Thursday, November 13, 2008

Blueliners Shine at OBX Marathon

Les, Neal, and Wayne took the Outer Banks Marathon by storm last Sunday. Neal (2nd-time marathoner) and Wayne (first-time marathoner)—ran strong races. Veteran marathoner, Les, ran strong as well, placing 2nd in his age group! Awesome job Blueliners! Read below for a recap from each runner.

For some, the conditions might have been perfect but for me it could have been about 20 degrees cooler at the start (like Myrtle Beach). If I'm not shivering in a singlet, it's too hot! The split times on the website tell the story of my race. My first half marathon was at 3:20 pace and I was feeling pretty good but up to 20 miles I was down to 3:25 pace and in the last 10K things fell apart. Everything was going quite smoothly until I hit the ups and downs of the trail section. The surface under foot was nice and cushioned but I think it was harder work on the soft surface and my legs started to feel heavy. On emerging the woods, I could feel the sun sucking out the energy and there was no shade on the course after that. It felt like most of the course was uphill, just like Myrtle Beach, but there was definitely a tough hill (a high bridge) in the 23rd mile that almost finished me off. I saw a poor runner who had collapsed being loaded into the back of a pick-up, which worried me a little, but I was determined not to stop. The rest of the course was flat and I kept thinking that if I can run the last mile on a Saturday morning over Herbie's Hill I can finish this course. I stumbled into the finish with a slower time (chip 3:34) than hoped but pleased that I'd run the race without stopping to walk. Interestingly, I see I got 2nd place in my age group. The guy who came first in my age group did a 3:05! I think they need to check his birth certificate!

I’m happy to report that my first marathon is in the books and I lived through it as well. Ran 26.2 miles in 4 hours and 8 minutes. In my opinion, the weather couldn’t have been any better… a bit chilly but not too cold for me. I was in the 3rd corral (9 to 11 minute pacers). The energy and excitement in the air was excellent and made for a great start. There was excellent local support along the entire course. Music, pirate costumes and beautiful waterscapes abound. My plan was to go with my body and keep my heart rate in the 160 to 170 range, which puts me right around a 9 minute pace. Having a pacer/running partner would have been very helpful for this event! I had been warned about the sand section but there was also a technically challenging trail segment, which wasn’t much fun. At times it was only wide enough for a single line of runners and very steep in some places too. This concerned me greatly since my feet don’t like trail running (Salem Lake proved that to me). Yes, I ran the absolute entire bridge! Cursed it the entire time but ran nonetheless. All in all my body held up surprisingly well and although I didn’t break 3 hours I was still very happy with my finish time. It was interesting to see many people gingerly walking about as I was.
55 or so degrees at the start, little to no real winds to speak of, and about 65 or so at the finish. Not a cloud in the sky—100% sunny. My time was a little below 4:30, but I ran comfortably, had about 8 minutes of breaks, and there was a wacky trail run for 3.1 miles at mile 10 that I wasn't focused on!

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