THE OC MARATHON EXPERIENCE: “POST MORTEM” AKA “BARRIER BROKEN”
Can you hear that sound? Wait, do smiles make a sound… perhaps the “balloon like” stretching of my skin as I sport an ear-to-ear grin.
I’m back from the OC Marathon and I am so happy to say that after five long years and six prior attempts, I’ve managed to crack the 5-hour barrier!
It certainly didn’t come easy, not at all.
For starters let me say it was a great weekend. I attended a carbo-load dinner last night with about 20 members of the Half Fanatics/Marathon Maniacs/SA2LV groups. A few people I knew, but I ended up making several new friends. And that put me in a great mood for today’s race.
On top of that, as I made my way to the starting line, I found my T2 running buddy Stacey. She and I ended up running the first half of the race together, chatting up a storm. At mile 13 (shortly after we passed the infamous “fork in the road”… only a quick chat between me and the cabeza, by the way) Stacey had to use the “facilities” and was also planning to step off of the gas a little. She told me to go on ahead.
So, it was just me, my iPod and the road for the last half of the race.
I had deviated from my original “cautious” game plan. Stacey and I unconsciously tend to push each other and as a result, by the time we parted at mile 13 I was running about 30 secs per mile faster than I planned. I wondered if I could maintain the pace for the rest of the marathon… nope.
The weather also ended up being warmer and sunnier than forecast, so that along with my speedier gate caused fatigue to start setting in sooner than I’d hoped. Around mile 16 I felt the first pangs of pain. By mile 18 it was much worse. At mile 20, the wall decided to pay me an uninvited visit.
And while I started walking much more (hoping to rest my tired legs) I did keep limber (I knew tightening up would be a death sentence for breaking the 5-hour barrier) and ran for short stretches… even if it was for just a minute or two.
Miles 20- 24.5 were really painful as I slowed down considerably and dejectedly watched as the 4:50 and then the 5:00 pace groups slipped past me. It looked like a sub 5-hour marathon would have to wait for another day. Oh, and it didn’t help that the meandering course added almost a half mile to my overall marathon distance. Great.
But still I kept running a little here and there, in the hopes that my dead legs might still come back to life.
At mile 25 I checked my watch and PaceBand and suddenly had a revelation. The 5-hour barrier was still within striking distance. If I dug deep and ignored the pain, I could still possibly break 5-hours (by a few seconds). I uttered “My race, my pace” (my running mantra) to myself and pushed off.
My legs did indeed have some life left in them. And as the OC Fair and finish line drew nearer, I must have been able to tap some unknown reserve. My pace picked up (and many thanks to the crowd for pushing me on).
And as I rounded the final turn on the course and the finish line was in sight, I let out a huge sigh of relief. I was going to break the 5-hour barrier… finally. Finally!
My time- 4:58:16.
And I am happy.
Here’s the skinny on the race…
Coming to TTK tomorrow, my full review for the OC Marathon.
And I’ll rest for a day or two before I get back to training. I’ve got the San Diego Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon in four weeks.
But as for tonight, I’m going out to celebrate with Lindy. And yes, I will be having dessert.