Just when you think you didn’t do as well as you had planned a ray of hope/a nice surprise comes your way. Such an occasion just occurred for me as I was putting the time for my latest race (Shamrock Marathon 2009) into the sheet I had created to track my best times. Yesterday I recorded a race of 4 hours, 4 minutes, and 44 seconds (yeah funny I had so many 4’s in my 16 marathon—come to think of it 4x4=16!) and I was a little down on myself because I didn’t break 4 hours like I had hoped. On the drive home last night (the rest of that story is below) Mrs. Bloggerman pointed out that not all was lost as this was my third best ever marathon time. Well to my surprise it was actually my second best time, beating the time from the 2008 National Marathon by 15 seconds. Go Me.
Now the rest of the story.
We took off from Alexandria on Saturday in route to Va Beach with our friend Eileen in the back seat. The ride down was fairly uneventful until we crossed into the greater Virginia Beach area. There we made, yet another, bathroom stop and came smack dab into the mecca, aka Mount Trashmore. Full history can be found here, but essentially it’s a city park that is a reclaimed land fill and now looks great. I visited back in ’99 on a spring break trip with J and Slevi, and we had been talking about it part of the way down. As you can see from the pic it was a bit windy up there but if you’re ever in the area you have to visit just to appreciate what can be done when you have city leaders with vision and some chutzpah!
We made it over to the expo shortly there after and were greeted in the parking lot by the guys from Bolthouse Farms who were loading up their truck after breaking down their booth a bit early. The were really cool and when we told them how much we like their product (not a lie...the Green Goddess is kick-ass), they broke out 3 full size bottles of their Vanilla Chai. Once we dropped those off in the car to stay cold we hit the expo which was a bit underwhelming for a race this size but I still managed to pick up a pair of sneakers (my first non-Pacers pair in over two years) which I got for a good deal and finally got a pair with some hot colors (that’s bright orange, white, and black)..which are much better then the plain navy and white that my last pair of Sacucny came in. A nice dinner and some cookies and back to Mike’s house for some sleep (Special shout-out to Mike for his hospitality and really making this race much easier on all of us!)
Morning of the race was fairly smooth as Mrs. Bloggerman dropped Eileen and I off near the start. Unfortunately as we were entering the Hilton to get warmed up and stretched out before the race is when the trouble began. The large green beer mug balloon I had worked so hard on getting for half price and getting refilled the night before came right off the ribbon attached to my belt and floated up to the heavens. It got worse from there. We got into the gaggle of runners as the starting gun went off and I didn’t get 200 feet past the starting line before my “sport beans” broke off my belt and got flattened under the shoes of the 500+ runners behind me. I did manage to save one of them however and saved that for Mile 12. Unfortunately that didn’t work so well either as when I got there and tried to open the bag, I couldn’t so I handed it off to a kid near the water stop to try his luck. He tried, and tried and then finally bit into the bag. Again, bad move as my last source of on-course nutrition when flying up in the air and landing all over the pavement. Lucky for me I’m not a proud man so I picked six or so off the ground and munched away. Anyway as we proceeded through this very flat race (the highest point was a 40 ft bridge that we passed over twice in the first half of the race) the crowd support was great with plenty of cheering fans. That all changed between miles 16-19 when we hit a two lane highway through the deep woods with no sounds other then feet hitting the pavement and the birds chirping. We were able to pass the time though with some really funny signs along the road including sayings such as: “Do Bald Men Get Lice?”, “How does Teflon stick to the pan?”, and “Man who go through airport turnstile sideways, going to Bangkok.” Then came Mile 22 when the “wall” hit, but I didn’t hit back and had to begin a combination of jogging and walking until about Mile 25 when I managed to harness what I had left and run in the last 1.2 miles.
I won’t go into the details of the ride back except to say that thanks to some really crappy drivers it took us 6.5 hours to make what should have been at most a 4 hour trip. I will however note that following the marathon, for lunch and dinner I consumed something in the neighborhood of 3,600 calories and 155 grams of fat (thanks to the folks at Sonic and Cosi for most of that!).
Until the next race....Bloggerman Out!