Eric Rutin runs the 2012 P.F. Chang’s Rock n Roll Marathon
Jan. 22, 2012
It is one week and time for Eric Rutin to reflect on his PF Chang’s Marathon experience.
The day finally came and I was “ready”. I knew I only half-halfheartedly trained so my expectations were low, but I didn’t have any doubts I would finish. The race start was delayed 30 minutes, the first 15 minutes no idea why and the last 15 to allow the light rail trains to synch up for the race.
I didn’t really have high expectations because I only trained half-assed for this one, but still I didn’t want to be embarrassed when someone asked me how I did. Usually I was nervous at the start, fretting if I would achieve my goal, but today, I was loose as a goose. My main goal was to not have a dorky finisher picture, for some reason I have a knack for looking like a moron in my pictures. My thumbs tend to pop out in some Fonzie condition. I deny it is a genetic issue.
Jeff, Carolyn and I took our place in the middle of corral 1. We were supposed to be in corral 2, but we accidentally settled into 1 and it wasn’t worth the effort to relocate. When the horn final signaled the start of the race, I enjoyed running with my cohorts until we reached the starting mat when they unceremoniously left me behind as they both had actual time goals. Carolyn was determined to qualify for Boston again and Jeff had some NASA pace formula for a 3:45 finish that took in account solar spots and tides.
I quickly learned starting in corral 1 wasn’t so good for the ego as over the first three miles I was passed by every single runner from corrals 2 through 5. I usually don’t pay too much attention to the bands but I have to say, the band around mile 3 was pretty darn good playing a Buddy Holly tune. I also learned my iPhone GPS app, RunMeter, I had used for my training wasn’t so accurate. Mile one was about 10 yards off and progressively and not consistently got further and further from the mile markers. According to my account, I actually ran almost 27 miles.
But back to the race. I actually got into a decent pace, just under 9 minutes a mile. Felt smooth and comfortable and sustainable. But then again, my pace at mile 6 always feels sustainable. I also discovered around mile 5 that the lid came off my Gu bottle i stored in my pocket and 5 packets of vanilla bean Gu had spilled out filling my pocket literally in goo. If I was going to use my Gu it was going to be like Winnie the Pooh dipping my paw into the hunny jar.
Around mile 9 I ran into Jeff at a water station. I was quite surprised as he had trained really well. He informed me that his legs just weren’t there today. I told him no problem, I would welcome his company. We ran together and it was obvious today just wasn’t his day. Usually this realization comes in the late stages of a race and you have to gut out he final couple of miles, but Jeff had a long torturous road ahead of him. We plodded along and our pace slowed but Jeff kept at it. He went from 3:45 goal to Bataan Death March with survival as his primary goal. I was trying to help but I realized my contribution was just to run with him.
Miles 13-16 run out on Indian School and parallel miles 17-19 that double back. I ran along here anxiously looking for Carolyn to get a gauge of how her race was going. We saw her around her mile 18 and she gave me a big thumbs up as she zipped by. At that moment I knew she was going to qualify for Boston.
At this point i decided since the GPS on my iPhone wasn’t working, carrying it shouldn’t go to waste so I started using Siri to text people updates on Carolyn. Her sister thanked me for the update. Then moments later I received another text from her stating “Wait are you running a marathon and texting? You are insane?!?!?!”
Miles 21-23 were definitely not recommended by the tourism board since if I was in my truck I would be locking my doors around then. I was expecting the aid station to be serving crack maned by prostitutes but instead saw a bunch of happy Parrotheads passing out Gatorade.
Around mile 22 I saw a girl walking and decided I would try and motivate her. I reminded her that she had trained hard to get here and she had to trust her body to finish. Her response was not quote as appreciative as I was expecting. She looked at me, paused and broke out bawling and sobbingly wailed, “my knees hurt”. I tried to reassure her she could do and stay positive but decided I wouldn’t try motivating any other runners and quickly ran off to rejoin Jeff.
At mile 23 I regretfully informed Jeff that my ankle was aching and I was getting massive chafing in places I didn’t want chafing and asked if I could abandon him. He graciously encouraged me to go and at this point, I wanted to see how hard of a 5K I could run. I picked up the pace, able to run hard when most people were suffering and slowing. I almost felt bad to breeze by them. Almost.
I maintained a hard pace and with about 3/4 a mile to go, my legs started to feel the exhaustion of the day and I thought about easing up. After all I didn’t really have a time goal, but then my inner competitive spirit said I had not pushed myself all day and I wasn’t going to be a wimp now. I passed the sign for mile 26 and by simple arithmetic knew the finish was near (since according to my GPS, I was already done). I made one final right turn to the finish line and was passed for the first time in the final three miles. WTF? The rat bastard hugged the curb as I took the middle of the road approach. I pushed as hard as I could but the wanker maintained a small but insurmountable lead to the finish. I didn’t bother to look at the clock so I had no idea what my time was. (I ended up running 4:21:48)
But I wasn’t concerned with that, I started looking for Carolyn and had to hear her confirm what I already knew. She found me in the mass of finishers and told me she not only qualified for Boston but ran her fastest marathon clocking 3:38:13, qualifying by almost seven minutes.
We got our medals, took a picture together, found Marsha and Lorraine that came out to support Carolyn on her quest, then waited for Jeff.
He came in at 4:30:56, which counts as 4:30 in my book. While the clock didn’t reflect it, it was a very gusty performance and I am pretty confident if I had 20 miles to go knowing my legs were already dead, I would probably drop out and try another day.
Now Carolyn and I are looking for our next marathon. Unfortunately the race didn’t record her time so we are crossing our fingers they resolve it, otherwise we are looking for a late spring marathon for her to qualify again (lame). Hopefully we will be able to stick to our original plan of an October or November marathon. My goal for the next marathon, whichever we run is to get back on track and train to PR.
Suggestions for our next marathon?