Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Mission: Accomplished

Sunday, April 26th:

I was up early. Very early. We were staying in Carmel and I had to catch a shuttle to the Marathon start in Big Sur. The shuttle was leaving at 4:15. That meant I had to be up and at 'em around 3 if I wanted to get something to eat, have a bit of coffee, get ready, and give the coffee time to work it's magic. Too much information? My apologies, but it really is a part of the whole running a marathon thing. We were staying at a nice hotel. We got a ridiculous rate on the room, but man, it sure was loud. The people above sounded like they were running laps in their room all night long. Back and forth, back and forth. And when they flushed the toilet, it sounded like we were in the lavatory of a 747. I had a fitful night of sleep. I kept waking up. The last time I woke up was around 2:40 a.m., and I decided I should just stay up.

On the shuttle ride to the start, I met a very nice runner by the name of John. He was 66, and Big Sur was his 110th marthon. Damn. I enjoyed talking with him about running, the courses he's liked what he recommended etc.

I got to the start, and had about an hour and a half to kill. It was COLD, and clear. I topped off my tank with a bit of coffee and water, and used the port a potty once or twice more before the start.

The first 5 miles of the race were downhill. I had to fight the desire to run fast. I kept my pace between 8:30 and 9:00/mile. Running out of the forest and to the coast, the wind was relentless. It cut right through us. Miles 10 through 12 were all uphill. It was on this uphill that I came across John. At the top of the hill was "Hurricane Point". It was about as windy as you'd expect from a name like that, but at least it wasn't raining or hailing. In fact, besides the wind, the conditions couldn't have been more perfect; mostly overcast, with highs in the mid 50's.

Between miles 13 and 14, I had the longest & steepest hills behind me, so I started to work on my race plan. Up until that point, I had just kept thinking that IF (and that was a huge "if") I was feeling up to it, I would begin a sustained push around mile 21 or 22. I put a few more miles in, and kept feeling strong and loose. Earlier in the race, I had tucked in with a 4:00 pace group for a few miles. I left them behind at the mile 19 water station.

I hadn't realized how well prepared I was until around mile 22 when I finally let myself believe that I would finish it, and now, I just wanted to finish strong.

And finish strong, I did. I had a nice kick the last half mile or so.

Finishing time: 3:56.


Ruth said...

Congratulations Jeff! What a great day you had. I heard that race is just magical. I am so happy for you. Has enough time passed for you to begin thinking about what the next one will be?

Jeff Bowser said...

Hey Ruth. Thanks. Yeah, I've got my eye on a 50K trail race in late August out here. It will be tough to train for it, though. I'm going to be gone for nearly a month, and have limited opportunities to run while I'm gone.

matt said...

Wow, man. bravo. Monumental achievement. I went to cheer Ruth in Boston. Guess who was favored to win? Kara Goucher. not The Goucher, Kara Goucher. Hope you're well, brother.

Jeff Bowser said...

Matt! My brother! How the hell ARE you?!