Saturday, March 29, 2008

3/16/08 Seabrook Lucky Trails Marathon

Seabrook is a suburb of Houston. Its big claim to fame is that it is the home of the Johnson Space Center. So that whole "Houston, we have a problem" thing is a bit of a misnomer. I could live a long life and never hear "Houston, we have a problem" again, but "Seabrook, we have a problem" sounds even lamer. Heh.

Anyway. A couple miles down the road from the space center, there's a park. And this is mission control for the Seabrook Lucky Trails Marathon. Why is it lucky? Because it is always held near/on St Patrick's Day. This race is indeed a trail marathon, but it isn't really a TRAIL marathon... we're talking big, wide bike path (and a little road shoulder). Nothing technical.

An out-and-back. Repeated four times. Many people don't like out and back courses, especially repeats. I like them a lot because I like seeing everyone else in the race. That's fun. This out and back course was not the most exciting course ever, but it did have some nice twists through the woods... and the turnaround was at a point (I don't know the name) on Galveston Bay. Very picturesque. Well, it would have been in most situations. Race morning came with nice blue skies and moderate temperatures, but it was quite windy. And this unprotected point offered up blow-you-sideways wind. The course was not pancake flat, but it was one of the flattest courses I've ever run.

When I gave up trying for my 3:30 at the Breast Cancer Marathon, I had thought about utilizing Seabrook for my next attempt. Unfortunately, I got really sick a couple weeks after that race and it was hard staying focused with my training. So even though the weather was reasonable (though windy) at Seabrook, I decided to try for "beat 3:40".

Off we went. I felt good. I focused on keeping an 8:20 pace, and for the most part everything went well. Loop one. Loop two. Loop three was a little harder and my 8:20s became 8:45s. Uh oh. "Beat 3:40" became "about 3:40", which is the same as "beat 3:43". About a mile into loop four... somewhere around M20, I lost it. 8:45 became 9:00 and 9:00 became 9:30. It didn't feel like glycogen depletion. Based on later evidence, I think I was dehydrated. Ugh. I tried to bring my pace back below 9:00, but it wasn't happening. Not my day.

There weren't any spectators on the course, but the volunteers were peppy. One teenager was a bit TOO peppy and kept pressing the button on her air horn when a runner went by. At M23 when I was struggling, that air horn was a bit disconcerting. BOOOOP. Ugh.

Talking to other people helped the final miles pass by.


Hmmm. Same time as the Breast Cancer Marathon. Same dehydration issues. At least I didn't lose any fitness during my sickness. But I guess I was pushing too hard to try for 3:39.

I enjoyed this race a lot, and they gave out absolutely gigantic huge medals at the end. I spent most of the race chasing a relay team of women dressed as "German Beer Girl". That was fun too. I think I'll come back and do Seabrook again.

Next up: Already happened. Last weekend's Easter Marathon. I was also supposed to run a 50k today but, ta-da, I'm sick again. I made it through eleven months of 2007 and tons of travel without any big sicknesses. Now, since December, I've been sick three times. Boo.

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