1

Not Quite Rocket-Fast (Read 692 times)


A Dance with Monkeys

    Top 10 Rocket City Marathon Excuses 10. Did I really run eight marathons in as many months? 9. Did I really run the Flying Monkey Marathon just 20 days before? 8. It is hard to run while simultaneously breaking a fall. 7. The course was too flat, I am used to hills. 6. Gosh, I look so good in tights, but at 25 degrees? 5. Running a marathon in Huntsville is not rocket science, but running one fast may well be. 4. Three friends of mine had to take DNFs due to injuries. 3. Everybody was just so nice, it would be a shame to beat them in the race. 2. I did not know that Santa was a hasher 1. There are big NASA rockets all around Huntsville, but none to ride on. What a marathon day. Wake up. Run a marathon. Shower. Have lunch with a fellow monkey. Then hit the road immediately back for Nashville to make it in time for my kiddo's brithday party, then handle a playdate. Here is the story... Night before. Arrive in town, check in and meet up with several friends. A big meal at Carrabba's (not my idea) with friends. A big magharita pizza and half a bottle of Ravenswood red zin. Then off to bed. Boy did I crash out hard. A big bed in a dark room all alone after lots of food? Well, not a good night sleep. Following the usual restless sleep premarathon night in a brand new Embassy Suites with a huge bed and an aggressive heating unit, I finally dragged myself out of bed. As expected, the morning was chilly. At sunrise, it was about 18 degrees under bracingly blue clear skies. So I just lollygagged around my room, trying to decide tights or shorts. Shorts or tights. Heck, I like the cold. Shorts it is. And by about 15 minutes before race, it had warmed up to a toasty 25, still as clear as could be, with no wind. So I went down from my hotel, across the street to hang out at near the start. The starting area was in the shade, so that was a bit chilly. But much of the course was in the sun. Folks started coming together ready to run, and I bumped into loads of people who I met at the Monkey just a few of weeks before. In all, 16 Monkey marathoners lined up at the start. Announcements. Star Spangled Banner. Then, Bang, the starting gun. And we were off. I started off with two friends of mine who were shooting for 3:40, and kept a nice light and even 8:24 pace with them. They were focused on their goal and had their eyes and heart squarely on the finish. Here at my 8th marathon in 8 months, and my energy and focus were less staid. And my legs were arguing with me, still loaded with some monkey. Within the first 2 miles, it was amply clear to me that I still had left too many myofibrils on the streets of Toronto and in the Hills at Percy Warner Park. So I started to back it down a bit. And then, out of nowhere, I went and tripped over my own feet. It was one of those slow motion things, where you take a few steps, each about a year apart, as your balance goes further and further out of wack. Then slam, roll and I was on my back and staring at the concerned faces of runners. Yeah yeah, I'm fine, keep going, nothing to see. Sheesh. As I slowly got back up, picked up my Forerunner 305 with its now-broken strap and check for any cuts or breaks, I realized I was just gonna have to keep going. Forerunner now in my hand, on I went. But I had lost any rhythm or positive energy that I had. Then at mile 9 I stopped to talk to an injured friend, another minute or two. The Rocket City Marathon takes its name from the fact that Huntsville, AL, is the home to a NASA space/science facility where they do lots of rocket science. All around town there are large rockets on display. It is really cool. The marathon course itself can probably be best divided into three sections. The first section starts downtown, winds through urban and more suburban neighborhoods, jumping right and left from street to street. The second section starts right around mile 9.5, and includes an arrow-straight road that connects out past strip malls and developments to the distant suburbs around mile 15; you could nearly fall asleep running on this stretch and end up in the right place. The third section winds back through neighborhood streets, twisting and turning back to the starting and finish area. The course is wonderfully supported, with painted arrows and great volunteers at every single intersection making sure you get through. There are fluids every 1-2 miles, with Gatorade Endurance and water at each. Add to that two medic stations, a Santa hasher with beer at mile 14, energy gel twice along the way, and lots of community support, and you have a good energy to carry you through. I saw high school kids lined up and screaming, two 4 year old girls out all alone singing Channukah songs, a tree sprayed with water so that it was covered in ice, and lots of people out and cheering. It was good motivation. That said, I continued to feel tired and out of rhythm much of the way. The day had warmed. No longer was the air bone-chilling, especially out in the sun. I shed my hat, handing it off to a friend who was bike-banditing the course. Sometime later my thin gloves came off. I still had my Forerunner in my hand, which did little to shield it from the cool air, so after a bit my gloves went back on, now obviously ripped up from my fall. It was warm enough to sweat, which meant that I was thirsty and took fluid at all the aid stations, something more I had not expected (although was able to do without trouble). I ran Rocket City last year as well, sick and coughing, puffing on my inhaler every mile or so. I could not keep hydrated and I could not breathe well, finishing in 4:22. This year felt much better, despite my low energy and hydration. I kept on going. However, I also slowed to a pace that brought in miles at 8:30-9:00 that took me all the way to the halfway mark, which I got in 1:57. At this point I was chatting with several runners around me, but it took a lot for me just to keep running. I usually feel much better at this point and continue to have fun and energy well past the halfway point. By mile 16 or so, slowed another 30 seconds or so per mile. When by mile 20 it was clear that my legs were not going to carry me to 4:00, I settled back a bit and just brought it home. I counted off the miles, one after another. Still running, but weakly and with legs of spaghetti. I did not really ever have to stop running, and did not get a bonk. It was just a soulful fatigue that kept me from advancing against the clock. And then mile 25. Then mile 25.2. And then you pass under the Huntsville Hospital. And then straight ahead, turn left and there is the finish line. And I am through. 4:04:53. I was pleased with that finish, which is 17 minutes improved from RC last year. By time I finished, it was about 45 degrees and still clear. I sure am glad I wore shorts! RC is a fabulous marathon. It is very well organized, they have good food at the end, there are great guides at every of the many intersections. It is flat and much of it is pretty fast if you like flat. The weather is often good. The feel is very personal, despite the 1000 runners. When you finish, a handler walks up to you, looks into your eyes to make sure you are not about to pass out, and then walks you through getting your chip removed, your medal and hat, etc. A good time! And my friends? One got 3:38 and the other 3:41. Of the Monkeys who ran, two did not finish due to injuries. And it sure is nice running in a marathon without also organizing it. After the run, a shower, lunch with a monkey and then back home again...


    Needs more cowbell!

      And it sure is nice running in a marathon without also organizing it.
      I'll bet! Sounds like another great race, all in all. And I'm glad to know I'm not the only one who doesn't sleep well the night before a big race. Smile k

      I shoot pretty things! ~

      '14 Goals:

      • 6 duathlons (1 Olympic distance)

      • 130#s (and stay there, gotdammit!)

        Nice job and nice report. I can't imagine running 8 marathons in 8 months, or running the marathon I organized, or doing so and then running another marathon 20 days later. So clearly you've had a lot on your plate. Well done. Hope you got a good nights sleep last night.

        Runners run.

          Trent-- Great report and nice job. I thought about you yesterday as I was out on my run--still feeling the effects of the monkey on a 7 miler. I thought: "I can't believe those fools are running another marathon! They are totally freaking nuts!" Congrats on yet another marathon conquered. What's next?


          A Dance with Monkeys

            Thanks folks! Yes, Jeff, totally freakin nuts. One of my friends who ran the 3:40 went out and did the 5.8 the next day... Shocked
            Mile Collector


            Abs of Flabs

              What a marathon day. Wake up. Run a marathon. Shower. Have lunch with a fellow monkey. Then hit the road immediately back for Nashville to make it in time for my kiddo's brithday party, then handle a playdate. Here is the story...
              But Trent, I didn't read about the playdate! By the way, aren't you too old for that? Good job! Great report. What's next?


              A Dance with Monkeys

                But Trent, I didn't read about the playdate! By the way, aren't you too old for that? Good job! Great report. What's next?
                Birthday party at a gym with 30 kids and I got to run and jump and climb and play with them all, just 5 hours after the marathon. Then two of them kiddos came over to hang with my two kiddos, open presents, keep the balloons from the dog, etc. Then we threw them in front of the TV, then off to bed. Next? A good night sleep sounds about right. Somebody I know is now pusing me to run in Little Rock in March...
                  nice race and good report Trent. I had this on one of my "possible winter races" list when I was thinking of doing before I decided my training was too late getting started. I like the way you broke the course down in to 3 sections- that will be helpful when I do end up running it.
                  http://distance-runner.blogspot.com


                  A Dance with Monkeys

                    Thanks ! I also have a map of the route in my runningahead course maps. You may find that helpful. This is a good run, and should be on everybody's list.


                    Now that was a bath...

                      I bow down in admiration to you Trent. 8 marathons in as many months is an incredible feat! You wrote a really great report too. Big grin I can't believe that you have already done two marathons in the five short weeks that I have been using this site! Claire xxx
                    • jlynnbob "HTFU, Kookie's distal tibia"
                    • Where's my closet? I need to get back in it.


                      A Dance with Monkeys

                        Claire, I have said this once and I will say it again. This is important, so please take note: Never ever ever let foolishness, madness or complete insanity impress you. Wink Ever. Big grin


                        Now that was a bath...

                          Claire, I have said this once and I will say it again. This is important, so please take note: Never ever ever let foolishness, madness or complete insanity impress you. Wink Ever. Big grin
                          Big grin Ack, i've never let 'Never' get in the way of a good emotion. Still impressed, though now - faintly amused to boot. Claire xxx
                        • jlynnbob "HTFU, Kookie's distal tibia"
                        • Where's my closet? I need to get back in it.


                          A Dance with Monkeys

                            Trent, we already know you dont (cant) stop running. But do you ever sleep? Or would that involve sitting still for too long for ya? I will remember to add NASA to my list of Marathons I am not going to run. Did I mention I figured out which is the first marathon I am officially not going to run? Put Jan 10th, 2008 on your calendar. I hope to (not) see all ya'll there. Tongue