Oct 29, 2011

Marathon Pacing and Cheek Leakage Thwarted

Pacers are usually worried about keeping the beat and helping their group finish the marathon on goal time. 

on schedule at 15 miles, 11 to go

I was more concerned about cheek leakage* out the back of my 5" shorts.  And there was a decent chance of B.B. (Ball Blowout), spillage from the loincloth as crude as a British Petroleum accident.  Eyeballs would scab on contact.  Oh well, I had a job to do, tuck 'n go. 

*Note - Cheek leakage refers to buttocks protruding out the bottom of some seriously short shorts, not pooping my pants.  Just wanted to clarify since some readers had questions.  Carry on. 

An eGuitar ripped 115 decibels of National Anthem.  Ears bled and adrenaline boiled.  Joe Mini-Riggs and Yelena Russian Concussion lined up next to me.  And there was Kramer, Martin, Tony and Adrian.  Up ahead was Riggs on deck to pace the 1:23 half and Scroggins behind ready to lead the 1:50 halfers.  It was a veritable SCRC Rage Taco mob at the start.  Wasn't sure what the heck Tony was doing here, he'd just run a hot Chicago marathon the prior weekend.

Difficult to tell how many were in my 3:05 group, I think a dozen.  It was too loud to talk, we'd shake out the pack after the gun.  Hoped at least 5 runners would maintain 7-minutes-per-mile and finish beside for a Boston qualifier. 

swinging a 48" stick for 26.2 miles, aiming at a 3:05 finish @7 minute pace @8:00 am, drinking 3 GUs and 12 Dixies of carbs, 1 blue-box stop  #NumbersOverload

Bang, go time!  

Feels slow the first couple miles, but irreparable damage if we don't conserve.  A speed that seems anemic from the gate requires more and more horsepower to maintain past 18 miles.  The pacer's job is to restrain the group early on, then nudge the throttle beyond 20 miles, overriding fatigue's temptation to slow.

Mile three, we chugged a mile up Grand Ave.  A lean female in pink top and black spandex gooses the gas and pulls ahead.  Yelena's ready to spank the Spanx gal.  I look over at her and quietly quip: "Stay with me through mile 8 and the hills".  Then she could tap out and gain on Lycra lady if she felt solid.  Ignore, Yelena locked crosshairs and lit the Scud missile.  I shrugged and yelled "GO YELENA, CLUSH HER!"

South of Grand now and a contentious five miles of hills.  I didn't say much, 3:05 is solid and most of the runners know what they're doing by now.  Cujo was off his leash and lunged close to our calves near Pat's house on 42nd.  And a massive black bear/labradoodle mix foamed behind fence at the corner.  Must've been an Ohio exotic animal escaped and hungry to munch on bony legs.

Old guy apologizing for the hills on Foster Loop, lonely tuba lobbing out sad notes like an old shuffling elephant.  Turning a 7:20 per mile up the hills, 6:40 down, our splits balanced out.  I barked at the group to take their first GU pack 45 minutes in.

A grinning Mike R. herded us along Tonawanda towards the Salisbury House.  Needed to power-tinkle, a blue stink-box waited ahead.  This is the same kybo I'd attempted to use a few weeks prior when Joe and I were doing a 20 mile recon' run.  It was occupied by a construction worker last time, so I made an emergency drop and left stink-chili in the woods.  Wiped with crispy oak tree leaves.  Lucky today, the toilet was vacant, I handed off the pace sign for a 30 second leak.  Greg watched me trying to catch the group at the corner of 'Wanda and Grand, he yelled "What the heck you doing back there Tank, quit playing around and catch them!"

Ryan and Aaron marshalling the corner of Polk and Harwood as they do each year.  Kip clicking pictures on the roundabout, trying to convince us we look fresh.  The Mayor hawking Gatorade near mile 9, our group still 10 strong. 

Waved at Jenny on Kingman a couple times, disappointed her shin splints sidelined her marathon.  She didn't belch this time.  High-fived Werner on the opposite side of the road as he returned from the Drake loop, deep breathing a 2:46 'thon.  Curls and Pigtails snapping photos (my 9-year-old captured most of the pics in this post) on Polk, daughter holding a GO DADDY!! sign.  I blew her a kiss and spat lime Gatorade.  Up ahead we watched Kramer and his friend return for another stink closet visit. 

The brand spankin' new GPS watch died at mile 13.  A wrist laptop triangulating satellites, it spits out real-time pace, distance and other dorky data useful for staying on task.  Good thing I had the Ironman chrono' strapped on for backup, we weren't flying completely blind.  Went ahead and gave Scheels an earful when returning the faulty watch the next day.

Bike support-crew was great, one rolled up near the old Science Center and asked if we needed water, GU, ice or a towel.  I thanked him and requested a hot plate of Chicken Parmesan.  No dice.

Cautioned my 3:05 compadres not to go Kenyan on the mile downhill drop to 17.  Conserve for the Big Bertha ring of death at Water Works Park (1,500 acres, largest urban park in the U.S.).  I've paced this marathon 3 times, and without fail, the group always dissolves about now.  This year was no exception.  Our troop was down to 8 entering Bertha, attrition, quad fail, then there were four.  Joe was still on my heels, he looked okay.  Could see Yelena up ahead, The Bear had mounted and she was struggling. 

Joe's hanging there in red on the giant ring of death, windy desolation decimated the group #ThenThereWere4

Came up on Yelena in the 20's around Gray's Lake, we lost Joe and another runner by the end of the footbridge over the lake.  One remained, Brent, learned he's a 5th year student at Iowa State training to be an architect.  Mile 23, I told him to go up ahead if he felt good.  He shook his head, mumbled "no way" and stayed beside.

Martin Luther King Jr. Parkway, a little over a mile to go!  Brent asked me about predicted finishing time, I told him probably a low 3:04.  He smiled real big.

We made a final pass coming home.   

backwards hat Brent hung tough and was the lone 3:05 group finisher, caught Colonel Red Shoes 20 feet from the finish  #LateKill

Crossed the line a few seconds faster than goal time, congratulated Brent and gave him the pace sign to remember the race (plus I'm pretty sick of the bloody thing after holding it for 26 miles).  Hung around and talked with a few finishers, then went to town on the 2-block long smorgasbord, eager to replenish 3,000 calories.  Pulled pork, ice-cream, yogurt, oranges, Domino's pizza, granola and drinks.  I was yelling over the fence at Pigtails and chucking BBQ sliders at her, "Eat up honey, this is lunch!"

A guy was walking around the chute asking if anyone wanted to donate their finisher medal to a local children's hospital.  Got enough of these at home, so I handed it over.  

Another one down, no cheek leakage.



  1. NICE! I am still trying to understand how you guys do it... struggling with a few miles here... but what a great time!

  2. Great write up as usual. Thanks for the mention although it would have better had I been running!

  3. BAH Ball blowout. Great job and congrats. Are any of those guys single? Hottttt.

  4. Well done! Congrats! Actually thinking it is more impressive that you didn't throw the stick like a javelin half way through! High in the poo to run ratio, which pretty much has convinced me I shall never run a marathon, ever. :-)

  5. @Nessa - The secret ingredient is 'roids.

    @Jenny - Thanks for cheering us on, and hope to see you out there breaking 2:50 on the roads.

    @Christina - I'll try and get some phone #'s for you next time.

    @Cari - Agree on the poo/run ratio, that's why my new running blog coming soon will be Titled Runner Trots.

  6. I saw you guys come in! Well done! I was volunteering at the finish line as my husband ran the half.

  7. Wow...incredible! What marathon was this? How do you remember such detail to write this? I signed up recently for the Hilton Head Half Marathon in February. I'll be excited to run next to the ocean!

  8. @Angie Bee - Awesome! Hope your honey did well in the half.

    @Shan - DSM marathon. And I'm jealous about your Hilton Head Half. Sounds fun, get on it!

  9. What an awesome blogging find!! Your visual vocab amazing. I'm adopting stink-chili to use on my trail runs. Keep this up! :)


Thanks for the note, check back for my response!