Saturday, June 16, 2007

Grandma's early reports

Jake ran a 2:42:30 marathon debut, a solid time considering the adverse conditions (I learned it was really hot in Duluth today and the course was not shaded at all). Apparently many were casualties to these conditions, but I'll defer the reports to those who were there.


MAX said...

nice first marathon Jake. i guess Jason and Melissa died off as I cannot find them in the database. Too hot? Oh well, better to drop out than get a heat stroke. there is always another race. lots of other dropped out so no shame in doing so. Chris Raabe is the only person other than Jake, from this area, who i know finished the thing.

Jake, you have earned a few weeks of relaxation.

ice bath and massage if you feel really beat up.

take care all


smoney said...

Full results are here:

Looks like Jason finished in 2:56.

Congrats on finishing guys. Give us the report when you get back.

Melissa said...

Though I was among the casualties, I thought I'd offer my report.

The weather forecasts had been calling for rain during the race, which, in retrospect, would have been ideal. I was so relieved to have clear skies that I didn't even consider the evils associated with them.

Pace-wise, my race went according to plan through about 10 miles (6:22 pace). However, the effort concerned me. My legs felt great, but my stomach and head felt amiss. I felt a strange combination of chills and fever and had begun to see spots. Still, I figured a little electrolytes and water would do the trick,and grabbed them at every aid station from 5 miles on. After all, a marathon isn't supposed to feel good...physically, anyway. I pressed on, coming through the half in 1:25. By then I was off pace, but still anticipated bouncing back and finishing with a time in the low 2:50s. In my first marathon I had experienced falling off pace and catching a "second wind" several times. I figured 2:47 was out of the question, but a PR was definitely in my grasp. What happened after the half wasn't pretty. I grabbed ice from an aid station and was confused because I couldn't differentiate between hot and cold. The ice seemed warm to me, so I tossed it aside. The spots I was seeing had begun to worsen and my "race plan" turned into a "finish plan." I didn't even look at my watch at 14 but knew from the numbers of people who were passing me that my split was way off. I ambled on passed the crowds. I remember getting nauseous from a drum some friendly spectator was beating. Shortly after the 15 mile mark I stumbled toward a medical tent, not necessarily thinking that I was dropping out but knowing that I couldn't be on that pavement any longer. Even though I was cooked I had goose bumps all over, so they wrapped me in a blanket. I think I zoned out for awhile after that but eventually conceded defeat.

Obviously this is not the outcome I was hoping for, however every marathon experience holds a lesson. I was humbled by Grandma's and have learned to take hydration seriously... and maybe to choose my races more carefully and not be taken in so easily by net declines. There were some bright spots in the trip. One, I was very impressed by the people of Duluth. I can see where the stereotype about Midwesterners being friendly comes from. To give you an example, at the medical tent, volunteers were handing out vaseline on popsicle sticks to help runners with chaffing. One decidedly un-Midwestern racer yelled at them, sarcastically, "Thanks a lot! Runners could slip on that stuff, you know!" Instead of getting defensive, the volunteers said, "Oh, thank you, we hadn't thought thought of that. We'll tell people to be careful." They also took good care of me so maybe I'm biased.

Another bright spot was that Jake did extrememly well in his marathon debut, especially considering the conditions. I'm so glad one of us was able to conquer The Grandma. A final bright spot is that I didn't race a marathon. This doesn't sound positive, but it means that I don't have any of the war wounds that go along with the race. My legs weren't challenged to that extent and I only have minor soreness. This also means that I don't have the withdrawal symptoms typically associated with the race. I went for a run yesterday and felt great. My comfort lies in the fact that I will soon be able to race again and avenge my defeat.

I apologize for being long-winded. 13 hours of traveling via planes, trains, and automobiles offered lots of opportunity for reflection.

Matt Ernst said...


With all that I'm overly impressed that you ran as long as you did...take it easy for a while and I'll look forward to seeing you all in person soon...


KLIM said...

Below is my OFFICIAL REPORT...some of you might have seen this via email...

I completed my first marathon on Saturday in Duluth, MN. My goal was to run close to 2:32...break 2:30 if I had a good day, run 2:36 if I had a bad day, and muster out a sub-2:40 if all hell broke loose. I was very tapered and itching to run. I wanted to run 6 min pace for a mile or two and then hit 1:16-1:17 for the half and try to run negative. In my training I got up to 21+ mile long runs and 94 miles in one week...not as consistent as I liked, but a handful of good quality weeks. I ran 12 miles 2 weeks before my race a bit quicker than marathon pace (1:09:30) and felt great. I was ready to go! The weather was spotty and it was either going to rain/t-storm or be hot! I went to bed early and got ready to wake up for bus to the 7:30am start.

The sun was out and the temp at the race start was 66 degs. It was "sunny hot" but not really "hot hot" yet...if that makes sense. I didn't think the heat would be much of an issue since we ran along Lake Superior for the first 1/2 of the race and the air that comes off the lake is generally cool in the morning. The gun sounded and I went out in 5:52...I quickly settled into 6 minute pace and ran with a couple of guys from Philly and a runner from St Paul. We talked and started to walk down people in the first 3 miles who had went out hard. I took fluids at EVERY stop and at mile 7 decided to surge ahead of the 2:36 group I was running with b/c I knew I had to make up for lost time. For the next 7 miles I passed scores of runners...maybe 60 people. Some looked beat, others looked as if they simply settled into a (new) groove. I felt great and continued to move forward comfortably just under 6 minute pace. This was fine, because I thought I could easily start working and negative split the second half. I hit ten in 59:30 and the half in 1:17 something. Somewhere around here I saw Al Franken on the side of the course in which I said "Al Franken?!" Soon thereafter, with no thanks to Al Franken, I started to think that 2:32 might not happen. By mile 16 (1:34:30) my stomach had cramped up, but my splits were only a little over 6 minutes. I thought about calling it a day here, but I was still hitting close to my splits. It was painful, but I knew it would eventually go away and it did. By now, the course moved slightly inland and away from the water (the cool relief). It started to feel very hot. I continued to pass people...Kenyan women, even a few Kenyan men...some of these people were cooked. Lots were falling from the fast early pace. Mile 19 was when I started to hurt and when I was passed for the first time in the race. At 20, I was 1:59 something (still under 6 minute pace). Somewhere around mile marker 20, there were a couple of people cooking burgers on the side of the road and the smell nearly caused me to throw up. I stopped and gagged and then started to run again. I tried to drink Ultima (faux Gatorade) but that taste also made me nauseous...water seemed to be the only thing I could drink and handle. I am not sure what prompted this (sun/heat?) but I now knew that I was racing to finish, not for time. I still thought I could sneak under 2:40. My body, especially my calves, were pretty beat up, but I still could run. The only thing stopping me was throwing up. I'm no scientist, but I knew barfing all over the road would probably do me in. I'd lose much needed water I couldn't puke. Every time I tried to pick it up, I felt nauseous, to the point that I no longer looked at food/oranges/Ultima..all I stopped for was water and sponges. If I exerted myself I would throw up, so I had to keep the pace a bit slower. I stopped twice more between miles 21 and 24 to pour water over my body, soak in sponges and drink as much as my stomach could handle. Crowds were silent as they watched me soak myself and stagger back and forth in the road. I gagged for a moment and then started up again. I was probably passed by 10 people during the last 10k but remarkably I was STILL passing other runners! So some were much worse off than me!

Between mile 24 and 25, as a climbed a small incline, a 3 year old boy put out his hand to slap me five. I was pretty tired, but mustered the energy to reply...only to have the young lad pull his hand away at the last moment and "diss" me. That sort of summed up how I felt around now.

All I wanted to do was was brutal. The last 1.2 took forever and, to top it off, some clown was trying to "race" me in the last 1/2 if I cared who beat me at this point. I finished and immediately soaked myself in water and drank until I wasn't thirsty. My calves were I leaned on a park bench to stretch and then I wept...openly. I composed myself and dipped my legs into Lake Superior for 10 minutes while I thought about the race. I ran 2:42:30...WELL off my goal time, but while reflecting I realized that probably NO ONE ran their goal time per the heat. My last 10k was 42 minutes...a shuffle jog at best. But, the race wasn't about was about personal survival. The mercury read 85 F at 11:30am...I finished round 10:15 so it was probably in the mid to upper 70s then. It was the second hottest in the 31 years of the race. The elites ran for place and only 4 guys ran the "B" Standard of 2:22:00...some of those trying to make that time finished after me and a great deal of people simply dropped out. I'm not sure if I should have dropped out or not. It's nice to get one under my belt and to "tough it out" but maybe I could/should have saved it for another day? The day after the race, yesterday, the temp was 55 degs and overcast...ideal I would say. Errrr, go figure.

Next up - recovery. Then the Rockville Twilight 8K in 5 weeks, the Falmouth Road Race (7 miles) in August and then I want to attack the half marathon this fall.

DaveO said...

What is the deal with the Georgetown Running Company athletes and horrible luck with Mother Nature? What’s next for the Gtown Running crew, a Marathon in a blizzard? The good thing is that besides a few aches and pains from hard training you are all in phenomenal shape. Now you get to rest up a bit and enjoy the summer and in a few months start getting ready to kick some serious a** in the fall. If anyone wants to vent over a few beers, let me know. You guys earned them.
Dave O

Dane said...

Congrats Jake! Kudos to all who raced and fought the heat!

Havegoats said...

my undoing was a fever for three days, in days 12-9 leading up to the marathon. I was unable to run for another 2 days.

I went through 20 miles at 6:04 ish pace and then hit the wall hard. Walk a few minutes with edmund burke, and then decided I hadn't come all this way, with chrissie, amanda, and charles waiting for me at the finish to ride the sweep bus... I would finish come hell or high water... and was also thinking I still needed a boston qualifier and figured I could still get this- just six miles... but they were a death march. I was wondering if I might reitre upon not hitting 2:30... but I am rather angry- all that hard work and nothing to show for it if I hang it up now. I am confident I had the training.

KLIM said...


You are a 2:30 guy...let us do it again. Steamtown?

Matt Ernst said...


I'm thinking about Philly in November...

Melissa said...

There's a marathon in Portland on July 4th that I'd love to do, but I can't afford it, so I guess I'll have to wait until the fall. I'm thinking about Steamtown, too. I haven't heard from Ben, so I guess Chicago is out. Plus, I'm a little wary of traveling (far) to races after the fiasco that was Grandma's.