"Does ripe fruit never fall? Or do the boughs
Hang always heavy in that perfect sky..."
Many good things about this race. First, the weather. There were signs yesterday that heaven and earth had moved to accomodate us: contrary to forecast, the clouds parted and brilliant sunshine ensued. All afternoon, it was like a (frozen-over) Miami. Somewhat overcast by evening, but I peeked out this morning at 6:30 and what should I see but a full moon, the biblical levanah. I knew then that we were living large.
The next thing that was good was my ability to stick to race plan. Went out exactly at 7:45 for two miles, holding firm against the impulse to rabbit, then ranged between 7:30 and 7:15 for the up-and-down heading toward the bridge. By the bridge turnaround (mi 6) packs had started to form, and I was in about the fifth or sixth one, going a pretty steady 7:05. I felt great. Totally within myself, spectacular scenery along Lake Washington boulevard. What's not to like? We cruised around Seward Park, hit the halfway point at 1:34:30, and by then big thoughts are flitting through my frontal cortex. Someone said I was in 47th place.
Alas! At mi 18, a very weird signal emerged from the second metatarsal in My Left Foot. Apparent neuropathy. Serious numbness going on, and while still runnable, it began to mess up my mechanics. I was putting out more and more energy with less and less gain, and it was energy that I just didn't have in reserve My splits crept inexorably upward: 7:40ish on mile 18, 7:50 on mile 19. Then on mile 20 I hit my Waterloo. Things Fell Apart. Dale had caught up with me at this juncture, but I was more or less cocooned in survival mode. By the (vicious, nasty, unforgivable) Galer hill at mi 21, the race crew had stopped telling me "right on, great time!" and was now giving me the old lady cheer: "you're doing great! Hang in there!" I hit the last 10k at 2:41-something, and my BQ had turned into a pumpkin; now the goal was simply not to walk.
So there you have it: a six mile jog (using the term loosely) that ranked up there with the Minnow's three hour tour for overall time-efficiency. And yet, I can't imagine any track workout that could possibly have taken more out of my musculo-skeletal system than that 9:30-10:00 pace. When I hit the last hill (the race designers very thoughtfully penciled in a 5% grade more or less to the finish line) my legs felt like the floor of the pit at CBGBs after a Sex Pistols show. My calves felt like the crash dummy in a Lamborghini factory. My foot felt like--well, I couldn't feel my foot.
Anyway, I guess I'm going to have to get it checked out; feels better, but still a bit numb/sore. Assume it's there's some kind of pinching action in the foot bones at the end of the sciatica. Moreover, immediately after crossing the finish line I could barely walk, which I assume means that I was running with low glycogen stores.
Injury aside, the soreness does suggest to me that I needed more training to improve efficiency of glycogen storage, and probably a more thoughtful carbo-loading program as well. Possibly I overdid it on the first half, though in any case I don't think I could have made the BQ with anything slower than that 1:34 half, so it's probably a moot point. All in all, I feel pretty good about this, Baby's First Marathon. I had a nice strong start, I persevered through some adverse conditions, and I ended up with a respectable time after two months of serious training. My private aim was somewhere between 3:30 and 3:15, and having made that target I think I can now sleep the nap of the blessed.
I'd insert my splits here, but left the Garmin on auto-stop, and it helpfully put everything on hold whenever I ran through a tunnel, next to a tree, or in the shadow of a porta-potty. The race crew was pretty good about calling out splits, but after the Great Toe Revolt of Mile 16 my recall less than perfect. 1-2 averaged 7:45, mile 4 clocked in exactly at 30, I think mile 6 was 45:50, and then I averaged between 6:55 and 7:05 up to mi 18.
Major congratulations to Dale, who ran a great race and got his BQ. I'm not surprised at all given the quality of his training. As for me, wait till next year saith Leo Durocher.