Tuesday, May 26, 2009

2009 Bayshore Marathon

Above: Shannon, Me and my sister Monique.

May 29, 2004
In honor of my 2004 race

“Could I have some of that cake you’re eating?” I asked the volunteers at the water stop. It was 5 years ago, and I was at mile 18 of the Bayshore Marathon, and I was really, really hungry. That year the course featured a zero calorie sports drink (apparently for people concerned about gaining weight while running marathons) so I was really craving some sugar.
“Um”, they looked at each other, “sure”. They handed me 3 big pieces of crumb cake. I walked for a while, eating the cake out of water cups. Eventually I got enough energy to run the last few miles, finishing in 4:03.

May 23, 2009
5 years and 10 marathons later I was back in Traverse City, MI attempting to run Bayshore again, only this time 48 minutes faster to qualify for Boston with a 3:15. I was running it with Shannon and my sister Monique.

My training for this race was somewhat unconventional. In the 10 weeks prior to this marathon:
  • Number of long runs: 1 (17 miles)
  • Number of races: 9 (three 5Ks, 10K, 4 miler, 10 miler, 15K, and 2 half marathons)
  • Number of times I was at work and contemplated sleeping under my desk: 31
My sister Monique's training consisted of a stress fracture in her foot and not running for the last 3 weeks. Her goal was to just see if she could run at all on her broken foot.

Shannon's training went very well because I gave her my advice and she carefully followed none of it. Her goal was also to qualify for Boston, which is a 3:45 for her, but she was really hoping to run under a 3:30.
My favorite shirt. "Road racing is for wimps",
explaining why I was at this nice flat road race.

At the start it was absolutely perfect weather. About 55 degrees, cloudy and no wind. I had with me 600 calories of eGel, which is like 6 Gu packets, so I wasn't going to get hungry this time. It is a small race with 1400 people, so we got up close to the front of the pack. At 7 am the race started and the crowd broke up very quickly. I settled into a comfortable, relaxed pace and looked at my Garmin. I needed to run about a 7:20 pace, and it said 7:18. I couldn't believe I could run that fast and have it feel that easy.

The course was relatively flat and my pace remained constant. Remarkably the Garmin was dead on for most of the race hitting the mile markers exactly. I tried talking with some folks but no one seemed to be going exactly my pace so I just relaxed at looked out over the bay that the road ran along.

After the turn around I saw Shannon and Monique running together, not far behind me. I managed to keep the 7:18 pace, but slowly things started to hurt. First my hamstrings at mile 15. My hip at 16. Shins at 17. These we safely ignored. Around mile 20, a guy pacing a girl shouted out "any one who wants to break 3:10 follow us!". I tried to follow them but my body protested. My calves started to quiver, threatening to seize up at any moment, so I backed off.

Monique cruising along

It wasn't until mile 25 that I started to struggle, with my calves really quaking. About a quarter mile from the finish a women spectator I didn't know looked right at me and said "congratulations! your going to Boston!" I jumped up to celebrate and my calves cramped up. I managed to hobble around the track to the finish in 3:12. A PR by 14 minutes!

I scarfed down a couple of yogurts and walked off the cramps. Shannon came in at 3:27, a huge PR for her. Amazingly Monique managed to finish in 3:31 on a broken foot.

The bay

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