This race was my first HM since October of last year. It was also the longest race I have run since my calf injury. I honestly did not know what to expect from this race in terms of how my calf would react. I knew the course was hilly so I had planned to run an easy pace and walk the major inclines and through the water stops. My goal time was between 2:20 and 2:30.
We got underway for our 3 hour trek to "The Fred" earlier than expected which was a nice change to the chaos we sometimes face getting everyone out the door on time. The drive was not bad until we hit some 2 lane stretches of the 64 where some drivers forgot that the left lane was a passing lane. After many "WOOSAAAAH's" we navigated the traffic successfully and arrived in "The Fred" earlier than expected. I had requested early check in at the hotel (where did I stay again?), but our room was not ready yet, so we headed off to the Expo to pick up my bib. Oh yeah, we were staying at the Residence Inn by Marriott.
The expo was not too bad and did not seem to be overly crowded. I texted my fellow MCHH'ers that I was at the Expo and proceeded to pick up my gear. We were wandering through the vendor area when Dennis texted me that he was at the Expo as well. Dennis and I met and stood around talking for a while. I said goodbye to Dennis and took the family to Ryan's buffet for lunch. Our room still was not ready so we headed up to the Marine Corps Museum. The Museum is quite impressive and I really wish we could have spent more time there to at least walk through all of the exhibits. After a couple of hours my legs and temperament were starting to show signs of fatigue from a combination of the drive and walking around I think so we called it a wrap and drove back to the hotel.
We rested for a bit then turned around and were off to dinner with the gang followed by Ice Cream at a local parlor. I thought I had prepared everything as well as I could have Saturday night before hitting the rack at 10PM. Starting at 3AM I began waking up occasionally to glance at the clock to make sure I didn't oversleep. My alarm went off at 5am and I got dressed, grabbed a power bar and headed out the door. About halfway to the start, I realized that I had forgotten my gels in the fridge, cr@p! We had to turn around. Kotoko, dropped me off and I walked to the start area. It was raining, so I had my jacket on. I began to stretch and tried to decide whether or not to run with my jacket on. I decided to run with it and checked in my gear bag.
I really was hoping to see some of the crew prior to the start, and it wasn't looking like I was going to until I ran into Craig shortly before the start. Chris and I had talked a bit about running together and I was a little disappointed that I couldn't find him prior to the race, sorry Chris it would have been fun. The race started and I began to navigate through the traffic. I saw the 1 mile marker and checked my pace, WTF? Mr. Garmin says .75 miles! I hear some of the other runners saying the same.
Mile 1 - 10:55 slower than I wanted but considering the traffic, not bad. Mile 2 - 9:56, OK let's not get too happy. Mile 2 I also removed my jacket and tied it around my waist (note to self- trash bag works just as good) I decided to start walking the inclines around mile 3. I began to walk and heard the Theme song from Rocky. I said, "Who can walk when Rocky is playing?" I noticed some other walking runners began to run again when I did. My times for miles 3 - 7 ranged from 10:05 to 10:29. Mile 8 I went sub 10 with a 9:54 I believe do to hearing the awesome bagpipes on the course. Mile 9 was back at 10:24, the calf was beginning to get tight. Around mile 10 it became apparent that I was going have to deal with those pesky Browns, do I ignore them and race through to the finish or do I answer the door? Mile 11 I found Facilities with no lines and took care of business I was back on the road for the finish. Miles 10 - 12; 11:27, 12:16, 11:13. I passed the hospital, ambulance and EMT crew as they were attending to the down runner around mile 11. As I was coming up at that last hill I looked up and saw Jerry and Charlie. Charlie ran alongside me the rest of the way to the finish. I picked up my pace and finished mile 13 in 9:14 (now if I can only do that for an entire race). My chip time was 2:21:05. Thanks for bringing me in Charlie.
My calf did not feel too bad and I believe I was having more tightness in my quads and hamstrings that anywhere else. I met my time goal but am a little disappointed because I had way too much left at the end.
It was great seeing you and meeting some of you for the first time. It was also great to finally be able to run in a race with some of you. Charlie, considering we work in the same building, we need to get together more often. Holly, I am sorry things did not go as planned. Dennis, some of us are talking about Madison in 2010: are you in? Chris I am sure we ran by each other at some point in the race, next time we will coordinate better. Ruby next time bring the kids! Carl it was great meeting you. Craig as always, it was a pleasure seeing you again. Jerry, you made Irene's day you are one awesome dude, thank you.