Monday, May 19, 2008

Race Report: Wet Dreams

[Photo courtesy of the Cleveland Plain Dealer and Cleveland.com.]

Any race day that ends with me asleep on my couch is a good race day. However, I was 4 minutes and 49 seconds shy of my goal. I blame the jackass weather guy who wouldn't change his mind about Sunday's high 50s and showers.

Now, for my non-bullety, non-mile-by-mile breakdown of the Cleveland Half Marathon.

Pregame Show
My boss decided to taunt me Friday evening by having what he called a "beer blast" to end the day in celebration for a job well done. I toughed it out. However, to relieve that tension and to make up for missing Happy Hour drinks on Friday, I went to the store to select my post-race beers. I knew I would need something powerful after the race, having been in detox since Wednesday.

Enter Delirium Tremens. How could I not pick that? I am not usually a fan of Belgian ales, but 9 percent ABV is a very convincing argument. Next, I knew I would need something refreshing, which to me is lager. I chose Lager of the Lakes -- another serendipitous name -- from Bell's Brewery. With proper post-race fluids in stock, I was able to rest well for the remainder of the weekend.

As predicted, I woke up a few minutes before my alarm. However, it was not because I was anxious, but because a throng of drunkards with no regard for my racing schedule arrived home with a clatter. I snoozed for another half hour before doing all those things I said I'd do.

I felt good, despite the torrential rain.

Gearing Up
I fear not the rain. I have yet to wear rain gear at races. Not even a trash bag. I wore my new dark red New Balance tech shirt (I also fear not new clothing), the color of which is described as "Don't Wine," a nice double entendre. Or is that a triple (color, booze, complain) entendre? My shorts were my silver-gray C9 shorts (very light and fast drying). After careful deliberation, I wore my Brooks for the first time in a race.

The Start
The race began about five minutes behind schedule, which was a really nice way to get acclimated to the cold rain that fell incessantly for the first few miles. We runners don't hear much about the pre-race cool down, but I think it's a practice far too rare.

Puddle Avoidance
The last time I raced in the rain, I had one of my worst race experiences ever. Although it taught me many lessons, I was so miserable during that race to think about the puddles. Sunday, I skirted and skipped past puddles with brilliance.

Until about Mile 7, when my right foot stomped dead-center into a shoe drencher. (Can you guess which word came out of my mouth?)

Oddly enough, my splits show that my pace gradually slowed after that puddle as a blister formed on the ball of the offending foot.

More Avoidance
My slowdown seems to coincide with two events. The first was that puddle. The second was the one cup of Powerade I grabbed.

I don't know why I did it. I was doing just fine with water. I'm starting to think that electrolyte drinks are unnecessary. At the Buckeye Half Marathon last year I got sick at the finish and the only thing that came up was Gatorade. In fact, my plan was to drink only water, but I wasn't mentally tough enough to stick to my race strategy.

Race Plan Breakdown
I mismanaged my in-race hydration, and I also got away from my run/walk plan. At the final stages of my training, I walked for one minute after every 2 miles running to spare my knee. After consulting the race map, I decided to go with a minute walk every 5K, which appeared to coincide with every other water stop starting with the first. However, the water-stop placement was not as advertised. I got confused and lost track of my breaks after the first 10K or so. My plan was in tatters. (Hmm, also around Mile 7.)

Where'd My Kick Go?
I am typically a good finisher. I can push myself sickeningly hard and hold myself together just long enough to avoid puking before crossing the finish line. However, I just didn't have much to work with at the end. Whereas I can usually pick up the pace at about 800 meters and really go all out for the final 400 meters, this time there was nothing there. The combination of the blister my breakdown in strategy had finished me.

Ho Hum
All that aside, I had a great day and PR'd by a minute and 21 seconds. (That's 1:54:49 for those keeping score at home.) My knee didn't bother me at all during the race (though it is a bit fatigued today). The sun came out before I left the finishing corral to warm me up. I wisely brought dry clothes so I could change and enjoy some of the festivities. And I got to congratulate my friend for finally BQ-ing.

Post-Race Revelry
The first thing I did when I got home was cure my DT's with the Delirium Tremens. As far as Belgium ales go, it was pretty tasty. Before I could break into the Bell's Lager, my stomach urged me to get some food. I headed out for a giant gyro and many pints of LaBatt Blue while the Celtics gave me another reason to dislike Boston. Along the way to Blackout Island, I also had some Great Lakes Dortmunder and Harp before passing out falling asleep on my couch with an ice pack on my knee. I'll tackle the Bell's tonight.

Other Cleveland Race News
Hey, rookies, here's why you don't race with your wallet on you.

Cheers.

9 comments:

Nitmos said...

Congratulations on the moist PR even if it wasn't what you had hoped for.

Double congratulations for, later, making your innards moist with some fine quality carbs.

Xenia said...

Congrats on the PR and ending your 'dry spell'.

Also, I will refrain from creating running phobias for you in future. Well, I'll try not to anyway.

chia said...

Great time mate! I aspire to one day (as you guys so courteously call it...) "chick" you. Both in my Sauconys and on my bar stool. Red Wings style, however. Never really fancied basketball :-).

Ted said...

Man - I was in a foul mood with the Cavs loss. When was the last time Cleveland had a title? Been too damn long. Dang !! Anyway, Congrats with your timing! You have better attitude than I do. Keep it up and glad you have been liquoring up after your race.

Viper said...

@chia - as a former high school hockey player who grew up with good Red Wings and Penguins games, I'm really looking forward to a Detroit and Pittspuke Stanley Cup.

@Ted - It's easy to have a good attitude when you're a happy drunk.

Cheers!

Vanilla said...

Congrats on the PR, and on ending the dry spell.

The Laminator said...

Great race, Viper. I personally think you'd done better if you'd taken a Lager instead of Powerade during the race. Nevertheless, a 1:21 PR is nothing to sneeze at...great job!

Sarah said...

Bastard...you beat me (I ran a 1:56:45 in my race for my own PR even though it was only my second half marathon). Fab job on the PR! Even fabber with the postrace rehydration. I had to wait 7 hours until I got back to my parents' for some champagne and wine (no beer this time). Good call on the Bell's. I highly recommend the Oberon and/or Two-Hearted Ale. Or the Hopslam if you're really insane. Again, congrats on the PR!!!

Viper said...

Great race, Sarah. (Where's the report?) I agree on the other Bell's. I've not been disappointed yet.