I understand now why my locals prefer to run marathons in other states as you never know what you will get in North Central Texas. It's like that box of chocolates that Forrest Gump referred to. A week ago it looked as if we would have perfect weather with at temperature range of 55-60 degrees. Nope. The weather was similar to the weather in my first Marathon, warm and humid. I felt that I had improved fitness wise to handle this now. My goals for 2012 are as follows: A: Crack the 4:00 mark in my 2nd marathon, B: Not be dying when I complete it C: Have fun training for it. Well I got C covered as it was the most memorable training I have ever had and with one of the closest tight knit groups I have ever worked with, the 3:50 BMFers, where the BMF stand for "Big Marathon Finishers". And all of us were that yesterday.
Training went perfectly leading up to this week, I just knew I "had" this. I had went five consecutive weeks with a 20+ miler before starting the taper process. The last one a 22 miler which I felt I could have easily run 10 more miles when we were done. I felt amazingly well. As I would find out later sometimes it doesn't matter how hard you train if the conditions of the race are crazy.
|DRC 3:50 Marathon Group "BMFers" before the start of the race.|
I started out with the dailymiler meetup, but things were so crazy that morning I was only able to meet one person there, my DM bud VK. We chatted for a minute and she volunteered to take the group pic of the BMFers who were meeting in the same place. (see the photo Gallery). We then walked on to the corrals with the rest of the 25, 000 other runners.
The first few miles was unnerving, very congested as many walk-runners were in the way. Trailing pace leader Steve Griffin, we kept it at an easy 9:20-9:30 pace the first mile and the plan was to keep it at about 8:58 until mile 17 and then adjust the plan depending on what the conditions were and how everyone was feeling. Some of the crew took off after mile 3 or 4 at a faster pace, I chose to keep the pace with Steve as we both knew the weather would more than likely make things ugly. We had a sign that had "BMFs" on it, but the wind took the sign, only leaving the green hanky that was tied to it. Steve and I swicthed on and off carrying the flag. Along the way, we had countless folks ask "What pace group it this?" some would run along with us once they determined we were pacing around 4:00. So I kind of unofficially helped partially pace a marathon.
After the course split with the Marathoners going to the left and the halfers to the right at mile 8, congestion lightened up. Steve and I had only one BMFer with us, Vinh until we caught up with some other BMFers around the lake area who got ahead of us then fell back. Steve asked how I felt about mile 17 and I told him I was good, I had a few small pains in my quads, but nothing big. We kicked the pace down a notch. The support was great on the roadside as always. Saw a lot of Dallas Running Club members who either did not participate or were injured but stll showed up to cheer. Heard a lot of chants "Go DRC!".
So we rounded the lake and at mile 19, caught up with another BMFer, Jackie who was feeling the bite of the humidity. She had dropped back and hung with us. Just as I passed the spillway, Steve handed me the flag. All of a sudden I felt like things were starting to go south, it came out of nowhere. I handed the flag back to Steve and told him that I wasn't sure I was going to make it through the next mile. I slowed up to about a 9:30 pace then that's where it came, my right calf totally cramped up and contracted and I immediately went to the ground. Then my left quad cramped up. A by stander ran over and knew exactly what was going on. She and another guy helped rub out my cramp and helped me stretch. Another person came over with electolyte pills and another fella with pickle juice. After about 10 minutes being 'serviced' I was feeling better so I thought and was on my way. I started running slowly rounded the corner approaching the infamous "Dolly Parton" hills. And yes they are exactly what you think they are. Right when I got to the waterstand where several men dressed in Dolly Parton drag were handing out water and Gatorade, EVERY muscle from my legs to my back contracted and I went down right in front of the water bench. Two of the guys came and helped, they were able to get a medic over who then asked me a few questions and tried to get whatever was around into my body. Water, Gatorade, sugar, mustard while also trying to help rub out the cramps. I was thinking the worst had already happened, all I needed to do was let all of the supplements I had just taken in about 15 minutes before set in and I would be good. Nope. The contracting would not stop and got worse to the point where I was trembling. One of the waterstop volunteers goes "Dude, you aren't sweating, that is not good". I knew it was serious then. I told them to get an ambulance to me as quick as they could. I knew they would give me an IV and get me what my body needed, then I would be on my way. They must have fed me 50 cups of water and Gatorade. I knew I was looking at a possible DNF, if it didn't work. It took about 30 minutes and them carrying me about 100 yards to the Ambulance because the ambulance could not get into the area of the crowd. The medics asked me a few annoying questions over and over then stuck me and got the nutrients I needed in me. I told the medic attending to me that once they were done I would finish the remaining six miles. He was like "You are going to finish?" Heck yes I was. I thought I would have to deal more with the humidity. Not sure what the weather was to start, but it got to 72 degrees and 90% humidity. A cold front came thru while I was being rebooted and I could feel it when I got out of the vehicle. By the way as I type this the next morning, it is 34 degrees, snowing and 55% humidity. Only in Texas. Whatever they pumped into me made me feel much better. I stepped out of the ambulance and my legs felt like stilts. I couldn't bend them. Started out walking like Frankenstein for a few feet then I was able to walk normally. If I had to walk the remaining 6.2 miles I was going to do it. Right at the 20 mile marker, I came across fellow DRCers Carrie and Rosalyn. Walked very fast with them for about a mile or so then we picked it up to a slow run and I was off from there. Very sore, but could still run between a 9 to 9:30 pace, sometimes doing sub 9 down hills. I'm passing walkers and runners as if they were standing still and they were giving me dirty looks. I tried to pass as many people as I could. Felt really good, and hydrated at every water station along the way.
I was a little bummed out that all of my BMF buddies finished so far ahead of me, not because they had better finish times than I, but because I wanted to finish ahead and see every one else come in and celebrate with them. They had already left the building. I would find later that most of us did not meet our goal and struggled through the race. Even though the results of this race were not favorable to me, what counts is the fitness level that I have acheived. I know what I did wrong in this race and you learn from experience. I won't make the same mistake twice. I'm primed to get the sub 4 marathon eventually as one of my top motivators told me. And when I do it will be oh so sweet. This marathon however I will always be proud of.
Minutes per Mile Avg Pace