Sunday, October 02, 2005

MARATHON WEEKEND

Last night it felt like I was running the marathon. I got 4 good hours of sleep and then tossed and turned for 4 hours. On my way to watch the race a bank clock said 61 degrees at 6:50. It was sticky and breezy too. About the only thing going for the runners were the overcast skies.

I met Mary, Matt and Tony just before mile 3 of the 10 mile race. I was able to cheer and get a picture of Debbie (1:02:41), Eric (1:06:03) and Jim (1:06:48). We hung around and just watched thousands of runners stream passed. Next stop: the Metrodome to watch the start of the marathon. I mainly wanted to see the start in order to start my watch, so I’d know the “official” time.

After hanging out a couple of minutes we had to zip ahead to about mile 2.25. We literally got there 10 seconds before Jenna. A minute or two later Aaron came by. I should mention that Jenna was shooting for a Trials Qualifier while Aaron was looking for his first sub-3 (having run 3:02-3:05 about 8 times). Next stop: mile 7.

We didn’t beat the men’s leaders to mile 7, but probably those running 2:25 pace. Nicole Aish already had at least two minutes on second place (Dana Coons). A minute later a huge pack of women went through. Shortly after Jenna came by looking smooth. Then Aaron came by and he seemed to be doing okay – running with his training partner, John. Next stop: mile 11.

A funny thing happened on the way to mile 11. The road we were on came out right at the 10 mile marker. Again, Jenna got there 10 seconds after us. Instead of hanging out there we went ahead to mile 11. This is when the ugliness of the day began to rear its head. Jenna came by and kind of threw her hands in the air. She was running 6:l0 pace but apparently having problems with her breathing. John put a couple of seconds on Aaron, who was shaking his head. Next stop: 13.1.

I like watching at halfway because, obviously, you can see what people go through the half in. Joan Benoit-Samuelson came through in 1:21:11, Jenna was 17 seconds back. It seemed like a lot of women were going for the Trials Qualifier. Erin who’s run 2:53 her last two marathons went through in 1:23:46. Aaron was already beginning to struggle, crossing halfway in 1:29:45. Next stop: 17.5.

Getting to the next stop before Jenna was hard. It’s a “good thing” she was slowing. Again, we managed to arrive about 10 seconds before her. This time the runners were going under a bridge. We were on the bridge so it was hard to get a read on how she was doing. Rather than wait for Aaron, we crossed the bridge and were at mile 21 in time to watch the 2:30 runners go by. Nicole Aish was still in the lead. She increased her 4 minute lead at half to 5 minutes by mile 20. Zika Palmer looked good and was closing quickly. Nicole would eventually hold on to win by 45 seconds in 2:40:21.

About a 100 meters before Jenna reached us, she stopped to stretch. Matt ran down to meet her and they had a “long” discussion. Thoughts of dropping out were running amok. Matt convinced her to keep going. Watching the race, Jenna really wasn’t running that poorly. I’m not sure if she knew how fast she was running. She told Matt that she didn’t want to finish over 3 hours, however she was still on 2:50 pace (a year ago that was her PR). Next stop: I’m not sure.

I wasn’t sure where to go next. Matt said he was going to follow Jenna down Summit Avenue. If you’re not familiar with the course, Summit is a wide Boulevard. The runners run down one side, so it’s fairly easy for someone on a bike to cheer, zip ahead and cheer some more, etc. Just before mile 23 we saw some teammates watching the race. Mary and I decided to hang out there and watch the race. We saw Jenna go by one more time.

I hung out near mile 23 for about 90 minutes. This was the first time I really got to “relax” and just observe all the runners going by. Ugly is really about the only way I can describe it. Evan said if you ran a positive split by 7 minutes, you were doing well.

Let see if I can list the results of everyone that I mentioned in this entry. 48-year old Joan Benoit-Samuelson ran a tough 2:46:27, Dana Coons’ first marathon resulted in a 2:46:54, Jenna ran a very respectable 2:51:23, Erin, believe it or not, ran her third 2:53(:36) in a row. Aaron’s friend John ran 3:00:46, while Aaron crossed the line in 3:24:25.

Congrats to all who finished, including another first time marathoner who’s blog I came across recently, Brent.

4 comments:

brent said...

thanks "zeke". i still can't believe how fast these people can go. i know they are elite etc but i still think its totally nuts. its just so fast. good stuff.

TRAN said...

Dude, how do you know Erin Ward? She's a good friend of mine. And yeah, matching a PR last Sunday was an amazing feat.

What a f-ing DISASTER Sunday was...sheesh...

Chad Austin said...

A friend of mine, Eric Paulson, helped her (and eventually took over for her) coach the Eagan kids summer program and he introduced us at Victory last year when we all finished within a minute of one another.

I almost didn't recognize her at TCM with her newly died hair.

It must have been mile 7 that I saw you and you looked pissed. All those miles you ran and you get horrible conditions. Gotta love the marathon. Now look at the weather tomorrow, 35-40 for the low and 55-60 for the high. PERFECT!!!

TRAN said...

Yeah, everyone who saw me at 7 said I looked like ass. I should've dropped then (and I most assuredly should've dropped at the half, in retrospect).

I guess it was too much to ask to get a bit of the weather we've had for the past FIVE days! :/