Sunday, April 30, 2017

2017 Canton Football Hall Of Fame Marathon

When your calfs and quads start cramping a little after the halfway point of a marathon, you know it's going to be a long day!

I signed up for the 2017 Canton HOF Marathon more than a year in advance. Jim Chaney was running a deal, dropping the price to $26.20. This was too good to pass up! The other motivator that keeps me signing up for road marathons is that ever elusive sub three hour marathon.

My training wasn't terrible, but nothing spectacular and certainly not good enough for a PR. I got up to a 51 mile week, but the rest of the weeks ranged anywhere between 15 and 40 miles. The last month of training in April, I dropped off and only recorded six runs! At this point, I knew sub three or even a PR was not achievable so my plan was to back off and try for a 3:30-3:45.

I started out with Kelly's cousin, Greg, who was running the half marathon.  I met up and ran several long training runs with him, mostly starting from Lock 29 in Peninsula and running north or south on the Towpath.

The splits below tell the whole story.  I actually didn't start out as fast as I thought I had and kept a pretty even pace through the half.  But as the temperature and humidity rose during the race, it became more apparent that I was not taking in enough electrolytes to replenish what I was losing.  My calves and quads started cramping around mile 14 or 15 and by 18 it became quite a struggle.  I slogged along doing the marathon shuffle, trying to avoid a massive calf cramp.

I tried using the pace groups as motivation by staying ahead of them for as long as possible, but one group after another passed me.  And before long, the reality set in that this would be my first marathon over 4 hours.  I was actually fine with this thought.  All I wanted to do was finish.  This finish would be a different kind of accomplishment.

I ended up running a 4:13:29, my worst marathon ever by nearly half an hour.  Kelly and Greg were at the finish cheering me on and Greg hopped in to run the final stretch with me.  I was so happy to be done!

Afterward as we waited for the bus to take us back to our car at the fairgrounds, I started feeling nauseous and dizzy.  I was sitting in the shade with Greg and ended up puking.  I can't remember the last time I puked after a race and definitely never have after a marathon.  I'm not a good runner in the heat, so today was rough.  I saw one guy during the race on the ground with paramedics around him and an IV.  There were plenty of people hurting out there today and plenty of slow times, so today was just a good tough training run and an accomplishment just to finish.