Sunday, October 18, 2009

26.2 Miles to Marathon

RT and myself near the start line outside of Alpine

Yesterday morning I ran the M2M marathon - the excuse for our trip to West Texas. A beautiful sunrise greeted us as we made our way to the start line, and I bumped into several friends from Austin including RT - a super runner I met at the Timber Knoll race this summer.

We got going and I was feeling good so I stretched my legs and enjoyed the cool of the morning and the banter of my fellow racers. Suddenly I realized the only thing in front of me was the pace car. Holy s*#t, I'm leading the race!!! I knew it couldn't last, so I decided to just enjoy the feeling while it did. That turned out to be about three miles, and I was honestly quite glad when some guys caught and passed me.

As the sun came up we found ourselves running into really strong headwinds which made running a lot more challenging. Knowing these winds were probably going to be with us for the rest of the race, and with Cactus Rose only two weeks away (and another marathon next weekend), I decided to reevaluate my race plan, backed off and ran a lot more conservatively. It seemed everyone was struggling with the wind, so not that many people passed me as I dialed the pace down. One who did was RT - he was looking really strong and went on to run a great race.

Now that I'd decided to turn it into a training run it became a lot more fun. I enjoyed the spectacular views of the mountains, and stopped to chat, flirt and answer questions about my "cute accent" at several aid stations. I even stopped for a beer at mile 24 where there seemed to be a party going on. Then I set my stall for the finish line.

I'd known for quite a few miles that this was probably going to be the end of my streak of sub-4 hour marathons, and sure enough I crossed the finish line in 4:06 (my slowest marathon in 3 years). Oh well, not really that bothered. Nancy and the boys, RT and my friends Tony and Jodi (who had run the half) were at the finish line to cheer me in.

We had a great time socializing, the post-race spread included some yummy brisket which we all enjoyed, and Gavin found a new friend in one of the race sponsor ladies who kept coming by with cookies for him. I was also surprised to find that RT and myself had taken 1st and 2nd in our age group, though I've no idea what the award was because we didn't stay for the award ceremony.

Tony, RT, myself and Jodi at the finish line

The boys enjoying post-run brisket

As we drove us back to Alpine, I spotted another Austin friend who was at mile 21 and obviously struggling a bit. So we stopped the car and I ran across with some water and gatorade. I asked if he needed some company and paced him for a couple of miles, talking about everything and nothing. Nancy drove back toward Marathon and waited for us just before mile 24. By that time we could see the town coming up ahead and he knew he was going to make it, so I gave him my water and we took off.

Gavin and I played in the gloriously frigid swimming pool for a while, we pottered about, and in the evening we traveled up to the McDonald observatory for the star party. But by this time the boys were so tired that they'd crashed, so we skipped it and just went back to the hotel. Oh well, maybe next time - and it really was a spectacular drive up into the mountains.

We've had an outstanding time here, but sadly we head home today.

1 comment:

DavidH said...

Congrats on the finish! Way to add a few extra miles in support. Nice!