Sunday, September 30, 2012

Amber Ferreira Finishes Second at Pocono 70.3!!!

Haha. Tricked you with the title again. Well it's not a trick in that Amber, in fact, DID finish second female overall at the Pocono Mountain 70.3 today. This was sweet redemption after last year's less than stellar performance. But yes. I did fool you if you think I will be writing about that in this blog post. Sorry suckers but I'll leave it to her.

What you will find in this blog is a harrowing story of windy and wet conditions, a bad running pacer and an even worse biking pacer that brought my friend, Rich Lavers, in with a 3:09 marathon time at today's Smuttynose Marathon.

As I had mentioned before, Rich was trying to break three hours and he had recruited me and our friend, Jay Massa, to help him to this end. I was to run with Rich for the first few miles and then the last 10-12 to ensure that he was keeping on pace and a)not going out too hard, and b)not fading too much in the first and last miles, respectively. Massa's job was simple. Ride the course heckling Rich into keeping the pace high. Oh best laid plans...

Yesterday, Massa had made us a HUGE breakfast as only a Kurt Perham athlete can make. It was delicious and I highly recommend stopping by Cafe Massa any time of the day OR night and have him make you something. He may appear to not be receptive at first but if you needle him long enough, he'll likely fold. Or floor you... The food is worth the risk!

I picked Rich up at 5:45 this morning to ensure a stress free start to the day. Despite the early start, the traffic and parking(we had to PAY to park!) slowed us down enough that I dropped Rich off to make sure that he got everything ready before the start. By the time we had parked and registered we barely had time to make it to the start before the race began.

 Mistake #1: By not giving ourselves any time to warm up, we took off at a pace that was slower than what we needed to run. By adequately warming up, your body reaches a steady state and perceived effort is actually reduced. This didn't happen to us until mile three which meant we blew through three miles which we could have banked a little time.

We may not have banked much time but we were feeling pretty good and with a good group of people including Gate City Strider, Steven Ruhm, and TNT's very own Thor Kirleis. I had secretly been hoping to run the whole marathon with Rich but by mile seven I analysed how I was feeling and decided it wouldn't be wise to try to run the whole thing and potentially slow him down... I told Rich I'd see him again at mile 16 and turned around(it was a two loop course).

Mistake #2: By running the first seven miles with Rich(instead of the originally planned last thirteen miles), I exposed myself to the wet and cold weather which was not too noticeable while running but became very cold very quick when having stopped. After a few minutes of standing in a porta-potty to stay dry, I realized I was being selfish and preventing actual runners from using it. I started running back to mile 16(it was also mile 3), but stopped to help hand out GU's at one of the aid stations which leads me directly into:

Mistake #3: Helping out at aid stations may be fun but not a smart idea if you're planning on running ten miles in less than an hour. I sufficiently cooled myself down enough that after about forty minutes, instead of making my way to mile 16, I asked a kindly volunteer whether I could warm myself up for a few. A few turned into a few more and before I knew it Rich was upon me. I quickly jumped out of the car to pace him for the last 6, instead of the planned 10, miles.

Did Massa pace you for the middle? 
Nope, never saw him. He probably didn't come out because of the rain.

Actually Massa did come out in the rain, in fact, biking from Concord to pace Rich. Unfortunately, Massa committed:

Mistake #4: by not knowing how to get there. Getting lost in Exeter, NH he somehow added over ten miles to his ride which exposed him to the cold longer so by the time he got to Hampton, he was nearly hypothermic. Luckily for him, he had left some warm clothes in my car to change into but he was out for helping Rich.

So here we are with 6 miles to go and no realistic of breaking 3.(If I had picked him up at 16 there was a good chance we could have mustered enough gumption to pull it out-unfortunately at 20 there just wasn't enough time to make up for the slow start).

What would Danny do? Seriously? With six miles to go and knowing I'd need to run sub 6:10's to get there? It's raining and freezing AND my quads are cramping? Easy! I would have walked and spent the next 6 miles coming up with believable excuses for my poor performance.

What did Rich do? Carried on. Not only carried on but actually probably had a few of his fastest miles in those last six. He felt like crap but didn't back down. He stepped up to the plate and put himself out there. And while he didn't achieve his goal, he did something better: showed he could persevere in less than optimal conditions with lots of mistakes. Just think what he could do on a good day with just a few less mistakes.

By the way, he still finished 23rd and qualified for Boston, so all in all, it was not the bad day that it first appeared.

A few hours after we had parted ways, Rich texted me. To gripe about the race? Excuses? Complaints? Nope, nope and nope. He just wanted to know how Amber had done.

1 comment:

  1. Have Rich join me in running Baystate in 3 weeks. The course is flat and fast. I don't think I have a 3 hour marathon in me right now but I'm shooting for 3:05.