Brookings - Marathon #11,
Usually, I finish these things by saying thank you to Sasha for putting this blog together. I thought I should start with that this time. This blog has connected me with some exceptional runners. But what I’ve found is that it also connects me with exceptional people. So since I would have never heard of Matt S. without this blog, and I would have never heard of Brookings without Matt, thanking Sasha is where I should start.
Okay, the race stuff. This course is NOT flat. There is a hill at mile 9 that made me laugh. I was braced for some rough weather at the start. When that did not happen, I went out at 6:50 pace for the first 2 miles. Every mile after that was slower, and slower.
At mile 6, I took my first gu. It was a while until the water after that. For some reason, the sugar made like a bubble that made breathing difficult. I stopped to cough and spit for a bit. I didn’t take another gu for the rest of the race. Not being able to breathe is a freak out moment. After that, I was cruising easy until the half. Once the halfers split off from the full runners, I was really alone. It’s hard to describe the difference between the second half of this course from the first. It is like a whole new race. The first half is about as “urban” as Brookings gets. The second half is isolated, and feels like you are running through the plains. It is much hillier. There are more surface changes. The wind really picked up. Mile 13 was through mud. The. Whole. Mile. I ran through a puddle at mile 15, and yelled a few swear words. Right after that, I realized a kid relay runner was right behind me. Oops. A woman started using me as a wind screen late in the race. It kind of ticked me off. So I didn’t hold a straight line. She said “yeah, I’m totally using you.” I said I couldn’t understand how the wind was in our face, no matter which way we turned. Then she started telling me about Boston, and I let her go. I didn’t really feel like hearing about how horrible someone else’s last race was, while I was falling apart in THIS race. It is really a scenic course. The rain started at mile 20, and never stopped. It was scheduled to be sunny at the finish.
Honestly, I don’t know how much of this time to put on running through mud, grass, rain, bridges, wind, curb hopping, etc. And how much of this to put on to me mentally breaking down. I fell apart, plain and simple. Miles 20 -26 were a nightmare. I finally saw Matt on course at mile 25.5ish. He was directing traffic in the rain. They put a -ski on the end of my polish last name at the finish. Spouse could see that I was pretty disappointed in my time. I would have hung out at the finish line longer, if it weren’t stupid cold and raining. The food and drink spread was exceptional.
It’s amazing that I saw spouse so many times out there. She got a bit of a work out tracking me!
By 2 pm the weather was excellent. 53 degrees and sunny – the weather I was expecting at the end.
I have completely changed my preconceptions about South Dakota. This place is beautiful. Maybe not the whole state, but I get why Matt likes it here. Some of those paths I ran on late in the race were fantastic. If I lived here, I would love running here.
I met some 50 staters on this trip. I don’t really fit their mold. I actually care about my time. And this time isn’t up to snuff. On the other hand, this trip with spouse was amazing. Signing up for races in foreign places, and getting new experiences with people you love -there’s something to be said for that, regardless of race time. There has been more than a few times I didn’t run the race I wanted, but the trip more than compensated. I have been told that racing for any other reason than a faster time is stupid. I disagree, but would still like to be faster.
Where do I go from here? I don’t know on a couple of levels. First, I don’t know what race is next. It seems I am a crappy weather magnet. Birmingham, Sugarloaf, Savannah, were all just awful. I would like to some day race without rain, wind, or life-threatening heat and humidity. I am also unsure how to adjust my training to get back to 3:15. Did I lack in long runs? Total mileage? What did I miss? I feel like I had a solid 4 month build up. Is it really all about weight? I have to re-think some stuff.