Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Frederick Marathon Race Report: Before the Rain (Start to mile 7/8)

Before the race, getting ready to cross the start line (notice there are very few runners straggling across the start line). As usual I was loitering before the start and was not present when the "GO" announcement was made.

A few moments after crossing the start line I found a nice person to take my picture. Here you can see a few runners who crossed the start line after me (we were assured the start line would remain open until 15 minutes after the start--I took advantage of this lenient start policy)

During the race, I was in a large pack of runners for the majority of the first 5 or 6 miles.

The course goes by some large houses in residential streets. Many of the residents came out to cheer on the runners which was nice. As the rains came, alot of residents could sit under the porches or in their garages to cheer on the runners which was still greatly appreciated by me!

At the "Wal-mart" express runners had the option to get all sorts of treats and beverages. Sadly this is when the rain started (with gusto I might add) which meant some treats were a bit water logged. But in concept I think this was a good idea. And hopefully next year the weather will be more favorable for this treat zone.

This past Sunday, the Frederick Marathon took me 4 hours, 9 minutes and 9 seconds (chip time) to complete. This finish time was a ~9 minute PR compared to my previous Marathon PR which I set at the Delaware Marathon last year.

The Frederick Marathon is a nice small local marathon which I have run several times. This was my third time running the marathon. I also have run the half marathon 1 time. I ran the old course of the marathon 4 years ago. Three years ago I ran the half marathon and subsequently the last two years I ran the full marathon as my "come back" marathon after Umstead 100.

Previously the Frederick marathon was considerably less hilly; however, in my opinion the course was not as interesting. There are still a few sections that go through business parks however, these are portions are relatively short.

Sunday was predicted to be a nasty day weatherwise. I would agree it lived up to the hype. However it was nice that the first 6-7 miles of my race it was pretty dry and barely misting. The temperature started at 61 degree's but in fact the temperature dropped to the mid-50's.

I got up about 4 a.m. to get ready for the race. I was able to get ready pretty quickly and head out the door. It was nice to sleep in my own bed but a bummer that now races are starting earlier and earlier. While I am not overly fond of the bitterly cold weather at the George Washington Birthday in Feb, it sure is nice to sleep in for a 9:30 a.m. start time for the early starters!

After an uneventful drive in torrential rain to the race, I was pleasantly surprised to arrive at Frederick where there was no rain. After a 800 meter walk to the start, I wandered around aimlessly looking for my friend Peter. Ultimately I found him and got my packet. I then had to make up my mind what clothing I wanted to wear or carry during the race. This became quite a challenge since I had no idea what the weather would bring. I think I chose wisely having my long sleeve shirt, a poncho, a trash bag and my usual outfit. Unfortunately even with all of these layers, I was not able to stay dry, but I know I was dryer then most other runners.

After deciding on my outfit, I placed all the other items in my gear bag and gave it to the nice and helpful volunteers. I then got on line for the porta potties. Of course at this time the race started. But I was not worried because the race used chip timing.

As I started the race, I decided I wanted to run moderately fast in an attempt to beat the rain. Sadly beating the rain did not happen, but not for lack of trying on my part. I took a few pictures before the start line and few after the start line and then it was time for me to run "with purpose". I did not have my garmin because of the predicted rain and I did not set my watch. Thus throughout the race I had no idea what my pace or time was. It was a bit unfortunate that even at the halfway point there was no clock thus I did not really have any sense as to what kind of race I was having.

Running along I was passing participants who were definitely walking, then jogging quite slowly. About 1-2 miles into the race I caught up to my friend Peter. His goal was to run a sub-5 hour marathon and achieved this goal with a few minutes to spare...way to go Peter!

This year the marathon/half marathon/relay appeared to allow headphones therefore I was hard pressed to find anyone who was interested in chatting throughout the entire race. I find this very puzzling because if runners are just going to race without interacting with others, why not just jog alone on a nicer day? I chatted with a few runners but felt like I was an imposition particularly to those who had headsets. I find having a runner to chat with definitely makes time fly considerably faster then even music so I kept up an internal dialogue which worked well until the fight at mile 8...just kidding it worked out fine.

The first 7-8 miles of this course travels through a variety of old neighborhoods in downtown Frederick. The course twists and turns through residential and commercial districts. Since it is May, it is really green here in MD and thus all along the course many tree's, flowers and shrubs were in bloom making it a very beautiful course. For the first 7-8 miles I was able to appreciate these sights and smells. Before the rains, there were large crowds along the route and the spectators were very enthusiastic. Unfortunately once the rains came (and most of the runners peeled off to complete the half marathon), the crowds dwindled. But the volunteers continued to be out for the runners and were super enthusiastic!


Glaven Q. Heisenberg said...

Nice pix, sister!

Sorry, but if you tried to talk to me in the middle of a race, I'd be one of those types who'd tell you to go peddle yer papers, sister, because I'm gasping for breath at the first step of ANY race - and I've only ever run 5ks! Hahahaha! I suck THAT bad!

Plus, I'm a bit of a jerk.

Runner Tammy said...

You crack me up!

I try to find and talk with "long distance" runners because short distance runners have lost (or never have had) the gift for gab . 5km, 10 km, half marathoners are too busy wasting their breath trying to inhale and exhale so they can run faster...what a horrible mistake!!!

We, the ultra-runners, tend to be a chatty group because otherwise what is going to occupy 20-25-30 hours that it takes to finish a race??? Without chatting this will feel like days, weeks or even months!!!