Sunday, January 24, 2010

Antarctic Marathon

Kish getting excited for his first marathon!

Not quite as excited about the slow ride out to the start of the half marathon at Pegasus.

Two weekends ago, we ran the annual Antarctic Marathon. You can ski, run, jog, walk, or halve it. Due to an injury to my IT band after taking time off to be sick, I decided to bag the full marathon training. I just didn't think I'd be able to get ready in time. It was a rare thought for me to decide I'd probably get injured and to choose the safer option instead.

Miller (the lady's half winner) dances into the 1st aid station.

What would an Antarctic marathon be without penguins?

Getting to the 10am start proved to be a challenge. We got on a shuttle at 8:45am. The marathons started at 10am at Scott Base. However, the half marathoners had to take the shuttle 13 miles out to Pegasus, the half way point for the marathon, first. Unfortunately, we had to let someone out to go to the bathroom near mile nine and the door wouldn't close after that. The shuttle's parking break won't turn off if the door is open. We were stuck until a van started shuttling everyone to the start in smaller groups.

This skua is just waiting for someone to drop over to eat.

I wish the actual race was like. I'm pretty sure Whit was faking because he rocked it about 5 miles later.

I was on the first shuttle out and was quickly realizing how unprepared I felt for the race. I had not anticipated getting cold in the shuttle for almost two hours before the race. I was running in cotton socks. I didn't have gloves to cover my fingers. I didn't have extra layers if it got windy. In short, I started to worry a lot which, as always, means I did alright.

The race started with out a hitch. Three miles in, we saw emperor penguins. These were the same penguins that I saw molting last week. They have not moved. Well, one laid down. Other than that, I would bet they have not moved five feet from where I first saw them. It was really exciting to see the penguins. I haven't heard of any penguins being on the race course in recent years so that was a real treat.

This rest area is all about helping participants take it easy.

This is how all marathon refreshment tables should be stocked.

Kish winding through mile 20 or so.

I ran the first five miles with Dave Z, who I thought would win it all, and another guy. However, they weren't going too hard. I could have gone out on my own, but I run so few races that I was worried about pacing myself properly. However, when Whit came up from behind and told me to join him, I did. We were off to the races. I didn't look back, but I don't think Dave Z. or the other guy bothered to try and keep up with us.

Kevin wins the marathon ski.

Whit wins the half marathon with me about a half (?) mile behind.

When Whit and I pulled away, we kept chugging along. Around mile 8, I though I heard him breathing pretty hard and possibly struggling. I prefer to run with someone, but during our last race I hadn't pushed Whit and he blew me away at the end. I decided to try to take his final kick out of him and possibly run solo. Between mile 8 and 11, I picked up the pace various times, but each time Whit was able to match me. In the final, 1.5 miles he did what he does best and ran really fast. When he turned it on, I didn't have the slightest hope of keeping up with him. He rocked it.

Crossing the line at 1:33:35

Getting ready to ski out to cheer friends on.

I finally rolled across the line at 1:33:35. I felt pretty good. My IT band was saying hello, but I didn't think it was anything long term. I decided I felt good enough to get right to my cool down, which would be an Annie inspired ski. I skied back out to cheer on everyone who was still coming in. However, the first thing I saw on my way back out was four Adelie penguins. They were coming down the final straight away towards the finish line!!! I think they actually crossed. Yeah for the Antarctic marathon!

The four (count carefully) Adelies win!