Monday, March 31, 2008

Ocean Drive Marathon

As you can see, it was a beautiful blue sky day but notice the flag. Winds starting out at 14mph meant temps were gonna feel like 25-35 degrees -- my coldest race to date. And there was going to be considerable extra work getting to the finish line on this point-to-point course because we'd be running against it most of the way.

Still, I set my usual goal of a 4-hour finish. I knew this race was probably going to be cold and windy from the MarathonGuide.com race reviews I'd read and was layered like an onion. I also had a plan: draft other runners as much as possible until the last 10K.

Draft? Yes, it's legal in foot races and it's the smart thing to do if you can find folks who will break the wind for you. And usually the polite thing to do is share the work and pull for a while too but being a small person, no one ever wants to be behind me ;-)

The first couple miles were not too bad, though, since the course turned inland for a bit after mile 1. But after mile 3 we were heading back to the coast and over some bridges, completely exposed, fighting the headwind and gusts over 20 mph. The waterway scenery was beautiful but I dared not try to take my camera out for fear of losing it. Miles 1-5 done in 44:10 (8:50 pace).

Along the way I'd found 2 other guys to run behind. The big guy in red was only doing the 10-miler and didn't mind pulling the entire way (YEAH!). The guy to his right in blue and me just shifted from back to side depending on which direction the wind was coming from. Blue Guy was a 3-time Ironman finisher and used bike hand signals to indicate which way he was going and to watch out for curbs, etc., which made it easier for me to follow. During this portion along the boardwalk we had a little shelter from some buildings so I darted out in front of them for a moment and snapped a couple photos. Miles 6-10 done in 45:14 (9:03 pace).



After the 10-mile finish line, there were much fewer runners on the course and Blue Guy, who was also doing the marathon, dropped back to eat a gel or something. Around the halfway point I found 3 other guys to run with but they didn't seem to be interested in working together, unfortunately. Two of them were from the DC area and sped off around mile 15 after we'd braved a couple bridge crossings together. I ran alongside (not drafting) the third one from Houston, TX, for a while until ~mile 20. Turns out he, too, was a 50-states marathoner so it was fun exchanging stories while enjoying the pretty scenery and commiserating about the wind. Miles 11-20 done in 1:32:02 (9:12 pace).

I told Houston Guy my race started at mile 20 and he dropped back soon thereafter. I came across the DC Duo again, one of whom appeared to be really slowing down now. Around mile 22, the course made a 90-degree turn and I saw a glimpse of a guy who was running nearby me much earlier in the race. I remembered him because he was wearing a bright orange hat and had said he was training for Ironman Wisconsin. He was pretty far ahead, maybe nearly a 1/4 mile, running alongside another guy with a small woman in tow. I made it my mission to try to catch them. Miles 21-25 done in 44:43 (8:57 pace).

By mile 25 Orange Hat Guy and his group were less 20 yards ahead of me, still totally unaware of my plot. The finish line was straight ahead off in the distance, straight into the wind. Everyone could surely see it but no one seemed to be sprinting for it. My calves had just started to feel tight, too, so I thought I'd decided not to either but suddenly found myself in front of the threesome I'd been chasing and had no choice. Did they slow down?

Like I'd just stolen a candy bar from a store, I bolted and hoped none of them would catch me. I passed a few others along the way and was about to pass one last guy when he turned around and saw me and just beat me to the finish line (oh well). Last 1.2 miles done in 10:12 (8:30 pace).

Final race time: 3:56:24, 5/14 F40-49, 14/92 F

16 more marathons left in my 50-states quest!



Side note: Just after crossing the finish line, my calves really began cramping up, which is the first time they've ever done that in a race or in training. I tried drinking water, stretching and walking it off but nothing seemed to help. Then I sat down and ate a banana and, presto, the cramps were gone in minutes. I'll carry salt caps with me during marathons from now on, even if it's not a hot race.

16 comments:

Susan said...

Shirley,

My jaw is on the floor. To be able to stay so consistent and then GET FASTER during the last 10K is something I personally can not imagine. WOW WOW WOW! Maybe one day...

Looks like it was a small race. Where is your denim jacket and red bandanna? Ha ha ha!

Congrats, my friend. You rock!

Susan

Brent Buckner said...

Quality day!

runninggeezer262 said...

A 3:56:24 into a 20MPH headwind, that is awesome! And you had time to stop and take photos. Great post, very descriptive. Congratulations on your achievements this weekend!

Maddy said...

Amazing Shirley!

I love that you give nicknames to people on the course. That's great!

Another fantasitc race and one more state under your belt. Simply amazing!

Congratulations on an awesome finish in all that wind!

ShirleyPerly said...

Thanks Everyone!

RG26.2 - Actually, only the gusts were 20+mph. The wind averaged 14-16mph most of the way. Except for the finish line photo, all photos were taken while running :-)

Annette said...

Wow Shirley I am just in awe of you!! What a great race and a great race report. I loved the pictures!

jen said...

Congrats!! Sounds like a fun race despite the wind. Great job!

Rural Girl said...

Great marathon report, shirley. Nice run. You make it sound so easy!

Jade Lady said...

Way to finish strong - you make marathon running look too easy!

MarathonChris said...

Congrats on a great race!!! Sounded challenging yet you had a plan and made it happen - and you finished strong as well :-)

Smithposts said...

WOW! Congrats on Ocean Drive results, faster than goal in challenging winds with photos too.
I found myself cheering you to the finish line. Gotta love a story with a happy ending!

Tri to Be Funny said...

Congrats on another race well run!!!

Wendy said...

Excellent work out there Shirley!

akshaye said...

Wow.. thats an amazing time! And with conditions like that too. You're terrific - someday I hope to run like that.

Petraruns said...

Girl! Woman! Wow! What an amazing race! And a lovely negative split as well. I have so much to learn from you in terms of strategy...

peter said...

How did I miss this fact that you ran a sub-4 hour marathon recently? Way to go. I'm gonna watch out for your sneak tactics if I ever run in a race with you! (Actually I did, and there was no watching out for you in WDWM 2006 b/c you were way ahead!)