Traveling at a decent clip I was making good time until natured called and I had to pick up at DD. After the call I stopped at the market next door for some fruit to snack on for the remainder of the trip.
Pulled out of the pit stop and hit the road next stop packet pick up at the expo. Checked in with Redd-(one of the Marathon Maniacs that doped me into doing the race). How's the expo? "Boo", that bad? "Not much to it", but we did receive a nice warm small town reception.
We did find something helpful at the expo and that was the course was hilly. That was the general consensus before the race, which was consistent with Redd's pulse check on the bus after the race. "How many people think this race was fun"? "I don't know about fun, but it was challenging and hilly".
With our race packets in hand we ventured over to Grand Canyon to scope out the trail to see what was in store.
Arrival at the trail didn't prove fruitful, because we were on the wrong side of the canyon. LOl. Its all good we used it as a photo op. After the group selfies we headed to our respective hotels to check in, the Maniac's stayed downtown and I was 20min away.
Next up buffet Pasta Dinner at 6pm to carbo-load. Good times!! After a couple of mouth fulls it was time for a rating on a 5pt scale Redd gave them a 3.5 until Karen downgraded it to 2-2.5, we finally settled on a 3.
Fast forward to the morning of the race we were bused to the canyon and I had the pleasure of sitting next to a veteran runner, who completed over 175 Marathons. Wow and Wow backwards!!! I enjoyed the convo, he pulled out a "Vespapower Packet" and guzzled it down. VESPAPOWER gives you the power to tap into your virtually limitless energy stores by triggering a natural metabolic shift toward fat as your fuel! Hmmm something to consider and research later I thought.
This maniac's last words to me were: "keep in mind the beginning of the race is all down hill conserve your energy because the hill will be waiting for you on the return trip".
The Marathon Maniacs were rolling deep at PA's Grand Canyon Marathon, Representing their set!!!
My SO NY ear buds failed to perform so I brought my iPod shuffle as a back up. Less than a mile in the shuffle malfunctioned. Urrgg!!! Oh well I guess I'm going unplugged. It's a good thing I started running unplugged because this would have been a shock. My breathing and feet would be the music I'd travel with for the duration of the race.
At least I had my Nike+ plus Sports band to help track my pace, until it kicked the bucket. It wasn't until I passed the 13mile marker on the trail and checked my band and it only record 10miles. Yikes!!! OK I'll hum along the way play some games, stop at every water station and pop my gel shots.
I saw Redd twice on the course and we gave each other thumbs up as we passed. The hills were killers. One of the articles I read about going unplugged said: "Running with out music allows you to tune into your body" It was at that point I wish I had my music to drown out the sound of my body. "Trust your training" I kept telling myself, but I hadn't trained on a hilly course. Now what? Just keep putting one foot in front of the other. Right left one two breath repeat!!
We all finished the grueling hills, some faster than others only one of us PR. Shout out to Karen!!! You run Gurl!! I finished in 4:24 with an avg pace of 10:07 which was 14mins faster than my last Marathon in Hartford CT. 14mins is nothing to sneeze at considering the vast difference in the terrain and elevation of the two races.
As runner"s we can be our hardest critics but we have to look at the"Silver Lining". I learned that I'm not a"Hill Killer" and that's OK because now I know what else to focus on in my quest to BQ-(Hills and how to conquer them).
PA got me thinking about how to approach hills for my next race. Runners world and Running times had a few articles that I revisited today, you may find them helpful. Like soap in order for it to be of any use I've gotta apply it. For now I'm going to wear my hardware like Flava Flav and enjoy the feeling of accomplishment.