Monday, October 14, 2013
Day 6.277: Mohawk Hudson River Marathon
After spending the night tossing and turning - convinced I was going to wake up sick on marathon morning, my alarm went off at 5 am - and I was fine. I had a small breakfast at about 5:30, did my last minute checks and was out of the house around 6:15. I arrived in downtown Albany and parked the car in good time to get to the buses that were leaving at 6:45. Once again - like last year I found myself at the start line at about 7:30 - with an hour to go before the race. I sat down to compose myself and rest. It was warmer than expected - in the low 50's. I started to feel hungry - so ate the only real food I had with me - a Clif Builder Bar. Didn't really plan on eating the whole thing but I needed it. Then I spent the next hour worrying if it would be OK. Marathon running messes with your head - as I have observed before.
One of the mistakes I made last year was to over-dress. This year, the higher than expected temperatures removed any risk of doing that - it was shorts, tee-shirt and some throw-away gloves at the start-line. Conditions were perfect - there would be no excuses there!
I kept my pace down to the more conservative end of what I and my marathon-training forum friends thought I could do for the first half. It was pretty uneventful apart from a gorgeous view of the Mohawk from the top of the steep descent onto the Mohawk Hudson Hike/Bike Trail.
In the second half, I allowed my pace to increase a little. At around 18 or 19 miles where I had started to fall off the pace last year - I was still feeling strong and passing a lot of people.
The pain started to increase and it became much more an act of will to keep my pace up as miles 22-25 went by. Then I caught sight of the pacer for the more aggressive finish time I'd allowed myself to hope for - my only thought was to finish ahead of him and hope he was still on course for his scheduled time. With just under a mile to go, I managed to go past.
After that, it was just holding on - through the last section - determined to keep the pacer behind me and make it to the line ahead of my secret target time. I did! I was conscious that the crowds were denser at the end, but I was pretty single-minded by then and didn't spare them much thought.
As last year, Exile #2 and the kids had come down to the finish and were behind the barriers just after the finish line where yesterday's picture was taken. This was a few minutes later:
It was getting quite warm by then, but fortunately I didn't need any excuses!