Sunday, October 4, 2009
Spirit of Survival Marathon
Today I ran the Spirit of Survival Marathon. From their website:
"The Spirit of Survival Marathon is unique because it is the only USATF certified race approved to run through one of the nation’s 547 Wildlife Refuges. For the individual looking for the ultimate wildlife racing experience, this event offers the opportunity to run while observing wildlife in its natural habitat."
Doesn't that just sound wonderful? Well I ran this race last year because it was on my birthday. It was unseasonably hot for Oct in Oklahoma, and I went out way too fast for this very hilly course. This morning it was raining and a bit chilly. The race is about 90 miles from Oklahoma City, and a group of us left the city at 4 this morning. It rained all the way, and was raining when we got there. But as it got close to start time, the rain eased up. It still was wet the entire race, but a nice gentle cooling rain. I promised myself since I now knew this course, I would run it smarter. And since I was treating this as a training run, I decided that I would get under 4 hours if I could, but not worry about it. I started out running with a friend, and as we talked, the miles seemed to go by easily. We ran the flats sub 9 minute miles, and the hills plus 9's. My friend had to make a potty stop, so I kept going and we didn't run together anymore. As with most marathons I had my ups and downs, but kept telling myself that I would push through the downs, and take advantage of the ups. I passed the 1/2 marathon mark at 1:58. I had no plans to try to negative split, but I thought that I could maybe have close to even splits. The second half I started getting fatigued, and we made a turn at mile 15 that turned us into a brisk headwind. But I kept pushing on trying to average right at 9's. When I hit around 20 miles, I allowed myself to walk for a minute. It was a struggle to keep running 9's. As I got closer I realized I could average 10's and make it under 4hours. I was able to stay close to 9:30's and finished in 3:58. Making my splits 1:58/2:00. Anytime my splits are that close, it's a good race. When I finished I was so beat I almost couldn't stand. I sat down and felt terrible, couldn't eat anything, but could drink and I had the chills. One of my friends who was driving said they have showers and you'll feel better. I doubted it, but since I was riding in his car I figured a shower was a good idea anyway. I got under the hot water and was feeling better in no time. The warm up did wonders. I'm sore of course, but feeling pretty good. Afterward we went to this famous hamburger place and had lunch. Back to the city and getting ready to go to work tomorrow. Get friends, great race, great day.