My IT band issue that had crept up on me during the New River Trail 50k stayed with me these last 2 weeks. I took it easy the week leading up to this event - but I was still worried.
My buddy Todd was in town for the race and I met up with him in the Greenville Drive stadium where people were bustling about before the 7:30am start. Saw a few others I knew (like Merl & Team DNR member Dave who was volunteering).
|Todd and Dave - Team DNR Goons|
We made our way to the start line just outside the stadium and would make our way to the Swamp Rabbit Trail to Furman University, then back on and off the trail to Travelers Rest for the turnaround and 13.6. Swamp Rabbit back thru Furman, more Swamp Rabbit to Greenville before the last 1+ mile on the road, and finishing with a lap around the warning track going into home plate.
Had a few little hills here to remind us it wasn't all flat and I was running toward the Furman campus mostly by myself.
We went into the campus just after Mile 7 (in 59:41) and I was looking forward to this as it broke up the race some. I'd be running thru some parts of the campus I hadn't before in my 18 other races there before this one. Left the campus on the opposite side of the lake near Mile 10 and kept heading north. Took a 2nd Gu and started looking for the leaders before I split off the Swamp Rabbit towards the halfway turnaround. Sure enough, around Mile 12 - there they went! Soon after was the lead female, being led on the bike by DNR Good Kathrin!
Started running with a guy thru here doing his first marathon (from Kentucky?). Nice guy and doing well, but he was starting to feel it a bit already, and now we had a big hill to climb. I got ahead of him, took an S!cap and came up to the turnaround. A guy had a box of Krispy Kreme donuts and I grabbed one - it was very good and gave me some extra sugar. So - Mile 13.1 in ~1:54:25, so my 2nd fastest marathon half ever.
So I kept running back thru downtown Travelers Rest on the Swamp Rabbit for another loop thru Furman. About Mile 16 I began to feel it - the sensation that I was running out of steam. I pushed on for another mile and hit mile 17 at Furman and promptly started my walking breaks (after a quick pit stop). I was doing about 9:05's before this and the walk breaks took me down to 10:30's. I was still enjoying the Furman route and had picked up my pace a little bit more while getting back onto the Swamp Rabbit. I started passing and then got passed by the same couple repeatedly as we alternated walk breaks. She finally left me for good at the hill at mile 23.
Mile 20 in 3:00:10.
Around Mile 21, I saw a guy down. Sitting up at least, and being attended to by at least 4 people, one of which had a bicycle. I assumed he was being take care of, but stopped and asked if they needed anything. They asked if I had Gu. I said sure and gave them my last one, but also gave them my 2 remaining S!caps, which I'm sure would have helped more. They were a little concerned with my time but that was the least of my worries.
Turns out - I had my own issues that appeared within the next mile. My right calf started cramping. OUCH. It was constantly on the verge of seizing up and every now and then would cause me to tighten up and hope it would diminish.
After another mile (~Mile 23 and the big hill), my left calf decided join to cramping party. Double-ouch.
Miles 23 and 24 were 11 min miles and the last 2 were 12:10. Not good, but I was not too concerned, especially coming two weeks off my 50k PR.
Saw someone being put into an ambulance at Linky Stone Park - it was warm and people did go out too fast. I made it up the last uphill and went around the outside of the stadium. Saw my HS buddy for Germany who was in town and headed in to the back of the filed along the warning track for the last .2mi.
Heard my name called out and looked for my family. I was just struggling to keep moving and hoping that my calves would allow me that motion.
My little girl (almost 4) was in the arms of my friend and past-GTC President Kerri, When she tried to hand her to me, she decided she didn't want to. I got to her first though, and she hugged my next as I went thru the finish in 4:09 (1 minute faster than the marathon split at the New River 50k).
All I can say is glad it's over! Finishing 2 long events 2 weeks apart was something I was unsure of, but I made it!