Sunday, July 30, 2006

There is Strength in Numbers.

It was hot here today. I don't know what the actual high was, but yesterday set a local record. The course had some shade, but not nearly enough. I covered myself in Darcy's SPF 50 sunblock, even still my nose got a little burned.

Jake and I ran well and chatted together for the first eight km. We passed a few people, we got passed by a few people and we played tag with some others. We tried to run through the water stops, but we quickly realized that it was more important to get the water in us then to splash it on us. At about the eight km point Kelly, one of the people we'd been playing tag with, joined us. She has run eight marathons, including Boston twice. I was impressed. During the rest of the race we found out that she is turning 40 and has two kids, 7 & 9. She didn't look like it! So now there were three of us running together. The chatting we did really helped take the focus off the heat.

We got to the half way point (10.5km) in 50.44. I was very happy with that time, considering the heat. Sue, Darcy and my in-laws were waiting for us at the turn-around and gave us some bags of oranges that I had prepared. The oranges really hit the spot. I was having trouble drinking Gatorade (some mild nausea) and was only able to take in water without feeling sick, so the oranges helped get rid of the sugar taste left by Gatorade and gave me a bit of a boost too.

At about 14 km I started to have trouble. I was running well, but couldn't keep cool. It was here that I was most glad for having these two more experienced runners chatting. Even though I couldn't say anything, the conversation really kept me distracted from the task at hand and I knew that I couldn't let them get ahead of me. If they had dropped me, I surely would have crumbled. I really learned the truth to the saying 'there is strength in numbers'. At 16 km, as I walked through the aid station, I got my wind back and started to feel better. "5 km left. I know I can run 5km." That was all that was going through my head.

With about 4 km left things were starting to turn for the worse again. Jake is a very nice guy. He was in a really good mood today and thanked every single volunteer and police officer on the course. As he and Kelly joked with each other I thought to myself, "Jake is really in a good mood. But, that good mood is really starting to p!ss me off." I gave myself a little head shake and thanked him for keeping me in the race. With 2 km left Kelly said that she wanted to pass the girl that was in front of us and she took off. She went by easily and it completely crushed the other girl. As soon as Kelly went by, the other girl started walking. She was broken. When Jake and I went by, with about 1.5 km left, she looked really disappointed.

We caught Kelly again at the last turn and pushed her to keep up with us for the finish. But once I could see the line, I just let everything out and Jake and I sprinted for the line. I heard the announcer say, "Here come two guys who can feel the finish line!" I crossed about a step or two ahead of Jake. Our second half was done in 52.34. A very solid split.

Our splits were very steady throughout the race. Right around 4:45-5:05/km. Our first one was too fast, 4:24. But our last one was just as strong, we finished the last one in 4:25. For the record, I beat him to the line. But officially, he is listed ahead of me in the standings. I'm okay with that because if it wasn't for him, I wouldn't have been where I was. He did all the work, I just tagged along for the ride. Total time: 1.43.18, 19/55 overall & 10/17 in age group.

I feel great about it. For the first time this race has ever been held, it was top notch. Things were very organized and the aid-stations were pretty well done. My biggest beef was that plastic cups are really hard to drink out of while running. But that didn't matter, because I walked through most of the aid-stations. And I got to meet Shelley in person. It was an honor to get my finisher medal from someone who's completed five Ironman races.

Great to meet you Shelley, thanks for putting together such a great event!


Stef said...

As much I think you're insane to even attempt such a course, I am all very impressed with you completing it. Man ... hope you're feeling OK today. Do your legs feel like lead?

Krista Lavender said...

I love the face you're making in that second picture Nick - I think I make that face a lot when I'm running too! LOL!

Excellent work. That time is very impressive - I'd be lucky to finish it in 2:10, especially in that heat. I'm so glad Glenn and I chose a fall marathon!

That's such a great accomplishment! Way to go! :)