Tuesday, April 22, 2008

A Tale of Two Marathons-2008 Ocean Drive Marathon



In my continued effort to train for the Vermont 100 Mile Endurance Race, I decided to use the Ocean Drive Marathon as a training run, by running it twice. It wasn't that long ago that that I wouldn't have even contemplated doing something so, well, nuts, but for some reason I like running for hours on end. I figured that it would also give me a chance to experiment with shoe, clothing and fueling options. My friend Jeff Holloway also agreed to run the marathon and help pace me. Jeff will also be crewing for me at the 100 miler and figured this would be a chance to practice pacing for the last 20 miles of Vermont; if I make it that far. Jeff also ran the 2007 version of this race and felt the pain of running his first marathon so he wanted a little revenge on the course anyway. I do remember him saying that he would never run this race again because of it's monotony and usual bad head winds, but to my benefit he forgot saying that. Anyway I got up at 3:10AM race morning and did my normal long run preparations and seemingly took forever to get out the door. I made it to Sea Isle City, where the race finishes and got my stuff together to begin the run to Cape May where the race starts. After returing to my truck several times to make sure I didn't forget something, I finally got underway just before 5AM. I wanted to run the first half in under four hours so now I had no choice to do that due to the fact that the race started in Cape May at 9AM. I quickly remembered that I liked running in the dark. It is very peaceful and the course seemed different, not extremely boring like it normally is. I felt good so I picked up the pace for a while and cruised out of Sea Isle and into Avalon and then Stone Harbor. I had some minor technical difficulties like dropping my gel flasks (my headlamp came in handy at this time), dropped my phone and broke the clip, my water carrier kept slipping etc. It was still a pleasant run until the sun began coming up and with it came the wind. It really began howling as I made the turn towards North Wildwood and started getting sand blasted by road debris. When I got to the boardwalk the wind was at my back so I took advantage of it and picked up the pace for this portion. When I got off the boardwalk I began heading west and missed my left turn onto Pacific Avenue and made the turn onto New Jersey instead. After a while I realized something was wrong and thought that I had missed the turn to continue onto Ocean Drive. So I made a right onto a road that ended up being a dead end so I had to back track. Now panic was setting in so I called Jeff to see if he had a map. He luckily was still stuck in Sea Isle waiting for the marathon bus to take him to the start. He then called his wife Karen who looked up a map on the internet and called me to guide me out of Wildwood Crest. It was also during this time that I literally made a guy stop his truck to ask for directions which he also provided. Anyway, with Karens help I made it onto Ocean Drive and had to pick it up to make it to the start. I made it with about thirteen minutes to spare with my first half time being 3:42 and change. I met up with Jeff and I made a quick sock and shoe change before we had to head out. The problem was that I had developed a blister on the inside of my right big toe and I didn't have time to repair it. So off we went with the starters horn and began our trek to Sea Isle, both of us already cursing the winds that would be in our face for the next several hours. So we plodded on and made out way to the boardwalk in Wildwood. It was about this time that I had to remind myself why I was doing this to myself and Jeff finally recalled that he had swore to himself that he would not do this race ever again, but oh well, too late now. So we continued on just talking about everythng under the sun. It was kinda like being at the bar with out the hot wings and beer, although a beer would have been good right about now. Maybe we will stash some next year along route when we do the race again even though we would surely swear again that we would not. Anyway to make a long story short, we fought the headwinds and desolate course for 5:43.33 before finishing in Sea Isle. Jeff repeatedly stated that he hates this race and will not be back, we will see about that. As far as I was concerned, running for a total of 9:25. and change didn't feel too bad. The blister on my toe however was a monster and needed some minor surgical type procedure. Anyway, live and learn. As far as I'm concerned, this training run/experiment was successful. Thanks for reading.

AJ


1 comment:

Steve said...

Awesome marathon x2! Someday, I want to subject myself to the often brutal OD.