I finished the hilly Hayward Marathon today in 1 hour and 49 minutes. My goal was simply to participate. I would have liked, however, a time under 1 hour and 45 minutes. I make no excuses but I didn't skate my best because of a myriad of factors.
Rain was pouring heavy right up to race time at 7:30 am so I got started really slow and stayed slow for the first 10 miles. Puddles everywhere and some spots on the course were like grease patches. This was really disappointing. But in hindsight, this was probably a good thing because of the cold I had this last week I needed to take it slow. The last half of the marathon was fantastic though.
Another factor in my slow time were the hills. Hills everywhere! The whole stinking course was either uphill or downhill. This type of terrain taxes the legs and I am feeling much pain in my legs and feet as I type this.
There is one infamous downhill that lasts close to a mile and a half. This hill starts with the biggest decline I've ever skated on. There were reports after the race of average speeds between 40 and 50 mph. Amazing!
This was a very small field of racers - I think less than 200. Because of this I found myself alone most of the time on the course. Not being able to draft really slowed me down as well. I learned a valuable lesson. I need to position myself better at the starting line. This race was a mass start and I was near the back of the pack. I never gave myself a chance to skate with better skaters and there was no way I was going to catch up in today's conditions. At St. Paul I am going find a lead position in my wave at the start.
39 mile challenge
Get this! Along with the marathon there was a 39 mile challenge race. All the pros skated this. The guy who came in first finished in 1:56! Thirty nine miles in 1 hour and 56 minutes! I did 26.2 in 1:49. These guys averaged 20.7 miles over the 39 miles. They are inspirational phenoms!
In the end
It's bittersweet but I am satisfied with my results at Hayward. I was humbled in some ways but also my resolve was strengthened to keep getting better at this inline speed skating thing.
St. Paul is next Sunday.