Sunday, March 29, 2009

Bataan Memorial Death March Marathon Race Report - 2009!

I traveled over to Alamogordo, New Mexico on Friday, although the race wasn't until Sunday. I stayed with my brother-in-law Gary and niece Amanda on Friday night, and Gary pulled his large travel trailer onto White Sands Missile Range on Saturday so I could be by the race start on Sunday! I slept great Saturday night on the queen size bed knowing that I didn't have to worry about getting up so early and traveling to the base (either Alamogordo or Las Cruces are about 40-50 minutes from the base). Thanks Gary!! Here I am in my temporary casa before the race:
This race is to memorialize the soldiers that were forced to march long distances, without food/water in the intense heat of the jungle, when they were surrendered to the Japanese in the Philippines on the Bataan peninsula in WWII. Many died, but there were survivors who are celebrated at the pre-race ceremony.

You can shake their hands as you head to the start line. A huge flag is held up by a monster crane (the flag must be the size of my house.) 2 stealth bombers flew overhead right before the race started, looking like they would collide and then flying off to each side of us with a big WHOOSH! Guns went off, the amputees head out first (these guys are amazing!), then the rest of us. It was fairly cold at the start (around 40-45 degrees), but it sure got to be smoking hot before long. I wore this huge grey sweatshirt for about 5 miles, then ditched it as a throwaway at an aid station.

Total distance: 26.2 miles (although my Garmin calculated only 25.9)

Total chip finish time: 4:19:21 (9:54 pace) I beat my 2008 time, which was 4:35:46. My 2007 time was 4:54:03. The 2007 race was my first marathon ever. I have only raced 3 marathons and all have been at Bataan (I've also run 3 50k's as well).

Place: 9th out of 587 total civilian and military women light category. There are different categories (team, military, civilian, light, heavy (w/ a 35 lb. pack). This race does not provide overall/age group rankings.

Total cumulative elevation gain/(loss): 2,829/(2,815) ft.

This might not be interesting to some people, but I like to document my pace per mile for this race. I like to look back and see how I did to see how I can improve.

By mile:

1: 8:56 I decided I was going a little too fast (for me). I had a lot of caffeine in me. Pavement.
2: 9:10 I think the dirt road starts during this mile and continues until about mile 9. The first 6 miles are slightly downhill.
3: 9:16
4: 9:13 I saw Darryll B. of the Tucson Trail Runners as he passed me. He is the only person at the race that I knew. He recognized me and said hi, although he was careful not to trip this time (remember Pemberton...)
5: 9:11
6: 9:08
7: 9:23
8: 9:58 Beginning of the elevation gain.
9: 9:49
10: 10:55 I am on the road now, heading straight uphill. There is a HUGE misting station on this road, which we pass back through on mile 19.

11: 11:21
12: 11:31 We jump off the paved road and start on a trail/dirt road, but it is still uphill. I really need to work on the uphills. I'm terrible at them. I had to do some walking.
13: 12:08
14: 10:03
15: 8:38 Yep, I'm finally heading downhill. Feels great! I'm not able to keep up with a guy in front of me running with a 35 lb. pack. Holy cow.
16: 8:34
17: 9:52 More uphill before getting back on the road.
18: 9:45
19: 8:40 Back on the road heading downhill. I love the wall of 'marchers' headed uphill against us. They just cheer you on and it is so motivating! At this point, the runners are pretty spread out.

20: 10:00 Stopped to go to the bathroom, which I had been holding for quite a while. I was quick, though; only cost me about 30 seconds.
21: 11:51 Oh man, it starts uphill again as we veer off the pavement and head onto dirt/sand road.
22: 11:57 This is about where the sand pit (wash) is. I just couldn't run through that deep sand very well. Did a lot of walking.
23: 9:19 Out of the sand pit!! Woohoo!
24: 10:11 The wind is picking up. The forecast today was for 20 - 30 mph winds.
25: 11:27 Running into a gusty headwind. This race is cruel!
.9: 8:58 Into the chute and done! As I mentioned previously, my Garmin only calculated 25.9 miles, instead of 26.2.

Oh yeah, they also serve a real meal afterwards, either bratwurst on a hoagie or a burger and the fixin's. Yummy!
I'm already plotting and planning my strategy for next year. My goal was 4:15, so I was happy with 4:19. Even if I had run 4:15, I still would be 9th place female. year I'll most likely be back. This race course is so hard, with the hills, sand and heat, and I have to conquer it! It is my nemesis.

I don't have any races planned for a while (had to cancel my CO Sageburner 50k because of money - sorry Kathleen), but I have some good long group runs coming up over the next few months, which I'll got over in a separate post.

Yay for my 3rd Bataan! It was the 20th anniversary of the march. I love this race.

1 comment:

HappyTrails said...

You did such a great job - and what a wonderful memorial for a race - those men who were on that march are true heroes! I have been worrying a bit about Sageburner as I have been having some problems as a result of my car accident in Jan that are not improving, consequently affecting training.
So no worries about Sageburner but a bummer we won't get together!