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Thursday, March 10, 2011

10th Annual Mercedes Marathon Recap

This is my 4th marathon this year and 77th overall

OK, I  think I am  way overdue to post this race report, I have another one to write after this one, so I better hurry up or I will have another one piling up waiting for me to report.

I didnt plan to run the Mercedes Marathon toward the end of last year, I was planning to run the Donna's Marathon in FL, which lands on the same day as Mercedes Marathon, but I wasnt so sure that I wanted to run that one cuz I noticed their medal isnt too impressive, although all the money from the registration goes toward the breast cancer research, so it was all for good cause. But I still wasnt completely sold. So I went to look for another race on the date and I found Mercedes Marathon, which happened to be their 10th Anniversary, plus their medal looks like the Mercedes logo, and since I dont have the state Alabama to complete my 50 States, I signed up for that race right away.

Thursday - 2-10-11

This was the place I stayed at

I arrived at Birmingham Airport, AL around 7:30pm, picked up my rental car, and headed straight to my hotel. It was used to be a apartment complex but they turned into a hotel property, so all the rooms are pretty spacious with kitchen, microwave and frig, although the furnitures are kind of old, that's fine with me. I stayed in my room for the night  to watched the LAKERS vs Celtics game, what a great game!!

Friday - 2-11-11

I decided to take a trip down to New Orlean, which was about 5 hours drive from Birmingham, I have been to New Orlean before last year for the RNR New Orlean, had a lot of fun there so I just wanted to go there again to revisit. I didnt mind the 5 hours drive because that's a lot shorter than driving from CA!!

Passing thru the state MS on my way to New Orleans

I stopped by  the RNR New Orlean Expo at the convention center after 5 hrs drive, since the race was on the same day as Mercedes Marathon, I was able to pick up some GUs and a pair of neon green gloves  for my race on sunday. The expo was pretty small, I finished it in less than an hour. So I spent the rest of the day and night hanging around Boubon St and the areas around it. I did not leave New Orlean until like 5am in the morning!!! I had an awesome and tiring night in New Orleans.

At the RNR New Orlean Expo

One of the BEST chicken cheese steak on Bourbon St.

View of the Bourbon St. from the balcony of Cat's Meow

Saturday - 2-12-11

After driving 5 hours back from New Orleans at 5am, I finally got back to my room, got rested, showered, then heading back out for the Mercedes Marathon Expo. This one was even smaller than, it was inside the auditorium in downtown Birmingham, but the good thing was they were giving out free gloves!!! I was in and out in about 15 mins, then I saw there were kids selling Girl's Scout Cookies, so I HAD to buy 2 boxes!!

Pre-Race Dinner

A fellow Maniac Phil who was organize the dinner meet up at this little pizza joint called Rocky's nearby, inside you can see a wall filled with 8x10 of different boxers, I am not much of a boxing fan but I think that was very neat.

There were about 20 of us made it to the dinner at Rocky's

This was my carbo load meal, Chicken Fettucini Alfredo, doesnt look like much but that's enough for me.

Got everything lay out for the race in the morning.

Race Day

Got up like around 4:30am, drove to the designated parking lot around 5am, it was a bit cold early in the morning, like around 40s to 50s, I hung around in my car for awhile before I headed to the start area, I didnt want to check any bag since I parked rather close, I could just walk back and change after I finished, so I just  wore my long sleeves from my Surf City Marathon over my Maniac singlet, plus my neon green gloves, and my iFitness belt, and I was ready to go.

The race started at 7:03am, dont know why the extra 3mins, kind of interesting. The Full, the Half, AND the Relay started at the same time so it was kind of congested during the first 3 miles or so, then after that it got thin out a little bit so I was able to find my comfortable pace. I made sure I eat my GU every hour because I did the same thing at RNR New Orleans last year and I PRed, so I want to do the same thing again.  I followed the 4:00 pace group for a few miles, but decide to go a little faster and went out my own pace. The course was a double loop course, so we had to run the same course twice, which was kind of fun because you know what to expect the 2nd time.

It was still pretty chilly in the morning, I kept my long sleeves the whole time, then around Mile 8, there was this nice long  downhill, so I picked up my pace just a little bit. Then at Mile 12 mark, there were these nice people having their own BEER station on the sideline, I didnt take any of them, yet, but on my 2nd loop, I will!! =-)

Beer station at Mile 12/25 mark!!!

I finished the 1 loop in around 1:55, so all I had to do was to do the same loop over again and I could maybe PR!! My last PR was 3:55.45 at the RNR New Orleans, it was my 60th marathon so it was a great way to celebrate my race with a new PR.

I tried to run close to the curb as possible, trying to run the tangent of the course so I could "cut" the course legally. I eat my GUs every top of the hour and I felt really good. Then after Mile 20, I finished around 2:55, I knew I could PR IF I could maintain a 10min pace for the next 10k. I just took it one mile at a time and continued to run. Then after Mile 23, I only had 33 mins to finished the last 3.2 miles, then I knew I had a good chance to PR. Then at Mile 25 marker,  I saw the clock reads 3:40, then I KNEW I will PR, so I stopped at Mile 25 marker and took a pic next to it, plus I took one of the beer that they were serving cuz I want to celebrate my PR early. =-)  I crossed the finished line at 3:50.55!! A 5 mins PR!!!!

One More Mile till PR!!!

Celebrate my PR with my beer inside the auditorium after the race

Here are my splits:

Mile 1 - 8:58     Mile 14 - 8:45
Mile 2 -  8:42    Mile 15 -  8:38
Mile 3 - 8:21     Mile 16 - 8:35
Mile 4 -  8:32    Mile 17 -  8:33
Mile 5 - 8:45     Mile 18 - 8:47
Mile 6 -  8:40    Mile 19 -  8:39
Mile 7 - 8:46     Mile 20 - 10:14
Mile 8 -  8:41    Mile 21 -   9:38
Mile 9 - 8:21     Mile 22 - 8:53
Mile 10- 8:46    Mile 23 -  9:31
Mile11 - 8:30    Mile 24 - 9:20
Mile12 -  8:40   Mile 25 -  9:42
Mile13 - 8:20    Mile 26 - 8:46

Overall I like this marathon just because I got a new PR!!! The voluntteers were awesome!! Post race activities were fun, FREE beer and sandwich inside the Auditorium, plus free massage. The medal looks really cool!! If I live close I would run this every year!!.

Next Race................Red Rock Canyon Marathon 3-5-2011

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