Sunday, March 04, 2012

B & A Trail Marathon, Annapolis, MD

YAY! We three all finished, and I finished almost a half hour ahead of my target. I’m a happy marathoner. Marathon number 63, state number 44 (Annapolis, Maryland). It couldn’t have gone better.

The B&A Marathon:

  • Organization was almost perfect, the course was perfect, volunteers were better than perfect, even the weather was perfect (temp 40 to 47, partly cloudy). Nobody shut down anything until it was all over.
  • The course is a lovely suburban trail, once a railroad bed. We started in the middle and went south 7 miles, then back to the middle and continued north 6 miles, returning to the middle for the finish. If you don’t like out-and-back courses, you wouldn’t like this, but I like to see the other runners and I got to see them all twice!
  • The trail is almost entirely wooded, except at road crossings, of which there are few.
  • Every crossing was manned by police or police volunteers.
  • For some reason I had the impression that the trail was packed gravel, but it was blacktop the whole way. Nice clean blacktop. They had a serious rain the day before, a real soaker, but the trail was fine.
  • The race was limited to about 1000 runners, and for the first mile or two it was on local streets, so by the time we got to the trail there was no crowding.
  • Instead of yet another shirt, the race premium was running pants! Very nice ones, too. I will put these to good use right away.
  • When I finished at five and a half hours, there was still plenty of food left. That doesn’t always happen in other races.
  • There were plenty of aid stations, well stocked with whatever a marathoner would need. When I fished a gel out of my pocket, someone said “We have more of those if you need them.”
  • Daffodils were in bloom. Songbirds conducted a symphony. We saw geese overhead, in formation. Frogs chirped in the marshes.
  • The age-group awards are superb. Wooden plaques suitable for standing or hanging, with gold lettering describing the race, the date, and the exact award.
  • Results are posted on their web site the afternoon of the race.
  • They did run out of marathon medals, but will send one in the mail. That might matter more to a first-timer than it does to me.
My race:
  • I had not been able to train since the Mississippi Blues marathon in January, because of a “sports hernia” (abdominal wall strain), and I was really a little worried about finishing this marathon. So I shot for six hours, the race time limit, but missed the first two mile markers and at mile three found myself a few minutes ahead of my plan. I felt good, though, so I kept going at that pace and finished in 5:32:45. Unfortunately, however, that was only good for third of three in my age group.
  • Nevertheless, it was another marathon completed. Remaining marathons, in the order in which we hope to do them: Alaska, Vermont, West Virginia, New Hampshire, New Mexico, and Hawaii.
  • My last three marathons have all finished within two minutes of the same time. I wonder if there’s a message there. It’s not a very good time, really. Interesting: In Mississippi that time got me third of eight in age group 70-74, but today I was third of three.
  • The temperature was about 40 at the start, and got up to maybe 48 at the finish. That’s lovely! I wore shorts and a short-sleeved tech shirt over a long-sleeved tech shirt for 3/4 of the race, then took off the short sleeved shirt. Perfect for the weather.
  • Six Clif Shot Mocha gels (w/caffeine), at least 8 salt tablets.
  • The sports hernia hurt all the way. About a three on a scale of zero to ten, maybe a four toward the end, where a five would be enough to make me slow down. It was never quite a limiting factor.
  • The right hip flexors hurt too, but that’s happened before and it isn’t really an injury - it gets better within hours after the marathon is over. The left hip flexors hurt a little for a while too, but settled down again.
  • The right hip flexors are close to the sports hernia, and some of the time it was difficult to distinguish between those two pains.
  • Nothing else hurt. Not feet, knees, hips, back, nothing.
  • My pace was not limited by pain, but by muscle strength and conditioning. I went about as fast as I could have. I should be able to finish a marathon an hour faster, but will need pain-free training to do it.
  • We have a nice 14-week interval between now and the next race, and I’m trying to decide whether to try to heal the sports hernia by natural means (therapy and graduated running) or by surgery, then therapy and graduated running. I have a second-opinion consult in about a week.
  • I own a heart rate monitor, but don’t like to wear it on a marathon. At mile 17 I timed my pulse and found that the rate was around 120 to 125. That's low, but I was breathing rather easily most of the way.
Splits: 37:22 (3 mi), 12:31, 11:43, 12:49, 28:44 (2 mi & major natural break), 12:23, 12:01, 16:02 (major natural break), 12:04, 12:20, 1:08 (0.1 mi,half marathon time 2:49:07), 11:07 (0.9 mi), 12:50, 12:20,11:37, 13:03, 12:14, 13:06, 12:35, 12:23, 12:22, 12:29, 12:33, 12:43, 2:13 (0.2 mi), total 5:32:45. First half 2:49:07, second half 2:43:38, actually a little faster than the first half, probably by about the time required for two major natural breaks in the first half, with none in the second.

Happy guy doing OK:


PaulC said...

Hello Don,

I came across your blog because of developing an abdominal strain a couple of months ago after a 16 mile long run on a hilly island (lanzarote). I was at that time just starting to ramp up the miles for the London marathon in April and took a week or so off and found that the soreness went away pretty quickly but also came back after each run. This has been going on for a while and I've been cross training and gradually building up some miles on one long runs (now to 15)and one short run (5 miles) each week. Recently I found that slow running combined with more upright posture seems to help a lot. I just wondered if you had tried changing posture and if that helped you too at all?

with best wishes


Paul Crocker
Fife, Scotland

Don said...

Hi Paul,

Thanks for the suggestion. I actually did have a friend who found that leaning forward more helped him! But I will try both, as I try to get the problem resolved.

Today I had a medical doctor suggest acupuncture! Also, I know that there are heat treatments of some kind. We'll see.

Thanks again.