The last of our Fall ’08 marathons

With Judi in New York and Lois, Demi, Kaj, and me in Manchester, NH this morning kicked of the last of the marathons for the Sunday Long Run group. I won’t go into everyone’s results because I want them to post their own recaps… so here’s how my day unfolded…

Sunny in the low 30s… the very low 30s…. with a consistant wind pushing its way through the buildings of downtown Manchester, that’s what greeted us at the start. The MRCers running the race and the MRCers watching the race (Rick, Tall Photographing Dave, and NH’s own Andy Pate) all found each other before the start. I shed myself of the protecting layers and jumped in the crowd of marathoners and half marathoners at the start. Freezing, we all stood and listened to the incomprehensible announcement, a long drawn out version of the National Anthem, and then we were off. With the wind at our back we headed down Elm St, turned down towards the river (and over road kill squirrel number one) and then turned back along the river into the wind. Brrrr!

My pace was consistant, 8:30 per mile almost on the button for the first half. We wound through the city streets, climbed some country roads, up and down through a neighborhood, past Rick and Dave at mile 5. There was a section over a hillside park, along a trail by a scenic peaceful pond, we wound our way along a hilly road by a golf course, and then headed back to the city. I started chatting with a guy who was running the half who gave me the details of the second half of the marathon: Not as hilly as the first half, but still hilly. Heading back to the city we passed Betty and Annika, I stopped at Rick and Dave for some gatorade at mile 12, and passed through the halfway point at 1:50. I was running quicker than I expected but was feeling good.

The second half, with only 500 runners in the marathon, was sparse. We climbed over an overpass of 293 and up into a neighborhood, which climbed to another neighborhood. I got a stitch which would go away once we hit a downhill, but that wasn’t happening any time soon. As we finished one neighborhood there were signs on a car: Snickers Ahead. Nice! And a sign on a streetpost that said Snickers! Getting close! That was the last mention of Snickers I saw, either it was a cruel ruse or the Snickers giver-outers got too cold and went home. The Main St led us to another neighborhood and onto a country road which climbed up the hill that St Anselm College sits. Through their hilly windy cold campus we ran, popping out the other side down a steep hill (Pond St to Grimsby’s steep) and heading into mile 21 I ran into Rick and Dave for the last time. Each of my kids had donated a Halloween Snickers to my marathon goody bag which I had given to Rick and after all those Snickers teases along the way I ate one of my own.

I’ve never headed into the last 10K of a marathon feeling so strong. I was still on pace to finish below 3:50 and was passing people at a good clip. As we headed into another neighborhood I notice that the side street we were on, with about a dozen runners ahead of me, had only one person running on it… me. I used this to pump myself up, and it worked until mile 23, when my right ITB began to cramp. Each step felt like it was pounding just this muscle. I slowly made it through this mile and into mile 24 before I took a bit of a walking break. I was so sure I wouldn’t but this muscle needed a little recovery. A woman pulled up next to me and said “Good idea” and began to walk. Now I felt guilty and urged us both to start running again. At mile 25 we passed the baseball park in Manchester, back along the river and then uphill. An uphill that would last for over a half a mile. People were walking everywhere and occassionally I had to stop and join them due to some cramping in my quads. 3:50 had slipped away and I was trying to hold on so 4:00 didn’t too. It’s easy to lose a lot of time in that last 1.2 miles. Turning through the city street, past the mile 26 sign I turned onto Elm St and spotted the finish line. I tried to pick it up but my ITB, followed by my quads, and out of nowhere my hamstring made its presence known. The upper leg of both legs declared they had had enough. I didn’t listen and kept the stride going across the finish in 3:56. Not my fastest, far from my slowest, and good enough on a tough course on a cold windy day.

I stood around at the finish watched the others come across the finish line with varying degrees of happiness. One thing was shared though, we were happy we had finished yet another marathon! For me this was my 6th, 2 Bostons, one Vermont, one Hartford, one Providence, and now a Manchester. 5 of the 6 New England states complete!

8 Responses to “The last of our Fall ’08 marathons”

  1. Kelly Walsh says:

    Wow, Jim! Sounds like you toughed it through some major aches and pains. Congratulations on a job well done. I was thinking about all of you running today. Was telling my husband about all my friends doing marathons today and he said “who are all these friends”? I told him all of my running club friends.
    Sounds like everyone had great training and acomplished their goals. Hopefuly I can make to a Tuesday run soon. Time for some rest.

  2. Jen Randall says:

    Congrats Jim! I am sure you tried to love those hills and hopefully they loved you back. I was thinking of you all this morning and how much I missed the Sunday runs. Kudos to you and our fellow MRCers…Now rest and raid that Halloween candy!! You all deserve it. Great job everyone and hope to see you soon!


  3. Carol Carstensen says:

    Congratulations Jim! Great report. Sounds like you did a good job on a tough course and tough day.

  4. Ginny Rowe says:

    Great job everyone! Hope the endorphin high hasn’t worn off yet, and the damage to your legs Jim is not long lasting. Sounds like you really persevered. I know it was challenging with the wind and temperature and hills. I was using you guys for inspiration to get through a mere 10k with strong headwinds ( and in Nicks words a MF’er hill!), knowing you guys had 20 more miles. Some people will go to extreme measures to get a little Halloween candy. Can’t wait to hear others experience.

  5. Lois Parker Carmona says:

    Before I get into my adventure, I need to point out that Ginny placed third in her age group in that windy race with the MF’er hill! Way to go Ginny. Again, these long runs got us all doing our best. Way to go Ginny!

  6. Sue Clough says:

    Way to go MRCers. The wind was not kind today. I too had you all in my thoughts and with me when I started the Falmouth race yesterday. First Tuesday everyone???

  7. Brian Giloy says:

    Great Job Mr. Carson! I am very happy that you broke 4 hours. On a decent day or a flatter course I am sure you would have been under 3:50. One more New England state to go. Then you can tackle the remaining 44 states before you retire!
    Congratulations to Lois,Kaj,Demi and Melanie for having a great race as well. A job well done on a tough day. Time to take it it easy for a couple of weeks and recover.

  8. Julie D'Andrea says:

    Sounds like you did fantastic and enjoyed yourself too! Maybe the snickers sign was left over from Halloween??

    Speedy recovery!

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