Sunday, April 27, 2008

Willie Ran

Holy crap did Willie run! Willie ran faster than Willie ever thought he could.

781 252 29/179 218/1237 3:39:20 8:23 3:40:10 52:49 1:19:49 1:52:11 2:21:02 2:50:14

I'm just as surprised as you.

Race Report:
It was raining when we arrived at the start line, Southbay girl would have love it. I did not like it at all. I had brought a long sleeved shirt to wear and throw away during the race but it wasn't enough, I was shivering by the time the race started. I met up with my running clan and we wedged our way into the starting corral. I noticed that the pace group balloons were only about 10-20 feet apart! What the crap? I expected them to be somewhat separated. How is a person supposed to get in a pace group when there is only about 100 sq. ft of area around the balloon. I don't know why they did it that way but it all worked out. Once we were in the corral I at least got warm due to the crowds. We had the 168 seconds of silence to remember the victims of the bombing, the national anthem and then the start. It only took me about 30 seconds to get to the start line but I lost the pace group and some of my group. No matter, I had 26 miles to find them again!

The rain stopped at about mile three and I shed the long sleeved shirt. I was running comfortably and rejoined the 3:50 pace group. Once I was in the pack and running smoothly I made the comment to my buddy that it was time to go to sleep until the half way point. It's funny but so true. The first few miles of the marathon really are about getting warmed up. Then you just really want to run a good comfortable pace and get some miles behind you. So that's what we did. We ran by the capital which is my favorite part of the course, minus the finish line. Then we headed into the park section of the course where we ran through a couple really nice parks and had great crowd support. I swore off water and Powerade until about mile 8 and I think it worked out for me. I was still running comfortable and was wanting to push the pace but was hesitant to go too early. That was very hard since self control is not something I'm known for but I did it until the half way point. I was averaging 8:30 miles and still running with the 3:50 pace group at that point. There was a North wind so we were running into the wind for the first half and I think the pack really help me get through the wind.

At the half way point I wanted to go. I was still a little afraid of pushing too hard too early though. Then I was past by the father of one of my son's best friends. He is really nice and I knew he ran but I didn't know how fast he ran. Well my son's honor was one the line so I HAD to go with him! I didn't want my son to get teased at school with the old "My Dad's faster than your dad" line so I went with him. This got my pace down to the 8:teen's which was also pretty comfortable and worked well through the Lake Hefner portion of the course. The wind really kicks over there since there is nothing to block it BUT today it was out of the North and Hefner is where we turn SOUTH! Yea, tailwind. I was almost blown over. My pace hit the sub 8's through the park and this really bothered me. I slowed up some and was loosing my son's friend's dad but it was way too early to be running sub 8's. So sorry son, your dad just couldn't hang today. I hoped this guy would pay for his fast pace later (he didn't).

Coming out of Lake Hefner I started to tire. My left quad was cramping and my pace was feeling really hard. Mile 16 meant another EGel though and by mile 17 I was feeling good again.

Sidebar: EGel's ROCK! This was the first race where I could really see the benefits of carrying these little globs of wonderful, energy filled glory! God bless you Mr. EGel where ever you are.

Coming out of mile 17 there was a Starbucks. UGH! Everyone in the crowd had one in their hand. I almost tackled someone. I wanted a Cafe Americano soooo bad. It smelled soooo good. I pushed on though. At this point I passed one of my buddies from work. He is NOT a runner but more of a beer drinker which is probably why we are friends. He had been talked into running a leg of the relay. He had his Ipod on and when he saw me he shouted "WILLIE!". He's loud and obnoxious anyway (another reason we get along) but with plugs in his ears he was even louder. He shouted at me for a long time and it was really cool to hear.

My family met me at mile 20 and I was able to get rid of my gloves. I LOVE running with gloves when it's cold but today I took the wool cheapo gloves so I could throw them away if needed. These gloves give negative returns when they get wet and my hands actually get colder with them on. My hands were really cold by mile 20 and the gloves were soaked. When I took them off and gave them so my son my hands instantly got warmer. I was running really strong at that point. 10K to go.

I was still running 8:teen's to 8:30's at that point. I was feeling so good that I wanted to go. I won't tell you the exact words that went through my head but it something along the lines of "Screw-it let's go for it and see what this old body can really do" and I kicked it in. Amazingly it made my legs feel better to stride out a little. I was running tall and strong and passing people left and right when I turned onto the dreaded Claussen Ave. But Willie was in true Willie form and had that wild-eyed crazy look in his eyes so he thought, " Screw Claussen, bring it on, I'm gonna run my fastest miles on this GD road!". Normally this attitude gets me in more trouble in life than I care to report but in a marathon it works great. I ran mile 21 in 7:58.

By the time I awoke from my demon-possessed trance I had run mile 22 in 8:05, mile 23 in 8:02. Heck yes! Wow was all I could think.

Mile 24 holds some sentimental value for me since it is where my knee quit on me a year ago. Add that to my already rebel-without-a-care attitude and I was pretty emotional going through that area of the course. Mile 24 8:04 and a lot of demons overcome. I beat this course, Take that!

Coming to the end of the marathon I caught a good friend who had made it to the starting line late and spent the whole race trying to catch up to his normal pace group. He is a really good runner and I could tell he was hurting. When I caught him he said he had just gone out too fast trying to catch up and was really suffering for it now. I felt bad for him since he help me so much last year. It was just another reminder of how HARD this marathoning thing is and a reminder to me to ENJOY THE RIDE WHEN THINGS GO RIGHT! So I did. Mile 25 7:46 Giddy-Up!

Came out of the last few turns and onto glorious, wonderful, brilliant, Broadway which is a straight 6 blocks to the finish. You can see it from the last turn. Kick it in Willie, have at it! So I did. About halfway down Broadway I surprised my family because they weren't expecting me for another 5-10 minutes. It was a good surprise. My eldest jumped on the course and ran with me again just like he did 1 year ago. I sprinted across the finish and threw my hands in the air. 3:39:20! Holy crap how did I do that! I was expecting a 3:55 and thought I would be extremely happy with a 3:45. So what do I do with a 3:39:20? Who cares, I'm happy and I still feel good. A quick inventory of the old body found nothing hurt and I was actually able to cool-down a little. It felt wrong to feel this good but again, ENJOY THE RIDE.

Thank you for all the support. I owe much of this race to Southbay Girl, RBR and Meredith Calyx. This blog has let me vent and you gals actually read it. Not sure what's wrong with all of you but thanks anyway.

Time for Willie to party! Did I mention I met Bill Rogers and Dick Beardsley yesterday? Check out the pics above. I was starstruck and acted like a fool but I don't meet many celeb's and I am a fool so I guess I shouldn't expect anything less. It was really cool.

Thanks for listening,


Calyx Meredith said...

Holy crap that's fast!!! Yay Willie! I love that "my" mile was one where you were in your zone and feeling good. You totally kicked it, man! Sub-4? You were knocking on 3:30's door!!!! I am so happy for you! I can't imagine going as fast as you, but I'm beginning to be able to imagine running that far. I find myself storing up the things you say (Respect the distance, enjoy the ride,etc) for "someday" - it's fun to think about. I'm really grateful to have jumped into this blogging loop with all y'all! Thanks for sharing your journey with the likes of me. Love the race report! Happy Recovery (and we should have taken bets on whether or not you'd take six weeks off after the marathon, because I just don't see that happening!)

Reese said...

You are the MAN. I followed you this morning up to the half, and I was thinking man he is smoking. I hope he can keep it up. Then I get back this evening and see your time, I am so impressed by your performance. I'm sure you know you ran a negative split, outstanding.

RBR said...

Holy Shit!! 3:39:20?! That is f&*%ing AWESOME! (Just a little class from your Northern Cali Girl!)

What a great race report and a FANTASTIC run!! Your son got to run in with you when you were feeling awesome and your family got to cheer and scream for you when you had your best marathon EVER!

I am soooo happy for you! Man, when you decide to go sub four you don't screw around!

See Willie Run! But you better be quick 'cuz he is haulin' ass!

Southbay Girl said...

What can I say! You rock, you are a hero to so many peoples and you ran a sub 3:40!! I can only dream of running a 4th marathon let alone running it in 3:39. You are a true inspiration and a great friend and blogging buddy! And I bet your kids are SUPER proud of you!!! Their dad ran a spectacular marathon-if it were my dad I'd be beaming!

Congrats! You deserve a beer, whiskey, wine or all of the above! I had a celebratory beer at the airport for you!

Off to bed for me-must be up at 4:30! Fun Times.

I'm plotting my next race-are you?