Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Race Report #2

I have several other posts in my mind that I want to write but I did say I would have a second race report. So it's off to the races again.

Akron Marathon Relay - September 26th.

I was in the office prior to this race talking with my friend and co-worker Kim. Her husband's company has entered a 5 person relay in this marathon for the past 5 years. She was telling me that one of the runners was injured and her husband (Bob) was scrambling for a 5th runner. The hard part was finding a person to run the final leg which would be 8 miles.

Without hesitating I said, "I'll do it." She looked at me like I was crazy. She should know better. She knows my triathlon insanity. Before we schedule any weekend work she always makes sure I don't have a race planned.

I was going to be down at the race anyways. Aimee would be on her own 5 person relay with her sister and friends.....running the final 8 mile leg. Why not go down and have some fun.

Race morning we got down to Akron and found everyone near the start line. Kim and Bob, Becky, Deana, Kristy, Kim and Kyle. Aimee's team was named the Intoxi-Kitties. They made up cool shirts and all.

The team I was on didn't have any fun name. Just the name of the company. Bob was running the first leg so Kim stuck with Aimee and I. Kim also said she had never seen the start of the marathon. I had to correct that so I took her up to the start line where she could see the fast runners and everyone else start the race.

After the race we headed to the first exchange zone. Bob would finish there and then all four of us would drive to the final exchange zone where Aimee and I would start our run. It was great having Bob and Kim give us a ride to the exchange zone instead of riding on the shuttle.

We made it to the exchange zone with plenty of time to spare and we waited. Several marathoners came through as well as some of the wheelchair athletes. The funny part is that I didn't know who I would be exchanging with. I would know based upon the bib number but I had never met the guy. I was told his name was Chris.

Finally 2 hours and 10 minutes after the start of the marathon my relay teammate came into view. My run of 8 miles would be starting.

Before I get into details I must add some additional comments.

  • I had done no speed work prior to this run.
  • I was two weeks post Dances with Dirt. Remember 18 miles of wonderful suffering?
  • Bob had been talking me up to his co-workers. Greaaaaaaattt.
  • Did I mention I have not done any speed work?

Yeah, the pressure was on. I was going to be the ringer for this team. I was just going to have some fun. The marathon finishes in Canal Park, home of the Akron Aeros AA baseball team.

So I grab the wristband from Chris and I head out on my run. I wanted to start a little on the conservative side so I could warm up and get into a good groove. The anticipated rain started to come down in a fine mist so that wasn't too bad.

I had several goals for my run.
  • Have fun.
  • Encourage the other runners
  • Hunt down two teams I saw leave before me
  • Do the best I could for the team.
I did have fun. Waving to people who took the time to come out and cheer. There was a group of retirees sitting in front of their apartment building. When I waved they cheered enthusiastically and rang their cowbells and clappers.

I caught up to the 3:10 pacer who was having bad cramps and had fallen behind his group. When I caught the 3:10 group I told them to keep up the good work. They were looking good.

I did catch those two guys in front of me. I didn't get one of them until the last mile.

I did my best for the team. In fact I surprised the crap out of myself. During the entire run I kept myself right on the edge of blowing up. I held back enough to cover the distance. I pushed the downhills and stayed steady on the uphills.

Somehow I managed to do this with minimal nutrition. I forgot to carry my normal PowerGel and had to resort to Gu. I hate Gu, especially the chocolate which I had to take at one aid station. I did manage vanilla at the next aid station but that was late in the run.

I had a blast thanking the police officers and volunteers. I saw several friends along the route who cheered me on.

I crossed the finish line 51:18 after I started. I averaged 6:30/mile and had one downhill mile register 6:07. The team finish was 3:07:21 which put us in 8th place in the open division.

After I made my way through the food area I found everyone and we watched Aimee cross the finish line. Overall we had a great day at the Akron Marathon. I would recommend this race to anyone who wants to come to Ohio. It is top notch and they do a great job.

Fortunately I didn't feel like any of these people the days after the race.


Shawn said...

that video was awesome!

Luckily, I've never felt that way after a race either -- ask me again on Sunday ;)

Anonymous said...

You didn't run fast enough.

Big Country

Christi said...

Great job on your relay!!!

Anonymous said...

WOW Eric, great job anchor man! Your team must have been awful close to ours! And yes I love that video and Aimee's team name!