Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Rocket City 26.2 RR (Huntsville, AL)

Rocket City Marathon
Division - 22/65
Overall 465/1148

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"  
Ha! Ha!
should have been more than water in that cup!


Emz said...

I'm not sure I could do a non-iPod run.

You rock woman.
what are those blue things in the back ground? why would anyone use one of those?! ;)

You're awesome!

Tim F said...

Great job even when everything was not perfect (the pace group and no ipod).

Detroit Runner said...

That's a great run! I have never raced with my ipod but always train with it. You should try it maybe on a shorter course first. You get to take in the entire race and I love it. On the other hand, some people don't like to hear themselves breath. I don't really hear myself breath but jeez, I hear many others around me. I once heard a guy breathing so hard in a 10 mile race I did that I told him he was making me tired just listening to it. He said it's just the way he is. Anyway, try it on a 5k and see what it's like.

misszippy said...

I think you did a great job, especially if you were denied one of your usual motivators! And too bad about the pacers, but you made a good move to let them go and not make the rest of the run really miserable. Congrats!!

Greg Nicholson said...

Great Job, Ginny! I missed my tunes in the last 6. I think if I had my sound going, I would have kept the pace a bit better than I did.

But given the single lane of 5 blocked off of that forever road by cones... I can absolutely understand them wanting it safe. Doesn't mean that I LIKED it, but I understand it.

Christine said...

No ipod!? WOW! I don't think it's soo dangerous while running. I agree on biking or other "fast" sports, but running? This would be super tough for me as well. But stil, you did it under 4 hours!! Finishing a marathon is an accomplishment by itself! You should be very proud! :)

HappyTrails said...

Congratulations on your SECOND BEST EVER marathon Ginny!! We can't totally relate to the iPod thingy because we run all trails and don't need any distraction but can see your point if you are accustomed to having it. It seems more races are banning them - even a lot of our small local races are pulling "iPod bandits" from the course.

Happy Feet 26.2 said...

@Greg - I'm not buying it. The lane was totally blocked off, and I have managed to run on the road for YEARS without any accidents. Also, it's a risk I'm willing to take. If danger is the case, running on the road should be banned as well.

@HappyTrails - I have seen some races lifting the ban. (Grandma's Marathon was a BIG, DQ for I-pods race that I would NEVER register for in the past, but I think I've heard or read they have reversed that decision)

@Detroit Runner - sorry - no desire to EVER try it again for any distance, unless I'm running with friends. Would rather give up racing.

racing dawn said...

Thanks for finding me! Right now I would kill for a sub 4! But I totally understand being disappointed with a finishing time. I've done a couple marathons minus an ipod - they were both trail races so I had beautiful distractions. No way could I do it in a city race!

LMC said...

Great job Ginny! That was definitely a challenging endurance test for you. I really don't understand the ban on i-pods. What else should they ban in the interest of "protecting the runner"? I think runners can/should take care of themselves. Whatever! Congrats to you!!

Jill said...

I am definitely NOT a no iPod runner, I can't even run a mile listening to my own wheezing breathing! I thought most races lifted the ban on the mp3 players...but apparently there are still some. Too bad! I panicked when I ran Big Sur in '08 cuz there was a big "No iPods" rule but when we got there, they were allowing it. funny, cuz that's the race I got really sick in and music was making me that much more nauseous so had to turn it off. Ha.

Nice job, chica! That BQ is now checked off for 2012 and you can breathe a sign of relief and now go do some other fun things!! You're so awesome!

Happy Feet 26.2 said...

@Jill - no BQ - or are you saying I am DONE for 2012 too. Ha Ha! Don't count me out yet, I'm still hoping....

lindsay said...

2nd best is still good! i hope you are 'recovering' easily both physically and mentally. i certainly know how a marathon (or any race) can mess with your mind. i can't believe you've done 18 of these!

Bamarunner said...

Ginny, too bad about the no ipod but since I don't listen anyway when running, it never bothers me about the ban. I have seen the no ipod ban posted on many races and never enforced but I guess they really were sticking to the rule. Glad everything else was good though- hope we can run another one some time, I'll let you pull me along. :-)

Laura said...

Congrats on the great sub-4 finish, even if it wasn't quite as fast as you were hoping. Second fastest marathon time is definitely nothing to sneeze at!

Running without music AND without people is tough - I've had to do that on occasion, and I don't enjoy it! Lately, I always run with music unless I am either pacing or if I know there's going to be tons of music/excitement along the course (e.g., New York, Disney).