Monday, May 16, 2011

2011 Cleveland Marathon

Borrowed from Scott's blog:

Scott / Anna

4:30 Alarm goes off. My head is not in the race. Ankle is still store with my first step out of bed. I tell myself to remember the mantra from my last blog. Oh, and I take two Advil. More to come later on that topic. Off to the Shower.

4:30 Definition of insanity. Since at some point in the wee hours Zoe has joined us, I switch to Scott’s side of the bed to get some breathing room. I find that he has already set the alarm for me. Where is the trust?

4:45 Out of the Shower. Body Glide time for all those special parts that may chafe. Running close on time and the great debate begins as it has gotten considerable colder since I went to bed. Long sleeves or Tri top?

5:00 Downstairs for breakfast. My traditional breakfast of banana babyfood, Cliff Bar, part of banana and some sports drink. Start doing a little stretching.

5:00 to 5:30 Many trips to the restroom to rid myself unnecessary weight.

5:30 PK comes to my house to go to the race together. It is seriously cool outside and there is some even more serious fog. Cut through the flats and we are in the parking lot in no time.

6:00 Long Sleeves or Tri Top and arm warmers? I get out of my car and am immediately cold, so I make the gut reaction to wear a long sleeve running top. First mistake.

6:15 PK and I walk down to Browns Stadium for the start. BTW, props to the Browns for opening the stadium for the use of the facilities and shelter from the weather. Nerves are starting to kick in looking around at the crowd and the fact my dang Achilles is still sore. One more stop in the bathroom and even with all the bathrooms open there are still lines. Much nicer than port-a-potties.

6:15 Alarm goes off. Ugh…if I have any plans of getting in the shower, I cannot hit snooze. If I have any plans of people standing next to me…I have to shower. Morgan wakes up just as I turn the water off so at least I get to skip that argument.

6:40 PK and I make our way to the start line. The corrals were a little tight, but worked out fine. We find the 3:20 pace leader who happened to be the same person (Jay) from last year, which I was psyched about. Great pace leader. I didn’t recognize his co-pace leader. More to come later on that topic, also. Stretching is in full force now.

6:55 National Anthem and “Cleveland Rocks” song – which Cleveland can let go at any time and find a replacement – n o disrespect to Drew Carey.

7:00 The gun goes off and the chaos of 19,000 people leaving the start line begins. PK and I are immediately separated. My good pace leader has disappeared and the great salmon swim begins to catch back up. This is also when I realize the course I said I was not a fan of was going to make itself known. I catch back up with the pace group by about Mile 1, after steadily climbing hills for a mile. I am beginning to settle down, but my Achilles is in major pain. Fitness-wise I am loaded with energy and now completely focused on running. That first mile was a sub 7 pace to catch back with the group.

7:05 We leave our house. On time. I have made a deal with Zoe that she can stay in her pajamas until we get to our first spectator spot. I have packed a thermal sack with water, Capri Suns and a Zero. I have packed a bag with Zoe’s clothes, children’s books, coloring paper, markers, How to Ditch Your Fairy, the Lady Gaga edition of Bazaar Magazine, bags of goldfish crackers, fruit snacks, granola bars, wipes, two large blue recycling bags and the camera. I throw two lawn chairs and the umbrella stroller in the trunk to join the blanket. I cannot even begin to tell you how impressive this is.

Mile 2 Concept of time of day has disappeared. I am feeling great (except for my Achilles) and feel like running a little faster than my pace group. I surge ahead and I am running at 7:10 per mile. PK catches up and is running lights out with me. Cruising into the Edgewater area. Love the crowds in this area of town

7:15 Pull out of McDonald’s with two McGriddles, a Bacon, Egg and Cheese bagel, three hashbrowns, two apple juice and one orange drink (their orange juice is too pulpy…blechhh).

10K I am still ahead of my pace group and running strong. PK has dropped off the pace. His knee will not hold out. Knowing I am in for the long haul on a bad wheel, I decide to cut back my pace and rejoin my pace group, which happens a little after mile 7.

7:30 Get off and West 25th and head to Scranton, pulling ahead of the aide station and race turn, so it is no longer between me and downtown (again, I’m surprising myself with impressive skillz). Park in front of a questionable house, but less than a block away from the police officer, so we’re able to eat our breakfast and get Zoe changed. Less the 10 minutes later the pros are heading our way (Jesus, that is fast.) Barely a light mist at this point. Morgan pushes Zoe’s stroller and I grab the chairs and bag to find our spot on the corner of Mile 9.

Mile 7-9 Running well with the group. However, the thought the Advil was doing nothing had crept in, and my adrenaline was working on other things. This is also when the bad pace guy takes over the flag carrying duties and the good pacer takes a port-a-pot stop. Almost immediately bad pacer jacks the pace up to 7:10 miles, which is 28 seconds faster then his designated pace and the group is being decimated. I am hanging but the added pressure is not helping and now I am getting pissed. In the back of my head, I think he going to slow down, so that his partner can catch up. No dice. Ten miles and we are now consistently running 7:10. My ankle is now throbbing and the thought of calling it a day at the half is going through my head. Note to the bad pace leader: the word pace is defined. You may want to look it up.

8:00-8:45 You don’t realize how fast people are actually running until you are trying to pick out faces. I knew no less than 10 people running the half marathon and was on the look out. I didn’t even realize it was Scott until he was practically in front of me, thus the picture from behind. I can confirm the bad pacer at this spot, because I noticed he was practically on top of the 3:10 group. We waited. Morgan’s best quote of the day. “It’s hard to look for Uncle Phil, because there are so many bald guys.” (I swear I didn’t teach her this, and I don’t think he’s bald.) As we finally give up to drive down town, I look up and catch Gregg rounding the turn, who despite allegations of being completely un-prepared, manages to call out hellos to the girls without any effort whatsoever.

Mile 13.1 I have made it here and laid down BQ half time. Maybe my best half time. Achilles is still killing, but the mantra from last blog kicks in and I keep running. Heck, I am halfway interested to see how things turn out. Then the head winds kick in and so does my grudge match with the marathon.

9:00 Me, queen of no sense of direction, gets the family downtown through the plight-dredged streets of Cleveland. The parking garage I had planned on was closed, but I easily made a correction. On the walk there, I force the girls to take a pee break at the Hyatt (I know a really nice public restroom in the basement there from my E&Y days). We casually make our way along the half-mile finish course where I finally spot another friend, or rather she spots me and waves (Go, Shannon!). The precipitation is getting a little heavier now and the temperature has dropped drastically. I should have worn a coat instead of sweatshirt, but the girls are actually dressed okay and we have the blanket. Nobody is even complaining about the walk.

Mile 16 My pace has dropped off a little. The dehydration of taking 6-8 Advil a day for the last two weeks has also started and now I’m fighting cotton mouth and some muscle issues. The good pace leader and I have rejoined forces around mile 15 and were still cruising a little ahead of the 3:20 pace. (Editor’s note: Scott is being modest here, because he told me later that he and his fancy watch helped out a big group of people and he became the un-official pace setter and cheer leader for a big gaggle of them for quite sometime before coming back upon the official guy.)

9:15ish Closing in on the Rock Hall and see Coach Patty (Morgan’s soccer coach) who has finished the half and walking back to her car. Grab a spot to sit for a while and wrap the blanket around the girls, but know for certain we cannot stay here for an entire hour (if he is actually keeping pace, which I believe is next to impossible with that ankle). It is too cold and the wind to brutal. Yet if we walk toward the stadium, it is a mad house and by the time we get settled there, we’ll have to come back if we want a chance to see him. Decisions, decisions.

Mile 19 This is where my race began…or shall I say…fell a part. I was starting to hit the wall. My Achilles was not going to let me stay with the 3:20 guys much longer, and I am starting to cramp from dehydration. Thank science for gels, because they were a lifesaver at times on this run. By mile 20 I had hit the wall on many fronts of cramping and pain, but I had still managed to get there in about 2 hours 33 minutes. My new goal based on my grudge match was just coming in under 3:30.

9:45 Find shelter (and a bench) up against the Rock Hall. In fact, it completely cuts off the wind and the now-steady drizzle. The girls are in great spirits and take out the coloring supplies. A half-er in shorts and a tank top makes her way to the shelter, waiting for her ride and I offer our blanket, because her shivering is making me cold. (Again …definition of insanity.) I enjoy some pop and fruit snacks and read a very small amount of my book.

Mile 22 Life is sucking. I have had to walk for about 30 feet and mentally I was fighting on every level. Back to the mantra and a new one which was “just keep running.” Just keep looking for the city and just keep running.

Mile 24 Fighting my way over the wall. Had some periodic walking, but still was managing under 8:00 minute miles when I was running. The grudge match goal was in reach.

10:15 Head down to the curb. The drizzle is back to mist and the girls pull out the garbage bags to sit on, letting me wrap myself in a blanket. Morgan and Zoe start up the chant, “Go, Daddy, Go!” for about ten minutes, which must have made the people wonder exactly how many daddies they had.

Mile 25 The realization that I had pushed my way to the finish had begun to set in, and I was happy about that. Plus, I knew I was going to see my girls soon, and that would make whatever portion of the race was left much easier.

Mile 26 I see Anna, Morgan and Zoe cheering at the Rock Hall. I run over and give them all high fives and cheer for them, since they have sucked it up in the rain and wind for hours now and cruise into the finish. I stop my watch at 3:28 and change, but closer to 3:29. I am satisfied with the time considering the conditions, my Achilles and all the other factors. After that stuff, I was only about six minutes slower then my pace last year.

10:30ish I think Scott shocked the girls by coming over for high fives, which made them very giddy. Well worth the wait. Started to walk towards the finish line and probably kept going a little longer than I should have before turning around. There was just too much madness to be able to try to find him and now it is legitimately raining and I sense a breaking point for the girl’s patience. Zoe is looking soaked at this point. So when we get back to the car, I let her change back into her pajamas and she is ecstatic.

11:00 I am so cold I am now shivering uncontrollably and can not find the girls in the rain and wind. I decide to call it quits and hope they do the same. I head to the med tent for a foil blanket and walk to the car. Call Anna and she has done the same.

11:30 I am heading home to let the stiffness set it in and EAT.

11:30 Heading home along the path of the race course and talking to Scott on the phone to get the scoop on the ankle situation (I know. Shame on me). There are literally hundreds of shirts littering the road after being discarded by the racers. Scott had a good suggestion that some organization should follow along after the race and pick them up to sell or give to clothes banks.

Overall: Another good race put on by Rite Aid and the sponsors. Huge props to Anna and the kids for supporting Dad through the journey. Props to the volunteers and all the spectators who braved the weather. This was a mental battle with the marathon and I got through it.

Sorry, I missed everyone else. Way to go Colleen, Kim, Beth, Lindsey, Meghan and John. I honestly don’t know how you do it. My legs cramp up when I take the stairs to the cafeteria.

Tri season next and maybe a trip to the doctor.

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