Sunday, October 14, 2007

My Apocalyptic Long Beach Marathon

Freddy, as a younger man, I was a sculptor, a painter, and a musician. There was just one problem: I wasn't very good. As a matter of fact, I was dreadful. I finally came to the frustrating conclusion that I had taste and style, but not talent. I knew my limitations. We all have our limitations, Freddy. Fortunately, I discovered that taste and style were commodities that people desired. Freddy, what I am saying is: know your limitations. You are a moron. (Dirty Rotten Scoundrels)

What does this have to do with the Long Beach marathon?
My net time in Long Beach in 2006 was 3:49:09
My net time there today was… 3:49:35
This is about the same – even 26 seconds slower than in 2006 – darn! I should not have taken than bathroom break! I heard some folks do it while running :-) I should have read more about the right techniques before the race :-)
All right, these were just 2 marathons in a raw. But if I do my third one next year with the same time it will totally mean I should know my limitations :-(

It all started as a long traffic jam on the Broadway exit of I-701.
Some people are lazy, and although they know there will be a 10,000+ cars and all of them will go according to the official marathon directions and will get stuck on Broadway – they still print out those same driving directions from the official web site and get stuck in an endless very-slow-moving traffic jam. I was one of those people, 2nd year in a row, and the lesson of my 2007 late start got well-forgotten.

Then there was a very long line to the porty-potties. Also a slow-moving one.
Did I mention it took me about 45 minutes to get from Ladera Ranch to Long Beach and another 45 minutes to exit to Broadway and get to the parking lot? And that all that time I was sipping Gatorade in the car?
Long story short I barely survived that porty-potties line :-)

This time I took my iPod with me and was listening Apocalyptica all the way.
Although the battery life on my iPod is marginal, it survived the race and never DNFed.
Apocalyptica is an extremely good pacer and energizer. This is a heavy metal band playing on four violins, usually without any drums, or vocal. They have a bunch of remixed Metallica songs, but play also songs of Sepulture and some of their own.

After four hours straight of Apocalyptica I still hear it in my ears, especially right now late at night when almost all other sounds disappeared.

My Garmin, by the way, tried to DNF three times during the race. First time it switched off for now apparent reason, I got really mad and was cursing it for the following 5 minutes. The second and third time did not generate that many emotions though – I did not expect much from it anymore.

Around mile 11 – somewhere right after the course split to marathon and half marathon – I caught up – to my big surprise – Suzy Degazon, whom I had met at the Mt. Disappointment race in August.
She told me later I cheered her up as she was having some hard time during that particular part of the race…

For the next 9 miles we were running side by side together.
Around mile 20 I ran out of gas and could not keep up with Suzy’s 8 minutes/mile pace any more. Plus there were some very light hills after 20-mile mark that nevertheless took their toll on me.
I had to slow down considerably and asked Suzy to run ahead not waiting for me.

Around mile 25 I maxed out music in my headphones, which felt like an adrenaline shot. I managed to pick up the pace and ran the last mile and a half at a 8 min/mile pace. The music was so loud that all other runners and spectators could clearly hear it too and I got a lot of cheers on the way :-)

Suzy and I at the finish line:

My post-race snack (Sonya decided to help her dad with the bagel):

Post-race excitement (I have not seen my net time yet):

Bib: 432
Place Overall: 367 out of 2330
Men: 310 out of 1454
Men 30-34: 48 out of 186

FINISH: 3:49:35 pace: 8:46
10K: 52:33 pace: 8:28
Half: 1:50:52 pace: 8:28
20 Mile: 2:49:27 pace: 8:29

Chip Time: 3:49:35
Gun Time: 3:54:44

Blisters: just 1 on the outer side of my big toe
Black nails: also just 1 this time in addition to what I still have from Mt.Disappointment

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