Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Louisville Marathon, October 2007

Louisville Marathon, October 2007

I had a blast running with Celeste, Lindsey, Cat, Dan, and Bob in Louisville.  I hope we can do another trip like this sometime.  I'll see you all at Boyd Lake, for sure.  Lindsey and I actually ran together for the majority of the race, which was great, and it was fun seeing everyone else on the out and back course.  It was a good course, very flat, and mostly through parks and on bike paths.  Mostly asphalt, with some concrete.  The weather was on the warm side but not unbearable, not Chicago.

I got to show off my jumping skillz at the dock at mile 8.  They had these boat tie downs for the "Belle of Louisville" tourist boat, and I was weaving around them, just for fun.  The last one was sort of blocked off by the corner of these concrete steps, so I jumped the lowest step in a completely over-the-top "Austin Powers" intro way. I'm totally going to run my next marathon in a blue crushed velvet suit, frilly lace cravat, "male" symbol gold medallion, and Italian leather loafers (Bongiorno, boys!)  Well that got the, uh, crowd going...

Just picture Austin jumping over the tie down and step:

But I digress; of course it's easy to feel good at mile 8.  It's not so easy to feel good at mile 19.  I got tired, and my 7:50 pace degenerated into an 8:20.  nooooooooo!  I brought 2 gu gels with me, I probably should have brought 4.  The weather started getting hot, and, oh yeah, I didn't train very hard this fall.  And I had some depressing Genesis song stuck in my head.  Sad bastard music is not conducive to running fast, Celeste will tell you (Aqualung!  noooooooo) I was trying to break 3:30 (again), and was at about 3:21 at mile 25 (So you're saying there's a chance!).  All I needed to do was average about a 7:30 over the final 1.2 miles; I just - couldn't - do it!  But Lindsey could; I was impressed with her ability to pour it on at the end.  L_ and I were running together until about mile 16.  Then she got ahead of me; she was probably 2 minutes ahead of me at mile 19. Then I slowly started to catch up to her again; at mile 23 I'd bridged the gap to about 30 seconds.  But then at mile 25 she poured it on and cruised on in for the sub-3:30.  It was all due to my expert pacing for the first 16...  Nah, all the glory to Lindsey, well done! The way the finish is arranged you run up a slight incline and pull a U-turn, and run back down to the actual finish, so you pass by the finish at about mile mark 26.  I heard the announcer call out 3:29 on the other side when I crossed the 26 mile mark, and then I knew I was toast -- even in my math-impaired state I knew I couldn't cover 0.2 in one minute.  I rounded the corner and thought, well, my PR is 3:30- somehting (couldn't remember exactly; 3:30:32 it turns out), I could still hit that!  I gave the finish a sprint of some sort ("finish strong", right?), and the clock was pushing 3:30:55.  Not good!  The race was chip timed so there would be some bonus from my start delay, but likely not 20 seconds' worth (there was about 6 seconds delay as it turns out).  But hey at least I finished and was still standing! But still; you run for that long, and miss a PR by thismuch; you know you let a good chance slip away and it's a little frustrating. I got my medal, got some water, and lay down in the grass.  They had a cover band at the finish line, a bad band playing bad songs badly.  I was hoping for a cover of "The Final Countdown", the ultimate bad song.  No dice; I got the Eagles.  While lying down I poured a bottle of water on my face, which went right up my nose -- always unpleasant.  Then I took off my shoes and socks to admire the blood blister on the front of my big toe.  Then I got up and decided that things weren't so bad.  The disappointment of not making your time washes off pretty quickly, like salt from your skin.  I'll take away a lot of fun, exiting, and passionate memories from this race.  Maybe next time I'll break 3:30.  Maybe I'll never break 3:30.  But I will certainly have a good time trying.