The Tour De Cleveland: Cleveland Marathon Race Report

Where do I begin.  I am just a glutton for punishment.  I had a fantastic race and yet another success of a marathon.  That is the best most positive way to put it.  The more accurate way to describe it is to say I should have run the half marathon instead.  Two weeks rest after the Flying Pig Marathon is just not enough.  I thought I was ready and I was not.

It all started rather odd.  I was one of the last to cross the start line.  I accidentally got separated from my Athletic Supporters and still had my gear and gym bag with me when I crossed that start line.  At one point I was willing to run the entire marathon with the bag strapped across my chest.  Space was reading “Ultramarathon Man” so that was in the bag and if I needed it I could have pulled it out and read for a little inspiration.  I got lucky though.  About 100 meters after the start line Space and Rae were there and I tossed the bag in their direction.  I will learn from that mistake and ensure that I do not loose track of my Athletic Supporters in the future.  They are what keeps the team together.

Well, there I was at the very back of the pack.  This was obviously too slow so I weaved my way through the crowd at a blistering pace.  I was putting up some killer miles in the low 8 to high 7 minute range.  I passed the 5:30 pace group and about a mile later I passed the 4:15 pace group.  I could see the the 4 hour pace group just ahead.  So I pushed.  I passed the 4:00 pace group just before the 10k mark.  What a great feeling.  I was moving and I still had a lot left.  That would be end of that mess.  Just remember, when running a marathon and you get that feeling of euphoria.  Don’t worry, it will pass.  I looked down after I went past the 10k timing “mat” and saw that our new timing system tag was coming loose from my shoe.  So I pulled off to readjust the tag so it would not inadvertently come off during the race.

Lets see here.  We have these champion chip systems that have been proven and are well accepted by the racing community.  Then comes the Chrono Track system that has only been used in select races with very little success  See Complete Running for an update.  This “D-tag” is held together with a pressure sensitive adhesive where the champion chip is a mechanical lock.  I am an adhesive chemist and love the idea of the technology being advanced but it was not ready.  I initially attached my tag to my shoe in the rain.  Did I forget to mention that the race started in the rain.  A very good thing except for the soggy shoes.  Well through a lack of forethought the adhesive did not hold.  When I realized it was loose it had stopped raining and I hoped that is was going to hold when I stuck it back together and tucked in under my laces.  A mile later I looked down and found that it was loose again.  I pulled off and worked at it and eventually I took pin from my number and ran it through.  That did the trick.  I had lost about 7-10 minutes and the stopping like that killed the pace and rhythm I had going.  This was the start of my misstride and tight calf muscles.  Lets not forget the timing mats were about a millimeter short of speed bumps made of plastic that were slippery in the rain.  How about that.  My rant is over.  I think.

After that was through, I passed the 4 hour pace group for the third time of the day.  Things were going along real nice.  My Athletic Supporters met me right before the 1/2 marathon turn off were I exchanged caps and dropped off my gloves.  My knee was bothering me and at the turn off I thought how nice it would be to cut it short.  I went on and that was the second mistake of the day.

I got to the half point in under 2 hours and I was real happy but then I zonked.  My left calf was real tight and my right knee was really hurting.  For brief moment I thought about those fatal letters.  DNF.  Then I came to my senses.  My brain was telling me to keep going.  I must prove that I can do this.  My body will adapt.  Of course it will I have trained through ice storms.  Over bad terrain.  In a blizzard.  With a turned ankle.  All of that I can run with a little knee pain.  Body be damned I am stronger than that.  So I kept running and the 4 hour pace group passed me for the third and final time.  It was okay.  This was not about time it was about finishing.

The next 13 miles were hidious.  The pain was not really that bad but my stride was completly undone.  My left leg was mostly in my standard stride and foot strike but my right was kind of limping and I was favoring it to try and take some impact off of my knee.  This whole thing just put more stress on my hips.  What at disaster.  On and on I went.

At mile 20, a guy passed by and asked if I was at the Flying Pig Marathon two weeks earlier.  I guess there are very few people in Virginia Tech bike jerseys that are running marathons.  I affirmed my participation.  He had run in the relay in Cincy.  We discussed a few items of note and he encouraged me on in my insanity.  From that point I kind of kept him as my pacer and never lost site.  Thanks Dude.

Well, four hours and nineteen minutes later I completed my 4th marathon in one year.  With the 4:02 I ran in Cincy I have cut 40 minutes from my time.  Fantastic.    I could not be prouder of what I have accomplished. I am nursing that knee and hip injury and am eager to start my running again.   The funny part about this whole thing is if you look back at my training log I cut runs out or short because I was a little injured or fatigued.  I was smart and listened to my body.  When I get into a race and that good sense turns off.  I am about never having a DNF on my record but I need to have better judgment about crazy stuff like this.  Thanks Cleveland for putting on another great race.  Just drop that Chono Track idiocy next time.

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