Monday, August 19, 2013

Two pee stops and a PR - Drake well Marathon 2013, Titusville, PA

Getting there:
Heather, the kids, and I headed up to New Castle, PA on Friday August 16th for the Drake well marathon in Titusville, PA on August 18th, 2013.  I got a shake out run in on Friday at Pearson's Park in New Castle just to get the blood flowing.  On Saturday, we headed up to Titusville, PA, checked in to the Comfort Inn, got our bibs at the Titusville Community Center, and then grabbed some angel hair pasta at this hole in the wall called Maria's.  Here is a quick snapshot as we entered town:

This is a snapshot of the community center where we picked up the bibs:

The restaurant where we ate dinner got horrible reviews online but I found it perfect for the occasion:  carb loading!  Our view at the comfort inn had us looking at some railroad tracks and honey boo boos cluttered back yard.

 But when you pay 70 bones for a room, you can't expect much.  To give you a taste of the town average weight per individual in Titusville, PA was topping 2 bills easy which surprised me a little.  Additionally, Titusville did not appear the most culturally diverse - that did not surprise me.   Two days there == 0 black or Hispanic people...The only Asian individual I saw was running in the race...All those things said, everyone running the race and in town was extremely polite and friendly to be around. The night before the race as I always do, is set out the clothes:

The Race:
The morning of the race (Sunday August 18th, 2013), I got a wake up call for 4:30am for a 7am start.  You know its a small town when your wake up call is actually from a person!

I like to get my toast and peanut butter down in order to get the bowels moving for a cleaning session.  Nothing worse than having to crap 5 miles into a marathon...luckily, I haven't had to many GI issues while running marathons and 50ks.  So we pack up our crap and head over to the Ed Meyer complex where the finish line will be.  However, the start was a good .5 miles away and everyone seemed not to know where it was.  We walk over to the start which was on a bridge and I pee at least 2 more times - yea, nervous pees.  Ok, its about 7am, we are all at the start lining up...So I am getting the garmin ready and I hear this horn go off.  It actually scared the shit out of me.  When the horn went off, no one moved..then another horn goes off which apparently was for us.  The first horn was for the 1/2 marathoners and the second was for us....however, we got no warning, no bull horn saying we will be starting soon, no all of a sudden, people start running.....for some crazy reason, I am in the front a few people from the top...don't ask me why, I just I start off with a 6 minute mile pace...I go about .5 miles before I look at my garmin and say, "you better slow the F down jd"...knowing some sizable hills are coming, I dropped my pace back to a 9 minute mile pace.  Out of the gate, I am following this older Chinese man who I referred to (in my head) as yellow man...not because of what you think but because he was decked head to tow in all yellow happens with many races, you will sometimes run with another person for a while...well, we ran together for the first 10-11 miles...he would pass me on the downhills and I would pass him going up the hills.

The course dragged you through the town of Titusville, a quaint, rural run-down little town.  Some people actually came out and gave us water throughout the race which I enjoyed.  I kept a moderate pace for the first 10 miles, about a 8:58 average putting me a little before the 4 hour mark for the marathon.  So as usually happens, I have to pee during the race - that is even after 40 pee stops before the race.  I stopped at mile 4 on the side of one of the hills to piss in the woods.  I figure I may have lost about 30 seconds max.  Then I took another piss around mile 15, again, not a big deal but mentally, I just need to.  I was happy with the time so far given the hills in the beginning were tough but not killer and when I say killer, I mean Blue Ridge marathon killer..  The first 10 miles took you through town making turns all over the place.  The Titusville police were out helping direct traffic given you didn't have the roads to yourself.  You passed Titusville high school, a cool little farm with some cows, the drake well museum.  From miles 10-24 we hit the bike trail which was about 7.5 down and 7.5 back.  From miles 10-20, I kept a 8:41 pace and was extremely happy with that...everytime I hit a mile, it was in the 8:40 range.    This section of the course was flat and I ended up passing around 8 people during the 14 mile stretch.  The best mile I had was on mile 1 which was a 8:14 and the worst was on mile 4 which was 9:56.  The trail from miles 10-17.5 felt like you were going down and from 17.5 felt like you were coming up.  At mile 23, you actually went up a 200 foot hill.  At this point, I was clock watching and told myself that this hill won't stand in the way although I still got a miserable 9:15 mile on that section.  I put on headphones around mile 18 which definitely gave me some pep.  I thought I did an average job fueling - I took 1 gel at mile 8, mile 14 and mile 20.  I also had a byte of a chocolate waffer around mile 18 but never finished it.  I took two endurolytes around the hour mark for each hour of running (See FUEL).  The temps were around 65 which was perfect for running.  My best marathon time was a 3:57 back in October 2012 at the Marines Corp Marathon, which also was my first marathon.  This being my 3rd actual road marathon (5th marathon or over race).  As you come off the paved bike trail, you enter the Ed Meyer complex baseball field.  Its about 200 yards to the track but its all on grass.  Not a big deal but if your trying to BQ or best a time, you are internally bitching!  Finally, I got to the track and picked up the pace, rounded the turn to a massive crowd of 20 people :) and saw the clock was in the 3:49 range and really wanted sub 3:50...I sprinted in to get a final time of 3:49:22 with an average 8:45 pace.  As much as I joke about the town and the people, it was a cool time and I really love small marathons.  If you do too, I suggest the Drakewell marathon.  If it works out next year, I might do it again.

I finished the race with a time of 3:49:22 and which averaged a 8:45 pace.  This beat my previous marathon PR by over 8 minutes which was done at the Marine Corps Marathon back in October, 2012.   Here is a shot of me at the finish line:
Here is a picture of me finishing the race:

Here is a snapshot of the finishing results:

The Bathroom situation:
The mens bathroom at the Ed Meyer complex had TWO urinals and one stall.  For 200 people which included both half and full marathoners, you better get used to shitting in the woods.  The bathroom was somewhat clean but the bar is low for me....just give me a hole in the ground and some semblance of toilet paper and I am good.  I was able to hit the dumper before the crowds arrived but later the line was out the door.  Overall grade:  C+ was clean but definitely could not handle the number of people that showed up.  However, the starting line did have port-o-pots (~4 in total) but you had no idea they were even there until you actually got to the starting line.  All in all,

Splits per mile:
Lap 1, 08:14, 1.00 miles, 8:15 min/mi, +164/-123/287 ft 5.4%
Lap 2, 09:53, 1.00 miles, 9:53 min/mi, +278/-17/295 ft 5.6%
Lap 3, 08:15, 1.00 miles, 8:15 min/mi, +73/-323/396 ft 7.5%
Lap 4, 09:56, 1.00 miles, 9:56 min/mi, +372/-52/424 ft 8%
Lap 5, 09:51, 1.00 miles, 9:52 min/mi, +150/-95/244 ft 4.6%
Lap 6, 09:04, 1.00 miles, 9:05 min/mi, +73/-188/260 ft 4.9%
Lap 7, 08:41, 1.00 miles, 8:41 min/mi, +30/-246/276 ft 5.2%
Lap 8, 08:43, 1.00 miles, 8:43 min/mi, +44/-80/125 ft 2.4%
Lap 9, 08:40, 1.00 miles, 8:41 min/mi, +65/-112/177 ft 3.3%
Lap 10, 08:27, 1.00 miles, 8:28 min/mi, +99/-82/181 ft 3.4%
Lap 11, 09:16, 1.00 miles, 9:16 min/mi, +158/-96/254 ft 4.8%
Lap 12, 08:27, 1.00 miles, 8:27 min/mi, +101/-106/207 ft 3.9%
Lap 13, 08:36, 1.00 miles, 8:36 min/mi, +115/-134/249 ft 4.7%
Lap 14, 08:51, 1.00 miles, 8:51 min/mi, +90/-101/191 ft 3.6%
Lap 15, 08:45, 1.00 miles, 8:45 min/mi, +106/-114/219 ft 4.2%
Lap 16, 08:44, 1.00 miles, 8:45 min/mi, +87/-129/216 ft 4.1%
Lap 17, 08:35, 1.00 miles, 8:36 min/mi, +95/-106/200 ft 3.8%
Lap 18, 08:41, 1.00 miles, 8:42 min/mi, +172/-71/243 ft 4.6%
Lap 19, 08:26, 1.00 miles, 8:27 min/mi, +126/-153/279 ft 5.3%
Lap 20, 08:39, 1.00 miles, 8:39 min/mi, +170/-120/290 ft 5.5%
Lap 21, 08:53, 1.00 miles, 8:54 min/mi, +103/-172/274 ft 5.2%
Lap 22, 08:54, 1.00 miles, 8:55 min/mi, +101/-101/202 ft 3.8%
Lap 23, 09:21, 1.00 miles, 9:21 min/mi, +199/-98/296 ft 5.6%
Lap 24, 08:53, 1.00 miles, 8:53 min/mi, +91/-114/205 ft 3.9%
Lap 25, 08:21, 1.00 miles, 8:22 min/mi, +101/-139/240 ft 4.5%
Lap 26, 08:01, 0.98 miles, 8:13 min/mi, +68/-140/208 ft 4%

I had the following:
3 hammer gels (apple cinimon)
1 chocolate Waffle Stinger
6 endurolytes (2 per hour)

Post Race:
After I finished the race, I waited for Heather who came in around 5 hours and 5 minutes.  It was a tough race for Heather and we all have had races like that.  Sometimes you just don't get the time you want.  It happened to me at the North Face 50k and I am sure it will happen to me somewhere else.  Next up for both of us is the Youngstown Ultra 50k in Youngtown, Ohio on September 14th, 2013.


  1. I didn't even know Titusville had a marathon. Surprised nobody mentioned it during Oil Creek last year.

  2. Thats funny you say that b/c it was run mainly by all OC 100 guys and gals. Its not a big marathon however the last one of the year to BQ, I was no where BQ'ing and to tell you the truth, I would rather run a 100 miler before trying to BQ. It was a nice low key event and wouldn't of run it unless we had family who lived nearby.

  3. Congrats on the PR! That's a tougher course for a PR too. I bet if you ran a flat, road marathon, you'd have another substantial PR.

    Good luck at your 50K!

    I'm actually doing MCM this year, since I got injured last year and had to defer. I'm excited about the new, flatter course for 2013!