Monday, March 2, 2009

Photo's and race report from the B and A Trail Marathon 2009 5 hours 6 minutes

With my friend Laurie before the start. I was shocked that Laurie had 2 layers on top and a pair of capri length compression pants. I on the other hand had 7 layers and a goretex jacket and two pairs of pants (and the top layer was lined windpants!). Clearly I am really pathetic! This also may explain why my winter times are not very good. I am either exerting too much energy trying to stay warm or else I am afraid to go very fast because I might overheat.

Along the course. you can see runners along the trail over my right shoulder. You also might be able to see some flakes of snow on my jacket. I started the B&A Trail marathon early at 6:30. Throughout my race (which went from 6:30 until about 11:45, I ran in about 2 hours of snow flurries). Additionally during various segments there was a pretty strong headwind.

A really funny sign in the bathroom. It took me several attempts to get this picture because the mirror was reflecting pretty badly distoring the writing (Be A Dear, get out of here!). There was another sign I did not get a picture of in an earlier bathroom that said something like "Hurry, Hurry, cause we hear there's a Flurry!". It cracked me up (and clearly means I spend way too much time in porta potties!)

Running along the B&A Trail. My friend Charlie took this picture.

With my friends Francis and Joe. They had driven me to the start at the Breakers Marathon in 2007. We then met each other at Rocky Raccoon 50 mile three weeks ago. I knew Francis and Joe were going to be at this race because I had suggested Francis consider the early start (which she did)

Yesterday, March 1rst, I ran the B&A trail marathon in 5:06. This was my 3rd year running this race. It is a very well run fairly small marathon (well at least compared to Disney, Marine Corps, Vegas, Richmond...). Because I have taken the early start the last 2 years, it is even smaller because only about 30 of us do this. I would guess there are 300 marathoners and 700 half marathoners.

There are many aid stations because the course is like a modified T. You run to the rails to trails, turn right and head out to a turnaround at about mile 6.5. You then turnaround, head back and the half marathoners bail out to the start/finish. The marathoners continue on along the rails to trails to a turnaround at about mile 19, then return to the top of the "T" and then run a few hundred meters to the finish. There are aid stations about every 2-3 miles along the course with many energetic volunteers.

I like the course because there is a fair amount of time when early starters are facing many runners and ultimately getting passed by runners. This makes it so I can cheer on runners and occasionally folks will slow down briefly and chat with me along the course. This keeps me occupied during much of the race.

My marathon day, started with a slightly challenging drive to the marathon. There was supposed to be rain overnight but it was supposed to end by 4 a.m. At 4 a.m. when I woke up, there was about 1 inch of SNOW on the ground and it was snowing lightly. said there was supposed to be a lull both at the race site and my home, so I decided to get ready and head to the race. As I drove, it continued to snow a bit. It wasn't that bad but it was a bid disconcerting because perhaps they mis-called the forecast. Upon arriving at Severna Park, where the race was it was still snowing. I ultimately decided to wear my goretex jacket because I did not want to get wet if it started raining. In fact it never rained but I would guess it snowed about 1 inch for about 2-3 hours during my race.

At the race start, I ran into my friend Laurie (who stayed with Tristan during Death Valley/Vegas and whom I have seen several times since and will see next week at the Lower Potomac Marathon). I also saw Francis who I had alerted to the availability of the early start. Of course my friend Will and Charlie from the Annapolis Striders club were there to lead the early starters. After a bit of delay, the early starters set off on the 26.2 mile race. The first few miles, I ran with my friend Larry H. and Tonya. I had run briefly with Larry during the Georg Washington Birthday marathon. We chatted about which races we had run together, our upcoming race schedules and life in general. Ultimately I think our paces were a bit different so I moved along. In fact during the race I stayed with almost no person more than about 1-2 miles. Some folks were faster than my pace and some folks were slower. Although because I was moving from group to group of runners, it was nice to catch up with many friends.

In fact at about mile 20 I ended up running with Dana who was a regular starter running about 10 minute miles. I ran about 4 miles with her which flew by because we were moving moderately quickly. She had run JFK in about 1o hours and a bunch of other marathons. She so far has not qualified for Boston but I think she definitely can since she has run a ~4:00 marathon and thus needs only to speed up by 20 minutes. Apparently her PR was at Disney this past January and was just really enjoying herself. But more recently she has been running a marathon every few weeks (she ran George Washington in about 4:10 two weeks ago). It was nice to have company for a bit and I think I give myself credit for 5 miles of speedwork during the marathon!

After I finished the marathon and grabbed two slices of Pizza, I walked the course backwards to thank the volunteers and cheer on runners. After I got to mile 25, I saw my friend Francis and ran/walked with her to the finish. It was really nice to catch up. After we got to the finish, I grabbed a cup of hot cider and headed back on the course because I knew a few more friends were on the course. I saw my friend Larry and Tonya finish and then as I walked the course backwards again, I saw my friend Laurie a bit before mile 26 and a few other friends.

Overall, the race was alot of fun. It was great to catch up with so many friends. The weather made for tough race conditions in my opinion because the headwind was a bit strong at points (although nothing compared with 2 years ago), and the snow added a degree of complexity. Finally, there were a few sections particularly during the first 13 miles that were very wet and had huge puddles. At one point I even went off track to keep my feet as dry as possible. The first and second place men seemed to just run through it and others seemed to leap over it, but I have standards!

It was a great day and I think having challenging conditions always make for good stories. And of course adds to my "street cred" as a runner.


CTmarathoner said...

good job Tammy!! I loved all the critter snow day and snuggling photos -Ike asked if your cats are Japanese:) It was cold here too on March 1 --never got above 33...
in any case it will warm up this weekend --hope you have a race planned -hehe. BTW -no advice on the Tristen lunch less he gets his own mini fridge under his desk???

Runner Tammy said...

Hi there Emmy,

Thanks for your words of encouragement. Our critters have their moments when they get along really well, then occasionally have big cat-fights!

Apparently Ragdoll cats are partially Siamese (a persian and a siamese back in the 70's started the breed). They are really sweet and seem to like us. When we come home, they are at the front door ready to greet us with Gilligan.

Sadly Tristan works in a gov't building that does not allow personal fridges. Although oddly enough when folks were moving en masse alot of folks were able to get lots of contraband items (microwaves, knives, micro-fridges, chemicals....), but to bring something in now creates all sorts of trouble.

In fact at his office building camera's are not allowed, so last year during an FDA race I had to run around the building so I could take pictures during the event. But apparently cell phones/ blackberries with camera's are okay.

Gotta love the false sense of security!