Monday, May 26, 2008

Race Report: The Ottawa Half Marathon Part 2

Part Quatre: You Neglected Your Sandman
Mile 07: 08:32.8
Mile 08: 08:42.07

The sizzling of my skin had begun. Mr. Bluesky was fierce indeed, it's sunny rays breaking me down and grinding my brain into chopmeat. The momentary energy I had experienced from the 2 mile walk and the first 10k of the race were now replaced by an empty gas tank. Although I had lined up in the proper corral of 1:30 to 2 hours, a lot of the people who started behind me, now were slowly creeping up. There were plenty of people along the canal. The park alongside it, felt a little bit like Central Park. And there were a lot of spectators cheering us on.

It was also nice that our running numbers had our name below it. Whether or not, anyone was calling my name (and I don't think so) it didn't really matter. I was losing my steam. Even with my GU packs in me. Suddenly, I started to realize that I was NOT going to repeat Long Island. So, just how bad was I going to wind up? So far every mile since my first mile has been slower than my last. And I wasn't over the slump yet. Not by a longshot. Before I got to the 14K marker, my right foot cramped up. Oh No.
Typically this does not happen until mile 20, but given the sweat I exhausted on this warmer than normal day, I lost a lot of nutrients. And all of this was probably a least an indirect result of not having rested enough. The revenge of the sandman indeed....
======================================================================================== Part Cinq: Le Crisis in Le Canal
Mile 09: 09:52.58
Mile 10: 10:46.59
Mile 11: 09:25.58

Going south on Rideau Canal was taking it's toll on me. There was nothing in the canal to shade me from the sun. Water stop were only every 2 or more miles. It was when I crossed over the canal, before heading north, that my body put the BIG STOP on. It became my complete undoing. I kept hoping that my slump would turn around, but it did not. It was just like the real estate market in this country, where you think you've bottomed out, only to find that it's about to continue getting worse. I could not even get to the 15K marker, when I finally stopped to a walk. It was the first time all year long that I had to walk. I found a gatorade/water station, and
started dumping. No I did not pull my pants down. By dumping I meant, that I started getting extra cups of water to throw over my head to keep it cool. My foot had still not recovered completely from the cramp. Overall, I'd have to say that I was in big trouble. I suck.

Views from the Rideau Canal. Lovely ehh???

======================================================================================= Part Six: A Last Hurr(y)ahhh
Mile 12: 09:05.3
Mile 13: 08:47.41
Mile .1: 00:49.65 (pace 08:17)

I kept waiting to see when the real Alex would finally start to show up. People were passing me left and right. This was becoming eerily reminiscent of my Long Beach 10 Miler last year, also on Memorial Day weekend. Bizarre.

After the 18th kilometer however, I knew I had to do whatever I could to make this respectable. Fortunately, my watch was telling me hopeful news, and that was that I was not going to finish in over 2 hours or even go over 9 minutes per mile.

Although the sun was only getting hotter, and there was zero in the way of wind, the walk had actually helped me to stabilize. Ensuring no 9+ min/ml half, I started picking up the pace even more than from where I left off in Mile 11.

Fortunately, I got into a groove not seen since perhaps the end of my 5th mile. Thankfully, I was able to ride the wave all the way to the finish line!

My final time on my Garmin read 1:53:50 although ING is stating a chip time of 1:53:57. Either way, it was good enough to be in 1952nd place out of the nearly 10000 runners that was announced just before bars of "Oh Canada!" rang thru the starting crowd.

To my surprise, I was rewarded with a medal. The handouts were also nice as I waited for Jack to finish. When he made it through, we went ahead, took pictures, and began our 2 mile trek home. Ouch! My arms were extra crispy from being extra red...Poulet Frit New York....

The real ouch happened later that afternoon however. Once we got back to the hotel, we freshened up and left to go sightseeing. First order of business? LUNCH! Pauline and Jack had gone to a restaurant a couple of years ago called "La Station". Unfortunately last year it was closed because it had burned down.

And speaking of "burning down". Apparently, his car looked like it was going to overheat. We couldn't figure out why (just yet). Jack put some coolant, but it only helped a little.

The next day however vandals broke his right rear view mirror. His car was parked on the street next to the hotel. I was wise to get an entire roll of duct tape from the hotel before leaving back for NY. It came in handy as we had to tape the sucker like 5 times.

Things were just going from bad to worse it seemed!

As we left Canada the next day, we started having overheating problems with the car instantly.
We would stop from station to station to let the car cool down, but his temp gauge kept hitting up to as high as 3/4's up. Jack finally figured out that the fan that keeps the radiator cool, was not turning on, or at least not at the right time, possibly due to a faulty thermometer. I came up with a plan, which worked very well. Uphills seem to prevent the wind from entering the engine, and that's a bad thing because we needed the wind more than ever. I got behind the wheel the moment we got into New York. And, so on the up hills I would drive extra slow, stay on the right lane and put my hazards on. I would then surge on the downhills to make up for lost time. To avoid any slowdowns or stoppage, we headed for Albany, once we got to Syracuse, to avoid the deadly Pocono resort traffic. That also paid off.

Finally, and for the Trifecta, we got off in Poughkeepsie, and took the Mid-Hudson Bridge until we got to the Taconic, and took that all the way into the Bronx. And from there it was 95 and then the Hutch. All told I got us home, safe and sound, by a little after 8pm last night.

The trip, the race, and just hanging out in a new city was a lot of fun for me. I will definitely be doing this race again next year, and who knows? Perhaps, I'll venture to another city next year for yet another fun run!

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