It is so different running for an hour vs. running for two hours.
I'm kind of digging these hey, let's just run for a little while because we can kind of "races."
Of course, I'm largely digging them because I haven't been training with any intensity or volume for several months. My cumulative mileage over the past 2 months might just barely break 20 miles...then again, it might not. Injury does, indeed, suck.
As I mentioned yesterday, I was running today's race on a wing and a prayer.
In keeping with the concept of minimal preparation, we had chocolate cake for dinner last night. I'm not kidding.
How's that for pre-race fuel? Now, had I been running a 2-hour race instead of a one-hour race, this would probably have had a real negative effect on my performance. But since today was all about survival, simply moving and breathing would constitute "performance." For this, the chocolate cake proved sufficient.
This morning I awoke before anyone else in the house and began my preparations. Hmmmm...didn't need to pack Gu-type stuff...didn't need to bring water...was the Garmin charged? Who knew? I tossed it in the bag...expecting... whatever. I got dressed. Knowing that at any minute during the race the sky could open up on the course and deliver a deluge, I dressed to minimize chafing...but knew that I would only need to endure whatever hand was dealt me for about an hour instead of two. Even with that knowledge, I liberally applied the Body Glide all over. Luckily, the rain stayed away :)
I left the house an hour before my expected hand-off time even though early on a Sunday morning traffic is usually non-existant and I live 12 minutes away. The sky was clearing. The drive was a breeze. Parking was beyond easy. But... they only had two port-a-potties to serve this exchange/aid station. The line snaked around and around and around... it was probably a 30-35 minute wait. This is my only organizational beef with the Oakland Running Festival. Who doesn't understand this: You can NEVER have too many port-a-potties! Right?
Time to go find my Leg 1 chick. I headed over to the exchange area, which looked like this...
She was right on time with her "about an hour" prediction :) She ran past me, calling my name. I leaped out and grabbed the little wristlet timing chip and took off...too fast. The incline a block later snapped me back to reality.
My plan became:
- chill on the flat.
- survive the uphill portions.
- destroy the downhills...however big or small they may be.
Given that the first 5 miles were dominated by uphill portions, slow and steady survives the race :)
Leg 2 – 2012 Oakland Marathon Relay
My splits over the first 5 miles were all over the place and entirely dependent on the terrain, ranging from mid 11's to as fast as mid 8's. And then came that monster downhill...the BIG one...
Last year, I pissed myself going down this thing. This year I held it together. No peeing.
Flying for me, anyway.
Yes, it's a screaming downhill. I acknowledge that. Nonetheless, it was quite refreshing to see 6 as the first number in the split window for a half a mile :)
I tried to hang on once things leveled out. But. Just. Couldn't. Quite. Do. It. Was I surprised? Absolutely surprised to run down that hill as fast as I did and absolutely NOT surprised that I slowed down dramatically upon hitting the flats. My Leg 3 receiver was fantastically ready to go and saw me before I saw her...even though she was wearing a neon yellow jacket! I gave her the strap, and away she went!
I was done.
Distance: 6.6 miles
I am not going to go on and on about how hard I found this because there were folks running alongside of me who had to keep on going...for another 14 miles. They are total rockstars, each and every one of them. The full marathon in Oakland is a toughie...not what one would call a "BQ course."
The takeaway from this race for me is huge, though...
Hip? Solid. Fitness? Sucky. Desire to run? Sky-high!
And that, my friends, is a winning combination. Having a body that (at the moment) works and a desire to work it can change the fitness component. I just need the right approach. I think I'm on the right track.