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<span style="font-size:medium;"><span style="font-family:'Times New Roman';"><b>Event:</b> Rocket City Marathon</span></span><br><span style="font-size:medium;"><span style="font-family:'Times New Roman';">Huntsville, AL</span></span><br><span style="font-size:medium;"><span style="font-family:'Times New Roman';">December 8th, 2007</span></span><br><span style="font-family:'Times New Roman';"><span style="font-size:medium;"><b>Weather:</b> Crappy – 69F overcast and humid at the start / 70+ and 95% humidity towards the end.</span></span><br><br><span style="font-family:'Times New Roman';"><span style="font-size:medium;">Where to begin? Oh yeah, I cooked up the idea of doing this race while out on training runs with my long run group. My goal race for the fall was the Marine Corps Marathon and this race fell 6 weeks after. A number of people from my group talked about going up to Huntsville to do the race, some of whom raced MCM and others that would use this as their Fall goal race.</span></span><br><br><span style="font-size:medium;"><span style="font-family:'Times New Roman';">I did some calculating of dates in my head and determined that I would qualify for Bronze membership in Marathon Maniacs if I completed this race. (Three marathons in 90 days or less). So, really, that was my motivation for doing this race. Originally, I had thought that I would go there with no expectations and just run it for fun.</span></span><br><br><span style="font-family:'Times New Roman';"><span style="font-size:medium;">Somewhere along the way, I got sidetracked and allowed myself to put more expectations on myself than that. I did however realize that I would learn something about marathon racing from doing the race. I’m trying to be a good student of this race distance and you learn something every time you toe the line.</span></span><br><br><span style="font-family:'Times New Roman';"><span style="font-size:medium;">Let’s see, the pre-race details. After completing MCM 6 weeks ago, I did a bit of reverse taper following the race and then loosely followed Pfitz’s 6 weeks between marathon plan in order to get ready. I did two long runs on consecutive Saturdays, one 19 mile run was complete crap, I bonked after not eating well the day of and the night before, and an 18 mile run that went very well and was quite speedy on the Saturday after Thanksgiving.</span></span><br><br><span style="font-family:'Times New Roman';"><span style="font-size:medium;">So, with all that behind me, I stepped to the line thinking that I’d run as well as MCM or even better if I was having a good day.</span></span><br><br><span style="font-family:'Times New Roman';"><span style="font-size:medium;">I drove the two hours up to Huntsville after leaving work a bit early on Friday afternoon. This is a small race, 1500 participants, so the scale of everything was small and manageable. I drove to the host hotel, hit the ballroom to pick up my packet and cruised through the half dozen or so booths in the expo. I did find a pair of Asics DS-Trainers in my size for $45 so I scooped them up and paid.</span></span><br><br><span style="font-family:'Times New Roman';"><span style="font-size:medium;">A short while later, I met up in the expo ballroom with <b>Flemdawg</b> (Jarod) and his wife and kids. Once he had is race packet and completed his purchases, we all set off to find some dinner. That was an adventure as every place was packed. Finally, we found a place to get into with no wait on the 3rd try. We had a nice time visiting during dinner.</span></span><br><br><span style="font-family:'Times New Roman';"><span style="font-size:medium;">I left there to go crash at my in-laws house. I did the usual night before prep stuff and turned in. I woke up at 3:00am thinking it was time to get up. I did manage to fall back to sleep for 2 more hours until my alarm went off.</span></span><br><br><span style="font-family:'Times New Roman';"><span style="font-size:medium;">Race morning went smoothly. I did my usual stuff, ate the same food, drove to the hotel, found a parking spot, took care of the usual bathroom stuff and was ready to go.</span></span><br><br><span style="font-family:'Times New Roman';"><span style="font-size:medium;">I am kicking myself over this one detail. There was a guy who was a Prefontaine look a like, and he knew it too, he was wearing a Stop Pre t-shirt. Shoulda got a picture made with that guy.</span></span><br><br><span style="font-size:medium;"><span style="font-family:'Times New Roman';">We waited in the hotel lobby until 7:50…then made our way to the start line. I spotted some pine trees and made one last pit stop before jumping into the group around the 3:15 – 3:30 pace marker.</span></span><br><br><span style="font-family:'Times New Roman';"><span style="font-size:medium;">The weather was cloudy and sticky. The race announcer was giving instructions on the start. They sang the anthem, and boom the gun goes off. It’s not too crowded and I’m over the line in about 5 – 6 seconds. That’s not too much of a differential.</span></span><br><br><span style="font-family:'Times New Roman';"><span style="font-size:medium;">Immediately, I notice that everyone is just flying. I’m trying to go slow, shooting for 8:00 on my first mile, and these people are booking it. I’m thinking to myself, “I’m going to be seeing you guys and passing you later.”</span></span><br><br><span style="font-family:'Times New Roman';"><span style="font-size:medium;">In fact, just passed the 1st mile marker, I see our first walker! (Guy musta been shot outa a cannon at the start.) There’s a runner just off my left shoulder and he’s huffing and puffing like he’s in the last ½ mile of a 5K. Whatever!</span></span><br><br><span style="font-family:'Times New Roman';"><span style="font-size:medium;">Mile 1: 7:31</span></span><br><span style="font-family:'Times New Roman';"><span style="font-size:medium;">Mile 2: 7:47</span></span><br><span style="font-family:'Times New Roman';"><span style="font-size:medium;">Mile 3: 7:38</span></span><br><span style="font-family:'Times New Roman';"><span style="font-size:medium;">Mile 4: 7:45</span></span><br><span style="font-family:'Times New Roman';"><span style="font-size:medium;">Mile 5: 7:47</span></span><br><br><span style="font-family:'Times New Roman';"><span style="font-size:medium;">Between miles 3 – 5 and I’m already starting to realize that today may not be my day. I’m not in the zone. Everything is working OK, but not great. I think that today could be a long day. We’ll see.</span></span><br><br><span style="font-family:'Times New Roman';"><span style="font-size:medium;">Mile 6: 7:44</span></span><br><span style="font-family:'Times New Roman';"><span style="font-size:medium;">Mile 7: 7:41</span></span><br><span style="font-family:'Times New Roman';"><span style="font-size:medium;">Mile 8: 7:50</span></span><br><span style="font-family:'Times New Roman';"><span style="font-size:medium;">Mile 9: 7:47</span></span><br><br><span style="font-family:'Times New Roman';"><span style="font-size:medium;">I knew that after mile 9, I would be seeing my in-laws on the side of the course. They had walked over 3 blocks from there house to watch me go by. I didn’t get a chance to speak with them as I went by. I would’ve said that I felt OK, but not great.</span></span><br><br><img alt="" src="http://i185.photobucket.com/albums/x120/Timr71/IMG_1066.jpg" style="border:0px solid;"><br><br><span style="font-family:'Times New Roman';"><span style="font-size:medium;">At this point, I thought that I should slow down in order to try and keep from turning this into a death march later in the race.</span></span><br><br><img alt="" src="http://i185.photobucket.com/albums/x120/Timr71/IMG_1074.jpg" style="border:0px solid;"><br><br><span style="font-family:'Times New Roman';"><span style="font-size:medium;">Mile 10: 8:05</span></span><br><span style="font-family:'Times New Roman';"><span style="font-size:medium;">Mile 11: 7:50</span></span><br><span style="font-family:'Times New Roman';"><span style="font-size:medium;">Mile 12: 8:01</span></span><br><span style="font-family:'Times New Roman';"><span style="font-size:medium;">Mile 13: 8:11</span></span><br><br><span style="font-family:'Times New Roman';"><span style="font-size:medium;">HM Split: 1:44:07 (7:56 pace)</span></span><br><br><span style="font-size:medium;"><span style="font-family:'Times New Roman';">Hey, that’s not too bad, but I’m still feeling kinda iffy. At this point on the course, we are on a LONG straight stretch for about 5 miles. This follows a lot of neighborhood running with a lot of turns.</span></span><br><br><span style="font-family:'Times New Roman';"><span style="font-size:medium;">We had gone right passed the church where DW and I got married, and were now passing the high school that she graduated from.</span></span><br><br><span style="font-family:'Times New Roman';"><span style="font-size:medium;">I’m still trying to slow my pace down a bit, and I’m slowing down and being more deliberate when going through the aid stations. I think the race organizers did a good job with aid station placing…they weren’t too close together.</span></span><br><br><span style="font-family:'Times New Roman';"><span style="font-size:medium;">Groups of runners are starting to ease by me as I slow the pace down a bit. They are all talking about breaking 3:30. I pass a few walkers including a guy that I recognize in a Trak Shak (Birmingham) singlet. Something must have been going bad wrong for him, because he’s one of the fast guys. I ask him and he just mumbles that he’s ok. I press on.</span></span><br><br><span style="font-family:'Times New Roman';"><span style="font-size:medium;">Mile 14: 8:23</span></span><br><span style="font-family:'Times New Roman';"><span style="font-size:medium;">Mile 15: 8:19</span></span><br><span style="font-family:'Times New Roman';"><span style="font-size:medium;">Mile 16: 8:51</span></span><br><br><span style="font-family:'Times New Roman';"><span style="font-size:medium;">I saw Jarod’s wife and kiddos just as I was heading to the 15 mile marker. At this point things are relatively still OK, but I could tell that I was just hangin on.</span></span><br><br><span style="font-family:'Times New Roman';"><span style="font-size:medium;">Just after the mile 15 marker it happens. Cramp in the left groin. I remember thinking, “I think I’m going to have to walk! That’s going to be the kiss of death me. If I start that, I don’t think I’ll be able to get back in the groove.” Turns out that that was true. From there to the end it was pure survival mode. I had lots of time to try and reconcile all of this mentally.</span></span><br><br><span style="font-family:'Times New Roman';"><span style="font-size:medium;">Mile 17: 9:03</span></span><br><span style="font-family:'Times New Roman';"><span style="font-size:medium;">Mile 18: 8:38</span></span><br><span style="font-family:'Times New Roman';"><span style="font-size:medium;">Mile 19: 9:05</span></span><br><span style="font-family:'Times New Roman';"><span style="font-size:medium;">Mile 20: 10:02</span></span><br><br><span style="font-family:'Times New Roman';"><span style="font-size:medium;">I remember thinking that there’s only 10K left to go. By this point, I was not alone, other’s seemed to be struggling with the cramping issue too. I wasn’t sure what to make of it, I had done everything else the same, I wasn’t behind on hydration or nutrition. And, it wasn’t just the cramping, there seemed to be something wrong with every system. Muscle pain, breathing problems, and I felt like I might need to dive into a porta potty. WTF?</span></span><br><span style="font-size:medium;"><span style="font-family:'Times New Roman';">During one of my walk breaks, I tried to remind myself that originally, I had no agenda for this race. My only goal was to finish in order to have completed 3 marathons in less than 90 days. I was supposed to be having fun.</span></span><br><br><span style="font-family:'Times New Roman';"><span style="font-size:medium;">There were others in my little run/walk group. We were constantly passing each other. I attempted to talk with some of them, but they were in pain and equally frustrated so we all fought our war together but without talking.</span></span><br><br><span style="font-family:'Times New Roman';"><span style="font-size:medium;">Mile 21: 9:14</span></span><br><span style="font-family:'Times New Roman';"><span style="font-size:medium;">Mile 22: 9:30</span></span><br><span style="font-family:'Times New Roman';"><span style="font-size:medium;">Mile 23: 9:51</span></span><br><br><span style="font-family:'Times New Roman';"><span style="font-size:medium;">By this point, everything was hurting. It was all I could do just to keep moving. The strangest thing happened. The bone one my left wrist began to ache where my Garmin was rubbing against it. So, I took it off and carried it in my hand. At this point, I wasn’t really using it for pacing. Everything was just on feel. I think I put it on and off a couple of times between then and the end of the race.</span></span><br><br><span style="font-family:'Times New Roman';"><span style="font-size:medium;">Mile 24: 10:10</span></span><br><span style="font-family:'Times New Roman';"><span style="font-size:medium;">Mile 25: 9:44</span></span><br><br><span style="font-family:'Times New Roman';"><span style="font-size:medium;">I remember thinking in there after passing the mile 24 marker that what I need to do was to run faster so that this slower pace would seem easier. That didn’t work.</span></span><br><br><span style="font-family:'Times New Roman';"><span style="font-size:medium;">After passing the mile 25 marker, thought, surely, I could bring the wood now for one more mile. Nope! I gassed it and didn’t have it. Slowed it way back down until the final downhill that led to the last turn for the line.</span></span><br><br><img alt="" src="http://i185.photobucket.com/albums/x120/Timr71/img_1076.jpg" style="border:0px solid;"><br><br><span style="font-family:'Times New Roman';"><span style="font-size:medium;">Mile 26: 9:39</span></span><br><span style="font-family:'Times New Roman';"><span style="font-size:medium;">Official Finish time: 3:46:53</span></span><br><br><span style="font-size:medium;"><span style="font-family:'Times New Roman';">I ran over the finish line and felt beat up. I looked at the clock but didn’t even bother to stop my watches. My Father in-law had come down to the finish. I met up with them after getting my chip cut off and grabbing a bottle of water. He of course had nice things to say, and I said that it was really tough out there today.</span></span><br><br><span style="font-size:medium;"><span style="font-family:'Times New Roman';"><img alt="" src="http://i185.photobucket.com/albums/x120/Timr71/img_1081.jpg" style="border:0px solid;"></span></span><br><br><span style="font-family:'Times New Roman';"><span style="font-size:medium;">All in all, I think I did have fun in a sick kind of way. I’m definitely glad that I soldiered on and got the finish. At one point, I thought that I could be looking at a personal worst showing here. I really didn’t want that to happen, so I dug deep just to keep moving. This is still my 2nd fastest marathon time, it’s just 16 mins slower than my previous marathon.</span></span><br><br><span style="font-family:'Times New Roman';"><span style="font-size:medium;">Strangely, I feel very motivated to return to my training. After running and easy three that didn’t feel too bad last night, I’m going to take a few days off and then jump back into training for the spring season.</span></span><br><br><span style="font-family:'Times New Roman';"><span style="font-size:medium;">On the horizon is Mercedes Full Marathon on Feb 9 and then hopefully, that BQ attempt in Athens, OH on April 6th.</span></span>
 

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You are a warrior Tim, but some days it just doesn't work out, despite our best efforts. You finished and, despite your "bad" day, you still beat my Niagara Falls time, you bastard! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.kickrunners.com/forum/images/smilies/biggrin.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Very Happy"><br><br>
Good job man.
 

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Way to stick it out and get over that line. You've worked tremendously hard all of this year, cut yourself a bit of slack and then get back on the horse <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.kickrunners.com/forum/images/smilies/wink.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Wink"><br><br>
Great job Tim!!!
 

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<b>Tim</b> great report and great pics, thanks for sharing them with us.<br><br>
No matter what, you are a marathon maniac <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.kickrunners.com/forum/images/smilies/biggrin.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Very Happy"><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.kickrunners.com/forum/images/smilies/notworthy.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="notworthy"> Way to gut out what sounded like a crappy run. Again great job. Yoll have it better at Mercedes and Athens!
 

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Sorry to hear your race didn't go as hoped, but you showed all kinds of toughness by hanging in there. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.kickrunners.com/forum/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Smile"> And 3 marathons in 90 days is nothing to be embarassed about, dude!!!! That's pretty frickin' cool. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.kickrunners.com/forum/images/smilies/headbang.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="headbang"><br><br>
You are super fast, btw.
 

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Great job...hot weather is nobody's friend, at least not mine. Just think how much easier it'll all be in 40 degree temps!
 

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Every race is something of a crapshoot, isn't it? Maybe not the way you wanted to close your marathon season but for whatever it's worth, I'm impressed by the fact that your tough miles at the end are faster than my half-marathon pace at present.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Here's a pic of the guy who looks like Pre, but you can't really tell because his hair is all up because he's jumping around for the camera:<br><br><img alt="" src="http://www.huntsvillemarathon.com/Fun.jpg" style="border:0px solid;"><br><br><br>
Here's a pic from the club's race photog just before the HM marker:<br><img alt="" src="http://www.huntsvillemarathon.com/Images/RCM_168.JPG" style="border:0px solid;">
 

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<i>(Hey, where did my post from yesterday go?)</i><br><br><b>Tim</b>, congratulations!! Great job fighting the heat and finishing strong. Great pics!!!
 

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I think races like this hone that tough-it-out mentality - you kinda' knew you had a mixed agenda and motivation going into this thing and you knew you weren't at your peak ability, yet you still made it through just fine in my book.<br><br><b>Tim</b>, congrats on a fine race, and what seems to be impending induction into the Maniacs. Looks like 2008 has the possibility of being even more momentous for you.
 

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I was there too and can relate to your troubles. I believe the heat and humidity got to a lot of us that day.<br><br>
You hung in there. Good Job.
 
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