Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Clarence DeMar Marathon

So who the heck is Clarence DeMar?

Well, it turns out he's a 7-time winner of the Boston Marathon, who lived and worked in the Keene, New Hampshire, area as an instructor and track/XC coach for Keene State College. No other marathoner has won 7 times at Boston. His 7th victory there came in 1930, when he became the oldest winner of the event at the age of 41, a record he still holds. To honor him, a local group of runners put on the Clarence DeMar Marathon, which finishes not far from where he used to live and train his teams on a cinder track at KSC. Cool history lesson!

The race start, however, was in a tiny town called Gilsum north of Keene. There were about 250 runners and it looked like we probably doubled the town's population that Sunday morning. Most businesses were closed but one store was open. I'll bet the owner was thrilled to have so many customers.

Race day temperatures, however, were not as I'd hoped. Thanks to Hurricane Kyle looming off the New England coast, we had temperatures in the 60's with 94% humidity. Sort of cool but definitely not crisp. At least it wasn't raining as it had been the day before when we arrived.

But a downhill course should make things easy, right? Wrong. I actually think downhill courses are harder than flat or rolling courses because of the extra pounding on the quads which can make later miles in a marathon very difficult. So my plan was to run the first half very easy, like a 10+ minute pace. If by halfway the legs still feel good, then I can pick up my pace a little, but not a lot knowing I have another marathon the following weekend. All I really want to do is finish!

So I brought along my old Garmin Forerunner 201 to help keep me from going out too fast. Unfortunately, I couldn't get a satellite signal through the thick cloud cover, though, so I ended up using it like a regular watch (newer Garmins should have no problem). Oh well, I was sure I knew what a 10 minute mile pace felt like having run a lot of them in Hawaii recently.

But 20 degrees cooler weather makes a difference! I'm reaching mile markers in less than 10 minutes easily and wondering if they might be off (it's happened before). Probably not but the pace doesn't feel too fast so I continue on. Please excuse the wild hair.

Around mile 6, I see hubby Dave on his bike riding the course in reverse. Yay! There were very few spectators so it was a treat to see him. And it was actually the first of my marathons he'd been to this year!

I pass through an aid station and demonstrate my on-the-run drinking technique, which has never before been caught on camera. Grab cup, scrunch top into a spout and pour fluid into mouth. Voila! (I still usually carry two 10oz Fuel Belt bottles with me, however, as aid stations are often further apart than I'd like.)

After he's taken way too many pictures of me, I encourage Dave to ride to the top of the hill where we started and take some pictures of the scenery along the route. He got the stream that ran alongside the road, a meadow where maybe a moose was hiding in the trees(?), and some of the many, MANY colorful trees:

Pretty area, huh? Especially for someone who's only seen leaves turning once before in her life (at the Mohawk Hudson Marathon in Albany, New York, which RunningGeezer262 will be running soon!)

The only thing that was missing were porta-potties. But I knew there'd be NONE except at the start and finish of the race. What???

Yes, at packet p/u we were told there were none on the course but that there were plenty of trees, a few gas stations and stores along the way, and some people who'd probably let us use their bathrooms if we knocked on their door. Weird!

Around mile 8, though, I feel something worse ... a little twinge in my right hammy. Oh no!

I slow down a bit and feel another little one about a mile later. Crap!!

Now I'm thinking that any moment I'm going to feel a pop again and be reduced to walking. But ... nothing ... else ... happens!!

At mile 13, we reached a small town where I see a 7-11 across the street. I completely forget about the hammy and run over there as fast as I can thinking that everyone around me has got the same thing on their mind. Unbelievably, no one followed and there was no line!!!

After the pit stop, I was fired up and ready to go. I'd finished the first half in 2:06 and hadn't heard from the hammy for several miles. So I ran back onto the course and by mile 15 had caught up to and passed all the people I was running nearby earlier before the break. We get rained on a little (note drenched shorts below). Mile marker 20 comes and goes but no Dave. Where could he be?

At mile 21 he rolls up and tells me he'd gotten a flat. I'm relieved he's OK and then ask him how bad that hill at mile 22 is (his job is to scope out the hills and report back to me :-). He tells me it's pretty bad. Bah! I'll be finishing between 4:05 and 4:10, I tell him.

So I get to mile 22 and everyone is walking up the hill. It's maybe about a 1/4 mile long and, according to Dave's Garmin Edge 305, a 10% grade. No way, I say. I've run up hills like this that were a lot longer in Hawaii.

So I shift into my granny gear and start going up slow and steady. One person has the energy to cheer for me and I cheer for him back. At the top, there's a good downhill and then I know it's pretty much flat from here on out. This race is in the bag!

Coming down the final stretch, someone called out my name on the left. It's fellow blogger Greg, aka Road Warrior, who lives about an hour away and had come out to see the race. Though we've never met before in person, I recognized him immediately. Dave was on the right cheering. Wow, two people cheering for me at a small race far from home, talk about feeling like a ROCKSTAR!

After I pigged out on some post-race food, Dave and I found Greg again and we chatted for a while about the race and his 48 miles in 48 hours running challenge. Unfortunately, I couldn't stay too long because I had to get in an ice bath soon to start recovering for my race next weekend. Great meeting you, Greg!

Final time:
4:08:25 (9:29 avg pace)
17/29 F40-49

48th overall marathon
38th state in my 50 States quest
12 more left!

Thanks, Dave, for all the photos and support!!!


Spokane Al said...

Clarence DeMar - that is definitely a name from the history books. I am glad to hear about a race in his honor.

Congratulations on another one down. You are an inspiration for me as I head out to run Portland on Sunday.

Katie said...

Great job! I'm glad your hamstring behaved. The scenery is gorgeous; Dad took some great pictures.

Susan said...

EXCELLENT! RW and Dave - what a crew! That's great!

One day in my life I want to complete a marathon with as much ease as ShirleyPerly!

Jenny Davidson said...

Great race, great report! Thanks for sharing.

Cliff said...


The pictures are very nice. The leaves are already changing color.

That's good drinking technique. I would often grab a cup and run away from the water station a bit..then sip sip sip.and toss the cup aside.

Congrats on your 48th mary and Dave to be there to cheer you on.

Road Warrior said...

Now that's a great race report. I'm amazed that you remember so much from the race.

It was so great to meet you, Shirley. It was well worth the short drive!

Wendy said...

Wonderful history lesson, lovely pictures Dave, fine job and race report Shirley!

Runner Leana said...

It looks gorgeous out there! Congratulations on your fantastic race! I can't believe that there were no porta-potties along the way. Seriously, you were supposed to knock on random doors to ask?

Stef said...

Shirley if I ever run a marathon I want to have as much fun and look as cute as you do doing it.

Congratulations! Especially glad the hammy behaved. I'm sure it will this weekend too.

Marathon Maritza said...

You are so awesome!!!!

I can't believe how close you are to hitting all 50 states!

Congratulations on another great marathon!

peter said...

Cool race, nice time! Good luck this weekend in ME.

Brittany M. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Brittany M. said...

Incredible job and pictures, you are an awesome athlete and I hope to one day do the 1 per state as well!! Thanks for the awesome report!!

Kevin said...

Great photos. Looks like a great place to run a marathon even if there isnt much spectator support

Bruce Stewart (施樸樂) (ブルース・スチュワート) said...

A great achievement, not just the run, but having run somewhere different over a beautiful course and met so many nice people. Much more than just a race. Presumably next week's race is the 39th state.

Gordon said...

Awesome race report. Way to go!

How much ice goes in your ice bath? I have a 15 miler next week and will try the ice treatment afterward.

Anonymous said...

Great job running a smart race and having fun!! And, a negative split too! WOW :-)

I'm glad your hammie behaved after the little twinge. Those are some awesome pictures, too.

I am really impressed that you didn't walk on that steep hill! I want to get better at that.

Judi said...

Wow, great RR! You go girl! Nice pictures too!

Petraruns said...

Awesome race, awesome time - how great that you got to see Grey AND wow - Dave's support is pretty amazing as well. Added to that you look totally fabulous - I would LOVE to have hair like yours! - and all over happy. You couldn't better it!

Tammy said...

Wow Im so happy you hamstring held up, I hope to meet up with you next year if you plan to do the ING Hartford CT marathon, that would be totally cool. It is nice to see a familuar face, it's a small world after all isn't it. :D. Great time and great pictures, fall is so awesome.

CewTwo said...

As always, a great race report!

Funny about those pitstop parameters!

Great seeing you and Greg together!

What fun!

Sunshine said...

Glorious pictures!! And you always look fabulous!!

jen said...

Congrats!! Great race report. You finished right on target, and I'm so glad the hammy didn't cause a problem.

That are is so beautiful, I love the fall trees! You look like you were having a blast. Great work and good luck on the next ones. You are near to 50 career marathons!! :O

akshaye said...

Shirley - Great race! And I had no idea about Clarence DeMar.

I agree with you on the course profile. In fact I find any profile that has no variation to be very difficult. Constant pounding on the same muscle group makes it much harder.

Have a great weekend!

lizzie lee said...

OMG Shirley... My hero of the week!!! How cool was that? Congratulations. 48 marathons, big WOW. Wonderful pictures, great husband.. Love the picture of the trees with diverse fall colors. It seems impressionist art.

Nice that you met Road Warrior, I hope to meet any of you one day.

And I loved the wild hair!!!!!!!

Ellie Hamilton said...

Totally fantastic, Shirley! Very fun report on a great race!

IrishBlue said...

Sweet! You are amazing lady. I love how you are always smiling and make the marathon thing look like fun. I'll probably be crying like a baby at mile 22 next Sunday.

jeanne said...

you ARE a ROCKSTAR! ha ha you shifted into granny gear! i think that's my permanent gear for running. maybe biking too!

beautiful photos. nice job!

Smithposts said...

Hey Shirley, not only did you have a great race, but an opportunity to enjoy the change of seasons in a very picturesque location! It doesn't get much better than that!