21 February 2011

Well This Couldn't Have Come at a Worse Time...

I spent 2800+ calories in the marathon yesterday, and my kitchen is off limits today.

This morning the wood floor company came back for step, oh, 8 in fixing the scratches in the finish that resulted from construction and other warranty work. If I had really thought it through, I would have figured out a lunch plan in advance -- the work started around 10, and it won't be safe to walk around in the kitchen until about 4. I could always pick lunch up from a nearby restaurant or grocery store, but my legs are still feeling pretty sore (walking down stairs is the worst), and I don't feel like going out. So I'm limited to whatever I can reach from outside the kitchen -- a banana on the long island, a granola bar from the marathon expo, etc. Fortunately, I'll be able to get back in soon, and there's leftover lo mein in the refrigerator with my name on it.

I don't like to blame anyone (or anything) but myself for a poor race performance, but apparently the weather really did play a huge part in the difficulty of the day. Here's an excerpt from an e-mail one of my coaches sent today:

I don't know what to say, runners, except that was probably the toughest, most difficult conditions (weather and course) I've ever encountered for the Austin Marathon. As far as the course is concerned, I didn't fully appreciate the difficulty of the course until actually running the entire course from start to finish yesterday. The double San Jacinto hill, the long, grueling stretch up Congress Avenue, and the exhausting slog up Exposition made this by far the hardest Austin course I've seen in my eight years of running it.

Then there was the weather. By themselves, both the wind and the heat were bad enough. But put both of them together and it made for some miserable running, especially when one was looking to the later downhill miles for some relief. The headwind coming back south was relentless and knocked out many seasoned runners. To give you some perspective on how brutal a day it was, we had seven pacers drop out this year, making it the highest total ever for pacers not making it to the finish.

Holy cow. The pacers are such experienced runners that they volunteer to run the entire race at a certain pace while holding a sign so runners can stick with them to reach their goals. And for a coach to say that the wind was severe enough to make the race noticeably harder, well, I guess it really was. (I felt deflated every time I felt a headwind, but I didn't really think it was slowing me down.)

Yesterday's marathon also marked the end of my two-week donation drive for the local food bank. I am pleased to announce that I received 28 comments, plus two more that appeared to be spam but I will include anyway, for a grand total of $30 to the Capital Area Food Bank. Thanks for your contributions!

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