Thought for the Day

Friday, January 24, 2003

Lost Dutchman Marathon

Sorry this is so late, I was lost in the desert for the past week.
I rate this as a great course and a well run marathon. But if you look at the times that won it this year, with about 350 runners, prize money for first place male and female with a bonus for setting a new course record (which was almost certain for whoever came in first) you can see it is not an easy course. The winning time for a man was 2:45. and the winning woman ran a 3:10.
We were bussed out into the desert by about 7:20 AM, for a 7:45 AM start. It was a narrow dirt road, but the drivers seemed to be very experienced and comfortable zipping over the gullies and washes and around the turns, sometimes passing each other, in these big, yellow school buses.
At the starting area, we were under a huge, strange-looking rock formation. We could see the approaching sunrise by watching the edge of the sunlight crawl down the rock face. There were campfires for the runners to warm themselves by. It was nice to have them there, a good idea, but it was a mild enough morning that we would have been all right without them.
I had gloves and a long sleeve shirt, but I tossed them into my sweats bag before the start. The sheriff was there to start the race with a shogun blast, but when he went to fire, he must have had the safety on or something. Anyway, we heard it go off behind us when we were a hundred yards away.
As I told Edward, the downhill part at the beginning was not all downhill, but it was enough to make it pretty easy. And we were starting on that dirt road, which was a nice running surface, for the first six miles.

1. 7:36
2. 7:25 15:01
3. 7:41 22:43
4. 7:49 30:32
5. 9:03 39:36
6. 8:04 47:40

Mile 4-5 I checked my blood sugar, and it had dropped to 63. I think part of being out of shape is that I burn glucose out of my blood more rapidly. I gobbled a Carb BOOM and started to feel better. The course goes onto streets at this point, and levels out somewhat.

7. 8:32 56:13
8. 8:14 1:04:27
9. 8:24 1:12:52
10. 8:28 1:21:20
11. 8:09 1:29:29
12. 8:31 1:38:12
13. 8:04 1:46:04
1/2 M 1:46:52
14. 7:58 1:54:03

The differences in paces in those miles generally match differences in slope. When I passed the volunteers at the half marathon point, I actually told them, "Awesome marathon!" and that's how I felt at that point. The desert mountain scenery was pretty spectacular, and there was nothing I could find fault with in
the race management.

15. 8:23 2:02:26
16. 8:44 2:11:11
17. 9:52 2:21:02

There were more hills here, and I thought they were pretty mild, but as Alan has described it, "the wheels were coming off."

18. 10:10 2:31:12
19. 10:08 2:41:20
20. 10:52 2:52:13
21. 11:05 3:03:18

I was broken and hanging on at this point. A totally predictable result given my preparation. Someone on the sidelines asked, "Is it too soon to say don't leave anything in the tank?"
I thought to myself, "The tank is empty and the tires are flat."

22. 11:16 3:14:34
24. 25:53 3:40:27 ( 12:56 average for two miles)
25. 11:59 3:52:26
M 15:59 4:08:26 (officially 4:08:19)

Right after the 22 mile mark is a short, steep hill called the "Dutchman's Revenge." I started walking as I approached the aid station at the bottom, but after I got my water, I decided I would go ahead and run up it. There were a lot of others, probably smarter than me, who were walking. A woman who started running with me, stopped and said, "I'll run at the top."
I ran over the top, but I didn't speed up after that, and I think everyone I passed there eventually passed me.
But I kept moving to the finish.
A few more canopies to get exhausted runners out of the sun after the finish is the only way I could improve on this marathon.
Oh yeah, and it would be nice to have some beer there, too, but I think it was against park rules.
Anyway, I would recommend this run as an adventure to anyone who's interested.

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