I thought I had everything planned, I remembered to put on my Chamois Butt’r, covered my feet in Vaseline and had all my cold weather gear. My Garmin watch was fully charged and I had my three Hammer nutrition gels in my pockets. I said goodbye to Jessica and Kate and walked from Sona and Dave’s place the 6 or so blocks to the starting line. I was ready to race!
The first few miles were going great. I actually warmed up much faster than I expected. I was holding my pace right above 8 minutes per mile, just where I wanted. I was cruising along feeling good. The half-marathon runners didn’t peal off until around mile 7, so for those first miles, all 8000+ runners were together. The water stops were very crowded. I skipped the stops at mile 1, 3, 4 and 8, and only sipped a little water at miles 2, 5, 7 and 9. I wasn’t sweating very much and I wanted to avoid the traffic at the water stops. My miles splits for the first 13 miles were 8:08, 7:52, 8:19, 8:04, 8:06, 8:03, 8:07, 8:07, 8:05, 7:59, 8:16, 8:10, 8:13.
Mile 14 started to slow, steady hill. This hill was literally 3 miles long (see elevation below).
I was still feeling strong during the hill, but my pace slowed. Miles 14-18 were 8:18, 8:30, 8:49, 8:59, and 9:10. As you can see on the elevation chart, coming down off of the hill was quick. Running down hill is hard on the muscles, especially this steep. I noticed my calves getting tight during mile 19 and while I had taken two of my gels and was drinking water at every station since mile 10, I knew that I was in trouble. My goal time of 3:30 was now out of reach, so I revised my goal to just try and finish under 4 hours.
Dehydration is the enemy of an endurance athlete. Once you get dehydrated, you can’t reverse it. I immediately knew that passing on those early water stations was a mistake. I started to down Gatorade at the aid stations instead of water…desperately trying to get some needed electrolytes. By mile 20 I had slowed considerably. I felt good fitness wise, but my leg muscles were giving out. My calves and hamstrings were getting tight. I stopped a few times to try and stretch (see pace chart below), but that didn’t help.
Miles 22 through 26 were horrible. I was struggling to keep my pace close to 11 minutes per mile. My brain was telling me to stop, but I knew that walking would hurt even more. Every step was painful, but I broke the remaining miles into small segments and made it through. My last 4 miles were 11:20, 11:21, 11:01 and 10:48.
I was starting to become delusional as well. I kept forgetting what mile I was on and I lost my balance several times during the last two miles, even hitting my shoulder on the side mirror of a car parked on the street. I remember seeing Jessica, Kate, Sona and Dave there at mile 25 to cheer me on, but the last mile is a blur.
I crossed the finish line at 3:56 and some change. I stumbled down the finish shoot and found a patch of grass to collapse on. My body was spent! I attempted to stretch, but it was too painful to even bend my legs. I was getting cold chills and was in lots of pain. I chugged a chocolate milk and got my sweats from the gear check tent and attempted to put my sweat pants on to get warm. I wish I had video of me trying to get my pants on without bending my legs…very comical to all those who saw it I’m sure.
I bundled up and
walked stumbled my way back to Sona and Dave’s place, where I got some Tylenol and collapsed on the floor.
I thought I had everything planned. For whatever reason, I underestimated the amount of water my body would need to run 26.2 miles. Skipping those early water stops killed me in the end. In hindsight, I should have worn my fuel belt (full of Hammer Perpetuem) and taken water at every stop. Lesson learned!
Time – 3:56:44
Division Place (Male 30-34): 121st of out 214
Gender Place: 778th out of 1565
Overall Place: 1038th out of 2502
First half in 1:46:51 (8:10 pace)
Second half in 2:09:53 (9:55 pace)