The best part about running a forgettable race is that I can forget about it. That’s what I intend to do with today’s run in the Pasadena Marathon. I went 3:15:23, but it was far from a memorable experience and I’m looking forward to moving on from this one.
My Pasadena Marathon race day got off to an ominous start when I parked, as I realized I forgot to bring my PowerBar. My standard pre-race meal is a cinnamon raisin bagel and a full serving of UltraFuel (a sports drink) at least two hours before the race and a PowerBar within the final 15 minutes before the start. I was a little bit antsy, wondering how my energy levels would hold up. One unique thing about my year, though, is that if something goes wrong, I get another crack the following week. So I didn’t totally panic.
I got over to the start line with plenty of time to spare, but I just wasn’t feeling it. I was a little bit depressed, because I had a great day with the family on Saturday. Why did that make me depressed? Because it made me realize what I’m missing. But I have a job to do, it’s for a great cause, and Jack is already reaping the benefits with the treatments at Advanced Hyperbarics in the hyperbaric oxygen chamber. So the gun fired and I went.
As always, I ran by heart rate. I was moving pretty well early, averaging somewhere around 6:40 for the first couple of miles. I struggled later, but I firmly believe those miles didn’t cost me. I take what the course gives me, and it gave me some quick miles at a low heart rate.
Within about three miles, I was mentally checked out. I didn’t want to be out there, but I knew I had to run the race. My legs didn’t feel too hot and there was a long, gradual uphill between about 2.5 and 4. By the time I reached the top of that incline, I had mentally decided I wanted the run to be over. Normally, that happens at about 22 for me. So this was unusually early and I had bad vibes about the day.
The course itself was nice, running through all parts of Pasadena. It went through some incredibly nice neighborhoods, some OK neighborhoods, right down Colorado Blvd (I think that’s the Rose Parade route), alongside the Rose Bowl for quite a while and through some other various tree-lined areas. All-in-all, it was a pretty nice 26.2-mile foot tour of a beautiful city.
Anyways, I was plodding along and kind of going through the motions. Part of me was realizing I needed to keep moving, because my time sticks with me forever, but part of me really struggled to want to keep rolling. We did an out-and-back around the Rose Bowl area that accounted for about four miles of the race and on my way out at about mile 12, I got in a groove and my legs actually started moving fairly well.
We mixed back in with the half marathoners shortly thereafter and I always get a charge passing people (they were running about 4 minutes/mile slower that I was at that point). We hit a second uphill from 13 to 15 that was a 300-foot gain that was pretty tough. I moved so-so coming out of there, but not great. Still, better than I did in Austin last week when I struggled coming out of a big uphill at 18.
The weather had been mostly overcast, but the sun started peeking out about two hours into the race. I figured I was tracking for somewhere right around 3:10, but by about 18 or 19, I could tell that I was starting to grind a little bit. By about 20, I revised my estimate to about a 3:11 or 3:12.
There was a gradual uphill between 20 and 21, and by the time I hit the turnaround to come back down, I knew I was done. I wasn’t moving and I knew my time was going to slip. I started hoping for a 3:13 or 3:14. I got a pretty bad side stitch at 23.5 (for those of you non-runners, it’s a bad stabbing pain in your abdomen) and the shuffle was on. I was just trying to hang on my best for a Boston qualifier (sub-3:16). I don’t need a BQ for next year, but that’s always an indicator to me that at least my run wasn’t horrible.
My miles crept up towards that 8:00 pace, but I dropped down to a 7:32 for mile 26 and a 7:02 pace for the final whatever it was (.36?). I crossed the finish line 3:15:23 after I started, good for my 16th BQ. It was good for 27th overall out of 1,066 finishers. Not my greatest performance by any stretch of the imagination, but in a way, I guess it’s a nice that when nothing seems to click, I can still run a fairly decent race.
Next up, Tampa. Time to start trying to get fired up!
10 down, 50 to go!