 5 minutes and ended up having a volunteer on the course scrape out caked dirt in them before it allowed me to be able to clip in. Once in, I felt like turning up the notch but seeing how slow the others were around me, made me have seconds thoughts and I decided to just chill for a bit.
 Despite not going too fast, I was worried about how cold I was and was very jealous of the others around me who were wearing long sleeves. A few minutes after biking, I took a bite of one of the goodies we got in our race-bag. The good thing about the bike is compared to running, it is so so so easy to get in nutrition without having much GI distress (for me at least). I’m not too sensitive even while running when it comes to getting in nutrition so on the bike, I was able to grab a bite of anything that they were passing out at the aid stations nearly every 10 miles. The miles were going by quickly and it felt effortless on such a nice bike. Just after 10 miles I wasn’t really able to sit in aero position anymore because of having a full bladder but ended up waiting to go longer than I should have. After hopping off my bike and relieving myself, I had trouble clipping in again because of the dried dirt in my clip-ins. Once finally clipped in again, I was easily able to sit in the aero position without my bladder telling me not to.
With training on Jeremy’s bike that was too small for me and not getting aero bars on them until a couple weeks out of the race, trying to sit in the aero position became difficult and realized how bad of an idea it was to wait so long to put aero bars on the training bike. The course was super beautiful and I remember thinking to myself how much I needed to enjoy this because even though just several hours earlier I was not sure if I would be able to finish the race, I realized that it would be over relatively soon. Generally, I was passing more people than was getting passed by and kept getting pleasure out of passing the cone-heads (people in aero helmets) with expensive bikes. It was fun seeing the pros come flying by as we were climbing up one of the hills while they were going downhill. Their zipp wheels and disk wheels really howled as they flew past.
 The climbs were agonizing because everyone would be in their lowest gear and it felt like we were crawling up the road. Usually on the climbs people would pass me because of how much I would hold back on them. Knowing how easy it is to burn the legs while climbing, I held back as much as possible. Plus, for me, I would way rather save energy and fly on the downhills, than spend energy to go from 7 miles and mph 10 mph on the climbs. The downhills were so exhilarating with the scenic backdrops combined with the 40 mph+ speeds. I had my GPS tracker on and thought it was giving an instantaneous speed to the people looking online so I would really hammer going downhill to see what kind of numbers I could show. Found out later that the speeds were only showed as averages. Usually, I don’t feel too uncomfortable going downhill, but several times I had the feeling that if something unexpected happen, I might not be able to bike/run again. Hah..What a stimulating feeling that is though. After going to the bathroom at several non-specified spots on the course and starting to eat the mochi aunty had brought from Hawaii, I reached turn around point at about mile 28, and started to head back to Coeur d’Alene.
The ride back seemed to have longer downhills and it was such a blast cruising. Along the course there were several no-pass-zones which didn’t necesarilly stop me from passing people. I saw Aunty and Uncle again at the turn around in CDA and headed back out. It was fun making small talk with others on the bike. I saw several people wearing Bike Works (Hawaii) shirts and talked to them about knowing Aunty/Uncle and Andrea. Kept going back and forth between another Japanese guy and jokingly asked him if he wanted to eat some of my mochi. All of the riders had their bibs hanging in the back and their first names were printed on their bib. It was fun to say some of their names and sorta pretend to know them.
 On the way back to CDA the final time, my legs were tired and didn’t feel I could hold the same cadence in the gears I was before. I knew I was losing wattage despite never training with a wattometer? My feet were cramping up in Jeremy’s little shoes and I kept having to stand up and stretch my legs also giving my crotch a rest from the seat. How some people do the bike portion without bike shorts..don’t ask me. It was pretty cool to see the 90 miles sign getting closer to town and I realized I “only” had 30 left. This might seem relatively short if I was starting fresh but already had some good time out on the road. Knowing the finish of the bike was so close, just kept pedaling and was looking forward to seeing Aunty and Uncle again before heading out the run. I remember seeing the 100 mile marker as we were flying down a hill and let a pretty loud yell then for how excited I was. The last 12 miles went by quickly as the course became more and more filled with people cheering us on. I was super pumped up at the transition and was really excited to get the biking shoes off.
Naturally, I was nervous about how the run was going to go down because I had trashed my legs on the bike.  I had never biked that distance before and certainly nothing close to the intensity that I sustained for that long. The first thing I did after handing my bike off to a volunteer (so cool!) was take the shoes off right away so I could jog over to my transition area. I saw Sam W. who was just leaving the transition area as I was getting in. Changed socks, threw on my running shoes and switched into a pair of tri spandex that Cody borrowed me. This would be my first marathon not running with the orthotic inserts I have every other race in since I started running. Why I decided to try it on this one..couldn't tell ya. Even though my legs were pretty shot and it was hurting my knees to hobble out of the transition, I was excited to be in full control at this point. I had finished the two new event distances for swimming/biking and not trying to sound conceded.. all I had to do was finish the marathon.
 Again, it was relieving to know that I was going to finish but just didn’t have much of an idea what running pace I could hold. Even at the beginning, I was surprised by how quickly I was passing people who seemed like they were at a stand-still. The temp was starting to increase a bit and the sun had began to get stronger. Within the first mile my calves were cramping up pretty bad and I had to trot backwards down one of the hills. I was kind of just laughing outloud to myself as this happened and new I needed to get in some nutrition so gutted a couple GU’s and several cups of Perform at the aid-station.
The run course was also a out and back that you would do two times. It took around 5 or 6 miles before my knees stopped hurting from the bike and was starting to feel my running legs come back. Kept passing more and more people and for the last 3 miles or so of the first out and back, I ran into guy who was finishing up his second loop of the course and finishing the race. As I came up on him, he asked if I was on my second or first loop. Felt pretty cool to be asked this but, told him it was my was just my first. His name was Scott and we began to run together. It was really helpful to have someone to pace with but I think the 7:30min miles wore me out a bit. We split up going our respective course routes and when he was gone I started to feel more fatigue set in. Scott ended up getting second in the amateur division of the triathlon.
 As usual, the aid-stations were starting to seem further from each other and miles more spread out. Some of the hills were pretty tough and required a near walking pace to not cramp up or burn up the little energy left in the legs. At the aid-stations, I was starting to eat pretzels/potato chips as after about 7 GUs, my stomach did not want anymore of them. It was a good feelings getting to the end of the final turn around and knowing all I had to do was run the 6 miles back into town. Was starting to heat up and feel a little sick and swollen in my neck lymph nodes. Drank soup broth and a couple of the last stops as I remembered how much it helped during the 50-miler. It seemed to help again and was just continuing to slug my way back to town. Seeing some of the people were just heading out on their first leg of the run made me grateful to almost be done. It was kind of frustrating how much I slowed down when comparing to how quick of a pace I worked into in the first half. Was going through the residential neighborhood starting to have really high feelings. I remember tearing up a little a few miles out from the finish knowing that things went 100x better than I could have ever expected them to go. Heard the voice of the announcer as I turned the corner to see the final shoot towards the finish line. As usual at the end of a race, I don’t remember much as I have tunnel vision for the finish line. Was just trying to look as normal as a runner as possible. Crossed the finish line and it would take me a great deal of writing to try and be able to explain how good it felt for the rest of the day.
 I walked over to find Aunty and Uncle and was excited to see their reactions because I knew at least Aunty was worried about me being able to finish the race. Received congrats from a sobbing sister on the phone. I was able to walk around alright after and navigated my way to chocolate milk and Little Ceasar’s pizza that they had for us. Got a massage after and went and found Aunty and Uncle again.
We went out to eat at a resturaunt right on the final shutte of the race and it was so cool to watch others come through the last stretch of their races. After a delicious meal, Uncle dropped off Aunty and returned to the course to watch the finishers until the cutoff at Midnight. I was on such a high during this time and got close to as much pleasure of watching them finish as I did myself. We watched the last finishers come through just 20 seconds after the cutoff. They didn’t officially recognize them as finishers but still announced them as an Ironman.
 As quickly as the Coeur d’Alene Ironman came up, I was on a plane the morning after the race and was slapped back into the dorms. Experienced some of the "post race blues" after all that adrenaline, excitement and anticipation I had because of the race and how suddenly it ended. It took a while for me to re-adjust to things and have been allowing myself to slip on what I have ate/drank the last week and a 1/2 . Getting back into the swing of things now as far as diet/lifestyle after the 4th and will try to get some speed back in the legs once they fully recover. Trying to figure out how to sustain training for triathlons with all the expenses they require. For this race, the only things that belonged to me was literally just my running socks and shoes. Everything else was borrowed or given to me. Actually the socks were given to me too..hah So thanks to all those people who allowed that to happen.
Have been moving around quiet a bit following the Ironman and my legs feel pretty uncoordinated and not so responsive so am continuing to take it easy. I write these blogs to try and preserve these memories but it is tough to try and convey the feelings by writing. If it were a little bit easier, maybe I wouldn’t already be on the hunt for the next race. Currently, am planning on dialing -in on the Twin Cities Marathon and finally hope to break 3:00.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Boston Marathon 2012

First time in a while writing a blog post on here. This will be a fun one, but hard to capture all the fun and excitement that the 2012 Boston Marathon had to offer.
Running the Boston Marathon, for various reasons, is a marathon that many runners shoot for. I remember my first year of training for a marathon with Lucas Reece, he would often mention the Boston Marathon. With this race requiring a qualifying time to enter, I knew this would be something I would shoot for evnentually. With the qualifying time for my age group/gender being 3:10 and my first two marathons being 3:30, I obviously had some work to do. Thankfully, I got hooked up with Pitty and Tommy in the marathon training class, who have much more running talent than me, and tried to stick with them on a majority of the long runs. Cody would occasionally join us and we would try and hang onto them. I remember just trying to settle in behind them and thinking about nothing else besides finishing the run for however long we were out for. With the help of these runs I was able to get 3:06 at Eau Claire/Grandma’s marathon which “technically” qualified me to register for Boston. However, this year was a little bit different. Due to the super high registration rates for the Boston marathon the previous year, the BAA established a priority registration system where registrants who beat their specific qualifying time by 20 minutes could register first, then 10 minutes, then 5 minutes. Unfortunately having a 3:06, I missed any early registration privileges and had to wait until all of the priority registration rounds had finished before the general registration would begin. Having to wait several weeks after submitting an entry, I got an email saying I was officially accepted into the race.
With having a couple of races on the schedule still for the remainder of the year, I put the excitement of going to Boston on the backburner and focused on training for Honolulu. After pacing Adam in the HURT 100 several weeks after Honolulu, I got back to Minneapolis and put together a training schedule for Boston. My training time spanned from 1/30-4/15 and I was pretty excited to not have any races in between that (however wish I did now to get a little more race experience leading up to Boston). I kind of merged a training plan that Chris Lundstrom put together for me for Honolulu with a bit of another training schedule that Professor Ingraham wrote for me back when I did Eau Claire. It feels nice to write your own training schedule however, I actually like having the blind confidence in somebody else telling me what to do everyday. It seems like I have a little more obligation/convinction to stick to something else somebody tells me to do, rather than if I only have myself to be accountable to. Maybe this will change as I get more confidence with putting together training plans.
Initially, I planned on making the training plan include triathlon training but after a stressful jaunt at the library of writing out all the swim/bike intervals for the 3.5 months I would be training, I forgot to send the file via email and lost what I put together. Not wanting to redo the work again, destiny and/or laziness determined that I would mainly be just running the next three months but that was more than fine for me.
Looking back at my training schedule for Boston and some notes I would scribbled in, I did not stick to this plan like I have to others in the past. Again, this could be because I wrote it myself, rather than having Chris/Stacy do it or it could just be me getting burnt out of having these detailed schedules to follow. Regardless, also not having any running partners with similar goals made it difficult as well. A great example of this is how I would do many of the beginning long runs with Jeremy who was training for a 100-mile race. We would often joke about despite how different our events were, we still did a bit of training together.
Hearing from various sources how tough the hills were at Boston, I tried to include more hill workouts with also some emphasis on downhill running (Boston is a net downhill). Doing these runs in addition to some occasional impulse runs led me to having sort of a bum knee for a couple weeks and really limited the amount of quality training I was able to do. Surprisingly this “injury” was one of the first problems I had since started running and it was pretty frustrating to not be able run freely like before. After slowly progressing to be able to run at a decent clip with no pain, I had lost a good chunk of training and confidence about a month out from the race. Also spent some time out in California with Brando over spring break which lead to some fun but sporatic training.
My run 3 weeks out was a scheduled 22 miler and it was on the same day as the U of M Half-Marathon that Chris holds for the Marathon Training class. I decided to go out for 5 before, run the half with the class and do 5 after. The half time was 1:32 which isn’t very impressive but I wasn’t too worried as I was just coming off a semi-injury. I don’t feel this was that good training run for me though because pretty much everytime in a marathon, I can hold whatever pace I start out at until around 18/19 then start slowing down. In hindsight, it would have been much more smart to have scheduled my long runs with pick ups at the end, rather than just having a tempo in the middle.
Rode the taper until Boston and found myself leaving Minneapolis on Thursday to meet Uncle Mike out there. We would be staying at his super nice friend Paige’s house for our time out there. She was more than accommodating for the race, driving the route the day before the race, and doing pretty much anything she could to try and help out. It was tough to stick to my semi-decent eating habits once getting out to Boston as we went out to eat for every meal. Trying all the different foods in a new place is fun, but maybe not the best idea leading up to a race. With the excitement of being in Boston for the first time, having the nerves of a marathon coming up, and not eating the typical UDS food that I do in the dorms, my bathroom schedule was pretty off, and left me feeling sluggish on the remainder the taper. I really take for granite how much I get to move in a day here at school and how structured everything is. Walking up and down the stairs to UDS, walk/biking to classes, ect. I definitely feel that I will try to be more active in my next taper.
After driving the course and picking up the race packet down in Boston, we went out to eat at a restaurant near Paige’s house that served pasta.
Had a large portion of it and before I knew it I was in bed trying to sleep. Luckily, my “friend” Jing had introduced me to the book “Hunger Games” and I had finished the first one and was reading the second that Paige had borrowed to me. This allowed me to focus on something else other than my anxiety for the race. Despite doing the marathon distance 14ish times, I always feel a bit uneasy thinking about how tough the following day will be. After getting to sleep around 12:30am and waking up 3/4 times throughout the night, we got up at 5:00am (sorry Uncle Mike and Paige!) and got ready to head out to Boston. Despite the race starting at 10:00am, we had to drive to Boston, then waited in line to take a bus from Boston->Hopkinton where the race starts. It was wild to see all of the other runners waiting in line to catch the bus. Thankfully, again I had my book to save me from any unnecessary nerves overwhelming me. I remember one of the volunteers came up to me and asked what book I was reading to pump me up. I replied that I was reading Hunger Games to calm me down (definitely recommend the books if anyone hasn’t read them!).
I got on the bus and was struggling through having the heater right under me pre-heating me for the cook to come later in the day, accompanied by another runner who saw me reading and claimed she would not bother me..which then led to me having to listen about her Ironman stories (Cody your joke is so true about Ironman). After 45 minutes or so on the bus, we made it to Athlete’s Village in Hoptkinton and there was already a ton of runners hanging out and trying to find some shade to sit in. Already it was beginning to get warm and I could only imagine how warm it would get later in the day (forecasted to 88degrees). I spent some time hanging out in the shade and ate another bagel and drank some water/gatorade mix. Having the race start this late was new to me as most races usually start around 8:00am (Honolulu 5:00am). This meant there would be time in between my initial meal of a peanut butter bagel and a banana once waking up and the race. We all hung out for a bit until our wave and corral was called off. About 20 minutes before the race I got up and headed over to the starting line. Found it was a little tough to get out and warm up like I usually do for races but I figured I needed to conserve as much as possible so settled with less than a 5 minute warm up with just a few pickups. We were all herded into our corrals and we heard the elites being released. It was super cool hearing the announcers talk about some of the famous Kenyans I have heard about before and the dude Mutai who set the world record last year running it in 2:03 (cripes!)
We began running and we were very congested. Despite the congestion, the people around me were pretty much all running for the similar time goals that I was so it was not like your typical marathon of having to run around everywhere at the start. It felt like for the first mile or so I just kept passing people so I wondered what kind of pace I was hitting. The first mile ended up being 6:52 on the dot (3 hour marathon) and I was pretty happy with how effortless it felt. It felt like such a slow pace and I probably would have put money that I could have sustained that for another 25.2 miles. I asked several people around me what kind of times they were shooting for and the 3 people I asked all said they were shooting for sub 3 but already had given up on the idea. I told them that I was also shooting for 3 and had not given up yet, but I will see them when they catch me after I blow up. Not even 3 miles into it, I was starting to get pretty warm and seeing everyone else around me wearing singlets or no shirt at all, decided I needed to ditch the shirt. I took the pins off my bib and redid it to my pants (easier said than done while running) and held on to my shirt trying to find someone who I could give it to that I thought might be nice enough to return it. After getting sick of looking for people and thinking of what to say, I went over to the side and asked a dude to remember my bib number and look me up on facebook (hoping he would look me up on the website then message me about the shirt) and I told him I would send him some money. Have not got a message back but whatevs. I need practice and getting rid of material goods and at least it wasn’t the TCRC shirt I borrowed Brando to run the OC marathon in (you better wear it Brando). It probably doesn’t help either that I bumped his iPhone out of his hand in the process of him trying to take a pic of my bib. Anyhow, it felt awesome to get rid of the shirt completely and not to have and carry it much longer. I was starting to heat up even more and was stopping at every water station to at least splash water on myself. I was still generally passing more people than was getting passed by and tried to settle into a pace. It was tough though because I would try to shift sides of the road with the turns and also try to find any shade spots on the road to hide from the sun that was only increasing in intensity. We went through several diverse towns with lots of people there cheering and the next thing I remember was rolling into Wellesley. Before even getting to the school, I heard super loud screams from far away and knew from other people’s stories that it was the Wellesley all-girl school. Once getting to all of the screaming chicks, there was so much energy. Pretty much all of them had signs saying “Kiss me, I’m from Vermont”
“Kiss me, I’m from blahblahblah”, there had to be over 300 off these signs and I probably used more effort than necessary reading these signs as I passed through but despite it going on for a several blocks or so, I managed get through without stopping (good/bad I don't know) and just had silly thoughts about how many people will be kissing them later. This was a little bit before the halfway point and I hit the halfway at 1:31 and felt alright, but was very aware of how hot the sun was, how hot I was, and how tired my legs had already felt. Despite knowing the pace would not last, I kept trying to stick with the same people who were around me and enjoy the course as much as possible. It was super helpful driving the course the day before with Uncle Mike and Paige, as everything I was going through was the second time. Being familiar to a course can be such an advantage. Makes me want to race Twin Cities soon after how much time I have put on the course over the last 5 years. My fuel plan started out pretty structured with having a gel every half-hour and an S-cap every hour, but ended up dropping a peanut butter GU (best flavor out there☹) and was left with 1 GU short of want I anticipated consuming so I fell into temptation of eating Freezepops being handed out by some kids. I was just too hot from the sun beating down on us from our right hand side that I decided to just start consuming whatever I thought would help cool me down. They tasted too good. I probably had 5 of these throughout the course. At mile 16.5 or so I was able to grab 3 more GUs. At this point I was getting increasingly warm and noticed many people were dropping pace from what they started at. These areas started to be really filled with hollering fans on either side of the road and it so different from any other marathon I have done. Monday (Patriots Day) is a holiday in Boston, so many people get the day off of work/classes and come out and watch the race. This combined with the race going through 3+ large colleges kind of allows one to think of how nuts it actually was. It was pretty encouraging to hear how sincere people were about their cheers. I remember trying to pop my last S-cap at about mile 22 and so I put it in my mouth seeing a med-tent ahead of me thinking there would be water there, only to find Vaseline and other useless things there. For some reason I kept the little pill in my mouth for the next quarter mile or so, as I felt the contents begin to hit my tongue and cheek. After drinking water and doing my last GU, almost puked from the taste and all the other things I had consumed throughout the run. Around mile 19 I was pretty happy for how not tired my legs were but after the Newton hills did a series on my legs, I was again thinking of how I am going to hang on until the end. After heartbreak hill, my calfs started to feel crampy so I had to adjust how I was running a bit to avoid them from violently tensing up. Stopped by one of the college kid gatherings and drank some beer for the crowd (cold at least) Ended up having to go to the bathroom (2x) which unfortunately I am started to get used to during marathons but doesn’t help my time one bit. I remember as we approached the later water stations I would just hope for cold water because some of them we would receive what would feel like we were drinking bath water. Probably 3 times I grabbed a cup and wasn’t able to drink anything from it because the temp was too warm to force myself to swallow it. From 22 to the finish, I was carried by the super energetic and boisterous spectators and tried as much as possible to not slow down the pace. Getting nearer and nearer to the finish, my legs would just not let me go any faster and anytime I tested them to see if I could pick it up, they would begin to cramp up tightly, restricting me to progressively slowing down more and more with each mile. This gets pretty frustrating happening at every marathon and you would think with Kinesiology being my major and how many marathons I have run, that I would have figured myself out by now but still looking how to not slow down so much. Saw Uncle Mike, Paige and Christine at around mile 24 and Paige handed me a icewater filled towel that I squeezed over my head. This helped cool me down and I threw the towl back to them, with my calf cramping up just from turning and throwing something. Even though I only had less than a mile to go now, my pace was still getting slower and slower and I kept telling myself how mental it was but the calves were really not cooperating. I almost had to walk at some spots because the cramps were getting dangerously close to locking up and not releasing but the crowd luckily was screaming louder than my neural impulses were to my legs, letting me slog to the finish. I intended on backfliping at the finish because Boston always makes a “spectacular finish video” but if I had attempted that with how my legs were feeling, I would not have been able to type this blog up. Since I could not flip decided to roll across the finish.
Still will do it sometime though. What is strange too is even my biceps were cramping up, despite not using them for much during the race. I ended up finished at 3:14 when my goal was again 3:00.
Crossing the finish line it’s definitely mixed feelings with the relief ofbeing done with what just made you so exhausted, and when you look forward to an event for so long, and then you realize it is done before you know it.. it’s kind of a bummer. It was also pretty wild to be running on a course that has been run for the last 115 years with all the legendary runners who have been there, and just all the history in general created from that 26.2 mile stretch from Hopkinton to Boston. I anticipated this race for so long and it was gone in an instant! Having been through this experience several times now, I realize how important it is to enjoy the present. One of my professors today said how sport can be a microcosm of life and I totally agree. I often try apply what I learn through running to other areas of my life. Another lesson I learned from this race was to just roll with whatever happens because we weren’t able to control the weather but we are (to varying degrees {no pun intended} ) able to control how we react to it.
After the race, I went and got a free massage real quick while waiting to meet up with Uncle Mike and Paige at the family meeting spot.
We drove back to North Reading and I showered real quick, Paige had heated me up some of the leftovers from previous nights outings, and I ate them on the way to the airport. It was sad of how quickly everything was ending and I just wanted to (stop time and chill -Jaime) and enjoy the present more. Kind of crazy the treatment I got at the airport..first they saw the Boston medal and let me skip to the front of security, then when I tried to switch flights to an earlier one to MSP they not only let me but upgraded me to business class, then the gait worker announced and said “Would Boston marathoner Mr. Langen please run up to the gait”. Then on the plane the pilot congratulated the ones who ran it and everyone started clapping. Did not feel right to be recognized for running 26.2 miles while my buddy Jeremy had just finished running 100 miles that weekend! Congrats to him and best of luck on his gnarly bandit pursuit!
Overall, it was such a great weekend spending time with my Uncle and getting to meet his friend Paige. They were too nice to me the entire time and I owe them bigtime! It is also nice to be able to remember this race and have the opportunity to chat with other Boston marathoners about such a special experience we are able to share.
Now the new qualifying time is 3:05 so looks like I need to get to work soon here. Next race is Eau Claire marathon May 6th with the marathon training class!