Rocket City Marathon
Division - 22/65
Good weekend in Huntsville even though.....
7 -10 days prior to the marathon the Huntsville Track Club started escalating the info., and the intensity about NOT wearing I-pods in the race. The no I-pod logo moved to the top of the homepage, and each email seemed to have more information about not wearing I-pods. They said you would be "pulled off the course and DQ'ed." At a recent half marathon, it was reported the HTC, DQ'ed 20-30 runners (not sure if that's true or not). When I signed up, I was aware of the no i-pod comment, but most races have that comment on the website for insurance purposes, and rarely is the "no I-pod rule" enforced.
Going into the race, I felt I had a chance to BQ again (Boston qualify), so I decided I would not risk being DQ'ed. (had I known I would be so far off my BQ number, I would have certainly taken the risk to be DQ'ed) Before the race, as Jennifer and I discussed NOT wearing our Ipods, she mentioned, "maybe you will find that you like it" I told her that I seriously doubted that would happen. Music is a HUGE part of my running enjoyment. It's like visiting an old friend each time I'm on a run and hear a song I haven't heard in a while. It's also like meeting new friends when there is a new song that inspires me to pick up the pace, or just "puts me on cloud nine".
As I predicted, the day was LONG! I did not enjoy the race as I normally would. I started with a pace group for several reasons. The one other time that I tried it, I enjoyed it, (except for the pacer was going too fast). Another reason I joined the pace group was because of the no I-pod rule. I wanted the company of other runners to chat with, but mostly to listen to, as I ran. My 3rd reason was because it was a windy day. The wind was out of the South, and we had a 5-6 mile stretch that headed into the South wind. My plan was to be in the back of the pace group so the group would protect me from the wind. One of the big problems with a pace group is you do not have the freedom to run the tangents as you normally would. This created an immediate problem. The other issue is some pacers do not "pace" evenly. After the 1st couple of miles our pacer started picking up the pace, I stayed with the group for a while,(too long), but eventually let them go. When I let them go, I was on the windy section of the course. I couldn't find anyone running the same pace, so not only was I running with no protection into the wind, I was also running solo - WITH NO TUNES in my ear. Brutal! Many times during the race, I thought to myself - this is NOT fun. I was actually a little shocked to find out just exactly how important my music is to my enjoyment of running. I already knew music is very important, but now I know EXACTLY what it means to me.
I ended up running 3:56 for the day. I wanted to run 3:50 or better, but this is my 2nd fastest marathon time, so I feel fortunate to end the day with that. I finished with the Garmin @ 26.39 - tangents, tangents, tangents - urgh. Obviously, Ginny WILL NOT be running Rocket City 26.2 again. I hate it because EVERYTHING else about the race is GREAT. The weather, the course, the organization, the shirts, the size of the race - it's all perfect for me. We walked out the door of the Holiday Inn at 7:50, walked about 30 yards to the start line of the 8:00 race. I loved the convenience, the organization, the post race massage - all GREAT!
So if you are not an "I-poder" - in other words if you are a "real runner", a "purist runner", I would highly recommend this one.
It was a fun weekend, even though the whole I-pod thing messed up my race experience. Jennifer and I had a GREAT time. Jennifer PR'ed by 21 minutes in only her 2nd marathon. So excited for her! She ROCKED IT!
Overall, it was a good weekend. I am still disappointed by the no I-pod rule because this would be a race that I would go to often. Although, I did not enjoy it as I normally would, I did experience endurance in a new way, I survived it, I endured, and I endured and ended the day with my 2nd best 26.2 mile finish. It was a new experience, and now I know for sure that I NEVER want, or need, to do that again. I fell off the pace at mile 17, I came back at mile 18, and then 21-26.2 fell off and went into "sub 4:00, survival mode". Urgh! I finished with my "C" goal for the weekend, but hey, I'll take it! (I've been a "C" kind-of-girl most of my life)
I found this pic on an unknown fb entry.
To the left, face totally covered - "drinking on the run"
should have been more than water in that cup!