Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Rough Marathon Monday

It's been crazy busy at work but I'm hoping there's relief in sight.  But I made the election to work very late last night in order to be able to spend the morning watching the Boston Marathon and tracking my many friends who ran. 

Of my 20 registered friends, 1 was no-go as of weeks ago (injury), 1 was no-go as of when he was supposed to fly out (didn't want to run in that weather), 1 started but didn't finish (sick from an infection she had), and the other 17 finished. 

I felt so bad for them.  Many of them started out strong and then dropped off sharply as the temperatures climbed.  The good news is, given the weather, that was the game plan for many of them.  They decided to run their race as long as they could, and then just relax and enjoy the day when they started to get hot.  But oh, it was still hard to watch.

One friend who is crazy fast ran the first half in 1:26 -- but finished in nearly 4 hours.  It broke my heart for him.  He has to run hard, but when he does it, he can run a marathon in about 2:50.  Crazy, inconceivably fast for 99% of marathoners.  Tough for him too, but he works hard at it.  As several of us were tracking him, we saw his pace slow a bit between 25k and 30k.  But then we waited, and waited, and waited, and there was still no 35k time. 

It reminded me of that movie Apollo 13.  As the time ticked by, we initially thought maybe his chip didn't read at 35k, but we'd see a time at 40k.  But then it was nearly an hour, and there was still nothing.  Then it became major worry he was seriously hurt and/or had been pulled from the race.  Waiting, waiting, waiting.  But finally, just over an hour later, his 35k time posted -- just over an hour.  He had dropped from about a 6:30/mile pace to a 20:00/mile pace. 

He finished.  He said he cramped up severely and almost dropped out, but decided to limp it in.  He said even his forearms cramped up. 

But that's just one example.  A couple of my friends had steady and solid races, but all the finish times were much slower than usual.  I think I only know one friend who PRed, and it was only by a few minutes, though she'd trained her butt off.  But for her, it's an even bigger accomplishment.  But it was just sad to know how hard people had trained, all to have it be for a hot, sunny run.  Record high of 87 degrees.  Many friends were 20, 30, 45 minutes off their usual times. 

Most people have just posted brief updates on FB, indicating they were happy to be done and have not needed medical support, but I'm looking forward to having them home and getting to hear all the details.

I know it's just one more elements of the mystique of the marathon -- no matter how well you train, there are so many race-day variables beyond your control.  But oh, so bummed for all of them not to have gotten a great race day.  At least it will be memorable I suppose...

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