So this is it, the big one. I'm starting the blog posting a little early just so I can post quickly, post race. Right now I feel totally underprepared for this, my training has not gone well and I am hoping for the best on the day. As it will be the middle of June the weather could be anything from mildly pleasant, to hot, sticky and very nasty.
Packet pickup was a joke, What genius decides to do packet pickup inside of a shopping mall, on a Saturday, needless to say it was damn busy. They also failed to say that packet pickup was actually inside of the mall, all in all, most frustrating. The bib was also kind of unusual, it had a detachable section at the bottom, that the timing tab was attached too, seems like a strange place to put it.
I finished, I survived and it was a whole helluva lot harder than I thought it would be, way worse than running two half marathons. I've run three previous half mrathons and a couple of ~10mile races, I thought that there would be a gradual slowing down, I thought the wall was a phrase created by people that under fueled or were badly prepared, and jeez, was I wrong.
|The 'Big House' - largest capacity stadium in the US,|
third largest in the world at 109,901
I found the 3:55 pace team at the start and decided to see how far I could pace with them for, this was never part of the grand plan, the pace just felt right, so I went for it. I knew I would never stick with them, I just thought it would help me. The race started as a gradual downhill into downtown Ann Arbor, followed by a trip through the very picturesque main campus of the University of Michigan, closely followed by a long slow downhill, through some nice established neighborhoods towards Huron Parkway. Huron Parkway is along undulating four lane highway that was going to be the start of the lollipop phases of the race. I've said before my feelings on running a lollipop, so I'll not say anything more about them, apart from 'bloody hate them'. The lollipops did show off more of the UoM campus and quite a lot of impressive buildings and facilities and I was feeling pretty good, tired but managing.
|Can anyone see how nasty it was?|
This was followed by another fairly pleasant section through the campus, before an long (~1.75 mile) lollipop down Washtenaw Avenue. Washtenaw Avenue rolls along quite pleasantly when driving and kicks your arse when running. The little hills just kill you when you knows there is a turnaround, at some point, and constantly seeing people coming toward you, knowing that have already made the turn and you still don't know where the damn thing is, gnaws away at your very being.
The next part was a long slow drag down South State St, towards, what was going to be probably the most boring part of the race, running around the outside of the car park at Briarwood Mall, the location of the previous days packet pickup fiasco. It was whole approaching this that I hit the 20 mile mark and for reason realized that I still have about 10k still to go, ie typically I run 10k's and today, after having just run 20 bloody miles, I was just about to start a 10k, mentally, this wasn't a high point for me... The mall run, at about ~1.75 miles around, was fairly demoralizing, more and more runners around me were starting to take longer periods of walking, I was long past running on empty, but just kept on going.
|Sweaty, sore and done|
Lots of good snacks, crappy pizza and lots of water.
Post race reflections
I fell into step with another runner around mile 13, a veteran of 20 marathons, who had another 2 planned this year, she said that this was a very nasty marathon and one of the worst she had seen for hills/ route, etc.
Sunday afternoon was fun, but sore. I took a long bath with a nice sandwich and a cold beer. I went out with my eldest son for a short (~3.5 mile) bike ride, which I think was a good idea.
Between Endomondo measuring high at 26.95 miles & my Garmin measuring low at 26.15 miles and the course being USATF certified (MI 12029 SH), hopefully at 26.22 miles, who really knows how far it truely was, but I'm taking it as my first full marathon.
I suspect the field was nearer 800 but the results only go up to 6hrs. Full results at http://rftiming.com/raceresults.php?RaceID=120
How Endomondo saw it - http://www.endomondo.com/workouts/ihLAtHV6_7U
How Garmin saw it - http://connect.garmin.com/activity/190258760