Oct 2, 2010. I was thinking about running the Stump jump 50K but decided to do the Plunge Marathon along with Diane and Kim. This was an inaugural marathon in a little town at Winchester, TN. It was a cold morning. Real cold. At least I felt it that way after enjoying a great summer for the past few months. The drive wasn't too far and we started at 5 in the morning and made it comfortably before the start. The registration was setup at the Old ham cinema. "Legend of the Guardian" is something that I wanted to catch up but not today.
The packet pick went smooth and the T Shirt was gorgeous. There was no orange tag or champion chip this time though. The sensor was embedded in the BIB itself. Race timings are getting very technical. Wonder how it will be down the lane. Caught up with Josh (The evil RD who put up the Blister in the Sun marathon), Chris Estes, Joshua Holmes and Kim. There were many half marathoners than marathoners. My goal was to do better than Tupelo though.
Race started on time. The beginning of the course was winding through city roads and traffic. First 5 miles smelt gas and smoke all the way but there were cops EVERYWHERE. They regulated the traffic so good especially at the intersections. I was sick in my stomach. I was running at a good pace though but was feeling soreness in my shoulder and as usual I forgot to tape my nipple and ended up chaffing. Yeah!! I never learn from my mistakes.
Though it was cold at the start of the race it was getting hotter by the day and humid. I reached the half marathon distance by 2:05. There were hardly any runners who took the deviation to the Marathon course. Kim who finished her half marathon in about 1:50 came down to the intersection with some ice cold water and banana. Thanks Kim, you are the best! She ran with me a while and I took off after devouring the banana.
A long stretch of road and I could see miles ahead of me but no runner. I was there all by myself. I was skeptical whether I am on the course and was so glad when I hit the aid station. I am indeed on the course. Wish the aid stations had some electrolytes. About 18 miles into the race, my running friend Phil Min caught me. That's the difference between experienced and amateur runners. He had an amazing pace and he passed me in no time. Slow and steady. The course ahead had some serious elevation. The elevation didn't seem to be very tough but it was. Steep and long. My goal to finish the race under 4:30 started to fade. New goal was to get it under 5:00.
It got really hot towards the end of the race. My vibrams couldn't keep up with the hot surface and when I inspected my feet at an aid station I noticed few blood blisters on my toes. Nice!! Soon, Phyllis caught me. Another experienced runner and this was her 185th Marathon. That's no typo, it was indeed her 185th marathon. The steep hills were killing me and I was craving for some food though I knew that I won't have anything solid for the next one hour at least.
The course during the last few miles was really rough. We were running on thin shoulder with the traffic just a feet away. It was a bit confusing too as the course went through some Junk yard and deserted streets but big thanks to all the volunteers for staying there out in the sun. The finish line came to sight and it was time to sprint. 4:59:16 was my finish time. Best surprise!! I placed second in my age group :). Sweet!!! While waiting for Diane, I met with Kim (Winchester is her hometown btw) and her Mom at the finish line. Soon, runners started showing up one after another.
Josh Hite won the marathon with a great time 3:00:00. Overall a great race for an inaugural marathon. Volunteers need a special mention here and they did a great job. I can't wait for my award which will arrive by mail soon. Above all I thank God for enabling me to finish my 8th marathon, Strong!!!
I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me - Phil 4:13