After getting off the 6 hour, 112 mile bike ride I made my way into the Wilmington Convention Center to get into my Newtons and run a marathon. The full stats are here.
Once i’d switched into run gear I made my way out to the course. While heading over the timing mats one of the volunteers was cheering people on and asked something about how we’re feeling. I remember responding that “My next hobby is going to be stamp collecting” it got a big laugh from him and I was off on the run.
The first part of the run included a little ‘spur’ for the full so the half and full could share the same turnaround point and finish line. I got to see Katie & Cindy 2 more times thanks to that. Mentally I used it as my check to see how the legs were going to fair on the run, I refused to walk that portion of the run and kept moving forward. I turned onto the board walk and just chugged along till the first real turn on the course. It was a slight uphill and I made the decision that I’d just walk up the hill. This was too make sure that I’d conserve energy early on, I still had 25 miles to ‘run’.
It took me about 5 miles to settle into a decent rhythm for the run. I decided to use a run-walk approach to the last leg. I would run for a mile or two, then walk for a quarter mile. As I stated before, my goal was to remain ‘comfortable’ on the run. That translated into an average pace of 10:42 min/mi, not a fast pave by anyones measure, but after 116.4 miles it was the pace that my body decided was ‘right’. During the run I had no idea how I was doing, I played leap frog with a couple people for a while, where i’d pass them then they’d pass me.
I was worried about the toll that the course was going to take on me mentally, covering the same ground 4 times seemed like it was going to me a drain on my head. Having done the Baystate course, the loop played havoc with my mental state. I was pleasantly surprised that the mental drudgery that Baystate layed down on me didn’t occur on the Beach2Battleship. I believe it’s because I didn’t know the course as well as I know Baystate (which is one of my training loops). The first out and back on the Beach2Battleship was a ‘learning the course’ run, and the second loop was the ‘just get to this point, now this point, now this point..’ run. The only part of the course that was mentally tough was the “Bermuda triangle” There was a section of the course that was a 2 left turns in a neighbor hood, that you ran 4 times… in the same direction. This was the only hard point on the run, I had a nice chat in that section of the run with another 140.6 virgin, the big difference was that this was the furthest he’d ever ridden or run IN HIS LIFE! He’d never done a marathon or a 114 mile ride before (he had trained, just never ‘did the distance’).
I had begun the run with my fuel belt loaded up with 2 bottles of GU Roctane, 2 bottles of water, some gu’s and salt pills. I ended up living off the course since the aid stops were plentiful enough that I never was in need of my belt. I luckily only ran half the marathon with it since I ditched it with Katie, Cindy & Pat after the first loop. Dropping the 32 oz of fluid from my waist gave me some renewed energy. I remember when I made the turn around that Katie asked me how I felt, the answer was “tired, but good”. For nutrition I was in somewhat of a survival mode, I knew I needed to keep calories coming in along with salt and sugar… bonking during the run was my worst fear. Beach2Battleship does an awesome job stocking the water/food stops, and I was fully utilizing them. I had never seen Chicken Broth at an event, it’s a genius move (not as good as pickles.. but a close second)! Most stops had small stoves or coffee pots that they were warming the broth in, it wasn’t cold but a little warmth went a long way! About half way through I switched up from drinking straight water to drinking a 50/50 mixture of water and pepsi.. along with chicken broth. Under normal conditions it probably wouldn’t be the most intelligent nutrition plan, but it worked awesome for me and somehow I felt better from mile 13 to 26 then I did from 0 to 13. I attribute some of that to dropping the Fuel Belt and the euphoria of knowing I was in the final stretch of my first iron distance!
Another motivator was the little GPS tracker that was strapped to my waist. I knew that I had friends and family tracking my progress and that the ration of shit i’d get from them if I didn’t keep up a decent pace. I wasn’t about to let down all the people that were watching the little arrow move on the map. Another “secret weapon” I had with me to keep me moving was my Trans NH shirt, it served as a reminder that no matter how tired I was that i could push a little further and a little harder.
In the last few miles I was running with a women who was keeping the same pace as I was. At that point we’re in a residential area with some not very well lit sidewalks. She made the comment about the darkness and how easy it would be to twist an ankle. We both agreed that at that point with less then a mile that even with a twisted ankle we’d limp to the finish! Coming down that final stretch on the boardwalk of the NC convention center is forever etched in my memory. Seeing the finishers arch and knowing that 12 hours prior I had entered the water with no idea what was in store for me. Hearing my name called as I completed the 140.6 miles was amazing. I remember holding my arms up and smiling at the camera, being blinded by the flash and being handed my medal, hat & mylar wrap. Katie, Cindy and Pat were waiting for me at the end of the finishers chute and I gave Katie a HUGE sweaty hug! We walked around a little bit so I didn’t lock up.
After I came across the finishing mat and I think I didn’t stop smiling till the next morning! I can’t wait to start training for the next one!