Sunday, February 19, 2006

Austin for Boston

John & Bill with running coach and friend, Jeff Gallaway at the pasta feed

Salome & I, joined by John Clidas, Wayne Crayton and brother Dave ran Chicago in last October. Salome & I both bonked and came in around the mid 4 hours range. John ran a 3:33, three minutes short of his BQ. So, John immediately re-upped for the Vegas Marathon in early December. He ran a 3:36 on a hillier, colder and windier course.

John wanted a last bite at the Boston apple, and was planning to run the inaugural A1A Marathon here in Ft. Lauderdale. I advised him to pick a marathon that would give him the better chance for cool mid 50s weather, and offered to join him in the effort. We ended up choosing the Austin Marathon on Feb. 19, the same day as A1A. Salome stayed home to run the A1A Half.

John and I trained right for Austin hitting the track for some interval work and getting in multiple 20s. John was pretty much maintaining his marathon training level from October and December. I was on a short 2 month ramp up having taken off the rest of October and November after a period of doing 8 marathons in 12 months.

Boy, did we get a cool weather in Austin. A cold front dropped the temps into the high 20s before the start and stayed in the 30s most of the day. Overpasses iced, people fell on frozen sidewalks, but we kept on our feet. We chose to follow the 3:30 pace group. Our pace group leader didn't want the ackward balance that holding flag over 26 miles could do to him. So he asked that we all take turns carrying the flag.

The only problem with this is that whoever was carrying the flag wanted to make sure to not let the group down. This had the unintended effect of the flag holder picking up the pace slightly to hold off dropping pace. I too fell into this trap when I took possession of the flag. "Hold on there. You're going too fast," John tells me. From then on, I start referring to John as the governor.

While the even pace helped John, I think it may have hurt me. I felt held back too much on the downhills. It also may have caused me to not take in enough fluids, not wanting to stop at the water tables and fear losing the group.

Bill near the State Capital Building

In any event, I ended up with a hamstring cramp just before mile 24 which took me 5 minutes to message out. I thought about walking off the course for the first time ever. However, I got the cramp out and started running but at a slower pace. I finished in 3:41. John was able to stay with the pace group leader and came in at 3:29.

John crosses the finish line with a Boston qualifying time

Bill crosses after some run stopping cramps at mile 24

It was so cold at the finish that we ducked into a food tent where they were handing out bowls of chilly. I took the chilly not so much to eat it, but to warm my hands. We hurried back to our hotel and showered. Afterward, we could watch people finishing the race from the comfort of our hotel room.

That night, we found our way to an Irish pub and had some brews to celebrate John making his Boston qualifier.