This has become a rite of spring for me. Since I ran my first ever marathon here in 2000 I've come back each year to my hometown marathon (twenty miles from home) with this being my 8th consecutive VCM. Several months ago at the start of the training cycle my goal was a PR here with Boston being a tune up. But something happened after getting a marathon PR last fall in Albany NY: I lost some of the fire. The weeks between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day saw me gaining seventeen pounds! Since then I've lost seven pounds but haven't been able to get the rest off. Boston was a disappointment as I ran it two weeks after having the flu. And without the fire in my belly I skipped runs in the worst weather and came into VCM with 215 less miles YTD than last year. So my expectations were to run somewhere in the 3:37 - 3:42 range, about 10 - 15 minutes off that PR from last October. The only problem is two weeks ago I developed a very sore hip, probably from three consecutive hard days including intervals (I know: dumb!).<br><br><b>Pre-race:</b> Up at 5:30 for a breakfast of two Eggo waffles with honey, one scrambled egg, coffee and Gatorade. Oh yeah: the hip was very sore, so sore in fact that I considered not running. But after 2400mg of ibuprofin on Saturday and a short run at 6PM Saturday night I felt it was medicated enough to mask the pain. I took another 600mg of ibuprofin at 5:30 with breakfast then two more tablets at 7:45 with a Kashi GoLean Bar before a .8 mile warm up run. (Don't try this at home! I take full responsibility if I destroy my liver!) The hip felt almost normal and only then did I know I would be able to run. We left the house at 6:20 and arrived in town at 7:05, a bit later than I wanted. Parking is always easy for this race with just a short walk to Battery Park for the start. It seemed mild so I left my warm up pants in the car and the first stop would be the bag drop. I remembered that last year the bag drop line was very long so we were happy that it was mild enough to drop our stuff right away. It was warm enough to even leave my throw away long sleeve teeshirt in my dropbag. We then made our way to the porta potty line which was also relatively short. I heard that they added several more potties at the start this year. Then we made our way over to the old swingset. A bit of info about the swingset tradition: A friend of mine is a weatherman for WCAX, a local TV station. They have one or two relay teams and always meet up at the swingset to pass out the race numbers. A few years ago I told some CoolRunners to meet me there so now it seems to have become the unofficial CR meet up place. I guess we were too late because I didn't see anybody I recognized or even anybody I didn't recognize.<br><br><b>Garb:</b> It all started with the new running shoes. White and orange Mizuno Elixirs, new, shiny and clean, only run in three times. Dark blue and black Race Ready shorts and grey RRS Coolmax boxer brief and a white Coolmax cap. I needed something to match the shoes and my lucky Mizuno Tokyo singlet wouldn't fit the bill. So at the expo I found some white and orange Gizmo socks and an incredibly loud day glo orange singlet. My daughter topped off the outfit with a black, blue, white and orange friendship bracelet that she made for me on Saturday night. I noticed that my Timex Ironman watch was black, blue and orange too. Perfect, I thought. I look mahvelous. Now my hip better hold together. I don't want to be seen limping along in this get up.<br><br><b>The weather:</b> Burlington in late May can see weather ranging anywhere from snow flurries (rare but possible) to 90 degrees (1999 VCM, the year before my first it reached 90). In the seven years I've run it it was perfect twice (low 50's and cloudy), acceptable three times (50's to upper 60's and windy), and warm twice (last year being the warmest). This week we had temperatures in the upper 80's from Wednesday to Friday but the weathermen promised it would blow out and cool down by Sunday. Saturday remained warm with temps in the 70's but as night fell clouds enveloped the area and the temperature dropped and so did the wind. Race morning saw temperatures in the upper 50's with cloudy skies and almost no wind. The relative lack of wind was promising as this area is usually windy in the springtime. The prediction was for it to reach the mid 60's with rain by midday.<br><br>
to be continued...
to be continued...