Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Lincoln marathon -- Race report

As many of you know that run on a regular basis, you have good races and bad races.  This race was a very bad one.

Expo:  I had been to the expo last year and bought one of my first pairs of running shorts.  This year I returned and found some more running shorts.  These are a little shorter than the ones I bought last year but not as short as my short blue shorts, exactly what I was looking for.  I also found a pair of sleeves and calf compression sleeves by Skins.

The Lincoln Running Co. was selling them for 20$ each (normally 45). I bought a set of each but my arm sleeves were white.  The expo is pretty small but I kind of like it that way, only a few vendors but really how many of the same booth can you look at.  Lindsey and I picked up our chips and bibs (#298)

The Race: Lindsey, her brother Aron (1st half marathon), her sister Abbie (1st half marathon) headed down to race around 6:15ish Sunday morning.

Lindsey, Aron, and Abbie pre-race

Me and Lindsey pre-race.

Gun time was around 7am.  The place was pretty packed by the time we got there and after a pre-race bathroom break we settled in our pace groups.  Lindsey and I started at the 9:00 minute and Aron and Abbie around the 10:00.  The gun went off and it took us about 6 minutes to cross the start line.  The Lincoln marathon has grown considerably in the past few years.  This year there were close to 8000 runners and next year they are going to open it up to 10000. Most of these are halfers but it is still a considerable showing.  At the beginning of the run I was feeling great and felt like I could not quit.  I stayed with Lindsey for the first mile or two but started picking up my pace.

The first ten miles of the race were really great.  There was a lot of crowd support but the support was different.  There were a ton of people but few cheered for the runner they did not know.  The past two marathons I had done, the crowd cheered for everyone coming through.  As I was running the first third of this marathon I started to think that I was going to PR this race and PR by quite a bit.  I knew it was unlikely that I would BQ but I truly felt at the top of my game.  I was keeping a steady pace at the mid-7s, taking the few hills in stride.

My only real complaint of the course was between 8-10 miles "by Highway 2" where the marathoners were forced onto a path and it could not accommodate the number of runners that were there.  I had latched on to a 3:30 pace group (and was running 2 minutes ahead of them) and they were having a hard time passing people.  Especially a lot of people staying on the far left of the trail with head phones on, oblivious to the people trying to get passed them.

I started getting a bit nervous about my left knee around mile 10.  It suddenly started getting a bit tight and I had not felt that since the beggining of this marathons training.  I thought it might work its way out though.  We made the first pass by the stadium around mile 13 where the halfers left the race.  Right before this turn off, I saw one of the halfers in front of me start to teeter almost as if he was on stilts and he just crashed down on the ground.  Luckily, there were a couple of National Guard soldiers that were close by and they rushed to his aid.

Shortly after the halfers turn off, after the transition from another trail, I stepped off a curb crossing the street and thats when I realized I was in trouble.  My left knee seized up and the best way I could describe it was having a screwdriver jammed into the side of my leg.  It was excruciating.   Despite the pain, and maybe stupidly, I kept pushing myself.  I knew I was loosing pace but truly felt it at mile 20.  Right before the 20 mile marker, and I was beginning to struggle mentally through the intense pain, I heard someone yell my name.  It was Lindsey and she was flying.  She looked so good and was running strong. I told her that I was going to have to start walking, so she should keep moving.

The next six miles of the race were probably some of the longest and most grueling of my entire life.  I would try to run but the pain would build up to high and I would be force to walk.  It was truly demoralizing, particularly when I got to about mile 23 and I could see some of the racers driving down the road with their medals on.  People were being supportive, rolling down their windows, and cheering me on.  I can appreciate what they did now but their cheers and words of encouragement had the opposite effect on me, making me more frustrated.

The finish line for this race was in the stadium and I hobbled my way towards it.  As I entered the stadium I could see I was closing in on 430 and they called my name and I did not hear a single cheer or clap.  That was not fun but at that point I was just glad to be done.  I could not find Lindsey anywhere and it turns out that there was a good reason.  I went and collected my bag with my jacket and settled down outside hoping I would run into Lindsey eventually.  [subsequent pictures taken by Lindsey's mom, Tina]

After a couple of minutes of sitting on the ground, I heard Lindsey call my name and she came running over to me (I do not know how she had the energy).

 It turns out Lindsey kicked serious butt, running the race in 3:36 qualifying for Boston in the process. Looks like we are going to make a trip to Boston next spring! Despite feeling crappy and seriously dejected I was and continue to be so happy for her.  It truly turned out to be  a silver lining in the crappy black cloud of this marathon.  Aron and Abbie also did super well on their first half.  I am truly proud of the whole Filbert clan!

Aron Lindsey and I post race

Lindsey and I

Abbie and Aron showing off the goods!

I spent the next few hours rethinking the entire race, wondering if I had done something differently if I could have not experienced this injury.  I am not sure if there was anything I could have done.  Now though, as I sit here with a swollen, spasming knee I want to get back out there and redeem myself.  I do not think that I necessarily tore or did serious damage to it but it hurts and I figure it will continue to be for a bit. There is nothing I want though to get back out there and to start training again.

Several things I liked about this race and primarily these focused around the  aid/water stations were perfect!  There was a great mix  of Gatorade and water (one table of water then gatorade, then water and Gatorade) at each station, with the cups having lids and straws.  Each aid station also had oranges, bananas, and GU.  The support staff at each of these   stations was excellent.  Whether it was the National Guard folks or just the volunteers these people had the stations down pat.  I would have to say that these water stations far exceeded any other of the other marathons I had run.  All and all I recommend this marathon to the midwesternerns that can get there.  It does not cost an arm and a leg (like Austin), the course is not difficult (few hills), and the water stops are phenomenal!

My stats (even though it kills me to see these):
Overall place: 734
DIVPL: 99/120
10K:  48:53
13.1M:  1:42.30
20M:  2:44:27
Last 10K: 1:40:26<-- Last 6 miles took as long as my first 13.1 miles.
Chip time:  4:24:53