Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Sacramento Cowtown Review

Ah, there's nothing like being done!

Yes, that was my first Half-Marathon in five years. Five. Years.

That's a nice feeling.

So here's the blow by blow:

I woke up in from a poor night of sleep in the downtown Sacramento Hotel at about 6:00. If I'm not at home, I just resign myself to the fact that I won't sleep well the night before a race. I just can't get a good night's sleep before a race if I'm away from home. Nerves, strange bed...I don't know what it is, but if I get four good hours, I'm happy.

So I stagger out of bed and peer through the curtains...well, at least that's good news. It's yet another gorgeous Sacramento morning. No clouds in that sky.

A quick shower, a quick Clif Bar and Diet Pepsi (it's a ritual - just go with it) and I wake up my phototographer so we can get going.

A short drive down to William Land Park (right by the zoo!) and we head to the starting corral...MOO!

We were a touch on the late side, so I didn't have a lot of time to warm up, but staring 13.1 in the face, I didn't feel the need to go on a long warm-up run anyway.

OK, where's the 2:00 pace group? Ah, there he is. Our pacer looked like a linebacker. I like that in a pacer. You know what you're getting. A guy looks like that, calves like tree trunks, big ol' shoulders - you know he's good to go for at least 13.1. No offense, but I don't want some 90 pound waif for my pacer.

So I mosey over and get in a few rows behind the 2:00 pace group, don't want to crowd anyone, and POW, we're off. Wow, no standing around today; it must have been later than I thought.

So we're off! It feels a little slow to me, but probably just because we're a bit crowded right at the start - around 5000 or so runners out here. We hit the first mile marker just a touch slow - about 9:30 - and we pick it up just a touch for mile 2.

There's a good core group of about 20 or 30 runners around Mr. 2:00 Linebacker, plus a few that come and go from in front or behind. I can't believe the pacer's have to hold that stinking sign up for 26.2 miles! I don't think I could do it.

I actually have a tough patch around mile four, when I get sort of tired for some reason. I was thinking, OK, this really is not good. I'm barely past a 5k here! But it passed pretty quickly and I felt really good through the 8 mile mark. In fact, I was ahead of the group for a while, but kept telling myself to calm down and ease back to Mr. Linebacker because I knew I wouldn't feel as good at 12 miles as I did at 8 miles.

And lo, it came to pass. Shortly after coming off the running path that skirted the River, we hit the 10 mile mark and the wheels started to come off. I walked for a bit at the water stop and my crew got about a minute out in front of me. No problem. At that point, I only had three miles left, and I quickly figured that we were a touch ahead of our 2:00 pace. So I recalculated and decided to bring it home on my own. I just wanted to get in under 2 hours!

Thank goodness we were in Sacramento and not Seattle. That course was flat. I couldn't have taken a hill right about then. Coming back into the park, I saw I was going to make it, no problem. Although, it actually turned out a little closer than I wanted...but I did it!


And I got my cowbell medal!

Now the only problem is...I've got to find my next race.

1 comment:

  1. Since it wasn't mentioned in the race review, I just have to point out that the photographer in question was dressed in sandals not meant for walkin' and STILL managed to walk several blocks, over a freeway, and to the 8 mile mark for a photo op! I have the blisters to prove it too!