Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Country Music Marathon ~ "Oh, so close, so very close"

The events leading to this marathon were not any different than those leading to any other event.  For the majority of the training period, the plan was followed as written.  Few exceptions were made, but none that would jeopardize the outcome of the marathon.

I have found that the mental preparation for each event is different.  Things come up prior to each event that are unique to that event.  For the 2010 edition of the Country Music Marathon it was not any different.

The weather became an issue the week leading up to the race.  Unlike last year's blistering heat, this year the weatherman predicted rain, storms, winds, possibilities of hail and conditions favorable for tornadoes.  The predictions for time frame varied as do most weather predictions.

Having had a couple of long runs in the rain under my belt, I accepted the fact that the 2010 CMM would be a wet one.  Nothing I could do about it, so I would not worry about it.  I tried to stay focused and positive on the matter at hand.  26.2 miles to the finish line.

At the expo on Thursday I had my IT bands, both of them,  KT Taped.  KT tape is my new best friend.  Love it!  That was about the length of my stay at the expo.  Didn't want to stay long, didn't want to spend to much time here this year, this was part of the plan.

As it has become routine with me, the night prior to the race, I could not sleep well.  It was 1am when I woke up, never to sleep soundly again.  At 4am the alarm went off and I was ready to go.

As usual the first order of business was to take a quick shower to fully wake up.  Having done that, I got the coffee ready and proceeded to get dressed.  Everything went smoothly because, as you know, I had my clothes all layed out on the sofa for the past week.  I was not about to leave anything behind.  Thoroughly stretched and warmed up my muscles before it was time to go.

Left the house at 5:20 and the skies looked dark, not because it was still night but because the storms where over our head.  It rained just a bit on the way downtown but not anything to despair about.

Upon arrival at the starting line, proceeded to line up at the nearest porta-potty.  Lines were not to bad but they were moving slowly.

Several minutes before 7am, the race started.  I guess it started early to get a head jump on the impending storms.  I noticed that the corrals this year were jammed packed with runners.  More so than in previous years.  Went looking for mine.  Number 17.

As we proceeded our way to the starting line, the hit of the corral was my tee.  Or rather the message on the back of my tee.  It seemed like everyone around me, and those around them, wanted to see it, read it and make a comment on it.  This was pretty cool.

And off we went.  Steady and as planned I settled into my pace quickly.  I stayed in the middle of the road as was my strategy to help my ITB issues.  This proved to be more difficult that I had anticipated due to all the walkers taking up the middle of the road.

This year the course seemed more crowded than in years past.  This is my fourth time doing this race.  Twice the half marathon and twice the marathon.  As I figured out later, the chaos at the beginning of the race and the overcrowded field  was due to the multitude of people moving to the front of the pack, the earlier corrals, to try to beat the weather.  There was no control for this, so it was out of control.  I followed the rules and stayed where I belonged.

Next year, I will estimate my time to be faster so I can get an earlier corral.

Up until the split, just past mile 11, the course continued to be very crowded and at times is seemed impossible to stay on pace.  I felt great!  I knew that my training was paying dividends.  But Metro Center was still to come.  I call it the Black Hole of the CMM.  It's long and it's lonely.

Around mile 12 I saw two friends that had come to support those in our HRC team; Shari and Leslie.  What a sight to see.  Their cheering and encouraging words put an extra kick on my step.  Thanks ladies, you are awesome!

The weather had cooperated.  There was even a slight period of time when the sun had come out.  Slight period of time.  As I approached mile 13 the wind started to pick up.  It was very noticeable at mile 15 which came along the banks of the Cumberland River.  Out of Metro Center and around mile 18 the rain started coming down, just minutes later, the bottom fell out.

I am one that believes that everything happens for a reason and that there's a reason for everything that happens.  So, right when things were getting a bit tough, one of my power songs came, automatically, on my MP3... The Eagles, "Get Over It".  WOW.  How weird was that, but how cool.  As I sang along, I noticed, once again, that extra kick on my step.  Time for the last stretch home.  Yes, I was close.

Right past mile 20 we were diverted to the half marathon finish line.  I had no clue this is what had happened, I was just running.  I heard folks saying "it's over, it's over."  This is when my heart sunk and the pain in my gut set in.

How could this be?  So close, so very close.

My Garmin showed a little over 22 miles and 3:43:50 when I crossed the finish line.  The official time shows me with 3:45 minutes but no clue as to the official distance.  By my calculations, had I been able to finish the full marathon I would have done it in 4:26.  My goal was 4:30.  So close, so very close.

Awaiting us at the finish line was the  customary finishers' medal.  I accepted it with grace but felt uncomfortable putting it around my neck.  Pretty sure I thought I didn't deserve it.

To say that I was disappointed would be an understatement.  But, after thinking things through I am glad that the race director and the city officials had our back.  Very glad of that.  Don't want to imagine the alternatives.

So there's always next time!

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  1. I believe they took the correct decision!! Good race and I have same ITBS issue....take care!

    Cheers from Hong Kong!


  2. Glad you had a good race and the weather cooperated! My races never seem to go to plan so you are very lucky!