...is not a recommended pre-race routine.
Catiefest '09 went till the wee hours Saturday night and involved far too much beer, brandy, and Bouncy Castle. Sunday morning, and the Canton Fall Classic, came way too early. Before I knew it I was being told by the guy to go find parking somewhere else, the lot was closed. Great.
Gingerly tying my shoes, so as not to get too dizzy on the way back up, I made my way over to the road with the rest of the crew for the start. The weather was great and it was a good day for a run. Except for the hangover part. Not too bad, but still.
Soon enough we were off and running through the streets of Canton. Decision time was at hand, do I coast it and take it a bit easy or do I push for a PR. Talking to some of the other competitors earlier they made out the course to be moderately difficult with some decent sized hills so I wasn't sure if I wanted to kill myself.
Mile three rolled around with my split at exactly 20 minutes. A quick calculation using all available fingers and toes led me to believe that I had a shot at besting my previous PR of 41:46, so I vowed to keep up the pace. And that's when the alcohol decided to take its toll. I began to develop quite the cramp in my side. Nothing too bad at first, but each hill we climbed made it grow successively more and more painful. But I was committed so I toughed it out; apparently a bit too hard though. The next morning I woke up and my muscles between my shoulders were really sore. I guess I was trying to power through it a little too much. (Bad form, sir!)
Mile 4 and the motorcycle cop yelled at all of us. Yeah, yeah, I'll get over to the right side eventually.
Mile 5 and they called out my split, 33:50. So according to that I could do about a 7:10 pace and still get the PR. Awesome. Or so I thought. I made one tactical error, while I had been watching my pace I never actually looked at the time on my watch. I had been relying solely on the splits being called out at the miles. I kicked up my pace to a 6:30 for the last mile, which should have given me plenty of time, but imagine my surprise when I rounded the corner into the parking lot for the finish and the clock read 41:50. I couldn't believe it, how could I have miscalculated so badly? I don't know if the split they called out at mile 5 was wrong, but I should have looked at my watch because it was identical to the clock. Needless to say I was a bit pissed.
Afterwards as I made my way home I kept smelling something odd. It took me awhile to place it. Turns out it was all that brandy and scotch making its way back out through my pores as I sweat it out. I almost got drunk from the fumes on the way home, good thing it was such a nice day that I could open the windows and get some air.
Final note: I ran into Zac after the race and asked how he did. "Good, but it was just a tempo run". Since he is running the NY marathon this Saturday that makes sense. It wasn't until that night when I checked out the results that I found that his "tempo run" was a 5:55 pace which was good enough for 5th place overall. Must be nice.