Tuesday, December 06, 2011

RR - Space Coast Marathon

Race Report
Sun, Nov 27/11
Space Coast Marathon
Cocoa, FL
Marathon #350

This will be another brief report since I was still suffering bad effects of that nasty disease UC and my performance and time is not worth wasting a lot of time writing about! I would have cancelled the race except I was scheduled to run an international marathon one week later and I needed to see if I could “go the distance’ before wasting money on a trip to South America? Also I planned to stay with old friends – the Grubers- in their new home in Cocoa that was conveniently located one block from the start/finish of the race. In retrospect I am now very glad that I did get to spend time with my friends as they received some bad news a few days later (discussed later in the report).

Nicole and I had been spending the Thanksgiving holidays in Kyle, TX with our son Jason, Ami & our precious grandkids. Chris & Ari flew in from Seattle so the whole family was together for Thanksgiving. I ran a few days in Kyle and found I had to struggle just to run a cycle of Run -5 min & Walk – 1 min. That was not a good sign for the upcoming race?

Nevertheless I left TX on Sat morning and arrived in Cocoa later that day. Grube had been kind enough to pick up my race packet which saved a lot of time and allowed me a short rest before we walked to a fine Italian restaurant for pasta dinner. Grubette (Connie) explained that she had been sick with pleurisy for a few weeks and was scheduled for a scan and biopsy on some tumors that had been discovered on her lungs?

Sun was ‘M’ day. I ran the race in 2010 and enjoyed the course along the Indian River. The race started at 6:15 am. I almost missed the start because the alarm clock did not wake me until 5:50 am and I had to rush to the start line that was fortunately only a few blocks away. I did not have enough time to ‘empty’ my system either at the Grubes or at the start so I expected that I would have to make a pit stop early in the race. The weather was hotter than forecast with temps in the low 70s at the start and increased into the low 80s by the finish! Most of the finish times were much slower than normal.

My strategy was to start out with a cycle of R-5 min & W-1 min. After a few cycles I realized that I was having a ‘bad’ UC day and decided to stick to that cycle through the entire race if necessary to finish. By mile Three I was looking for a bush along the Indian River for a pit stop. I reached Mile 5 in 1:00:34 and Mile 10 in 1:59:34 – averaging a 12-min pace in spite of all the walking I was forced to do. When I reached the Half back in downtown Cocoa I took advantage of the many portable toilets at the start line to make another (2nd) major pit stop! I hoped that would ‘empty’ my system and be the final pit stop?

The 2nd half headed south along the Indian River and we met many Half Marathoners on the return loop to the finish line. When I passed 20 M in 4:02:29 I was surprised/frustrated that I needed a 3rd major pit stop - a new record for me! My pace slowed to an average 13-min over the next 5 Km and then slowed more again to a 14-min pace over the final 5 Km as I struggled to keep the tired old legs shuffling to the finish line in 5:24:22. I was determined not to give up and quit even though I was totally fatigued and frustrated with how slow I was ‘running’!

The Grubes had decided to do a 40-mile bike ride while I was running so I wasn’t sure if they would be at the finish line or not. When I couldn’t see them I decided to take the mandatory finish line photo and return to their place. The only positive thing I can see about ‘running’ so slow is that nothing hurts when the race is finished – except your pride!

The Grubes returned shortly after I had a hot shower. Connie was not feeling well after the bike ride so we decided to stay home and watch football and rest. Grube was gracious enough to grill us an excellent steak even after Tebow won the Denver game in overtime (he hates Tebow!).

I left at noon on Mon to pick up Nicole at the Tampa airport as she returned from TX. Connie still was not feeling well and we all hoped that the medical appointments she had that week would provide some answers. Unfortunately the answers were not good! The tumors were cancerous! The doctors still haven’t determined where the cancer originates or how they are going to treat it. We were shocked and sad with the bad news! Our prayers and good wishes are with her through this battle.

The Grubes and I had discussed the frailty and uncertainty of old age and illness during my visit. Little did we realize the significance of our thoughts and opinions? After returning home I had another treatment of the new meds for my UC and then met with the GI doc. I explained that I was disappointed that I had not enjoyed a ‘super’ boost or improvement on the new drugs. He tried to convince me that a 68-year old man with UC should not be running marathons. You can imagine what Maddog’s response was to that advice!

Since I had finished Space Coast w/o dying I figured I could survive my next international marathon in Curacao although I understood it would be harder because of the tropical heat and humidity. And I had a few more days for the new meds to perform a miracle. Did they?

Stay tuned!

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