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.