Sunday, May 27, 2007

05/26/07 Bayshore Marathon

I did my second double in two weeks this weekend. The first race was Saturday in Traverse City, Michigan. The Sunday race was in Buffalo. This involved a bit of logistical square dancing, including two flights to get me from one to the other on Saturday.

The weather outlook for Saturday in Michigan was not promising: thunderstorms. I was nervous because this would be annoying to run in... but more importantly, this could really wonk up my flights.

My goals for the weekend?

A little history first. I ran Bayshore back in 2005. It's a great race with a fast course... and the weather in 2005 was perfect (though Island Boy was cold). But for some reason, I ran a slow 4:11. And it wasn't like I was intentionally doing a long, slow run or walking parts of it. I ran the whole thing... and did the best I could. But I wheezed it out. Some days are like that.

So my primary goal for the weekend was to beat 4:11 at Bayshore and then finish Buffalo in a good mood. Yeah, it was a pretty conservative goal... but then again, the weather was ready to play a factor in these races. Oh, and I ran a double (including a PR) last weekend. Conservative seemed ok.

If I felt good enough, my other more aggressive goal was to beat 4 on both ends. Although my double PR (add the two races together) is 7:46, I've not broken 4 in both of the races in any of my five doubles. I'd like to do that, even if it is 3:59/3:59.The Bayshore Marathon is an out-and-back held on "the peninsula" in Traverse City Michigan. The race does not attract true elites, but it does offer prize money, so a lot of people I consider fast DO come. The xBIL of a coolrunner holds the men's course record here (at least I *think* it is this race - 2:17). It wasn't broken today, but the winner did run a nice 2:22ish time.

The course is described as flat, and it pretty much is flat compared to many courses... but it is in no way 'pancake flat'. Lots of little roly polies that you notice throughout the whole race. However, you are almost always in view of Lake Michigan (specifically Grand Traverse Bay)... so you can tell that the elevation isn't changing all that much.

Being next to the lake helps make the scenery spectacular. In fact, I like to call this race "Grandmas-lite". Somewhat similar scenery, slightly cooler weather, way WAY lower on the PITA scale for registration, lodging, etc. I last did this race in 2005 and didn't recall too many spectators... but they were out in force today. No, not packed start-to-finish. This is mostly a rural run. But certain intersections WERE packed with loud fans, and lots of local folks were out at the ends of their driveways in lawn chairs (and sometimes offering beer).

They offer a full, a half, and a 10k. For the half, they bus you out to the full's turnaround, and you run the back portion of the out-and-back. This is significant because right before the start, I was standing next to a woman with a half bib.

"Uh... you know you aren't supposed to be here, don't you?"
"I'm not? Maybe that's why I can't find my friends."

Whoops. I pointed her to the spectator buses that were heading out. I know she made it to the line and started because I saw her on the course. But I think she started very late .

Before I continue, I'll just spill the beans on the weather. Wow. What perfect weather we had for the race (although some would say it was a little warm towards the end... not me). I don't mind that gets the cloudy/sunny thing wrong, but lately they've been particularly pessimistic about wind. For several recent races, like The Pig and Bayshore, has predicted strong winds that luckily didn't show up. And they didn't today. It was a bit nippy at the start, but it warmed up to the mid-60s. Bright blue sky, low humidity, and no wind. Perfect. Of course, I still wore 3 shirts (2 long-sleeve), but I'm weird like that.

As I wrote above, my goals were conservative for this weekend. Unfortunately, I got caught up talking to some faster folks and the weather was nice and I felt good and I went out fast.

There were soooo many water stations that I skipped about half of them.

Around M5, the half marathoners passed me going the other way. They were churning out 5:00 miles.

At M8, I had to do a potty stop.

Around M9 or M10, the full leaders passed me going the other way. 3 guys spread out and then a loooong gap before more.

A few minutes later, I heard the"slap, slap, slap" sound that has become very familiar to me. A barefoot runner. Now, I'm used to barefoot runners being faster than me. coolrunning's Barefoot Rick smokes me in most races. Famous Barefoot Kenbob does sometimes too. But this guy? I don't know who he was, but when I saw him, he was on pace for a 3:05-3:10 marathon. Barefoot. Dang.

I met lots of people during this section that wanted to know about the pink shirt and how many races I've done. This was good because it helped take my attention from the pain in my foot.

The turnaround was at M13 (not 13.1... the out-and-back is 26, followed by .2 around the high school track). On the way back, we hit the mat for the half's start, which was our true half split. 1:49. A couple minutes slower than my PR last week. But. Uh oh. Two minutes off my split of a PR race is not necessarily good on a so-called "conservative" day.

Do I try to hold it together and risk blowing up? If I do blow up, this would be problematic for my race tomorrow. Do I dial it back? I decided to go another three miles and see how I felt at M16.

And I felt fine at M16. Ok, next check in at M18.

Still doing well at M18. Huh. M20 then, the start of the danger zone.

Still alright. Hmmm. Although I did start feeling the need for a potty stop. Which I did at M22. And it was interesting. I'm very good at locking the portapotty door. I clearly remember locking it before turning to do what needed to be done. But sure enough, while I was doing what needed to be done, the door flew open, a lady screamed, people laughed, and the door banged shut again.

Whoops. I had slid the lever over, but not far enough.

I lost almost a minute at the potty, so I figured I'd have difficulty finding my pace again, and the last 4 miles would be slower.

M23-25 were a little slower. But I didn't go from 8:20s to 9:20s. Just to 8:45s. And then M26? 8:13.

I finished at 3:39. They didn't announce me. At least 3 different people came up to me after the race and thanked me for being their rabbit. Something about the highly visible pink shirt, plus I had a good day with my pacing. There were several women who needed a 3:40 for Boston; it was nice to help . Lots of questions about the pink shirt.

When I PRed last week with a 3:36, I was blessed with not having to potty for the entire race. Everything went well. I had to stop TWICE today. So, backing those stops out of the time, my performance this week was essentially identical... though I did pace a little better.

Last week, my split was 1:47/1:49. Today, my split was 1:49/1:50.

Last week, my second race of the weekend (Capital City) was held on a difficult course in weather that got more miserable as the day progressed. Buffalo is supposed to be somewhat flat, but the weather will be an issue, like last week. If I believe

My right foot is unhappy right now. I psyched myself through it during the race, but I'll have to see if it goes away tonight or not.

One final story. After the race, I ate at Subway. I was... and am... wearing the race shirt. It's a short-sleeve dark blue technical shirt. Not a lot of writing on it (no ads!). The guy at Subway was absolutely fascinated by my "work shirt". When I told him that I got it at the race, he asked me whether I could wear it to work. I have no idea where he was going with this. Heh.

No comments: