Once a source of "Not all you want to know about Texas Adventure Racing," but now just some "leisure" adventure through the eyes of "The K-SPoT"

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

H-Town Marathon: Another Painfest

pre-race napSo it was actually going to happen. I was going to run the Houston Marathon. A few years back I had run my first Half and I had ankle issues towards the end. But still, I was close to my target time. Two years later I tried to run my first marathon, but my IT band had other plans for me. I would sit that one out. After taking another year off, I figured this was the year to do it. It still needed to be cleared off my list.

these two guys only wanted to go 15 miles that dayI promised myself to be careful and not injure myself. And for the most part I did--I was injury-free coming into the Marathon. Problem was that I had skipped some major long runs during the training period. But when I ran our longest run, a 21 miler, I felt really good and did it at about 9:30 pace. I was confident. Too confident. Since my training had been spotty I had kept my goal pretty nebulous. Until race day when all reason got shot out of a cannon and I went and looked for the 3:40 pace group. WTF? I don't know where my head was, but it wasnt with me that morning--I just kept thinking back to that 21 miler and how I felt like I had the legs to go faster. So I had set my fate.

open the flood gates, here we come!I was diligent in my hydration, so, on cue, I had to use the port-a-potty minutes away from the start. I kid you not, the gun sounded merely a minute after I got out of the stall! So that was perfect timing so far. Now, our pacer was named Carlos...thankfully, not Carlos Ibarra or I'd be in BIG trouble, but still almost as bad. There were a few women in the group that were trying to qualify for Boston and they were close to throwing a fit when our pacer was a bit ahead of the pace so early at the beginning. I too was wondering what he was doing. But I felt good so I didn't mind too much. All was going great, even past the half-marathon mark--I had PR'd at that point. Along the way there was a priest blessing runners with holy water--I made a b-line to him thinking I would need all the help I could get. And it was so true.

bring it!Mo was such a great support crew--she was at every point she said she would be. The first two times I saw her, I didn't need anything. But at the 25k point, things had turned for the worse. My legs and, more worrying, my feet were crying out all of the sudden. I don't understand why because I ran in the same shoes I had been training in and never once had foot problems. It must have been those skipped long runs--my legs and feet were not used to the long distance pounding yet. I couldn't wait to get to Mo at San Felipe and Post Oak--maybe an injection of fluids would change everything. Nope. Thats started the cycle of walking...and at that point everyone started to pass me by. That really didn't bother me--I was more worried about just finishing now. Its just crazy how things can just turn on a dime like that.

i want my mommy!So I reverted to the 9-1: 9 minutes running, 1 minute walking. My pace had dramatically dropped from about 8:24 to just about 10min or more. I didn't feel so bad because there were other people going through the same hell as I was. I just told myself to keep moving forward. I was hoping there would be more HART people out there to run/walk me in, but no one was there to help. I saw Weihan a couple of times (he took my thumbs up and thumbs down pics) but he was injured and could only cheer me on. Then came the undulation of Allen Parkway. I then reverted to AR-style trekking: run the flats and downhills, walk the uphills. I would make it, it was just a matter of "when."

The most depressing part was whenever a pacer would run past me. It was like that goal slowly slipping out of my hand. 3:50. 4:00. 4:10. Man, I had fallen back so far that everyone, and I mean everyone was passing me. I was hoping to make it under 4:20 now, but even that was slipping away. Then came the final stretch where you could see the finish line all the way in the distance. It was a nice carrot to have in front of you, but it was still a LONG way away! I did speed up a bit and hobbled the last 100m in full unmasked pain. 4:21. I was done, that's all that mattered. Shortly after going into the GRB center, Ashley asked if I was going to run another one and I replied, "NEVER!" But that's how I reply when people ask me about adventure races. Anyway, the next 2-3 days I really had a hard time on my feet. Thankfully nothing was broken. So that was it, I had done it. And I had thought before that I wanted to do a 50k or even a 100k...HA!


Blogger Kipley said...

Congrats on your first marathon, Kenny!

And while it sounds unbelievable, in many ways a 50K (or longer) can be easier than a marathon. Since most ultra-marathons are on trails instead of pavement, they put much less stress on your body. Plus, you don't feel any pressure to push the pace in ultras, so they're less stressful in that regard, too.

So... never say never!

1:45 PM

Blogger K-SPoT said...

Thanks, Kip! Yah, I know I'll eventually get back to the point where I'll want to do an ultra...but at the finish line I didn't want to have anything to do with running of any sort!

BTW, great job at Big Chill!

1:52 PM


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