Monday, May 02, 2011

Weekend #1: Country Music and Flying Pig

Marathon #1:

Synopsis: Hot. Hilly. Breezy.  Lots of enthusiastic locals.

The long story:
The breeze was only bothersome once, on a long uphill stretch; otherwise, it was pretty much the only thing that kept me from bursting into flames.   I hit this marathon on about 7 hours of sleep.

I was in corral 20.  Sweet Baboo was in corral 8.  He took off about 7:05. I took off at 7:25.  The first 9 miles of the course is nice, it winds through the historic district of Nashville, through some pretty neighborhoods.  One thing I love about the south is how easy it is to grow things here.  Has something to do with water, I think. This race is notable for the local support it receives; people lined the street in chairs, and their kids were out front holding out their hands to give the runners a high 5 as they ran through.  It had pretty neighborhoods in the first 9 or 10 miles, and then lots of hotness after that, but it was interesting.  Most people don't like courses that have lots of turns, but I do: it breaks up the monotony.
The next 9 miles are pretty brutal, more hills and it was getting hot.  Once you got into mile 11 or 12, you left shade behind for a very long time.  I lost the 5:00 pace group at this point.  They were running an 11:10 pace and I just couldn't keep up.  (Yeah, I know, 11:10 is NOT on pace for finishing at 5:00.  Bitch. I see her again and I'm going to trip her.)  Eventually, around mile 17 though, I passed a guy with "4:45" on his shirt and left him behind and never saw him again.. The take-home message here: Don't trust the pace groups at this marathon.  Use your Garmin and your training.

At every aid station I drank no less than 2 cups of water, and sometimes an extra ice-cold Cytomax. I ran between then and walked through them, slamming down a cup of water and then grabbing another cup from the next volunteer.  If there was time, I'd take a third.   I never got dehydrated.  I may have over-hydryated, because I peed like a racehorse all the way to Cincinnatti.  We had to stop three times for my bladder.  I took an e-gel every 3 miles like clockwork.  I've never done all thsoe aid stations before because I thought they'd slow me down, but I think they worked well.
There is a long out-and-back that end in a loop around the lake.  The big hills are at miles 2ish, 11ish, 14ish, 16ish, and then there is one last climb before you head downhill - the last .5 mile of the marathon is downhlil and then flat.  I finished in 5:10, later than I'd fantasized, but sooner than I hoped.
IF YOU GO: Take an extra handheld for between aid stations if it's going to be warm.  You need something to sip on in between.  Put on sunscreen - the sun isn't as intense here as it is where I'm from, but you still want to protect your skin because that's how you cool off, and if you get a sunburn, that will screw it up.

We had packed our car before leaving the hotel and then jetted off to the next race: Cincinnatti.  We stopped for Hardees, and Starbucks.

Traveling between towns in the south can be a bit clostraphobic as they are usually a narrow highway with narrow lanes and forests on either side of the highway.  You know that you are in the South when you see these items in one trip:
  1. A large copy of the 10 commandments across the highway from and Adult Superstore,
  2. Billboards that aren't just religious - that's pretty much anywhere - but they are, on the whole, much more threatening and punitive.
  3. There is a Cracker Barrel at every single--NO, EVERY SINGLE--exit
  4. A billboard for a place called Nervous Charlie's Fireworks and Beer.
We hit traffic on the way to Cinci, and Sat in place, traveling 3 miles in 1 hour. We arrived at packet pickup 30 minutes after they closed. 

Marathon #2

Synopsis: Rainy, overcast, smelled good, lots to look at and SUPER enthusiastic locals.
This is the midwest, and they had heard about the traffic jam, and stayed open for us.  We picked up our chips, and I picked up a very nice women's specific Tee, and an emboidered back pack.  We then high-tailed (no pun intended) it to the hotel, and walked into our room at 8 pm.  We ate at the pasta buffet downstairs, and finally hit the hay around 9 pm.

Up at 4:30 to eat.  We dressed, and headed down - walked to this one, since it started near our hotel.

It rained.  It rained and rained.  As I walked slowly back to the E corral (Sweet Baboo was in Corral B) I wondered how I would avoid my phone and my ipod getting wet.  Luckly, Corral E was under a railroad bridge, so it was dry.  I suspected that some people would be tossing their disposeable rain ponchos, and I was right - I grabbed one of them and put it on, and wore it for about the first 5 miles of the race.

I ran into Rachel, who was nice enough to put up with my snail's pace up the hill.  Thank goodness, too, because only because of 9 miles of a 14-minute pace was I able to do what I did next: After mile 9, when it started going downhill, I took off.  My pace crept downward to about 12:40 and then stayed there.  I used the Galloway method, walking 1 minute off, 5 minutes on.
About mile 17ish, my left foot started hurting.  Like, really hurting.  As in, "fuck you if you think I'm going to put in another 26 miles without a fight."  I was hobbling.  I'd gotten my pace down to 12:20 but then it started creeping up again.  But then about mile 19, I got hold of some tylenol, and a couple of gels with caffeine.  I was able to get on top of the pain, for the most part, as long as I ran on a perfectly flat road.  I spent a lot of time running in the middle of the road.  OW.  

Lots of little kids stood roadside, holding their hands out to slap, so what could I do?  I ran by and lightly slapped lots of tiny little hands.

I also drank too much.  It was overcast, and I was damp from the morning rain, so I couldn't really tell how much I had been sweating.  The last half of the race I stopped 4 times to pee, and thankfully, the Flying Pig had LOTS of portapotties.  But again, I stayed on top of my nutrition, ate a gel every 3 miles, and finished in 5:32.

This marathon was notable because it had more extremes - lots of people walked it, and were walking it by mile 9.  But, there were lots of fast people too.  Sweet Baboo was one of them.  He finished this, his second marathon in two days, in 3:44.

Due to a Garmin problem, I apparently never did these, according to my Garmin.  And yet I did.  I'm in the results and have medals and stuff.  I'll post pictures of those later in the week. 

IF YOU GO: You should go, if you're a chick.  The Flying Pig is totally into the whole pink thing.  They sell lots of Flying Pig memorabila that is adorable.  Don't worry about water.  There's plenty.  Bring a baggie for your ipod, just in case it rains.

We showered, and had Skyline chili with Rachel and her hubby, and then said a reluctant goodby as we had to get back to Nashville.  On the way out of town we stopped and bought a pizza to take with us, and also stopped as some historic malt shop whose name I can't remember and grabbed a malt (Baboo) and hot fudge sundae (me) for the road. 

We arrived back in Nashville about 7 at night and then I was out like a light.  Up at 4 am AGAIN the next day and flew out at 6:10 am, and as I forgot to get Monday off, I was at work by 11 am. 

Pictures will be posted later in the week.


Now, if you'll excuse me,

I need to try to pretend I'm conscious for the rest of the day.



  1. Congrats on a great weekend! I hope you are able to catch up on sleep soon.

  2. Wow, wow, wow! Amazing weekend. You are so resourceful to grab that poncho.
    After our half on Sunday, we found some gloves and my husband wore them, patiently freezing his a$$ off while we watched the course for my marathon buddies. I had to open all the water bottles for us, since, well, the gloves were disgusting. Something to wash and toss at our next race!

  3. Thanks for the great running 'method'!
    : )
    Will be thinkin' of you both next weekend!

  4. Awesome! Congrats on the double...can't wait to hear about the next one.

  5. Congratualtions, both impresssive and inspiring.

  6. Great job out there. That's like a 10:30 52 miler! Recover well, and good luck next weekend. (I think I have maniac star envy)

  7. Amazing. Makes my 5K PR look lame. You are very inspiring

  8. I'm so impressed! I'm also jealous of your spectators. My brother and I ran the LaCrosse marathon on the 1st, and spectators were sparse and quiet. I was the noisiest person out there.

    Congratulations on your first double!

  9. Oh, Gosh, these spectators, especially in Cinci, were NOISY. Most of them had these plastic hand-clapping things that they bought - when they waved them they sounded like several hands clapping. And their were air horns - everyone was smiling and laughing and waving signs. I couldn't believe how many people were standing out in the rain to watch a bunch of crazy people run 26 miles.

  10. What an awesome weekend!! Congrats to you and your sweet Baboo!

  11. CONGRATS!! What an achievement! I am a pretty new follower to your blog and when I first read the top about thyroid issues and asthma, I said hey I can relate here... then I read more. WOW!! I think my jaw is still on my desk. You guys are fun crazy! Your list of races is insane. And it is so great you both do these events together (or kind of, different starts).
    I just started running last December and just did my first marathon this past Sunday. It was good, did well through 21 miles then fell apart. Now the idea of another is still very daunting. So SUPER KUDOS and again CONGRATS to you guys for your incredible journey! WOW!!!

  12. Insane! Totally! Way to go to both of you!

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  14. Missed you at the race. I was in Pig Pen D. Loved the race. The locals made it extra special. I couldn't believe how many stayed out in the rain to support us slow pokers. I finished in just over 6 hrs. I had to pet some puppies along the way along with high fivers to the kids as well. I'll be going back next year.


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