Monday, February 13, 2012

Mercedes Half RR

High level summary: I have had better days. Quite a few of them, in fact. Fitness, as far as I can tell, wasn't a problem. Indeed, I actually think it was/is pretty good, and after the first few miles I was looking forward to expressing it. Unfortunately though, my GI system had other plans for the day.

So the executive summary is that my time was 1:14:40, but ~1:40 of that was spent, um, not running and more or less the whole second half of the race my focus was divided at best. I should thank the race organization for the plethora of port-o-johns out on the course; I certainly got my money's worth. If you dont want any more details, you can stop now.

If, however, you're still reading, well, here goes. It was a really cold morning, but for some reason it didnt feel like it was in the mid 20s when we were warming up. Not having any running short-tights, I went with briefs + running shorts (to keep the boys toasty), compression socks (to keep the achilles warm), my uber comfortable Sugoi TIMEX tech shirt, Sugoi TIMEX jersey, Sugoi TIMEX arm warmers, free cotton gloves, and of course the backwards hat. At the start I was cold, but thought I'd warm up and be OK. (In retrospect, I definitely would've bought and worn some half- tights; my quads and hip flexors were really, really cold.)

The gun went off and after the first half mile there seemed to be less depth up front than in years past, as things were already considerably spread out. Also in years past the first mile of this race has been in the neighborhood of 20s fast, so I wasnt sure to be glad or worried about seeing a 5:26 first mile. I figured best case I was right on pace, worst case I was starting a bit too conservatively. Either way, not too bad for a half marathon.

A quarter mile or so later, a long- haired white guy sporting a backwards hat came by me with a Kenyan in tow. I was pretty sure this was Mike Wardian, ultra runner/marathoner extraordinaire. I assumed he was running the marathon, and knew he consistently runs in the mid 2:20s, so I figured he'd be a great person to run with. Even if he was going a bit fast for me and I could only hang for 5-6 miles, it would be well worth it with the wind out on the course.

So I tucked in and focused on not tripping the Kenyan who was running behind Mike, thereby missing the second mile mark. The third mile came and we were through in 16:01 (5:20(!) pace). A bit after this, the fun started.

I've had the urge to use the restroom during races before, but outside of peeing on myself during IMH, I've always been able to keep it under control. So I figured this would be the case today, as well. Little did I know, a minute later, I was scanning for the next available port-a-john. I skipped the first one I saw, telling myself I'd be fine. I was not. The next one I saw, I took a bee-line to the door, hitting my start/split button before entering. I figured 10-15s max and I'd be back running.

After doing my business (#2) during the 40s pit stop, I was back on the course. I put it out of my mind and got back to racing, figuring surely that would be it for the day. While I was stopped, my Good Friend George had passed me, so I think I spooked him a bit when I re-passed him and headed up the road. Wardian and the Kenyan were probably too far ahead to catch, but at least I could keep them in my sight for a while. I missed mile 4, but I was through 5 in 27:26 (under 5:30 pace, including the stop), so I figured I could still have a pretty good race.

Mile 6 was another 5:30, and I was just starting to think about just getting through the uphill miles from 8-10 when it returned. Apparently, my gut had other ideas. Somewhere in middle of mile 7, it happened, again, except this time I had less time to get to the facilities. And then that happened. This second stop was longer, a bit over a minute, and included the loss of a piece of clothing.

I got back out onto the course and tried to get back into the race, but at this point it was an uphill struggle. The loss of the layer of clothing meant quite a bit less warmth, and the wind was biting. I was also still somehow fighting my gut. How there was anything left in it at that point was beyond me, but it seemed pretty insistent on not letting me do much of anything.

Worried about another event, I kept things under control at around 5:45 pace and was oh-so-happy to finally get to the finish.

So I'm still not really sure of the caused. Dinner the night before was at Mellow Mushroom, certainly nothing out of the ordinary. I eat there regularly, and have had quite a few pre-race meals there without issue. Something was up, though, because I'm still having some residual issues the day after the race. I was the only one at our table who ordered a Truck Stop Honey Brown, maybe that was it? Who knows... 

1 comment:

Eagle Eye said...

Truly sorry about the GI malfunctions... You raced amazingly well nevertheless!!