Thursday, November 02, 2006
MCM Debriefing #2: Miles 3-16
Heading to the MCM expo last Friday afternoon, two days before race.
Mile 3: 8:45: Crested the hill, which was nuthin' to my rested and glycogen-loaded legs. Running down beautiful and leafy Spout Run Parkway, about a 3 percent decline. Bill is still telling me to slow down even though I'm on pace. I want to take advantage of the free speed and let gravity propel me down the hill.
Mile 4: 8:34: Still looking for the 3:50 pace group. Nowhere to be seen. But my friend, P., jumps in and we start running together. Cool. Then I see a guy wearing a big sticker with "3:50" scrawled on it.
"You the pacer?" I asked him.
He seemed surprised and a bit abashed. "No, sorry," he said. "They're ahead."
Mile 5: 8:59: Ran across the Key Bridge and into Georgetown. The crowds are thick here and they're screaming like crazy. Trying to soak it all in while listening to P. talk and keeping track of Bill, who seems to be laboring. At the next water stop, he stops, and I lose him.
Mile 6: 8:29: In Rock Creek Park. The slight incline doesn't bother me. In fact, going a teensy bit too fast, as P. has a tendency to speed up. I put him to use by handing him a "just plain" GU and ask him to open it. He does and I gulp it down.
Mile 7: 8:52: P. is on his cell phone talking to our friend, A., who will meet us somewhere around Mile 10. Through all of the water/Gatorade stops, I keep running, but grab a cup and try to drink. Most of the Gatorade goes over my face. Luckily, I have booty socks over my hands (couldn't find gloves), so I just wipe my face each time with 'em. Handy.
Mile 8: 8:42: Somewhere around here, as I'm flying back south along Rock Creek, I see Rich on the other side, about a half-mile behind me. "Rich!" I say and wave. "Bex!" he replies. The crowd swallows him.
Mile 9: 8:46: Near the Lincoln Memorial. Gorgeous day. Gorgeous crowds. I want to hug all the people lining the course. P. hands me an orange slice and I stick it in my mouth so when I smile all you see is orange. I chew contemplatively, thinking, "This is about as good as it's going to get in a race."
Mile 10: 8:52: Crowds are so thick here I feel like I'm running in a tunnel. A. sees us and jumps in. I have an entourage!
Mile 11: 8:47: On Constitution Avenue running towards the Capitol. A line of kids in orange t-shirts have their hands out, waiting for runners to high-five them. I cut across the course and go down the line. Slap, slap, slap, slap, slap. We cheer. "Feeling frisky?!" says P.
Mile 12: 8:57: Running by the Smithsonian. The wind is fierce, and I put a hand on my head to keep my hat on. I have another GU. A group of what looks like Japanese boy and girl scouts are walking to the museums. They seem confused that a race is going on. Konichi-wa!
Mile 13: 9:04: Starting to get tired. Also running up a slight incline. The Marines are handing out Gels here. A. grabs a couple and gives them to me. I drop one and run back and pick it up over A.'s objections. "Don't stop!" she said. "I'll pick them up!"
Mile 14: 8:48: P. jumps out here, having run 10 miles with me. However, he runs in front of us to take a few photos before heading to Mile 20 to see me go over the 14th Street Bridge. A. revs up the crowd by raising her arms and saying, "Give it up for Bex!" Although she says my real name, of course. The crowds cheer wildly. I feel like Deena Kastor.
Mile 15: 9:05: Windy, windy, windy. A. talks about hoping to qualify for Boston at the Houston Marathon next January. I try to concentrate on what she's saying instead of the wind. A bunch of photographers snap our sweaty mugs, and A. jumps out of the way so she won't be in the pix.
Mile 16: 8:47: On Haines Point. Not much talking here. Throughout this race, but especially after Mile 4, I run with groups of men. They grunt every once in a while. So do I. Not sure what about. But it feels good. Primal.
Ahead: Jolly Ranchers, musle spasms, and Runner Down!