Saturday, November 29, 2014

Northern Central Trail Marathon - Quest to be a Marathon Maniac

Northern Central Trail Marathon - Gunpowder State Park (Sparks, MD):

A few weeks ago, I ran the Richmond Marathon down in Richmond, VA and had a blast with the whole family.  I ran a surprising 3:54 with limited training even though my PR was 3:49.  However, I was just happy to make it the whole way uninjured.  After I finished that race, Heather said why don't you try to get "Maniac" and run another race within 16 days to qualify!  I said, well my knees are sore as shit and I have on avg, 25 miles a week running the past 7-8 weeks.  The competitor in me said, WTF, why not.  It would salvage a year destroyed by injuries although I was risking more injury if I did this.  I knew it wasn't smart, but I signed up anyway a few days after Richmond.  So the entire week after Richmond, I iced the knees and lightly stretched until Wednesday.  Here was my schedule the week after Richmond:
  • Monday:  Rest/Ice
  • Tuesday:  Rest/Ice
  • Wednesday:  Bike 10 minutes (yea, knees still sore)
  • Thursday:  Bike 20 minutes
  • Firday:  Bike 30 minutes (knee bothering me pretty good)
  • Saturday:  Bike 45 minutes, knee feeling better
  • Sunday:  Bike 45 minutes, probably should of taken off today.
Umm, yea, not alot of running :) So that was the week after Richmond.  I didn't have quite the training base I usually have going into race b/c of injuries so I was working with what I had.  The next week leading up to the race was the following:
  •  Monday:  Ran 3.2 miles at a 9:58 pace (wow, was that painful however I think it was breaking up the scar tissue from the previous marathon).
  • Tuesday:  Rest/Ice
  • Wednesday:  Spinning bike for 30 minutes (felt like I was coming down with a cold)
  • Thursday:  Bike for 11 minutes
  • Friday:  Drove up to Sparks, MD for the race and rested.
Yea, 3.2 miles in 2 weeks, not exactly feeling good about this race.  Plus, I felt like I was getting a fever and some sort of cough.  People at work were hacking and coughing all week, I wasn't training well, my knees hurt, I felt like I was getting sick - THIS WAS GOING TO BE A TRAIN WRECK! and this is how I felt:
What was I thinking running two marathons in two weeks?

That said, GAME ON!

Friday (November 28th, 2014)
The Running Duricks drove up to Timonium, MD and packet pickup was at Charm City Run.  Here is a snap of me with my #104 bib:

The people there were nice and because this was the 25th running of the Northern Central Rail Trail marathon, they were giving out a nice jacket.  I actually really like the jacket alot and it fits, bonus.  So we head over to Jersey Mikes which is pretty close by to the packet pickup.  Seemed to work for the Richmond Marathon so why not.  After that we checked in and Heather left me in the room to rest while she "scouted" out spectator spots along the trail.  She and the kids did one hell of a job meeting me along the course which I really appreciated.  After they got back, we chilled then headed down the road to this place called Serpico's Pizza and Pasta.  We loved it and definitely recommend it for some pasta before the race.  It's only a few miles from the Residence Inn in Timonium, MD so you can't beat the location, and the food was great.  Then, off to the hotel where I laid out my flat daddy and got ready for the race the next day.

Saturday (November 29th, 2014)

Wake up came at 5:00 am for a 8:30am race, yea, I like to get up early and get the bowels moving so that I am feeling fresh for the race.  Something I must add, I had been feeling pretty stressed all week about this race.  I had no idea how my legs would react to running a marathon two weeks before, running only 3.2 miles in two weeks, and resting the other 13 days.  I am one of these people who trains more coming into a race so that my mental state is there even if I have more miles on my legs.  So needless to say, I was more stressed than usual even though this was my 9th marathon or longer distance race.  So we head over to Sparks Elementary School around 7:00am.  Because of the parking situation, you could not park there but as we eventually found out, by the end of the race people had parked their cars in the parking lot.  So for people contemplating running the NCR Marathon, you could probably get away with not using the shuttle and parking at the school.  However, they discourage it on the website and don't want people to do this but I didn't see any cars getting towed so you would probably be ok.  While at the school, the cafeteria was bustling with people, and they had section where you could drop your bags if you needed it.  Here is a shot of me and the boys hanging out before I went outside for the marathon:

That's a fake smile you see me with!

I didn't need to drop a bag as my family was there, and they just parked up at the top of the road and walked down to the school after they dropped me off.


The marathon and half marathon relay started at the same time which was 8:30am and the 8k started at 8:45.  I am not a big fan of relays.  I understand why they have them but just think it takes away from the overall marathoning experience.  Although the Baltimore Road Runners Club did a great job with the event, they could eliminate the relay event altogether and still have a great race.  So around 8:20, I entered the 29F temps and walked up to the top of the hill where the starting pad was.  My left knee was "not feeling it dog" and was thinking, are you kidding me, how the hell am I going to make it 26.2 miles on this shit.  So the gun went off at 8:31am and the course takes you about 1.5 miles down Belfast road onto York Road, then onto the trail.  The first 1.5 miles were downhill and I mean a good downhill.  What does the mean, it means that the last 2 miles of the race are going to be "DEATH" b/c it will be coming uphill.  So as I start, the left knee is aching and am thinking wow, can I really go this far.  I told myself, it will loosen up, it will loosen up, just get to the trail where it will be softer on your legs.  As we hit the trail, the left knee is still bugging but starting to feel about 20% better.  I first saw Heather and the boys at mile 5, and it was feeling much better by then.  The best part about my left knee was the fact that my right knee was aching a tad too b/c it took my mind off of the left knee.  As many who run with aches and pains, sometimes when you run, something will start to ache or hurt but if you run long enough, something else will take the place of that pain.  Obviously, knowing your body is important here as running through extreme pain is not a good idea but certain things you learn to run through and that's ok.  When I ran the Oil Creek 100k in October 2013, I rolled my ankle at mile 3, mile fucking 3 and said, holy shit JD how the hell are you going to run 59 more miles on a rolled ankle.  When it didn't swell and just ached I knew if I made it to mile 14, I would stop and take a look at it.  Eventually, the pain went away and was fine so certain things you can deal with, others you can't.  Back to the marathon, the trail apparently has an upward grade until the 13.1 mile marker but I couldn't tell.  It was mainly flat and fast for those who were killing the course.  Me, I was keeping a steady 9:30 ish pace.  The first 5k had me coming in at a 9:12/mile pace which I was happy with.  Given the goal here was to finish in 5 hours b/c this was my second in two weeks, my plan was to bank time until the half point, then reassess and possibly drop to 10's as long as I could, then run walk if it warranted it.  So the 10 mile mark had me coming in with a time of 1:33:52 and pace of 9:23/mile.  So so but wanted to get to the half marathon before I could semi-relax.  It was at this point that I started to fade a tad and it was getting pretty cold.  We ran by some small rivers and I could feel the temps drop.  I hit the half way mark, 13.1 at 2:04:07 with a 9:28 pace/mile.  NCR had you run past the 13.1 mark and go another .25 miles before you turned around.  Because the relayers, it was all bunched up at the half point and it would of been a mess to have marathoners turn around and relayers start there so they had you turn around further up the trail.  Good idea but again, I don't like relay races for this reason.  That said, they had oreo cookies at this point and I grabbed two and a gatorade which gave me some energy.  Here is a pic of me coming in at mile 15:
Coming in at mile 15 with Nic on my left!

The next goal I had was make it to 17 which in my mind was only 3 miles from 20.  When you are tired and hurting, you play mental games with yourself and trick your body into doing small chunks so this was me attempting to run to various points of the course.  I hit mile 17 at 2:44:24 with a 9:40 pace so I was extremely happy to still be in the 9's at this point.  Here is a shot of me heading in to mile 18:

Next goal was mile 20!  I saw Heather and the boys at 18 which gave me a pep in my step plus I was going to see them again at mile 21.5.  I reached mile 20 at 3:15:54 with a pace of 9:54 pace/mile.  At this point in the race, math wasn't really working but I knew that my 20 miler at Richmond was 2:53:02 so being 22 minutes off that with only a 10k to go, I will take it.  However, I was starting to die and die quick.  This wall was like no other - even on this pancake course, I just couldn't do it anymore.  The last 6.2 miles, I would average a 12:15 pace which was sickening but I was pretty much done at 20.  I saw Heather and the boys and 21.5 and they knew I was hurting pretty bad.  Here is a shot of me leaving 21.5 onto 22.  I was actually craving sugar real bad and could tell my fueling for cold weather races (long distances) was still not working.  Summer, I seem to have things down ok but cold weather, I have no clue.  It didn't help I was working with a limited running base too.
Heather got a shot of me leaving 21.5 - the pace fell apart and I was entering the hurt locker :)

They jogged in with me to the aid station and one of the guys asked me if I was ok and I said yea, just tired.  Don't know why he was so concerned b/c I know for a fact that if I was in very bad shape, Heather would have pulled me to the side to chill for a bit.  Anyway, it was another 5k to the road which felt like a 10k.  Walk, run, walk, run...until I hit the road.  Once on the road, that was no party either.  We hit the hills and the walk run strategy became more frequent.    The last 1.5 miles of the course was up hill and seemed never ending.  That said, I could see the finish at the top of the hill and kicked it in for a final time of 4:31:13 for a 10:21 pace/mile.  I was particularly proud of this marathon only b/c I had done it with no training at all and I am not even joking.  Below are a couple of shots of me after the race while warming up at the Sparks Elementary school

Many thanks to my support team Heather, Zach, and Nic for making what seemed like every aid station.  They must have made 8 aid stations which was absolutely crazy b/c as soon as they saw me, they had to hop in the car and get to the next one before I got there.  I really owe them for getting me through this race.  It is more comforting knowing you will have someone there when you are hurting.

Maniac qualification pic:

Race Stats:
Miles:  26.2
Finish time:  4:31:13 / 10:21 pace/mile
Place:  223/344 (sucks but don't care)
13.1 half time:  2:04:07 9:28 pace/mile
20 mile time:   3:15:54 9:54 pace/mile
Location:  Sparks, MD (Gunpowder State Park)

And finally, I am a MANIAC:
Marathon Maniac:  #10300

As for what's next, don't know yet.  I am going to go for a mile walk to stretch the legs out then start back later this week with quad/hip strengthening.  Might work on my speed/hill work in the next month or so.  I am contemplating the Mohican 100 in June,  but I just don't know yet and need many more miles if I am going to succeed at that.

No comments:

Post a Comment