Tuesday, March 9, 2010

2010 Umstead Marathon race report

Year of the Bunny
OK, so I was wrong again about the mascot. This year, it turned out to be a bunny (rabbit or hare, can't tell the difference). Oh, sure a bunny is a safe choice. But wouldn't a pile of horse poo be more indicative of the Umstead experience?

The Race
I am not going to tell you how great a race the Umstead Marathon is. I am selfish and want to keep it a secret. If people found out that this is the best race in NC, it would fill up in 1 minute and I might not get in next year. So for everyone who has never done it, you are not missing much. If you do decide to sign up for 2011, don't rush into anything, think about it a while. At least wait until January before signing up.

I cannot thank the Godiva Track Club enough, the warmest, friendliest group of people I have ever met. I wish I had enough time to get around and talk to everybody and thank all the volunteers.

Congratulations goes out to:
  • Frank Lilley for a faster finish than last year, despite entering a new age group, and taking tons of pictures along the way. Frank knows how to have fun and enjoy a race and I think we could all learn a lot from him. His great race report is here.
  • Bill and Sally Squier, both 64, who finished their 7th out of 7 Umstead Marathons
  • Karrie Anne Loyd for finishing her first marathon in Umstead. Her longest run previously was only 14 miles. Amazing!
  • Matt "Moose" Marum who took almost an hour off his time from last year, and got "wood"
  • Bubbles who set an Umstead PR despite consuming a record 20 E-Caps
  • Shannon who met her goal of breaking 4 hours, while still taking lots of photos along the way
  • Laura MacLean for coming in 3rd female. Laura did the Gasparilla challenge the weekend before, which is a 5K, a 15K, and a Marathon. That's just nuts.
  • And to all the finishers, because this is one hard marathon
  • Shame on Erik Johnson and Wayne Crews for breaking 3 hours and making it look easy.
My race
This was my 5th Umstead Marathon, and it is always my goal race for the entire year, and the goal is to "get wood". That is, to get a wooden plaque awarded to the top 15 male and female finishers.
This year was in doubt because Shannon and I had run the Uwharrie 40 37 miler 4 weeks before, and I had been stupid and not rested enough.
Though it a was chilly 38, the sun made it feel like 50, which was perfect. Shannon of course was taking pictures, so we hugged and mugged and wished every one good luck, and then we were off.
Mile 1
Talked with Mike Dalton for a while trying to relax, but when I saw there was about 30 guys in front of me at the airport out-and-back I got nervous and started pushing harder than I should have.

Mile 6
"The Bunny says go that way!", said our friend Shuwen who was course monitor on Sycamore, "It's not an opossum!"
My hamstrings and calves were already tightening up and hurting, but this has happens often so I ignored it.

Striking a pose, and
hurting myself
at about Mile 20.
[photo by Guy De Burgh]
Mile 9
Volunteers and spectators shouted out encouragement, "you're in 6th place!", but there was much discrepancy in what place I was in, "you're in 20th place!"
I knew that at this point it didn't really matter, and I kept swapping places with a few guys all through Turkey Creek.

Mile 15
On my second visit to the Graylyn aid station, someone was playing a bongo, which helped me relax and tried some goofy dance moves while running. Hopefully no one got a picture of that.

Mile 17

This is where I first felt Uwharrie getting it's revenge.
As in Uwharrie, I was taking the uphills easy, and then going down fast with my "small steps". This was gentle on my quads but my hips were getting pummeled to hamburger.

Mile 20
My neighbor Guy had come out to take pictures, which can be found here. I stopped to strike a pose, and I think pulled a muscle in my back doing it.
Have you seen me?

Lost: Calf muscle, left.
Last seen: Bouncing down Cedar Ridge
in Umstead park.

Description: Severely dehydrated,
overworked, and
spontaneously convulsing

Contact: running-down.com
Mile 22
Whoever the psychopath was that designed the course put the steepest section here on the Cedar Ridge out-and-back. First came the punishing downhill, where my right hip flexor finally gave up completely.
I was going pretty fast, but not by choice, as I stumbled down the hill out of control. My right leg just flopped around like it had popped out of the socket.
Mile 23
Finally I reached the bottom, and managed stop and turn around. "Thank God that's over!", I said out loud, and started to trudge right back up the hill I had just come down.
This is where my left calf, which had been getting progressively tighter the whole race, finally began to convulse, and I heard a tiny scream. My Gastrocnemius muscle simply couldn't take it any more and it popped off my leg and went bouncing down the hill.

Mile 24
"Looks like you're getting wood!", Karen Murphy shouted out.
For a second I thought my shorts were too tight, "Oh no! Can you tell?"
I stopped to stretch my remaining calf, but my quads started to cramp up too. So I just continue to hobble forward, limping up the hills because of my missing left calf, and stumbling down them because of my pummeled right hip. I should have just stopped and walked in, but I just couldn't resist a chance set an Umstead PR.

I limped across the finish line, 6 minutes faster than last year. I forgot about the pain as I received my wooden bunny. But then I almost collapsed when I received my door prize, a one pound bag of Charlie's Soap.

This is what happens when you take 20 E-Caps

I got a few pictures of Shannon and some other folks finishing, and ate a Moe's Burrito.
Dr. Kenneth Becker was volunteering as the on-call doctor for the race and recommended I get a massage for my battered legs. So I got a massage, but missed some of the folks finishing at the end.

Once again, it was a fantastic day. And if I can ever run again, I hope to do this race next year, and for years to come.

Here are all the pictures that Shannon took.