Another finish at the Bird 2009!! I finished in 5.33, very slow, but my legs do not like asphalt. They steadily felt number and number...
Ran into all sorts of friends before the race...Sue and Bob Pokorny, Vince Rucci, the Blue Line Crowd (Red, Maria, Debi, Mikey, Chef Bill, Brett, Bob) some of the faster runners (like Tony and Frank) were probably off running strides to get ready for the race.
And crowds! There were about 10 or 11 thousand runners for this race! Little Akron Marathon, no more! I remember being not far from the starting line a few years ago.
The horn/whistle went off. We didn't move. Continued to not move. We crossed the starting line FIVE minutes after the race start! Wow, that's a first. (It's chip timed so it doesn't really matter.)
Looking ahead of me, as we started across the Y Bridge, it was packed runners-wow, just amazing to see. Mike and I angled over to the left so we could see the front runners coming back on the other side of the bridge-always a treat. We were lookiing for elite runner Tony and screamed for him. He even glanced over and gave us a point!
Kevin Martin, one of the fast wolf trail runners even yelled a Kimba over, so strange he spotted us in the pack (well, I was wearing a hot pink headband with sparklies). We were able to spot pacers Lloyd and E-Speed, as they were carrying the pace sticks, but then the running crowd got so thick we gave up looking for folks.
Mike made a couple of pit stops and some dating moves out there on the course until he ran on ahead, which I was glad he did. His pace is faster than mine, and I was running a bit faster than I wanted. Every time I glanced down at my watch I saw a pace in the 11.00 minute mile, and I didn't want that to bite me in the butt later in the race. In fact, as I glance through the Garmin miles, the wheels fell off around the half-way point-the sub 12 minute miles turned into 13.XX minute miles after that!
One thing I enjoy about the Akron Marathon route-it's really split up into sections. By the time you get tired of running through the older, inner city housing area, you're back into downtown. Downtown spins you out onto the towpath. When you're wishing for the towpath to end, you go through the hills of Sand Run. When you're ready to get off Revere Road, you go by the Fairlawn Country Club for a mile. It's not monotonous.
I chatted up a relay runner going up Sand Run, who was in awe that I was an ultra runner-that was fun! I ran part of the way through the towpath with Michelle, who has some injuries but is still running Oil Creek 50 Mile in two weeks!
The only drama I had during the race was around mile 24.9. Running down Market Street, I had both calves seize up! Charley horses! I walked a bit, could not believe how badly they hurt. Then they kind of eased up a bit. Whew! How embarrassing! Get to mile 25 and have this happen! (I did take Endurolytes, but I should have really taken one every hour. It was very humid out there.)
I turned onto Main Street, where the turn for the stadium was less than 1 mile away. I caught up to a guy and said "Come on, don't let me chick you!" He did kind of smile and said he didn't care. Ooop. He must have been in a bad way!
I caught up to two younger women and goaded them on. One said she was hurting. I told her the sufferfest ended in two blocks. It might have perked them up a bit, but I still pulled away from them.
In fact, I was trying to chick a guy ahead of me, but he did manage to keep a little bit of a lead on me...I'm not actually competitive, I just think it's fun to give people incentive late into a race...
A shake of the Race Director's hand (it must have really hurt this day, with so many runners!) and I was done. Just in time! The lighter rain that was sprinkling turned into a big downpour-actually a good incentive to bring it home.
I was glad I had put clothes into a drop bag, I got dry clothes on, drank a beer and ate a sandwich, talked to Michelle again, and then headed home.
The Akron Marathon has done a great job keeping up with its growing marathon. Now it's time for me to go find some dirt to run on again!