Monday, May 2, 2011

Sean, Hayes, and Rocky Rock the Reno Marathon!

During the Tahoe Triple in 2007, Sean and Rocky (then 12 and 10 years old) ran a half marathon and after recovering from that, Sean said that he would like to finish a marathon before his 16th birthday. About 4 months ago, Sean and his friend Hayes (17) decided to start training seriously for a marathon and asked me to coach them. Rocky joined in for the fun as well (he was going to try to run a faster half marathon this time) and before long some of their friends joined in and we now have a complete local relay team for the upcoming Tahoe Relay.

Police Escort at the Start of the Reno Rock 'n River Marathon

We looked around for a marathon, with the following criteria in mind:
  • Flat-ish
  • Not too expensive
  • Close to home
At first we decided on the River City marathon (my favorite), but found out that the date had moved up this year, so we would not have enough time to train. Then we found the Reno Rock 'n River Marathon on May 1st and after reading Gretchen's race report we decided we would try that one for a first marathon, just a few weeks after Sean's 16th birthday.

Rocky and Turi "Running Around Reno" Becker at the Start

The day before the race we went to the expo to pick up the race bibs. While there, we ran into Angel (Tahoe Triple RD) and we convinced a few people to sign up for the Tahoe marathons ;-) Pasta dinner at the Olive Garden tasted good and after that we went to bed early.

With Austin Angel in the Tahoe Booth at the Expo

The next morning, after months of solid training, including several nice long runs, and some almost-injuries, it was time to run! It was going to be a nice day: cold at the start, but not too hot later on. We caught up with Turi at the start, which was fun. Turi went on to break his own half-marathon record, paced by the lightning-fast Chris (1:28:12)--Go Turi! One person we half-expected to see at the start was the infamous Lynryd Skynrod, but he was missing in action.

Rocky at the Start

The marathon started at 6:30 a.m. and the half marathon started at 7. It was still very cold, but that would help later on. Sean and Rocky made good time, sticking to the 1-minute walk breaks after each mile that I had been telling them to take. We found a spot on the course where they would all pass several times and saw Turi, Chris, Sean, Hayes, and Rocky fly by several times.

The Easy Early Miles

Rocky came through at the 7 mile point at 1:35, feeling good. I estimated that it would take him at least another hour to make it back to the finish, but when we arrived (we stopped for a coffee and could not park right at the finish) we found out that he had already finished in 2:23! Sorry we missed that Rocky, but very happy you were able to crank up the pace to finish that strong! Rocky's finish time was good for a third place in the 11-15 age group and he received a nice big age group medal--this race is pretty serious about their hardware!

What's on the Other Side of "The Wall?"

We quickly drove to the Rock Park aid station at mile 23 and waited there for Sean and Hayes. All of the marathoners go through this aid station in both directions, but almost everyone had already passed on the way out. We did not know what to expect--finishing was the only goal for the day, but based on previous long runs, we were thinking of a finish time in the 5:15-5:30 range.

Proud Finishers

All of a sudden, they came around the corner, well ahead of this pace. This was mile 23 and both of them were clearly hitting the wall, but determined to keep pushing. A short walking break just enough to swallow a final gel, and they were off again. 3 miles to go with 45 minutes left to break 5 hours--the race was on! We quickly drove to the finish and waited there.

The Finish

Sure enough, with plenty of time to spare, they came running down the final straightaway. They must have even passed a few "bogeys" in the last few miles. They finished at exactly the same time in 4:48--good enough for a shared 2nd place in the 15-19 age group--more medals.

The Post-Race Meal

I'm obviously very proud of them. It was a great accomplishment and we celebrated with a very well-deserved, big meal before driving back home to rest and ice the legs. Thanks to all the volunteers for putting together a very runnable marathon!

Blast from the Past: Sean and Rocky Finish the Lake Tahoe Half Marathon in 2007

Next Up: The Tahoe Relay! Our team name is "The Extreme Falcons" ;-)

1 comment:

SnowLeopard said...

Wow! Congrats to Rocky, Sean & Hayes! I am SO impressed at the distances they are running- I could barely run a lap at their age. :) Those three boys have grown quite a bit since we ran together in 2008 at the Tahoe Decelle relay! I'm glad you guys got to share in some beautiful weather here in Reno, and a great crowd to run with as well~

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