2008-07-27 - Riley's Rumble

13.1 miles @ ~13 min/mi

Before dawn CM Manlandro and I rendezvous at the Davis Library. I drive us via back roads to Riley's Lock on the Potomac River. Ken Swab and Mary Ewell meet us there on a moderately warm morning. Standing near friends in line for the portajohn I chat with a young man who tells me that he's just back from the Vermont 100, where he paced the winner for the final 30 miles and then went back to accompany an older gentleman over the same course segment. "Wait a minute," I say, "was that Jim Cavanaugh? Are you the Bryon-with-a-'y' I heard about?" Small world—he was indeed Jim's pacer! Bryon Powell tells me that he was always certain Jim would finish, and that his main contribution was to enforce aid-station discipline and keep Jim from socializing too much with the volunteers.

As the race begins Mary and I trot at a moderate pace and walk the first big hills while CM and Ken blast out of sight. We chat about health and diet, friends and training. Cheerful volunteers offer us water and electrolyte drinks as we attempt to stay hydrated. Don and Kenna Libes distribute ice pops at mile 5+; we see them again at mile 7+ on the return trip. Mary begins to suffer from the heat and humidity. Our 12 min/mi pace slows.

Lucky day: I spy a dime on the ground and pick it up. A "2" mini-pool ball by the roadside catches my eye and I snag it too, but set it down and forget to retrieve it at a later aid station, in my joy at discovering chocolate-peanut M&Ms there. With my sweaty palm stained in splotches of artificial color from the candies I ask Mary, "Are you starting to hallucinate? Do you see anything strange when you look at my hand?"

A young man afflicted by calf cramps at mile 10 stops to massage his legs. Mary and I ask him if we can help; I give him a Succeed! e-cap. Small world—he's the brother of my daughter's violin student! Mary and I proceed onward, our pace decelerating. The Libes van passes by and Kenna offers us ice from her volunteer's cap. We gratefully partake.

As the finish line looms Mary starts to feel significantly better and we run most of the last mile, to come in together at 2:53. Emergency medical technicians are posted nearby with their ambulance, and at my request Mary gets a quick check of blood pressure, blood sugar, etc. They're all fine; perhaps the sudden fatigue she experiences today is due to dehydration or other electrolyte imbalance. CM finishes in 2:25, a huge PR for her, but the stress of running most of the race with Ken (who makes it in 2:20) is significant. I give her a ride home where her afternoon recovery strategy is a good one: pasta, nap, repeat!

^z - 2008-08-16

(correlates: NanoRadians, Humerus Fracture, 2008-06-18 - Kensington Wheaton Silgo Loop, ...)