Q: What do you get when you cross dead legs, an unmotivated runner and an unremarkable marathon course? A: My run at the Lewis & Clark Marathon in St. Charles, Mo. on Sunday.
Heading into the race, I felt fine physically, but I suspected my legs would be unresponsive after last weekend’s triple in Lake Tahoe. I’m normally sluggish the weekend following a double, so even though I was pain free, I had no reason to suspect I’d be sharp. I feel strong right now, but I don’t feel fast. The course profile looked easy, so I suspected I’d be good for a 3:18. For me, that’s not blazing fast by any stretch of the imagination, but I thought I could do that.
Unfortunately, I had a tough day on Saturday. Setbacks can bring me down, especially when they’re Operation Jack related, and I was in no mood to run. So, I couldn’t run, I didn’t want to run, and it showed.
I got rolling and kind of felt OK early, but I knew it wouldn’t last. My heart rate monitor isn’t working right, so I had no idea what kind of effort I was giving. I figured I’d try to give about a 7:15/mile effort and not push any harder. I know that’s a 3:10 pace, but I didn’t feel like that would burn me out. I figured it would be a reasonable effort and when my dead legs decided to fade, then I’d roll with it and not worry.
I don’t remember a ton of specifics about the race, other than I got gradually slower and slower. I knew early it was going to be a long day, but I didn’t even bother trying to do the math. I hit the half in about 1:40 and knew I’d be slower in the second half.
The course itself was a fairly easy course. There were a few moderate hills, but even if I had driven the course beforehand, it was nothing that would have fazed me. It’s a fast course on a good day, but it certainly wasn’t a good day for me. I got slower and slower, stiffer and stiffer. It was just a long day on a pretty boring course. Lots of strip malls and industrial parks. There was about eight miles on a trail, but overall, I really wouldn’t recommend this one unless you live in the area. It really doesn’t matter, though, because Competitor bought this race, turned it into Rock ‘N Roll St. Louis, and will move the course next year.
Anyways, I struggled to hold on to the 3:20s, resorted to a shuffle and just wanted the day to be done. A guy in red shorts passed me at about 24.5 and I had nothing for him. I tried to kick at about 25, but it hurt way too bad and I thought I was going to hurt myself. I did everything I can to increase my turnover and I probably looked like a racewalker with my speedy shuffle. I turned it into a kick with about a half-mile to go and went by the guy in the red shorts pretty easily.
I thought I had him for good, but he came right up on me with about 100 meters to go and in a friendly way, we told each other to race it to the finish. I found a gear that I don’t know I’ve ever used before and smoked him, which was fun. Then I stopped and the outside of my right knee was killing me. And as I write this, nearly eight hours after I finished the race, it still is.
Perfect finish to a forgettable day for me. 3:28:22 or something like that was my finish time. I’m not even going to bother to look to see where I finished in my age group or overall, because anything positive from that would be solely an indicator of the field. I did not have any kind of a remarkable run today.
So there you have it. 47 and a couple of ultras down, 14 to go. That same percentage is like mile 20.2 of a marathon, with only six miles to go. I don’t really want to do this right now, but I know I can and I will.
Sam was here.