Sunday, November 6, 2011

Indianapolis Monumental Marathon Race Report

First of all, Rebecca Massie: This race has your name all over it! Just put it on your calendar now!

Bill Dwyer has told me that I'll learn a lot about myself during the course of a 100-miler. Heck, I'm learning a lot about myself now in trying to get ready for it!

The first thing is: Unless your Dick Beardsley, you can't expect to go out and beat your time marathon after marathon. Especially when you're doing them so close together. My fifth best marathon ever was three weeks ago. The fourth best last Saturday. To think that I might be able to get under 4:58 again, even with cool weather, was a little bit of a reach. If it happened, great. If not, it would turn out to be a long, paid and supported training run.

That's called Plan A to Plan B. And that's what transpired around miles 17 and 18 at today's Indianapolis Monumental Marathon.

The original plan was to go out and try to run as steady as possible for as long as I could and see what happened. If I was in striking distance of five hours again, fine. If not, then my plan was to shut it down and save myself a little bit to try and get some revenge in the City of Brotherly Love in two weeks. (That statement seems like an oxymoron, doesn't it?)

While I was sitting in a warm car in a parking garage just a block or two from the starting line, I talked to Bill and told him that my head really wasn't in this one. It wasn't a negative thing. It might have just been because the travel and all was catching up with me. He said to go out and approach it as if I was getting ready to start the fourth loop of the Rocky Raccoon 100 and that I had just done 60 miles and didn't feel like running another step. As I got out on the course, I was appreciative that I had a friend who knew me pretty well and how to motivate me - without being phony and rah-rah. That's something that I truly appreciate.

At about 7:40 a.m. (Indiana is Eastern time), I made my way to the start area. I lined up in the 11-12 minute per mile area and at 8 a.m., we were off. It took almost six minutes for me to get across the line and the fact that we serenpentined through the city for the first six miles, I felt like I didn't get off to a blazing fast start even though my watch was suggesting it a little.

Mile 1 - 10:41.63
Mile 2 - 10:22.94 (21:04.57)
Mile 3 - 10:30.16 (31:34.73)
Mile 4 - 10:19.87 (41:54.60)
Mile 5 - 11:02.22 (52:56.82)
Mile 6 - 10:09.10 (1:03:05.92)

Fortunately, this is one of these races that I don't remember a lot of specific details. Except for Pacer Jim. Oh my goodness. This guy was leading the 4:40 pace group and telling jokes, which were bad. And every once in awhile he'd say, "And we're still on pace!" Narcissism must have been his major in college.1:1 I understand that there's a little rah-rah in leading a pace group, but this guy's next gig was going to be to put on a wig and certain attire and go be a Colts cheerleader.

Mile 7 - 10:43.56 (1:13:49.48)
Mile 8 - 10:46.82 (1:24:36.30)
Mile 9 - 10:48.80 (1:35:25.10)
Mile 10 - 10:57.64 (1:46:22.74)

Around this area, I talked with a young lady who was working on her first marathon. It is always encouraging to see the excitement and passion of others for them to be enjoying something so much.

Mile 11 - 11:17.18 (1:57:39.92)
Mile 12 - 11:09.77 (2:08:49.69)
Mile 13 - 11:16.47 (2:20:06.16)

I remember getting to the halfway point and I could start to feel that I was getting gassed a little. Not from an oxygen debt standpoint, but just my overall body. As I made my way towards the mile 14 marker, I had heard on the medical crew's bicycle radio that somebody on the course had been hit by a car.

Mile 14 - 11:12.95 (2:31:19.11)
Mile 15 - 11:36.00 (2:42:55.11)

Even though I was still on a 4:48 marathon (11-minute per mile) pace, my body was hurting - specifically my midsection - by the time I got to the mile 18 mile marker. It was then that I started to do the math -- 16 times eight equal was 2:08. Add that to the 3:20 and I was happy with that finishing time. I know that sounds like I was giving up, but my goal is to run a 100-miler ... not a PR every time out. And that is where my focus has changed a little bit.

Mile 16 - 12:13.63 (2:55:08.74)
Mile 17 - 12:43.25 (3:07:51.99)
Mile 18 - 12:57.23 (3:20:49.22)

I ran some in mile 19, specifically a downhill even, but you couldn't tell if I had.

Mile 19 - 14:48.35 (3:35:37.57)
Mile 20 - 15:02.72 (3:50:40.29)
Mile 21 - 15:34.44 (4:06:14.73)
Mile 22 - 16:27.15 (4:22:41.88)

In mile 23, it took me the entire mile to eat all of pretzels out of a dixie cup and before and after, I had a bite sized Snickers bar. I figured that I'm going to have to eat real food - and not just gels - in the 100-miler so I might as well start practicing.

Mile 23 - 15:59.23 (4:38:40.11)
Mile 24 - 15:45.49 (4:54:25.60)
Mile 25 - 15:28.47 (5:09:54.07)
Mile 26 - 13:40.09 (5:23:34.16)
Last .2 - 2:08.00 (5:25:42.16)

The one thing that has changed for me in this journey to attempting the Rocky Raccoon 100 in February is that my frame of mind on the course is 200% better than it has ever been and I'm thankful for that.

Even this last week, I was finally able to completely - and hopefully once and for all - set aside something that has dominated my emotions since March 2010.

A year ago, I had made the trip to Panama City Beach, Florida with my good friend John Laskowski to see more than 20 local athletes complete Ironman Florida. I was in pain much of the trip. Early the month before, physical pain in my lower back revealed two protruding discs. Three months later, I would make the realization that it came from stress in the body that caused for the nerve root endings to become inflamed.

Even though I'll always be sad with everything that came about for me to finally be able to set things aside, I'm thankful that in my post-race phone conversation with Bill Dwyer that I came away from today's race with many things that I can take away and learn from -- without a negative thought.

I had had the Indianapolis Monumental Marathon on my schedule for quite some time; however, when I found out that I could add another marathon in Greenville, South Carolina the week before, I did so and it may have compromised a better performance.

Now the goal for the next two weeks is to do enough cardio work to maybe drop a couple of pounds, but to get my legs and lower back ready to go for the rematch with the Philadelphia Marathon course. And the two best things from it is that I'll get to travel with Waverly to a race and then go see my grandparents in central Pennsylvania before Thanksgiving.

All in all, I'm still pleased. To go out and finish a third one in four weeks after you have put down your fourth and fifth best performances ever is nice. BUT it is time for a little bit of a break. The remainder of preparation will continue to be challenging.

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