The weather proved to be much better than the reports had predicted as I lined up at the start of the 3rd Salinenlauf (Salt Works Run) last night. A couple hours earlier, as I was driving to the event, it had rained, but then the sky cleared and we had almost perfect weather, except for the very high humidity.
I started out at a conservative pace that would get me past the marathon distance mark in about 4:45 if I could maintain the pace. The 929 meter round went by fairly quickly for the first couple hours, I accumulated 21 km, a half-marathon, in 2:17:48, a bit too fast for my level of training.
I hit the wall on my 26th kilometer, way too early, I stopped for a few minutes to change my socks (there was standing water on two parts of the course) and to eat a little bit. This proved to be a mistake, my legs were stiff as I started out, I never did get back up to pace again.
With 10 kilometers to go my legs were toast, I had covered up to 32 kilometers several time during training, but on this night it was a problem. I started walking through the two points on the course where there was standing water, probably 50 meters together. The water was high enough to flood into the shoes, no one had dry feet on this night.
I was at least able to shuffle on in between the two point where there was standing water, they were roughly 400 meters apart, so allowed me to briefly rest as I waded through. I passed the marathon point (46 rounds) in around 5:14, much slower than I wanted, but that’s the way it went. I walked a couple rounds, trying to pull myself together, it didn’t help much. Through the walking I was getting really cold, my clothes were soaked from sweating, so I decided to take a break and change my clothes.
I went to my car, which was in the parking lot on one corner of the course, maybe 50 meters away. The weather had been changing the last hour or so, the star-filled sky was replaced by dark clouds with flashes of lightening. As I changed my clothes the first rain drops fell, I laid out my jacket, I knew I would be needing this. It continued to rain harder, then it poured, and kept pouring, with thunder and lightning.
As I had already reached my goal of running a marathon, I decided to take a nap, there was still 6 hours left in the 12 hour event, maybe later the rain would stop and I would do a few more rounds before heading home.
After an hour it was still raining, so I decided to go home, I achieved my goal of running a marathon, anything more at this point would only be a cause of more recovery time before I resume my training.
The rain poured down as I drove home, I could only think about how soft I’ve become, compared to the “old days”.
The official race results show me running 47 rounds, which is 43.663 km, but my Garmin shows around 44.592 km, 48 rounds, oh well whatever.Today my legs are in surprisingly good shape, even the stairs do not intimidate me.
The race definitely showed me that I have a lot of work to do if I want to run a faster marathon or an ultra. At almost 57 years old, the mind is still willing, but the body is not making it easy. I need to think about this for awhile.