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!

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