At Trisition Area's Kona viewing party last month, I met several fellow IM finishers. Among them was an average Joe who had completed Couer d'Alene and was in training for Cozumel. He'd mentioned he was in need of folks with whom to run long, so we exchanged numbers, as I thought I might have some times for some longer, more casual runs. Those runs didn't pan out too well, but a few weeks ago, I received a text from J--- asking if I was interested in pacing the San Antonio Rock & Roll Marathon on November 15. Hmm...marathon...4:30 finish...10:15/mi pace...free...three weeks to train...sure, why not?
From there, I started hammering out some runs in excess of six miles (my longest since CdA) but never made it above a couple of fifteen-mile efforts. My planned twenty miler didn't pan out too well, due to the time of day, lack of nutrition, and sheer exhaustion from the week (and proctoring the SAT earlier in the day), so I was beginning to get a little concerned over my planned, Barney-style assault on a full marathon. Then I did a track workout (of mile repeats) at race pace and all of my fears evaporated; I knew I would rock this thing with energy to spare.
The marathon was yesterday. It was my third time running San Antonio and my slowest of them all, due to the chosen pace. I brought in everybody (who stayed with me) within the 4:30 window, even having time to stop and chit-chat with W---, another CdA finisher, who was spectating at the finish. In all, it was an enjoyable experience, but, more-so, it was a learning experience. In no particular order, here are some of the things I learned from running the 2009 Rock & Roll Marathon:
- San Antonio's marathon sucks. The course itself is fantastic, but everything else surrounding the marathon (expo, getting to the start, getting out of the finish and back to the start [where your vehicle is parked]) could use a quick exit out of mediocrity.
- It is possible to train for and complete a marathon in three weeks...providing the person attempting to do so has run marathons before and has completed an Ironman within the preceding six months.
- Pretty girls run around a ten minute pace. In addition to those I met yesterday, N--- has just under a 10:00/mi pace on-tap for Austin, and girls don't get any prettier.
- You can find some cool
while running. Yesterday, I found a sequined, Michael Jackson-esque glove around mile eight. You bet I nabbed it and finished the marathon with it on my hand. I can't wait to see the pictures.
- Non-mylar balloons do not make good "signs" for pacers -- especially with painter's tape being used to attach the pace numbers.
- It's OK to have up to a half-cup of beer while running a marathon.
- Lone Star Beer isn't half-bad. Then again, after 23 miles of running...
- Even people who make a living coaching athletes have to walk from time-to-time
- The Purple Menace isn't nearly as annoying if you don't have to share a hotel with them.
- Red Robin totally rocks for post-marathon food.
- Timex's titanium Ironman watch looks
-hot but absolutely sucks for trying to keep track of splits in a marathon -- or a track workout. Specifically, each time I hit the lap-split button, the watch records two depressions, resulting in many, many screwy splits.
- The Nike Free 5.0 is the most comfortable (running) shoe ever made. If you have the means, I highly suggest you pick up a pair. They are so choice.
Thanks for reading.