Sunday, October 14, 2007

The (Red Lobster) MDI Marathon Race Report

In perfect weather conditions the Three Blind Moose, Mountain Goat, and Lady Kate (Lady Kate presented to us by Mountain Goat) all enjoyed the MDI marathon (most noticeably sponsored by Red Lobster* - more on that later). For some quick photos, please hop over to Mike's blog.


First, an embarassing thing happened at the race packet pick-up. While everyone had a normal bib #, such as 599, or 223, or even 50, I ended up with #7. It was my seed # from when I had registered and planned on running a stellar time. Now I felt like a fraud as I had no intention of running a time worthy of the seed. I pinned it on my shirt and slunk into the back of the crowd hoping nobody would notice.**

The starting gun was a live cannon that shot out rainbow confetti and we were off. I started jogging a leisurely pace with Marc, Mike, & Katie and we crossed mile one in 9:09. My plan was to run very conservatively in the first half of the race and then see what my baseline aerobic capacity could provide for the 2nd half.

We had all toyed with the idea of running together for the whole race and we also toyed with just running the first few miles together. Then Joan Benoit Samuelson in her speech to us at the Pasta Dinner said running with friends was the fastest method for ending those friendships. In the end, we reverted back to our training - we did what Commander Mike told us to do.

Even though I wasn't 'racing' this marathon, I was more nervous about it than my last few. It was because I wasn't properly trained and I would need to rely on my experience as a marathon runner/finisher to avoid some serious mishap. So at the end of mile one, I let Mike & Marc continue ahead a little bit (as they had picked up an 8:24ish pace) and I kept a low profile in the upper 8's. The heart rate monitor agreed. The pace I was running was right there in my easy training zone and I knew the lay of the land at this effort.

After 3 miles I was able to gradually increase my pace and heart rate to around 150 and ever so slowly I started to reel in Mike & Marc. I caught them right at mile 6 and they picked up my pace for the next few miles (mile 8 in 8:14). There seemed to be an unsaid 'goal' of running 3:30 as we kept calculating our splits as "minutes off 3:30". We hovered at 4 minutes off 3:30 for quite a while.

I started to slip away (though I didn't know it) and near mile 10 I heard my name being called from behind and the command "Stop!". This was the first time I've been told to 'stop' in a marathon. But leave it to Commander Mike to introduce another first for me. I grabbed a cup of water and walked. Mike caught up and gave me new orders:

"The plan is to run together until mile 11 until the photoshoot. Then all bets are off."

Marc caught us and we then continued on for another 1.5 miles to where Jo was waiting to take photos of the Three Blind Moose. After mile 12 we sort of drifted apart again - each running their own pace. Our paces did not differ that much - but just enough to let a little space get in between us. I crossed in the half in 1:49:xx.

To this point I had been running easily. But by no means did I possess any capacity to run faster and still be able to finish with form (and the same pace). I was happy that my experiences to this point allowed me to recognize my limitations and guard against a too fast first half. Now with the 2nd half upon me, I gradually increased my HR to 160 and that quickly became 168 as the hills continued to dominate the course. I was happily surprised to find that I felt somewhat efficient at this new pace and with the decreasing miles to the finish, I felt confident that I could hold this effort until the end.

Note: I didn't hold the effort until the end as I ran out of steam at mile 25 and the HR dropped back into the 150's for the final mile.

It felt good to be going for the negative split. The miles slid by faster now. My legs started to experience some tightness after mile 21 and from then on, the road's surface started to bother me. If there was any crack or crown to be trod it would hurt. But I made it through and up the most beastly of hills to mile 25. A steep downgrade is the last mile and the legs were shot. A little stomach upset presented itself and I jogged it in for a total time of 3:26:xx and a 12 minute negative split.

Afterward, I had the my typical trouble with feeling queasy but that soon passed with a massage and shower. A quick steak and stout at a local pub and I made my way back to Eastport. Amazingly, I feel pretty good leg-wise. The soreness abated quickly and I'm just a little stiff. Perhaps after a night's rest I'll be more sore but I hope not.

* Red Lobster was not only a sponsor with ads on the shirts, and multiple fliers in the race packet goodie bag, but even the finisher's medal says "Presented by Red Lobster" on the face of it just above the date. This is the first time I've seen advertising on a finisher's medal and I don't think I like it.

** The bib number issue didn't arise again until the shower room when the place was crowded with recent finishers and the normal "How'd you do?" and "What was your time?" were being bandied about. An acute observer looked at my bib # and wanted to know how I ended up with it - forcing my confession that my training wasn't up to my prior prediction on my registration.

I must say being unprepared for the race and running it anyway (albeit correctly) has been a real kick in the pants.


Blogger Jamie Anderson said...

12 minute negative split?! Crickey! That's awesome! Very impressive performance considering your loss of training due to injuries. Well done. Had a blast hanging out with you guys this weekend, hopefully see you again soon. Rest well!

10/14/2007 9:26 PM  
Blogger UMaine Cooperative Extension said...

Well done Andrew. You never cease to amaze me. One heck of a negative split!

It was great running with you and Mike and having some fun.

Let me know how you fell on the morrow. I'll be on the road most of the day, so call me on the cell if you get a chance.

10/14/2007 9:35 PM  
Blogger Adria said...

You make it sound so easy.


10/15/2007 1:03 AM  
Blogger Thomas said...

Jogging to a 3:26 finish while being unprepared is hardly a bad sign. While it's a world away from your best, I'd be very encouraged by that time.

10/15/2007 4:34 AM  
Blogger Mark said...

Holy cow. With the - by your standards - limited training you've done you still trampled my best with no problem at all.

You da man.

10/15/2007 10:08 AM  
Blogger Love2Run said...

Nice work Andrew! There is something to be said for starting out nice and easy isn't there? That was a great weekend and the shots of the 3-B-M cruising along are simply priceless ;-)

10/16/2007 6:17 PM  
Blogger Mike said...

I'm late on this but I wanted to applaud you on enjoying yourself and putting in a pretty darned good performance given the training (and photo ops).

10/16/2007 10:37 PM  
Blogger Mark Bell said...

Lucky number 7! I recall my wife getting bib #1 at Hyannis; no thanks to all the attention.

Nice run on your marathon sounds like a new beginning for you. Interested in reading about long term plans from here.

10/17/2007 5:16 AM  
Blogger Grellan said...

Great race Andrew. To be fair to the Commander you have him to thank for the huge negative split.

10/18/2007 6:52 PM  

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