After having trained, tapered and carbo-loaded (mm, pasta) I was still pretty apprehensive the night before the NM marathon, my first. The elevation differential over Socorro, the initial 8.5 miles of ascent, and the foot-pounding 5% descent that follows - all were contributing to my nerves. But the good thing about signing up is there's no way to back out.
We bussed out to the start, waited, got the mandatory race spiel, and then started right on 5:30am. I found the ascent (up Tramway from I40) less scary than in training, so my main concern was not going too hard. Everyone settled into a rhythm and after 4 or 5 miles I was running on my own. As I crested the hill at sunrise, a minute or two behind goal splits, a spectator called out to me i was in 8th - good
deal I thought.
The descent west down Tramway was fast but brutal, and someone quickly passed me. By mile 13, where it starts to flatten, I was a couple of minutes under goal splits. Pretty soon we started to catch half marathoners who had started an hour after us. Lots of them were great - calling out encouragement even they huffed and puffed.
The final 10 miles, despite being nice and flat and mainly along a bike track by the river, got progressively harder for me. I passed one guy but kept slowing and drifted back to, and then past, goal splits. At about mile 23 two guys caught me from behind and tried to pass, but I just managed to hold them. This really boosted my pace and probably clipped minutes off my time.
One of the guys kept trying to surge past me and I just managed to keep holding on. Finally, when we reached Old Town and I saw the 26 mile marker, I tried returning the favor and accelerated after he eased from a surge. It proved enough to gap him and I kept it going to the line, not noticing when I crossed at 3:10:54 that I had qualified for Boston by 5 seconds! I found the guy afterwards and shook his hand - I really owe him. And I've never hurt so much immediately following a race before! The post-race massage was a blessing.
The organisers and the volunteers deserve many thanks - it was a great race. WIth 400 runners it wasn't huge, but very friendly. I hope to be able to do it again sometime!
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
NM Marathon Race Result
Steven ran the half-marathon on the 6th while Adam took on the full marathon (results). You can read all about Steven's experience at his blog while the following is Adam's race report (he got 8th overall, 2nd in his AG, and qualified for Boston!):