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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Niagara Falls would be my very first marathon, following up on my first half marathon about a month ago in Rochester. We took the kids up to Niagara Falls yesterday and stayed overnight. It was raining and pretty windy. I thought, boy glad the marathon is tomorrow and not today.<br><br>
It was our good fortune to have some party people in the room next door, so my early pasta carbo-load session and plan for early bed were replaced by a restless night and the smell of cigarette smoke wafting into the room. Oh well, I would have tossed and turned regardless I'm sure. Up at 5:45. Shower, put on shorts, shirt jersey, garmin, grab gear bag and cab money and I'm out the door. Buses to the start were leaving from another hotel about 1.5 miles away. So I get to the hotel early and about to board bus and they say, "Does everyone have their passports?" Me: Uh, no, you checked my passport at the expo yesterday....I need to bring it with me??? The answer: yes. Fuck me. Great, now grab a cab back to my hotel, wake up DW, search in the dark for my passport, and I'm back downstairs and cab has me back to the bus in 10 minutes.<br><br>
OK, that scare out of the way, we board the bus, idle chatter with fellow racers, cross the border back to the U.S, customs agent checks our passports and 6 foreigners from Austria, Australia and England are pulled from the bus for extra screening. An hour later wer're on our way to the start. Sun is shining brightly and the winds that had been forecast were almost non-existent. Seeing others stripping down, I decide shorts and tech shirt will do. It would later come to regret this error.<br><br>
Fast forward to start, 3 advil, 3 bananas and two waters down and fresh from the men's room I'm ready to run. Over 900 runners make the start. I've got a Nathan speed belt with 40oz of Powerbar Endurance, 5 gels and a dream.<br><br>
Temp is a chilly 44 degrees but bright sunshine. Gun goes off and we're running. A quick loop about a mile in length and we're headed through the streets of Buffalo past beautiful old homes for the Peace Bridge. The Peace Bridge crossing was our only significant uphill at about mile 5 but it hinted at the winds that would be coming our way. It was windy enough as we crossed that I actually removed my cap to avoid losing it. I decided to try to keep my heart rate at 165 (86% of max) or under for the first half and pretty much was able to do so. I went out a little faster that I have been doing my training runs though and was averaging about 8:45 for the first 10 miles.<br><br>
I let a whole lot of people pass me in the beginning, probably a good half of the field, and was content to have my slower first half, confident I could pick many people off again in the second half. Things were going really well for the first half of the race, I was maintaining my target heart rate and feeling strong. I had to hold myself back from running faster, reminding my ego that I did not want to blow up early. Made some idle chatter with people and watched that beautiful bright sunshine slowly fade into a growing cover of ominous gray clouds. The wind that had kicked up as we crossed the bridge began to feel much colder now as the clouds essentially swallowed up any remnants of sun's earlier vague warmth. We would only see occasionally glimpses of it from then on, and the wind was intense, blowing directly at us steady at 20 MPH, and gusting much higher.<br><br>
I crossed the halfway mark at 1:56:01. I was hoping for 1:55 so I was definitely within reach. A few more miles go by and I'm still feeling very strong and amping up the pace. Miles 15 to 18 were all in the low 8:20s. I decide to keep my heart rate under 175 for the second half and pretty much manage to do so.<br><br>
I had taken a Gu at mile 6 and again at mile 13 with another advil. I took my last around mile 18 or 19. I was beginning to realize by then that the cold winds and lack of sun and my poor decision not to wear gloves had all contributed to make my hands fairly numb and difficult to open my bag and administer my gu. At one point I bobbled one of my water bottles in the air, just barley catching it in my essentially useless hand. I even joked to the guy next to me that it was a lucky catch.<br><br>
Miles 13 to 20, while my legs and lungs still felt fresh, were tough. I bridged so many gaps on my own into the wind. I would draft runners wherever I could, but to keep my pace, I had to keep moving on. All the gap closing and the relentless, and now quite cold, wind was beginning to chill my spirit by mile 21. My legs started to feel twitchy. I forced myself to think positive and keep moving steadily but I was really hating that fucking wind now. I forced down fluids to keep from cramping up.<br><br>
By mile 23 I was really starting to wear down. My lungs felt strong but the legs had switched over to auto-pilot. "Just keep turning the cranks" I told myself. I started to pass fewer runners and the field was very spread out now. Mostly single runners yards apart with a few small groups of 2 or 3.<br><br>
Miles 24 to the finish were probably the toughest I've run all year. My hopes of making my "really awesome" goal time of 3:40 or even my "still really good" goal time of 3:45 were slipping away as I just tried to keep the bonk monster in its cage. Despite liberal lubing and bandaging of toes, I could also feel them shredding in my shoes for the last several miles. I kept looking for the promised downhill finish, which was a bit of a mirage. There was a short downhill section but it ended at a flat with another 3/4 mile to go. It was hard for me to look at runners stopping to walk so close to the finish. I wanted to tell them to "just keep going, you're almost there", but it was just too much. I could barely keep my head in the game and stopping was all I could think about. I certainly didn't have any energy to encourage other runners. The explosive finishing splits of my Half Marathon seemed a world away and I was barely holding on at 8:48 for the last two miles.<br><br>
With less than half a mile to go, I still can't see the finish banner. And I'm starting to fray badly. My muscles are twitching like a motherf now and I'm seconds away from a debilitating cramp. But I hold on. Finally, the banner appears and a crowd of screaming people. I heard none of them. It was all a blur. I just wanted to step on that mat. It was so sweet to cross that finish. My legs were like jelly and I was spent.<br><br>
Just before the finish line. Absolutely nothing left.<br><br><img alt="" src="http://i213.photobucket.com/albums/cc233/jbrinda1/P1010026.jpg" style="border:0px solid;"><br><br>
Gun time - 3:47:43<br>
Chip time - 3:47:18<br>
Garmin - 3:47:40<br>
First Half - 1:56:01<br>
Second Half - 1:51:44<br><br>
294 out of 903 finishers (not bad for my inaugural marathon)<br>
235 out of 577 males (also pretty good on overall gender place)<br>
56 out of 103 male 40 -44 (this was my biggest stats disappointment)<br><br>
I managed to pull off the negative split but only by about 4 minutes. I was hoping for 10.<br><br>
Here's me and the kids after a few minutes of recovery. Notice how bundled up they are and you get an idea how cold it was.<br><br><img alt="" src="http://i213.photobucket.com/albums/cc233/jbrinda1/P1010030.jpg" style="border:0px solid;"><br><br>
And the toes that took a beating but kept on moving.<br><br><img alt="" src="http://i213.photobucket.com/albums/cc233/jbrinda1/P1010031.jpg" style="border:0px solid;"><br><br>
Post mortem:<br><br>
I mangled about 40% of my toes pretty good. My legs are a little sore but not too bad. I scarfed down 6 glasses of gatorade at the finish. I realize that my need to do so indicated that I did not adequately hydrate along the route. I never stopped for water or gatorade, deciding to use my own supply instead. Next time I will do a better job on that. The temp at the finish was only 46. That combined with my stupid decision to scratch the long sleeve jersey and gloves and the relentless wind really did a job on me. But I don't think there was much more I could have done with the wind. I just made for a real tough day on the road.<br><br>
I am going to take a much deserved rest day tomorrow.<br><br>
Here are the pics.<br><br><a href="http://brightroom.com/view_user_event.asp?EVENTID=24978&ID=42660603&FROM=photos&BIB=117" target="_blank">http://brightroom.com/view_user_even...photos&BIB=117</a>
 

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Congrats to you on a good one.<br><br>
I kept the rain away for you today by not running. I have run Niagara 8 times (usually the half) and it has rained 8 times.<br><br>
I call it the marathon where BQ hopes go to die.<br><br>
People know water flows downhill and therefore figure the downhill course will be a breeze. It is in fact the breeze, almost always out of the north at that time of year that dashes so many hopes.<br>
Ya done good...and every race teaches you something.
 

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JohnnyB - Wow what a race and you still came in at a great time! All of the RM's and RD's inspire me. I am amazed at your tenacity to hold on at the end in the midst of those who began to walk so close to the finish and in such wicked conditions! You rock!!!!
 

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<b>JOHN!!!! You are my hero!!! What an amazing accomplishment in such a short time. You really came out and kicked Niagara on it's ass in my eyes <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.kickrunners.com/forum/images/smilies/biggrin.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Very Happy"></b>
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks jcumming!<br><br>
Boy, add rain to this day and you have yourself some shattered dreams. Thank God we kept that monkey in its cage at least.<br><br>
Loved the comment on BQ> too funny!
 

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Johnny ~ Wow - great race report. You did great, man. In addition to the overall achievement of completing your first marathon with a great time, 294th out of 903 is something to be damn proud of. Awesome! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.kickrunners.com/forum/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Smile">
 

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John- You write a great RR! WOW! You did really well despite the cold, wind, etc.- what a great time. You ran a marathon and ran it well!!! Congrats...sorry about the toes. Your girls are cute.
 

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JB...<b>LOVED your RR.</b> Felt like I was right there with you - I could imagine the cold wind blowing in my face and my gloveless hands becoming more numb with each passing mile. Here's my favorite line: "I had my Nathan speed belt with 40oz Powerbar Endurance, 5 gels and a <b>dream.</b>" Well, I hope you feel as if your dream came true today because this is an amazing story and first marathon. I'm so proud of you. <b>CONGRATULATIONS!!!!</b><br><br>
Sleep well tonight<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.kickrunners.com/forum/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Smile">
 

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JohnnyB - Awesome race, awesome race report! Congratulations on a job WELL DONE. You put in the time, the miles, the heart, and you did it! Great work. Hope you've warmed up and that you're treating your toes well for the next few days. What's next?
 

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JohnnyB--you write the best RR's! Congratulations on your first marathon, very well run! Sorry about the toes--ouch!
 

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Hey Badass, I was too trashed yesterday, but this morning, I woke up to come straight to read this. I am so impressed with you. I knew you were going to kick some serious ass, but after reading your RR I easily realized how much stronger you are than I've ever thought. I have giant respect and incredible admiration for you. You are one of those people that I have to check with everyday, otherwise my day won't be the same. With all your craziness (even DH knows who you are!), you had such focused and consistent training that your amazing results are not surprising. I am super proud of you. You are incredible!
 

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What a great report! Each race is a chance to use what you learn for the next one.You had a great race, despite the wind. Nicely done!<br><br>
Ouch, your toes look painful! Hopefully they're feeling a bit better today. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.kickrunners.com/forum/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Smile">
 

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John-You are freaking animal, man!! I knew you were going to fly and you did it. WTG!!!! I admire you so much!
 

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John - Wow - I bow down to you. You have an amazing spirit to buckle down and do so well with those conditions. You rock!! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.kickrunners.com/forum/images/smilies/notworthy.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="notworthy">
 
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