Saturday, September 26, 2009

Marathon #24 is History

Great day today at the Akron Marathon. My 24th marathon and 3rd Akron Marathon. No blow-by-blow account of the race but I'll give you the highlights.

I got home kind of late last night from the expo after working with Vertical Runner from Noon-9pm...on my feet. I finally got to bed around 10:15pm and up at 4am. I felt quite good and the drive to Akron was a breeze. After hanging out at the Finish Line in Canal Park for awhile (see photo below), we head on up to the Starting Line to meet up with everyone else at the old church steps for a group photo and some well-wishes. I kissed Marjie goodbye and wished her luck in her 1/2 marathon then found my way into the throng of adrenalin-pumped runners in the starting corral. A really good prayer followed by the singing of our National Anthem followed. Wow, she was GOOD!!! The flag high above the Inventors Hall of Fame was blowing perfectly in the wind. I loved it.
Right on time, the bells sounded and we were off! Through 14 miles I ran between a 8:15 - 8:30 pace hanging out in between the 3:40 and 3:50 pace groups. On the Towpath section, I met up with Hope and we ran together for awhile and E-Speed's 3:40 group was in front of us. Well, just as I was finishing up the Towpath section around Mile 15, my right calf started to act up. I have never had one single issue with that muscle. NEVER. The pain was between the lower part of the meaty part of the muscle and traveled to the Achilles. I absolutely had to back way off. From this point on, I was all about salvaging my 24th and not doing any damage that could sideline me. So, from that point on to the finish, I inserted walking breaks where I took full strides to stretch out that muscle. Of course, I greatly slowed and finished in 4hrs, 8min, 22sec. Definitely one of my slower marathons but still another finish line and one on my home turf. Afterwards, Marjie took my traditional photo outside Canal Park and I thought it would be neat to make a collage out of the last 3 years.

Some highlights from the day:

- Marjie and Amy bested their previous times at the 1/2 marathon distance. They typically walk the 1/2 marathon but have been incorporating more running (insert me grinning ear to ear) during the races. They blew their Cleveland 1/2 Marathon time out of the water and I think they are considering running a 1/2 marathon completely sometime next year.

- Bill (my brother) set a PR today in his 2nd marathon after this past Spring's Flying Pig Marathon in Cincy. Akron is a tough course to PR on so well done! His wife Jaime ran her first 1/2 marathon today, too! All great stuff!!! (yet another grin to insert right here)

- Jim and Bekah (youngest brother and his wife) participated in a 5-person relay today and did very well. Neither ran a year ago, either. (OK, my face hurts now from's just so cool that we ALL participated in the Akron Marathon and 1/2 Marathon today! I have no more siblings, by the way.)

- Still staying positive and praising Him when things got ugly for me. I instantly recalled Casting Crowns' song "Praise You in this Storm" and I did just that. Good, bad, really doesn't matter! Oh yea, I just got tickets to see them in Akron on October 30th. FINALLY!!!!

- Getting to see all of my running peeps. Always good to see you all and share these events together. It was also great to finally meet Hope and run with her on the Towpath. Great job out there, Hope!

- The "Mr. Moon" call-out by the Inca Princess as I left the Towpath and headed into Sand Run. YOU ROCK!!!!! The smile lasted at least 1/2 mile.

- Heading straight to a soccer game from the race to see my daughter tear up the field. You should have seen me shivering as I poured cold water over my head trying to the caked on salt off before I slipped into some dry clothes. Brrrrrrrr!!!!!!!!

- Hot soaking bath where I nearly fell asleep...ahhhh.....

After the bath, I got right to work on my legs, focusing on my right calf. I'm totally sold on the effectiveness of the foam roller and used it again today. Flush the crud out and let healing begin! Hey, I don't have all the time in the world, you know....less than 14 days until I'll be lost on the trails of Oil Country!

Congrats to all who participated today and if you volunteered, a big hearty THANK YOU!!! All of these events are impossible without YOU! Thank you!

Happy Trails, everyone! (no more asphalt!!)


duchossois said...

Nice work today, Nick. Just 2 weeks until Oil City, so get recovered and stay off the paved surfaces. Good luck!

Inca Princess said...

The smile only lasted 1/2 mile . . . damn . . . I must be slipping! Great job Nick!

Chef Bill Bailey said...

See I told to hydrate.


Nick Billock said...

Thanks, Frank! Time to REST!

Inca: it only lasted 1/2 mile because I entered Sand Run...kinda hard to smile at that spot.

Chef: I'm fixin' to march right over to Cuyahoooga Falls and kick your tail! It was a 'rough road' but not a disaster. At least I FINISHED the race I signed up for! And hallelujah, you didn't pass me this year. I would have never lived that down.

Laurie said...

Awesome! Way to go! Oil Creek in under 2 weeks? WOW! I can't wait to "hear" that report!

Sensationally Red said...

Great seeing you Nick!! Good job out there. Take care of your calf!