Monday, October 29, 2012

39 for 39 β: Cape Cod Marathon, Halftoberfest, Part 5 (10/28/12)

Finishing the Marathon
"Gæð a wyrd swa hio scel!" ("Fate goes ever as she shall!").

Race: Cape Cod Marathon
Location: Falmouth, MA
Goal Time: 3:30:00
Actual Time: 3:27:48

For the second time of the weekend I was running down the hill of the Nobska Point Lighthouse.  I saw Hurricane Sandy's angry waves smashing off the rocks that lined the sea wall like angry fates. While the hurricane hadn't hit full force yet, I was looking forward to the tail wind from 22-26 that Deb Downs had promised me to finish race and finish the Clam Chowder Challenge.  

Over the month I had discussed the Chowder Challenge event with several people.  Most people just thought it was crazy to run a half marathon on Saturday and a full marathon on Sunday.  Ray Charboneau told me he'd do it if it was the other way around and he could race the full and then do whatever in the half the next day.  Frank Georges attempted to convince me NOT to run the whole challenge and just run the full marathon in a third attempt to qualify for Boston.  (I missed by 4 minutes at Providence and then by 9 at Reykjavik.)  My Co-workers basically questioned why anybody would do that...

I didn't know how I'd feel running a marathon, considering:

a) I hadn't run more than 14 miles (or 16 depending on whose memory I use) at once since Reykjavik;
b) I raced a half marathon a week earlier; and,
c) I jogged a half marathon the day before.

So, I decided to go out conservatively.  Fortunately my race buddy, Mariah (who had run less than me since Reykjavik), was also into starting conservatively.  But one cannot control too much in life and one has to follow the fates as they are handed to you.

We ran the first two and a half miles together at a slow easy pace.  We did the first mile in just under 9 minutes and the second in just under 8.  At the first water stop Mariah pulled off and said she was going to walk through the water stops.  I waved goodbye.

After finishing mile 3 in 8 minutes or so, I started picking up speed.  I passed Mike Joyce, who had started too fast, and then I passed the gang cheering out in front of the house we rented.  (Oddly, the lunatic neighbor was not out to cheer).  

By mile 7, I realized I was actually running well and comfortable.  I was putting in 7:15 - 7:20 miles with some ease.  This would take me to 3:12 or so and qualifying for the Boston Marathon, if I could keep it up.  I was almost trapped in the Anglo-Saxon wyrd.  Like a warrior in Beowulf, I had no choice but to continue on this path despite the fact that I knew I would not be able to. 

At the half marathon point I was at 1:38.  This meant if I continued at this rate, I'd be right under 3:12.  I also knew I wouldn't but had to try.  Alas, off to fight the Firedrake

Urvi was at mile 16 to cheer me on.  She and Amy determined that I was doing well, since I merely high fived and did not stop for a kiss. 

I felt good at 30k.  I thought the wyrd may be on my side for the marathon since this is where I had fallen apart in Lowell and in Reyjavik.  I passed Tim at 19 and felt bad.  I knew he was in for a long next 7 miles by his face and gate.  

21 is where the Firedrake struck me and my weapons were useless:

"Wielding his sword, he struck at the wyrm
and his fabled blade bit to the bone
through blazoned hide: bit and bounced back,
no match for the foe in this moment of need."
~ Beowulf

The accidental and unlikely dreams of BQ were gone.  But, I only had to make it over the Nobska Point Light and then there would be the downhill leading into a tail wind.

As I came down the hill next to the angry rocks and felt the HEAD wind, all I could say was: "Damn you, Deb Downs!"

I fought through it as best I could.  I slowed from 7:20 miles to 9:45 miles with now only the goal to finish the marathon, the Clam Chowder Challenge AND Halftoberfest.  Until mile 25 I fought through the headwinds and used the last bits of energy to say: "Damn you, Deb Downs!"

After 25 the course turns left.  A volunteer (who I later found out was Chris Spinney) told me: "turn left here and you are out of the wind."  Awesome finally I can stop saying "Damn you, Deb Downs."

Turns out, nope the wind is actually worse for a block or so!  "Damn you, Chris Spinney!"

Now, I just counted down the estimated minutes left until I finished.  At the 26 mile mark I realized 
a) I had passed 39 miles for my 39th Birthday; and
b) I might as well "sprint"

I pulled with the cheers from the gang at 3:27:48 for the Marathon and 5:19:52 for the Clam Chowder Cup Challenge!

SRR Shoutouts -

Jake Barnett finished 8th Overall
Diona finished in 6th Overall
Deb Downs finished 7th Overall "Damn you Deb Downs!"
The 50+ men's team won (Ray, Robert and Jeff)
Alison Lackey finished her first marathon 
Kit Newton had a one hour PR
Ruth Sespaniak had a PR of more than 10 minutes
Bradley had a MONSTER PR and BQed with a 3:05
The Women's Open team took 3rd.

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