Everything is much a blur but I will try do a post race report. Everything went as planned (somewhat). I arrived late to the hotel the night before the race and didn’t go to bed until 1:30. I woke up by 5. I was cold since I didn’t turn on the heat…on purpose to acclimate. I packed lot of clothes but ended up running in the ones I went to bed with. The clothes I brought didn’t seem right – the material and tag I thought they would be in the way and might give me rub burn. In the end I did get burned. My crotch was uncomfortable a quarter of the way through (too late to adjust and ran through the discomfort) and my nipples were hurt by the end. Next race I might try putting bandaids on my nipples.
The weather was indeed cold but others were saying perfect running condition. When I got to course it was around 32 F (-1 C when I work up). It got warm up few degrees by race time. I was comfortable. I had on two layers: a long sleeves and a tee over. While running I was hot but every time I slowed down and stopped, I felt cold. I had a cap and a neck warmer (not really needed), and gloves. Gloves were not needed and my fingers were actually colder having them on. I found out my fingers sweated and the gloves were wet half way through. In the end, I had only one glove on while the other was off for the last quarter of the race.
This second race (I tried to do 3 marathons in 90 days) actually felt much like a race. I didn’t take the first race seriously and just went out and ran and I walked when I wanted to. There wasn’t much pressure to keep up with anyone. However, this second one was much different. I prepared for the event two nights ahead. I ate enough the night before, minus the sleep, I was all out for this race. I felt the pressure to keep up with everyone.
I realized even the first mile I had hard time keeping up with people. Usually no one runs fast, at least that fast. People were passing me left and right. I know I shouldn’t care much of those around but it did affect my psyche. First mile was downhill. I remember someone told me the course was down hill. I didn’t know how far it would continue but now post race, the downhill portion only lasted .8 mile. At the time I was anxious, if the entire course was downhill, I would have adjust my pace. I was conservative and didn’t go all out on the downhill portion. Many did.
The rest of the course was relatively flat. After a mile we saw where the finishing line would be, noting we would be back here. The course is out and back. So the turnaround point is about at the 14 mile mark (beyond the traditional 13.1).
By the sixth mile I was still struggling, and I think people were still running too fast. I had a pace that I wouldn’t go out of breath, I think around 8:30 min mile. I felt still being hurried. I should have slowed down but I don’t know why I didn’t. 10 min mile pace is my marathon pace and I wasn’t running at that pace. At that time I knew I was going too fast but it never occurred to me to slow down.
By mile 10, I took a bathroom break and lost about 2 minutes. People I ran with all disappeared. I thought I could catch up but never did.
I was struggling by the 10th mile, and my goal was to reach the half way point. If I reach half way I know I would finish.
I got to half way and was looking for the turn around point. It seemed forever when I got there.
15 miles in, I started walking. A Chinese couples was behind me and they urged me on. I run a mile and stopped walked. They chased me the whole way. Someone shouted to me 60-60 walk 60 steps and run 60 steps. I tried it and it helped. The hardest thing was to run again after stopping. Counting 60 steps helped me get back into rhythm. I was glad to know about this. By counting, I could keep my focus and I didn’t even have to stop after running 60 steps.
The last couple miles, I relied on counting to get me through. Also the Chinese couples would catch up with me whenever I walked and urged me on. I would started running. At mile 20, my time was 3:10. There was no way to beat 4 hours. If I had flesh legs I could do it.
At mile 24, the rain started. I didn’t stop again at that point. My Garmin watch also died because I didn’t charge it the night before. I was lucky that rain only started now and not earlier. Initially it should have started around mile 13, so I was spared. I had my plastic bag with me, but the rain was light and I really didn’t feel I needed it. Trying to keep positive.
I finished very tired as I crossed the finish line. I had one of the worse finishing photo. My legs didn’t cramp up but I felt I wanted to throw up and I was dizzy. I remained standing waiting for the Chinese couples who cheered me earlier. I think they were 15 minutes behind (in reality they were about two minutes). It did feel like eternity waiting for them to cross the finish line.
Today, I felt sore. Mostly on my left quad. My right hip felt weird. I think because half way through the race I became tired and my running form was bad and I put too much stress on my hip. The hip joint felt weird. Not sore but weird. I had to hold my hip to walk or it would drop.
NCR course is great. It is flat. While it is a trail, the trail is well maintained. There are no big rocks or pot hole or roots. It was almost like running on road. Actually it was better than DC roads. Crowd support was great too (relatively). The course is a public trail, so there were other people on the trail during the race and they cheered us as we ran past them.
(End Day 24)