Thursday, November 12, 2009

Harrisburg - Pix, Numbers and A Few Words, Too

Since I only made my intentions on running Hartford public the same week of the marathon, Charlie and I had never made any concrete plans to meet up. We'd commented on each others blogs and sent a couple of emails but never made a firm commitment. Race morning on City Island people were milling around. My family and I had just started walking toward the starting area when I spotted Charlie. We got to chat for a minute or two and then lined up together in the starting area. Here's a picture of us still in the crowd. I'm wearing my infamous throw away sweatshirt, which by the way I still have. I gave it to Lisa just before lining up in the starting area. Before I go any further with this report I need to back up to Saturday and the expo. Earlier in the day we had gone to lunch at a restaurant owned by my uncle and cousins in New Holland, PA. It is a home-style BBQ place, real down home cooking. My PA relatives have won quite a few awards at cook offs over the years. From there we drove about an hour to go to the Expo. The Expo was really just packet pickup. The whole experience consisted of picking up a goodie bag that contained our bib a couple of flyers and about six various types of Hershey candy bars. The candy was a nice local touch, with the headquarter for Hershey nearby in Hershey, PA. Then we moved across the room to pick up our chip and that was the end of the Expo. Hardly worth the hour drive, but I always like to have that stuff taken care of. Many folks picked up their packets on race morning, something I would recommend if I were to ever repeat H'burg.

The picture below is the starting line on the Market Street Bridge. I think it is pretty funny that you can see almost all 1000 or so people that started the race. Quite the contrast to the starting line from something like NYC. This was the first year that the race started on the bridge. Usually they start on City Island and run a loop around the island before heading over the bridge into H'burg. Things were a little chaotic at first. The road wasn't actually closed until about 2 minutes before the race start. Eventually everything went off relatively smoothly.

Lisa and my in-laws had walked across the bridge a bit and caught this picture of me soon after the start. The temp at the start of the race was in the low 30's. I was still in my racing black; including shorts, a long sleeve over a short sleeve and my gloves. Notice I'm still smilin' at this point.In contrast to Des Moines three weeks ago where I stayed in the cool weather gear the entire race, I shedded my gloves by Mile 2 this time around. The day, and me, were warming quickly. The clear skies and bright sun were to blame. The first couple of miles were the obligatory tour of the state capital building. Near Mile 3 we got to run on a street called Race Street. The east end of town took us through some older municipal works area and then onto the Capital Area Greenbelt. It is always nice to run off road, away from traffic. My times up to through Mile 6 looked like this: 8:58, ----, 17:55, 9:06, 9:22, 10:21. Mile 6 included a bathroom break where I accidentally left my gloves behind. I laid my water belt on the ground outside the port-o-pot to avoid an incident like Michelle suffered a few weeks back. Mile 6 through 9 were run along the paths between Front Street and the Susquehannah River. Somewhere along here I shed my long sleeve and tied it around my waist. The run along the river was very scenic. Around Mile 9 we took a right and ran through neighborhoods for the next 3 miles before hitting a somewhat desolate stretch along Industrial Road (aptly named) and then we entered the campus of H'burg Area Community College (HACC). HACC once again got us off the roads and many people found this a great place to gather to cheer us on. Around Mile 16 I saw Lisa and my inlaws. I stopped briefly to download the long sleeve and made the fateful comment about how tired I was. It is funny that they can't quite grasp the concept that I could stop and talk to them during a race. I think I spent about 30 seconds with them but they urged me on. My miles splits to this point were: 8:43, 8:51, 9:10, 8:59, 8:53, 9:06, 9:17, ---, 18:48 and 9:10. The shot below is me taking off after grabbing a mid run kiss from my wife. Notice the spring in my step?!

Soon after Mile 17 the hills in the course began. We entered another really nice section in Wildwood Park along with a little, hilly, detour through a neighborhood which I suspect was added in to make up for the mileage we missed at the start without the island loop. The hills continued on until Mile 20 and my times here reflected that: 9:46, 10:09, 10:01 and 10:28. From Mile 20 to the finish we were basically retracing our steps from miles 6 to 12 on a basically flat run back to City Island. For the next 6 miles I swapped places with a curly haired women who was also using a run walk technique (BTW I used 6:15/0:45 throughout the race). The last 3 miles along the river seemed to take forever. My paces from mile 20 to 24 were: 10:07, 9:55, 9:58 and 10:14. Around here I caught up to a couple from the Bronx Running Club. The woman was struggling, while the man was urging her on. She commented to another runner that the man had won the marathon. I didn't give it much thought, but it turns out he was the actual winner of the race; Michael Arnstein in 2:37:17. He'd come back out on the course to run his wife in.

Mile 25 and 26 were long, long miles. Mile 24 I slowed to 11:12. The last Mile.2 was an astounding 13.55. I was discussing the times with my family later and my mother-in-law (who is not a runner) said, "You crashed!" That's a pretty accurate description of the situation. I was reduced to a shuffle barely picking my feet up off the ground. Lisa took the following picture just as I came off the pedestrian bridge back onto City Island. I actually look pretty good in the photo compared to how I felt.

Soon after this point, the course took a hairpin right, down a small incline and then a hairpin left to the finish line. A cruel way to make us finish I thought, but at least it was over.

Another marathon in the books. Sixteen states complete. Three marathons in 9 weeks. A nice weekend with the in-laws.

There are several choices of marathon in PA, including the Philly marathon in a couple of weeks. I chose Harrisburg due to its proximity to my in-laws and my wife's birthday. There isn't much special about this race to set it apart from others. Harrisburg is a small city and running along the Susquehannah was pretty. Spectators were few and far between which isn't really an issue for me. If I had any issue with the race, it would be that the water stops are also few and far between, sometimes up to 3 miles apart. I carry supplemental water and used it all. I think that the unseasonably warmish day and lack of water may have contributed to my "crash." Three weeks between races and my atrocious eating habits the last couple of weeks likely contributed as well. All things considered, I am more than happy with my 4:12:24 finish time.

Now, it is rest and recovery time till year end. The only thing on the slate right now for 2010 is Twin Cities in October.


Wes said...

3 marathons in 9 weeks is probably more indicative of your tiredness, eh? Manic, I'd say :-) Enjoy your down time! 2010 is another year to do fun things!

DREW said...

It's fun when bloggers I've been reading since day 1 in 2005 are still at it and meeting up. Congrats on H'burg.

Jason said...

Wow. You are ambitious. Good job, man! Gotta love those marathon pics when you're still smiling! Ha.

I've got a giveaway going on at my blog. It's the last day to enter. Stop by and check it out @

Donald said...

I'm trying to recall what number you were on when I started reading your blog ... but I seem to remember it was a LOT lower than sixteen. Way to keep hammering them out, dude.

Enjoy your down time heading into 2010.

Journey to a Centum said...

Read your comment on my blog and I don't have your email so I'll respond here.

Two kids, same parents, same home, same parenting. The variable is the child and their personality. You may never figure out what (if anything) you did "wrong", it just is what it is. Sometimes we have to let go of our expectations and look our child in the eye, see who they really are rather than who we think they are or should be, and love them all the same.

I don't know your circumstances, so I can't really comment on that - all I can say is that we had to do that with our children. It's not easy, but there comes a point where we realize that they are truly their own person and that they intend to live life on their terms rather than ours. You are absolutely right - their mistakes are theirs to make, hard as it is to watch. We can be there to help pick up the pieces (or at least offer moral support while they pick them up), we can hope and pray that they learn from the mistake, but that is all that we can do. And most of all, we can let them know that we love them.

Backofpack said...

That last one was from me - I didn't realize Eric was signed on!

Sarah said...

Look like it was a beautiful day for a marathon! Yeah, 2-3 miles between aid stations seems far for a regular road marathon. It pretty much forces you to carry a bottle.

Lisa said...

hmmm....if my kiss put a spring in your step and you slowed down that much, then next time I'll have to do it better so you can sprint to the finish!!!!!

Joe said...

Nice report. Great pix. Lisa's kiss was key...who knows how bad you might have crashed otherwise???

funny thing, fluids. You think you have it figured out and then something seems odd again.

Overall, though, I think the shortness of time from a super effort in Des Moines was the big factor at the end. It could not have been BBQ pre-race...BBQ is always a plus :-)

Enjoy the recovery time!!

Progman2000 said...

Great Blog Darrell - I got here from Charlie's (Shoreturtle) blog. I almost came out to do Harrisburg, but I've got Philly next week so I decided to play it smart (uncharacteristic for a marathoner). I am curious to start watching your state quest now, it is something that I've considered...

Jean said...

Wonderful job, Darrell! Great race, especially so soon after Des Moines. And that certainly looks like a beautiful area.

Enjoy the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday, and we will do our best to brew up some perfect marathon weather for the Twin Cities Marathon in 2010! :)

Dori said...

Congratulations, Darrell, on number 16! Three weeks between marathons isn't much rest, so I say you did great. It's nice to read that someone so much faster than me carries water and takes walking breaks. When I finished NY, I was toying with the idea of running California in Dec. Fortunately, it filled!