Tuesday, December 8, 2009

2009 Tecumseh Marathon

Here I am scratching my head trying to figure out what happened at Tecumseh this past weekend. I entered this race fairly confident that I could improve on my slow time of last year (that I blamed on snow & ice), but I ended up struggling to finish this year. I wish I could say I had something to happen during the race to blame, but I can't. I felt good at the start with the cool temps & I had the leg turnover (that had abandoned me at the start of Pinhoti). My shoulder & back were never issues -- the shoulder had finally healed (95%) and my back was acting OK -- some chronic lower back pain, but nothing unusual.

So, obviously it has to be in my training & preparation . . . . . other than not getting in enough miles, the one thing that glares at me has been my weight gain (Thanksgiving didn't help). Moving back to the "obese" category from "overweight" means I've gained back all the weight (15 lbs) since my hard fought diet during the summer of '08. Although after the diet I started to eat healthier foods, the biggest problem has been "quantity" -- I love to eat (who doesn't?). It's depressing to think about, so I need to get away from this (since it only makes me want to eat!) & move forward. Another diet is forthcoming, once I work myself up to it!
the race

The weather on race day was great! I recognized a dozen or so names from the entry list (700 runners!) but met only a few before the race start -- Brian K & Brian H, Barry, Jeffrey. Course conditions were much better this year with only a few slick spots where the mud was frozen. The streams were up a little more than usual, so having wet feet was a little different.

I settled into a comfortable pace for the first couple miles on the double track trail/road. Entering the single track, I figured I would be running in a "train" of runners -- I just wanted to get into a group going my pace. I didn't expect all the stopping at the stream crossings though -- at one place where the trail switched back several times, I could see at least 30 runners ahead who were just standing & waiting to cross a stream! By the next stream crossing though, runners were crossing 5 wide thru the water & off trail rather than wait in line.

Approaching the halfway point, I could feel my legs starting to tire (what gives?) even though I didn't feel like I was pushing it. I could also see that my split time was going to be the slowest ever for this event & slower than any training run that I've done on this section! So what had been a fun & most enjoyable run turned into a jog/walkfest & struggle the remainder of the way. End result -- my slowest time in the 7 years running this event, including 2007 when I entered the race half sick: 5:29:56.


I didn't realize it until getting a cramp in my leg when I got in my car that I had completely forgotten to take any Succeed tablets with me on the run -- don't think that was an issue though as I had taken gels -- supposedly fortified with extra electrolytes.

I left a large stack of Louisville's Lovin' the Hills applications at the packet pickup, but it had disappeared by the time I finished -- I did not see many people taking one while I was there in the morning, so I'm wondering what happened to them???


With Otter Creek Trail Marathon this weekend canceled, my marathon "double" that I've done the last 5 years will come to an end. It has really puzzled me that the city of Louisville will not entertain the prospect of earning $$ for granting a permit for running of the race at the park this year.

My future race plans? Diet plans? Got to get some motivation going here . . . . . . and soon!


Jeffro said...

I saw at least one person take a LLTH flyer. Also a couple guys saw my buff and asked about the race. I did my best to convince them to do it.

A few extra pounds will definitely slow you down. I too love to eat. I just try to eat healthy when I can and not do too much damage which during this time of year is especially difficult.

ed said...

The applications were a last second thought -- hope to do better with an actual informational flyer, not just an application next time.

I haven't found the will power to start a diet. I still want to enter races & winter is the best season for me with my heat intolerance. Wish there was a Knobstone ultra that I could attend next month! With my performance at Tecumseh, it would hard to believe I'm contemplating a race next weekend -- but burning fat while "running" long miles is easier than taking on a diet this time of year!

There may be some training runs on the LLTH course in the month leading up to the race if you're interested. If not, see you Feb 6?!


Ari said...


I found your blog through another Louisville Lovin' the Hills blog. I'm interested, if you'd be willing to provide an opinion, on the relative difficulties of these two different runs. How does the "lovin' the hills" compare with the hills of Tecumseh? Any other points (other than distance) worth noting?



ed said...

The hills in both events are similar in max climbs (250 - 300 feet), although the hills are more frequent at Lovin' the Hills -- there's at least twice the total elevation gain of Tecumseh. In my opinion, LLTH 50k is tougher in comparison to most other trail events I've attended. Weather & course conditions can be very big factors -- usually more so in Feb than Dec. It's unlikely you'll get your feet wet at LLTH as much of the race is on ridge tops and the few streams are usually dry or frozen the 1st week of Feb. Hope you're up to the challenge!