I wanted to have a long race in the fall, and chose this one since I was itching to get off pavement for a bit. My conditioning wasn't exactly where I would have liked it going in, but I tried not to get too worked up about that.
The morning was beautiful - clear and crisp - nice autumn day in Ohio. Em and Buzzy were doing the 5K, so we all headed to the start line together just before 8 AM. About 250 total registrants, with around 70 doing the full marathon.
I had my heart rate monitor on, and I intended to stay in zones 2 and 3 for the first 20 miles or so. I was tentatively shooting for a time of like 4:20 --- turns out that was waaaaaay off, but I'm getting ahead of myself.
We all took off, and I stayed near Em and Buzzy for much of the 5K before the longer courses branched off onto the trails.
I didn't feel too bad at first - the scenery was a nice distraction as we worked our way through the first few miles along the lake shore, with the trees having some good fall colors. The leaves on the trail caused other problems though, as they hid most of the roots and rocks that were scattered about.
Hit an aid station at around mile 6.5, and it was clear then that I was already way off pace. I should have been there around an hour into the race, but my watch showed closer to 1:15. Oops. Might be a long day.
Fortunately I had great support throughout the race. Emmie, Buzzy and RJ showed up all over the place. And Mom and Roger were present at multiple aid stations as well. Thanks y'all.
Continued on, enjoying the trails and trying to maintain a relaxed stride. Alternated between water and G2 in my water bottle. Took in PowerGels about every 4 to 5 miles. Both quads started tightening up around the 3 hour mark. Right ITB showed some displeasure about this time too. Left knee became fairly tender around hour 4, showing particular dislike for any declines. Surprisingly, my calves, which were my biggest concern coming into the race, were cooperating. Bonus.
Was ready to be done when my watch hit the 5 hour mark. For a "flat course", my legs were taking a beating. Maybe just an off day, or perhaps a reflection of my lower mile base over the last few weeks prior to the race as I nursed my calves along. Whatever the case, I was certainly not hammering the trails. Just gotta keep going ...
Saw Emmie just short of the 25 mile mark - she told me I had a mile and a half to go. I think I dropped the f-bomb.
Put my head down and kept shuffling along - reminded myself that I was getting closer with each step - was glad to see the finish line after one final turn. Phew. Not an impressive performance, but I did hit the tape - and it'll be good motivation for the next one!
Thanks to the volunteers who were at the aid stations -y'all did a great job. Thanks for coming out.
My final details for the day:
Total time = 5:20.43
Avg HR = 152
Zone 1: 1:20
Zone 2: 2:20
Zone 3: 1:07
Zone 4: 11 minutes
Note: Doesn't total 5:20 - not sure why the monitor has these periods of inactivity.