Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Sales meetings and marathons don't mix...

When my coworker Katie mentioned that McGraw-Hill would be putting together a team for the PF Chang’s Rock 'n Roll Marathon in Phoenix, I jumped right on the bandwagon. It was to take place the weekend after the winter sales meeting, so a large number of employees was able to participate. As a development editor, I wouldn’t normally attend the sales meeting, but given this year’s focus on Spanish books, I somehow weaseled my way into attending. It was a ridiculously busy week, consisting of early wake-up times, long days of meetings, and long evenings drinking and schmoozing with the bigwigs and the sales reps.

Given the week of drinking, lack of sleep, and lack of training (I was still dragging ass after CIM), I knew this wasn’t going to be my best race ever.

The day before the race, my dad and I drove down to the expo and got our race packets and then we drove the course. It was WAY uglier than I remembered it being – McDowell is quite possibly the worst street in Phoenix! I suddenly felt embarrassed to be from the area…I mean, the full marathon course isn’t so bad, but the half marathon course is really hideous. You’d think they could come up with something better. But enough about that. That evening, we went back to the convention hotel, where McGraw-Hill was hosting a pasta dinner for us. They had a nice spread of pasta, salad, chicken, fish, and fruit, and we had a good time.

The HSSL crew - John, Bill, Katie, Chris, me, and Liane - after the pasta dinner.

On race morning my mom drove my dad and me to the start, and then went to the finish to wait for us. My dad and I waited in the port-a-potty line, which crawled along at a snail’s pace. By the time we made it through the line, it was almost time for the race to start. I actually had to run to the start because I was in corral 6. I had to bob and weave through all the people who were trying to get into the other corrals (their setup really sucked!) and I barely made it there before the gun went off. I didn’t really have a plan other than to make it in under 2 hours (given the rough week I’d had). I decided I would try for a PR, and if I wasn’t feeling it in the first few miles, I would back off and just run it for fun.

Well after two miles of an 8 minute pace, I knew the PR wasn’t going to happen. In fact, I spent a good portion of the race struggling just to stay at a 9 minute pace! Man, I lost a lot of fitness in the month after CIM. I don’t remember much of the race other than thinking how great it would be if I could just let myself quit, but I wouldn’t let myself do it. So it got hotter and hotter, and I got more and more miserable, but I knew that I could still make it in under 2 hours, so I just kept plugging along.

I finally crossed in 1:58:57. I’ve never been so happy to see a finish line in my life! I stumbled through the finishers’ area, feeling like absolute crap. The only thing that saved me was the great big popsicle that they handed me. We San Franciscans wilt easily in the heat! I found my mom and we waited for my dad, who had a good race, coming in at 2:32.

My coworkers all had a fun time too:

Katie Crouch: 2:27:56

Bill Glass: 2:11:04

Joe Diggins: 2:47:59

Liane Lau: 2:52:42

Chris Johnson (ran the full): 3:48:33

All in all it wasn’t the worst, but I definitely need to start doing some real training again!