Sunday, November 08, 2009

OBX Marathon, North Carolina Outer Banks

OBX Marathon, Kitty Hawk to Manteo, on the North Carolina Outer Banks. Very, very nice. State number 24, marathon number 40. No plans for any more marathons this year.

Good stuff about the OBX Marathon:

  • Incredibly, most (meaning more than half) of the course is shaded, either in neighborhoods or on wooded trails or roads.
  • There WERE spectators! And they were enthusiastic. I taught a few little kids how to high-five, or I could hear their parents teaching them after I had swished by with my hand out.
  • There are some small, rolling hills on a road that goes through the woods, and there is a tall bridge, but otherwise it’s really quite flat.
  • There is a REAL expo. Not a huge one, and some of the booths were selling real estate, but running gear was plentiful too.
  • They started the race in corrals, honor system, two minutes apart, which worked fine. I like that, even with just 1800 runners. My corral started 10 minutes after the first one, but it was the right place for me.
  • Transportation is an issue in point-to-point marathons, and they did it well. We parked at the finish and took a bus to the start, but you could do it the other way too.
  • They had put out “Burma Shave” signs along the way, telling facts about the area (highest sand dune in the USA, first flight, whatever, even some bad jokes. If you don’t know what a Burma Shave sign is, your youth may be a minor hindrance in reading this blog :-)
  • Example series of signs:
    • First successful flight
    • in motor driven heavier
    • than air machines by
    • Orville and Wilbur Wright
    • December 17, 1903
    • Kill Devil hills, just south of Kitty Hawk
  • There is a lot of history here, including the first powered flight and Roanoke Island. It might be worth an extra day (or several) just enjoying the Outer Banks. The beaches are delicious - be sure to get a motel with access.
  • The race goes right through the Wright Brothers Memorial.
  • And it goes along the waterfront for some distance (unlike Kiawah Island, you can actually SEE the water!).
  • There is a swashbuckling pirate theme to the whole marathon (arrrrgh!).
  • Nice booty bag (expo bag), nice long-sleeve tech shirt.
  • People were very nice to my sweeties, even though they were near the end of the race.
Other stuff:
  • At least seven miles of the marathon are on a coned-off lane of US 158, a 50-mph 4-lane highway that goes the length of the island. There is quite a bit of traffic, and no shade.
  • Officials at the expo were a little bit arrogant about the lack of a chip-check ("no need"), and the information person didn’t know anything at all.
  • The start area featured the seemingly obligatory, meaningless, high-volume noise (music), which meant that most people didn’t move to the start corrals until the very last moment.
  • The medical stations didn't have any salt, which is often the best remedy for cramps. Why don't marathons figure that out? Grump, grump.
But, the overall experience was wonderful. I would highly recommend this marathon, especially in comparison with the Kiawah Island Marathon. Bring your own salt packets.

My Race:
  • No serious pains AT ALL, just the normal sore muscles that are supposed to come from a marathon. I'll be running again by Wednesday;
  • This was my first marathon in the Brooks Launch shoes. They seem perfect for me, a midfoot-striker, just like the old Brooks Burn shoes. Other shoes will have to measure up to these;
  • I ran two minutes and walked one, as in other recent races;
  • That works best in a flat race like this one;
  • I felt stronger toward the finish than in the middle. That’s new. I did use Clif Shot most of the way, then a Hammer Gel at Mile 21 - could that be it? I doubt it;
  • I started two minutes behind the 5:00 hour pace team, then got a couple of minutes ahead of them, fell behind at a potty stop, passed them again, then watched them gradually fade into the distance ahead as I took photos.
  • I finished in 5:05:00, about five minutes later than I had hoped. But who cares?
  • I loved this marathon, had a great time, was grinning and high-fiving most of the way.

Reasons why I didn’t run this marathon in BQ (Boston-Qualifying) time:
  • I can’t run 4:15 any more;
  • This is the third marathon in five weeks;
  • It did get a little warm today, 70 degrees in the finishing miles, and it felt even warmer with the sun beating down on the Hwy 158 pavement;
  • I didn’t care if I ran any faster (oops, sounds like a motivation issue);
  • I stopped dead still to take about 130 pictures with my new toy, a cell phone with a 2 MP camera. I think that may have had something to do with it. But I got all of the Burma Shave signs.

Splits: 20:50 (2 mi), 10:33, 53:03 (5 mi), 11:33, 26:28 (2 mi + potty stop), 10:40, 13:42, 21:54 (2 mi), 11:26, 1:00:39 (5 mi), 37:45 (3 mi), 13:35, 11:12, 1:38, total 5:05:00. Overall pace 11:38. It’s a masterpiece!

That water is Currituck SoundOne of several trails
Boat dealer in ManteoHomeowner gets into the spirit


Jean said...

Wow, third marathon in five weeks? You are amazing, Don! Sounds like the OBX was a really nice event. And how funny...the Chester Woods Trail Run down in Rochester does the Burma Shave signs, too. That is the only reason I know what they are! :)

Great job!

Kel said...

Sounds like a masterpiece Don :)

The Chester Woods 10 mile trail run near Rochester uses Burma Shave mile markers too - another run race almost in your own back yard!

Cyn said...

Don, thank you for your great comments about the Outer Banks, I was at the MP 22 Waterstation, and we all had a great time with all the Marathon Runners, you guys were aweseome! Thank you for visiting our 4th Marathon, we look forward to your visit next year.

Don said...

Oh, Cyn,

I forgot to mention the aid stations! They were perfect. Always ready, always cheerful, and plenty of Gatorade or Hammer Gel if we needed it.

Thank you for being there at Mile 22.


peter said...

Ooohh, now I want to run the OBX! Slow down, young man!

Beth said...

I love your pro and con recap of each marathon. You should turn it into a guide for 50 staters! Congrats on another great race and especially feeling strong at the end.

ShirleyPerly said...

Great job, Don!!

As I mentioned on Sunshine's blog, I wish this marathon had been around in 2004 when I ran my NC marathon (Camp Lejuene). It sounds and looks like a wonderful course. Enjoyed your lists and photos!!