Froh, wie seine Sonnen fliegen
Durch des Himmels prächt'gen
Plan,Laufet, Brüder, eure Bahn,
Freudig, wie ein Held zum Siegen.
--Schiller, Ode to Joy
I was a bit apprehensive about the race because I had some overuse injuries, because I kept building volume, and I suppose my base wasn't as ready for it as I thought. For about a month I've had some joint pain, and tendon pain in my left foot. I laid off the running quite a bit in the two weeks leading up to the race, and just trusted the base I built up.
Friday after work we headed out to our accommodations on the cape. Pretty nice little hotel with a kitchenette. I brought lots of run stuff this time, because I really worked on my sports nutrition this time around. Lots of energy gels, powdered carb drinks, etc. Went out to a local supermarket to pick up food for the couple of days, also picked up some sweats to toss after the race got going. I ended up getting a solid eight hours of sleep, which was really good.
Saturday was a super windy day, with winds that actually resembled a tropical depression. We ventured out to the hit expo. Found some cool stuff there, and I picked up a couple of extra gels in my favorite flavors, along with some anti-friction gel (having left mine at home.) Met and mingled with some of the FTC folks, who were all very nice. It was a surprisingly well stocked expo for how small of a marathon this was. At least two running gear places, and then the track and running club booths.
Found a British pub place for lunch, with some familiar New England sights and weather, and then returned to the hotel. We stayed in and played board games with the toddler. Learned dominoes, but also taught her to play Barrel of Monkeys, and Connect 4. So that was a lot of fun, and she really enjoyed it. I made pasta and a bland sauce for dinner, which worked out well for me. Got all my race stuff together before heading off to bed.
Oh man, Friday night's sleep? That was great. Saturday night was rough -- the toddler just DID NOT want to go to sleep. I mean she was up until like 9:30. I had planned to get up at 5:30 the next day to start going through pre-race rituals, but that was just not realistic. I fell asleep around 9:45 and ended up snoozing until 6 am. The race start was at 8:30, so that didn't throw me off much, but it was just not as planned.
The race day itself was beautiful -- started off a bit cold, and damp from the previous day's storms, but I ended up being happy I chose to run in a singlet and shorts. Paced myself pretty comfortably for the first eight or nine miles, having talked through the pacing plan with my wife, I knew to save some stuff for the hilly back half of the course. The whole course was rolling hills, but a very familiar kind of hill to me. Many of the hills resembled the ones I live around and train on all the time, so my legs were able to lift me through them and let me coast down the back side. I pushed my gels up about five or ten minutes from my usual gel schedule, hoping to get a little more juice out of things, and I think that plan worked OK, except I should have added an extra one in there somewhere -- because I had a bonk at mile 24.
Mile 24 is such a crappy place to bonk. I knew looking at my pace, though, that sub-4 was still in sight, and adjusting my expectations a bit, I did my best to dial in a pace that would keep me about 9min/mile overall. The last stretch along the beach was really lovely, and I managed to run the last mile of the course in before taking a picture with the kiddos and grabbing a bite to eat with everyone before heading home. I'm very sore today, moreso than the previous few marathons. But I think that's in keeping with the effort expended (both mental and physical.) I'll be taking a couple of weeks off to get ready for the holiday run streak, and looking into one or two fun races to wind down the season.
"A runner must run with dreams in his heart."--Emil Zatopek
Checked a couple of goals off yesterday at the Cape Cod Marathon.
First, I went sub-4 for the first time since Baystate in 2015. My marathon results look like this:
Baystate (2013): 3:47:53
Marine Corps (2014): 3:52:07
Baystate (2015): 3:48:48
Big Sur (2016) 4:34:17
NYC (2017): 4:37:12
Newport (April, 2018): 4:02:22
Cape Cod (October, 2018): 3:56:
So, my timing was significantly better and I think that's owing to a couple of things. 1) I trained better (and a bit harder) for this race, and I wasn't trying to lose weight simultaneously, and 2) I wasn't running the race as a vacation primarily. With Big Sur and NYC I threw myself into the experience of the race, knowing that I'll likely never get to run those events again. So, for me, those races were about the sights and the people. It didn't make me want to rush to the finish. I'm only about an hour away from the cape, and the terrain is very familiar and similar to other races I've run, so I was willing to really see what I could do in my current shape.
The other goal was that this was the first time I've run two marathons in one calendar year. That's been a goal of mine for a couple of years now, but it didn't feel really do-able to me until this last very successful training cycle. I don't know that I'll ever get up to a marathon every weekend or anything, but it helps me look at some goals that I'd like to meet next year, which will all show up here when I start writing the posts planning for the future.
Also, the toddler is getting very interested in doing a kid's race. It's led to a lot of discussion about what it means to win a race, which led to this really fruitful discussion:
Me, "How do you win a race? What do you have to do?"
Toddler, "You cross the finish line."
Out of the mouths of babes, right?