Sunday, January 25, 2009

Diamond Valley Lake Marathon, New Record & Mouse Play

Detour and I drove to the Hemet, California area for the Diamond Valley Lake Marathon after flying down to Ontario. It was an easy drive in the uncommon misty morning of the Southern California desert. We parked about 100 yards from the start (which I love!) and easily picked up our packets 30 minutes prior to the start. (OK all you RD's that read this. Those of you that allow us day of race packet pick ups? You are the best!) I hate the big races more and more because of having to go somewhere the day before to go to some expo. This is why I am trying to avoid most
of the big marathons these days. Eugene Marathon? Eugene? Do you hear me? Day of race packet pick up and I will run your race every year. You force me to drive or fly to your city then sit around for a day. Nope, not gonna do your race. (OK rant complete).

We chatted with a few folks and walked over to the start line. They had about 150-200 runners for the marathon. It was a misty 52 degrees at the start. Perfect temperature! Altitude was a nice 1700 feet. Someone said go and off we went. Gail and I were near the back of the pack as usual and had a nice slow start. The course leaves the marina for about a 5 mile loop on nice rolling dirt trails before coming back to the marina and heading out around the lake for the next 21 miles. Gail and I ran for about a mile or so together then I said goodbye and picked up my pace. I had no real goals and would just play my speed by how I felt.

By mile 5 I was feeling pretty good so I picked up the pace across the first dam. It was a nice paved section about 1.5 miles. I figured 8:30 / 8:40 was good enough. We then were back on the trail (which is really just a dirt road). This trail is easy to run but does have numerous rolling climbs and descents. Much of the course is flat but there are some good little pushes uphill. I continued to pass a few runners every mile. My normal style of getting faster as the race goes on. I have never figured out why so many slower folks go out so fast on a long race? I would chat with many people on the course. Trying to say "Hi" or "Good Morning" to everyone. I am always amazed how many marathoners are shocked when I say this to them as I go by. Hey I am just trying to be nice! We are doing this for fun aren't we?

Around mile 10 I passed another Maniac. I said "Go Maniacs!" ( I didn't wear my colors today) and we started up a conversation. I said "Yeah I'm number 228" (My maniac number). He said "Yeah I know, Fat-Boyee". I was kind of shocked. "How did you know that?" "Oh I read your blog" he says. Wow I thought I was the only one that read this? Ha! Sir I forgot your name, if you read this thanks for the chat and nice job pushing it home at the end, I know you got that sub 4!

As we reached the second dam at around mile 16 I was getting a bit tired. Same fueling as I normally do. The mist had stopped and it was warming up a bit into the low 60's but still great weather. A woman had passed me here (first pass of the day) and she said I had been her target. We chatted and then she went on. On the far side of this dam at around mile 20 we had a short super steep uphill. This really took a toll on my legs and my spirit. I ran the entire course with no walking (except every other aid station) but I was hurting now. My speed dropped from the 8:40 range to somewhere around 9 minute miles. The course was now mostly back on the dirt which was sure easy on the feet. I kind of lost it mentally here. Knowing that if I pushed I could probably break 4 hours but I just didn't have the killer instinct in me today so I slowed to a 9:45 pace. I just tried to keep strong, but I was really battling the demons the last 6 miles. I continued to pass folks and at about mile 22 my Maniac friend zipped by me very strong as he was going for sub 4. I wished him well as he was only the 2nd racer to pass me on the day.

The last two miles I really wanted to walk. I cranked up my ipod super loud. I thought it might help push me along. With one mile to go I was at around 3:51 but I thought I had slowed down to over a 10 minute pace so I figured no big deal. I would still get a good time but no sub 4. I came around the corner off this hill and there was the finish line. "Wow! It's that close?" I looked at my watch and it said 3:58:00. "Hey go big fella, you can get your butt to the finish line in two minutes!" So I gave it a hard push, maybe not 100% but a good 90% kick. As I came off the hill I looked at my watch. 3:59:02. "Wow, I still may do this. Push!" As I came to the final straight stretch I looked at my watch again, 3:59:50. "What!!! No way it took me two minutes to get only to here!!! ARRGH!!!!" So I pulled back and just cruised on in. I crossed the line at 4 hours zero minutes and 50 seconds. My third fastest marathon. And I didn't even try real hard on this one. I was still amazed that I couldn't do that last part in under two minutes. My watch says I ran the last mile at a 9:46 pace. Slow but no death march pace that I have seen before. The last 1/4 mile was at an 8:30 pace so I did OK, it was just farther than I thought.

I was tired after the finish but happy with my results. I felt pretty good and just walked around for a bit. The finish food was very poor for any race. All the had was orange, banana slices and some water. I don't get that? Just get some bagels and a few other things like soup and everyone would be happy. I went to the car after chatting with quite a few other racers I had seen on the course. Most all had a good day. Even the young kid who had a hurt knee, his longest training run was 15 miles and this was his first marathon. He was pretty excited as he finished under 5 hours. Good for him!

Now to talk about my new record that is in the title. I hope you are all sitting down? (You are stupid if you are reading this at your computer standing up anyway! Ha!) Yep it is a new first for me. I didn't stop to take a leak the entire race. Those of you that know me much now be fainting. But yes, no potty breaks for me on this entire course. Whoo! Hoo!

I got the camera out and waited for Gail. Hoping to get a few shots of her as she approached the finish line. She finished in 5:09. She was happy and felt real good. We hung around for a bit and then headed out on the road. The flights were full that day so we decided to stay another night and leave Sunday morning.

We arrived at our hotel right next to the Mouse's house. All we had to do after a shower and a rest was walk about a mile and we got in. Yep, thats right. We went to Disneyland and California Adventure. It was pretty crowded so we stood in some long rides and didn't get to do all the rides we wanted to but it still was a fun time till 11pm. Thanks Mickey!

We had a great suite at our hotel as they upgraded me for free. It was a short night but we got out of Orange County airport early enough to make it back to PDX by noon.

This was a good course and I highly recommend it to those that like a mostly dirt trail marathon. I had fun and would do it again if I lived closer. 4 stars out of 5 this reviewer says. Only weak points? Post race food. Everything else was great! Good job Mr. RD!

Whats next? Hagg Lake 50k mudfest in February. I need to get more hill work in for sure. My legs are super sore today. Haven't been like this after a race in 6 months or more. My quads are really trashed but my hamstrings are fine. Just the opposite of what has been happening. I think the balance of power has switched back to the hammies like in previous years. I need to get my quads strong again.


Backofpack said...

Thanks Bret, for your great comment. You get it! Like I said, every once in a while I have to go through the whole thought process again, and with a string of slow times (since the triple at Thanksgiving) it was messing with my head again. You were right on!

Your trip sounds like fun! And a fabulous race time! I agree too, on the DOR pick up. It's such a hassle the day before.

You know what CA race I want to go do - Biz Johnson. It looks like a fun one.

Last time we were at Disneyland, California Adventure was a big hole in the ground, barely begun. I guess we need to go back!

olga said...

What? You couldn't push for 50 seconds? Is it Michelle's doing? Besides, how is that you're running 3rd fastest time without trying if you haven't trained at all lately...are you Lisa Bliss or something?
Congratulations to both of you. Hope Gail is over the cold she mentioned (bad Mickey). I am taking an early start at Hagg, I guess you are not...

Journey to a Centum said...

Sounds like you have perfected the taper!

Good luck in Mudoramma 2009!

Backofpack said...

Have Gail email me at - thanks!

saschasdad said...

This was your first non pee-stop race? So does that mean you finally learned to pee on the run? If so, atta Fat-boyee! If not, I highly suggest learning how to pee on the run. It saves time.

Great job on your 3rd fastest! And to end the day at Disneyland just sounds awesome.

Emily Wagner said...

Thanks for your story, I am thinking about running the half this year, it willbe my second half. My first was a dismal failure at San Diego Rock N Roll, after a too long 6 month training that left me with stress fractures. Feeling really good this time around and the race is 3/2 this year. Did you notice the elevation at all? I live down on the desert floor and am not used to any elevation and wondering if that will make this race too hard for me! Any input is appreciated! Thanks again for your story, next time make it down to the Palm Springs area, we have a beautiful city!