December 8, 2011

Tecumseh Trial Marathon, 2011. (#27)

When: December 3, 2011  
Who: Me and Lesa
Recall: With six you get a twisted ankle.
Overall: I run it for the soup.
Rating: 5/5 carbs    

Since this was my 6th running of the TTM, here are six way this time was the same and six ways it was different from the previous adventures. 

The Same.
1. Lodging. Jill and Randy Peper graciously put us up Friday night. We go back with the Pepers to Penn State where Randy was getting his Ph.D. in veterinary science and now he's the main man over all research animals at Indiana University.
Waiting for the bus to take me to the start. 
(Note the sign referring to us runners as 'athletes'. That's a first for me.)

2. Transportation issues. I was the last person on the last bus and had to stand in the isle with a handful of other runners the whole way to the start. Also, the runner sitting in the front seat was giving the driver directions to the start. Reminds of the year the race director stepped into a departing bus and asked, "Does anyone here know how to get to the start? I need someone to give the driver directions." 

3. Late start. We started about 10 minutes late. Not as bad as other years. Remember, the first year the race director stated, "We'll start the marathon when the last person is out of the port-a-potty. I love this race!

4. Hearing gun shots along the way. No dead or wounded runners were reported. Similar information on the number of local deer was not available. Here's the caution issued by the race director, "We strongly suggest wearing bright colors for your day in the woods. It is still deer hunting season for archery and muzzle loaders." I really love this race.

5. Final time. Slow. And while not a course PR for me it was close. My best time was the first year but I think that year the course was not a full 26.2 miles. If that's the case this was my best time. Other than my right foot and hamstrings, I felt I had more energy for the last few miles. 

6. Soup and sandwich. Even though we had plans for an early dinner with the Pepers an hour after I finshed and I had planned to skipped the soup and sandwich finishing reward, I couldn't pass it up. Delicious. 

"Bring on the soup!"

1. Warm weather. Starting temperature was in the 30s and it had to be in the 50s or close to it at the finish. It was nice to run in shorts and long sleeves.

2. Initial pace. I started out a little faster than usual only to get ahead of some of the slower downhill runners. It's frustrating when you get with a pack of runners who, on the flat, run at your pace but at the first descent, they start tip toeing downhill. Many of these runners are the same ones that pause and ponder at every water crossing. Getting ahed of them proved to be a good idea unless the faster initial pace was the cause of the impending muscle cramps. 

Mile 12. 
(Why with at least 22 miles of trails, the photographer chose to take pictures at a gravel road, I don't know.)

3. Twisted right ankle. While I didn't fall down, I did turned my ankle pretty good between mile 8 and 9. It really stung as I hopped off to the side of the trail. Fortunately, one the initial pain subsided, I was able to run on it without too much problem. I was extra attentive to the trail after that not wanting twist it again. Not sure if it was related but the right heal was so sore over the last mile on the hard and rough gravel road I could barely run. In fact, I was afraid I might have to walk across the finish line. Oh, and not just the usual two, but three black toenails! 

 The Day After and My Ugly Right Foot (lateral side)

  The Day After and My Ugly Right Foot (medial side)

Ugly feet. Please accept my apology. 

4. Major muscle cramps. Near mile 22 there's a good long downhill which, in the past, I have enjoyed "flying" down but this year, right towards the end, my right hamstring knotted up into a painful intricate knot while my left hamstring was on the verge of doing likewise. I had to step off the trail and stretch it two or three times. After that the going was even slower than usual. Run (even) slower, ski fast. 

Mile 23

5. Dr. Pepper. This year I but Dr. Pepper in my water bottle. It wasn't completely flat so the first swig sent a burst of carbonation down my throat. My thought was that during the later miles I need something with a little more sugar than good ol' Gatorade. Other than the excess carbonation, I think it helped. I also tried to eat more for breakfast since the race didn't start until 10:00. So in addition to my usual banana and energy bar I had an egg McMuffin. Why not?

6. Body weight. Good golly. Could I be any heavier? I know I didn't get in as many miles leading up to this marathon and I obviously didn't change my diet. Time to get serious about running more and eating less.