Loopfest time again! I was still so excited to see everybody. Even though I have been to a lot of these, it still feels like Christmas every time. With all the anticipation and happiness and smiles. And the Flying Pig weekend did not disappoint!
Friday was low-key.
Other than the expo where I saw a handful of loopsters briefly, I had
some family obligations most of the day. Friday night there was lobby
drinking and chit chat.
Saturday I missed all the daytime
activities, but we were able to pull together dinner for everyone at my
in-law's house after a last minute offer to host. God bless 'em, because
it was a perfect location and we didn't really have a good plan before
that. So nearly everyone came over and we hung out on the deck on a
sunny warm evening and did Loopfest stuff.
The Running Brotha brought some soul. TwentySixPoint2 brought the crazy.
Zamgirl and her sis
Quadracool and Lawrenceaa
Jenster kept things lively.
Ron Swanson's 'stache! Yes, that's him. Before his first marathon...
Dean showed up and the women swarmed. Mainly because he brought them gifts.
The wonderful Blevinses arrive! Most supportive loopsters ever.
the meetups were amazing of course. It was so great to see all my old
buddies. And to meet a few new ones - I got to know BriU,
KeepRunningGirl and the 'Stache a little bit. But there was a little
race to take care of. And I know you all want to hear about it.
We arrived before dawn for the 6:30 start. Parked in Kentucky and walked across the bridge to Cincinnati.
was a good mile walk. My BIL let us use his group's tent to stash our
stuff and use their private indoor plumbing. Hooray! By the time we got
to the corral, they were playing the national anthem! We had cut it
close without really realizing it. No time for warmup jogs. Just hopped
up and down a few times and within minutes we were off and running!
unless you're just joining us, you know that Peg and I were running
together, had similar goals, and both have a certain affinity for trash
talk. We both planned to run as hard as we could, run our own race, go
for our goals, and oh, by the way, kick the other's butt. There would be
no hand-holding across the finish line. Other than that, we might run
together for a while.
Plan was 7:45 pace through 6,
survive the hill as well as possible, and then haul donkey for the last
downhill miles. I wanted to run under 1:42, with an A goal of sub 1:40.
And hopefully that would be enough to beat the young upstart.
Here is the course. For future reference.
we get started. It's a little fast, so I try to relax. The lack of
warmup bothered me. It felt like I was already breathing hard after a
half mile. There was a little rise and Peg got ahead and I just had to
let her go because I was hurting! After half a mile! What the hell. But a
little down slope helped me get my wind and I felt better and caught
back up. Mile 1 was 7:37. (Note: Garmin was running consistently short. I
ended with 13.27 miles, so splits are a little faster than they
But then, bridge #1. From Ohio to Kentucky.
I tried to maintain my effort and Peg pulled away again. This would
become the dominant theme of this race. I knew hills are not my
strength. But I didn't expect every little rise to suck so bad! It felt
like 10K pace and I was ALREADY feeling defeated. Peg was 20 yards ahead
on the first bridge. Seriously, I thought I would lose her soon and
never see her again until she mocked me at the end.
But, then the downhill, and life got more rosy. I could breathe. I was catching back up. Maybe I could hang for a while.
2 and 3 were 7:30 and 7:43. I caught Peg on the flat. Then a 2nd bridge
and she was gone again. I would catch back up. Then a 3rd bridge. A big
one. I settled in to conservative pace, because I had no choice, and
off she went. She had a good 50 yards on me after that one. But then
there was a long downhill...
DW had set up on the bridge
for photos, and when Peg saw her...I think she lost her mind. Apparently
she wanted to get a picture with both of us in it. So she stopped.
See me back there catching up? Crazy woman.
The dear wife had a nice spot and caught lots of loopsters going by.
KEK, twentysixpoint2 and Quadracool!
Zamgirl and sis way over there!
Gingersnap, Jenster and CLynn!
VBlevins and RunningPlaces (and AlliKate behind them - invisible, sorry)
I caught Peg again off the bridge and we actually ran together for a
mile or so. Miles 4, 5 and 6 were 7:24, 7:50 and 7:20. So we were
basically right on goal pace at the real mile marks. But I wasn't
feeling good. I felt dead, barely hanging on with heavy legs. Not a
happy camper. And the big hill was coming up.
Still flying though.
This was mile 6.
my favorite sign of the day: "You're Not Even Close". Yeah that's what
it felt like. But I was still functional and pace was good. So I just
needed to get over that hill, and survive the rest and maybe I could
have a decent time after all. And if I could stay close enough to Peg on
the hill, I felt pretty confident that I could catch her on the
downhill, and dig deeper into the pain cave at the end.
we went. Peg pulled away slowly, and I settled into my survival hill
mode. It was hard, but I was maintaining, and soon enough there was a
little respite before the next big one. And Peg stopped to walk through
the water stops several times which allowed me to make up lots of ground
(rookie). She never got out of sight. Miles 7 and 8 were 8:36 and 8:12.
crested the worst hill and I was still close, maybe 20 yards behind.
But it was still gradual uphill for most of the way to mile 10 and I
couldn't catch her. I was just hanging on. 9 and 10 were 7:41 and 8:00.
About here I thought of a blog title possibility. Since California
Chrome had just won the Kentucky Derby, I thought I could use California
Silver if I lost or California Gold if I won. But I got blank stares
from two people I tried it on, so never mind.
mile 10 the descent began. THANK GOD! I was hurting bad, like ready to
quit and walk bad. Fatigue was affecting my form. Just hating life for
miles. But having Peg out in front certainly helped motivate me the
whole way. Thanks, Shalane!, er, Peg! Without you setting the pace, I'm
pretty sure I would have settled into a little slower pace. Competition
I had a power gel during mile 10 and it seemed to
wake me up. Or maybe it was the downhill. But the idea of 3 downhill
miles didn't sound too bad. At 10.4 I caught Peg just before one REALLY
steep block that you can see on the chart. I took off the brakes and
flew down that hill, pinwheeling my arms and nearly taking flight. It
about 1/4 mile I turned back to look and Peg was nowhere near. The next
mile was steep and fast and I was flying. Mile 11: 6:51. Several times I
leaned forward 'from the ankles' and it really seemed to push me
forward. Short steps, fast turnover, no brakes, and I was passing lots
of people. Still hurt. A lot. But I could breathe. And I had momentum.
And adrenaline. Wheeeee!!!!!
Mile 12 flattened a bit for
an out and back section. I was in my 'hang on because the end is near'
mode at this point, and kept pushing into the anaerobic zone. I saw Peg
was well back on the turnaround, gave her a wave, and kept pushing to
get the best time I could. I knew I had sub 1:42 and a shot at sub 1:41.
downhill made it easier to maintain the suicide pace. Miles 12 and 13
were both 7:10 and then I had .27 at 6:49 pace into the finish.
Who hurt more?
OK, that wasn't too fair. I know she was hurting plenty.
I finished in 1:40:54. And I am very happy with that, considering the
hills and how I felt. That is 7:42 pace. Peg was 1:01 back with a
fantastic time for her, tying her PR! Now if I can just get her to run
through water stops and ignore paparazzi...
We celebrated together. Still friends.
and posed for blog photos....
spent the next 4 hours hanging out in the park as Loopsters filed in -
mostly from the full marathon. The sun had come out. Bummer for those
still running, but great for us! Beer, food, race stories. Good times. I
went back to the finish to see some Loopsters come in. Lots of
impressive stories out there. People who hurt for much, much longer than
Later, after a solid 2 hour nap by me, we all
hooked back up for dinner and drinks. It was a relatively mild night
compared to other fests (ahem, Rehoboth!). But still filled with warmth,
loop love and lots of laughs. And some tequila.
Pikermi #33 in the books! Ready to keep working and keep improving. I have a big summer and Fall coming up!
Life is good.