Monday, October 3, 2011

marathon #4

i spent about the first 5 miles of yesterdays marathon virtually writing this blog post in my head. i had a few funny things and a good way to lay it all out. think i remember anything from all those thoughts? nope.

ive always had a difficult time writing my marathon recaps... anyone who has ever written one should understand the amount of emotion that comes with this great accomplishment. its not easy to put it all into words... the good, the bad, the highs, and the lows. yesterdays race was the same distance as all the other marathons ive done (yes, i know its shocking, but ALL marathons are 26.2 miles....) but it was so very very different from the other 3 marathons ive ran.

as i wrote on facebook yesterday, the list of things that went wrong yesterday is so much longer than the list of things that went right.

what went right:
1. i survived.
2. 4:18:03- course PR by 25 minutes!

what went wrong:

1. race bibs
         not that this was a huge issue, but we got an email saturday night saying that there was an error with the way the timing chips were placed on the back of the race bibs and due to this mistake everyone needed to wear their bibs sideways or else their times may not be recorded going over the start/finish line. if this snafu keeps me from becoming a maniac i might kick someone...

2. no bread
         i ALWAYS eat the same thing for breakfast before my races. one, if not two, slices of toast with peanut butter, and a cup of coffee. i woke up yesterday morning and realized i had forgotten to get a loaf of bread. so no pre race toast. i ended up eating oatmeal instead, knowing its never a good idea to change things up the morning of a race (let alone a marathon!), and then downed 3 tums before heading out the door. just incase.

3. rain
         were talking torrential down pour. i hoped it would lighten up before the race started...

4. bag drop off
         after hanging out inside the university of southern maine gym pre race (to keep dry and use the real bathrooms vs. port-a-potties... which actually didnt smell any better...) a group of us headed towards the start with about 10 minutes left before the gun went off. there were puddles EVERYWHERE. i really wanted to try to at least keep my feet dry until the start of the race, but it didnt happen. although there were only 3500 runners, the start was still pretty crowded and jen and i were running around trying to find the bag drop, unsuccessfully. we thought it was at one place so we walked through puddles and mud only to find it wasnt there. then they announced that the race was starting in 3 minutes and runners should get on the road. so here we are, still carrying around our bags, not knowing what to do. we finally found the truck that was taking the bags and saw that the two lines were about 30 people deep each. we made a quick decision to just drop our bags in the windowsil of some building behind the food tent. whatever, if someone wanted my fleece pants, old sneakers, and 2010 MDI hunting orange jacket, feel free. oh yeah and my car keys... to tyler's rusty car (hehe... please take it?). so yeah, HUGE fail. we jumped through a huge puddle to get ourselves onto the road, and the gun went off. not how i wanted to start this race. (i also forgot to turn my garmin on to get satellite service... which takes a lifetime when its raining. it didnt say i had satellite service as i took off but somehow it caught up and actually was ahead of the race mile markers? no clue.)

5. soaking wet
         oh yeah, the rain never let up. actually, thats a lie. it let up for awhile after mile 10. but at that point, i was drenched. i had started the race wearing a long sleeved tech shirt and ended up taking that off when i saw ty at mile 10 cuz it weighed a ton! i had thought about taking off my tshirt too and putting on a dry long sleeved shirt i had packed for ty to bring for me, but i was so used to just being soaked i decided against it. also, most of the race is shaded along the roads with huge trees... i had thought maybe the trees would be good protecting against the pouring rain but with the 15-20mph winds, the trees were just dumping more water on us. yay.

6. ipod fail
         i always run with music (unless its 4am and dark, and then im only running a few miles so i can handle it). the most ive ever run without music was last years beach to beacon 10k. i specifically added more music yesterday when i woke up incase i was still running on tuesday (i clearly didnt have high expectations for this race). i started the race without my ipod on cuz i love hearing all the cheers going out of the starting line, and then i turned it on. the first song was "jet lag" by simple plan. i love this new song, and it really pumped me up. i purposefully put "belle of the boulevard" as the 2nd song, since the race starts on baxter boulevard. i think i heard about 3 more songs, and then my earphones starting crackling. i had so much water in my ears and i could barely hear the music. awesome. i gave my ipod to tyler at mile 10 and asked him to figure out how to dry the headphones out and give them to me later on. he and our friend kenny had put them on the heater in the car, dried them out, and when he gave them back to me at mile 16 they worked again!... for 2 songs. and then no sound at all. nothing i could really do, so i just enjoyed the sound of the rain, the feet hitting the pavement, and ended up meeting a lot of cool people and talking to them around different parts of the course. (side note: im actually thinking about not even bothering with an ipod for MDI marathon... who am i becoming?! another side note: during my early morning trainings without music for whatever reason i would always sing "ma ma ma my sharona!"! luckily this did not happen yesterday).

7. crying
         im a huge emotional runner. i dont know whether its the amount of time spent out there on the road where i do a lot of thinking or what, but i always cry during the marathon, usually around mile 25ish when i know im almost there. i cried 5 times yesterday, starting at mile 3. ive definitely learned the hard way that crying doesnt allow for adequate breathing while trying to run, so the tears are short lived. but the marathon is definitely an emotional thing for me. and when i got to where there was a mile and a half left yesterday, and i knew i was going to kill my previous maine marathon times, and someone i passed said to me "where are you getting all of this energy!?" (i was running an 8:45/mile pace), i knew aaron was there helping me and i just started crying and talking to him along that last lonely mile. i knew i wasnt alone.

i say the list of things that went wrong was much longer than what went right, but regardless of how crazy/weird the marathon was, it truly was awesome. regardless of the pouring rain, thousands of runners came out and accomplished something that a lot of people have never done. and even better, there were SO MANY SPECTATORS & AWESOME VOLUNTEERS! thank you thank you THANK YOU!!! sarah's husband, mom, dad, and brother were at about mile 2 and took this funny pic :)

i saw our friend josh's fiance and mom & dad around mile 5, then ty & kenny were at mile 6 (a big spectator spot, and the marathon relay 1st exchange spot). i was feeling really good when i went by them, but had already had many thoughts leading up to then about whether or not the race was really worth finishing (the rain was not fun). buuuut i kept going. i was also running splits that kept me about 2 and 1/2 minutes ahead of where i wanted to be in order to finish in 4:20. (in the back of my mind, however, i knew this course and ive run it twice before. both times i felt great til mile 18 and then slowly fell apart.... was today going to be the same?)

shortly after mile 6, the course for the half marathon turns around and the marathon keeps going. its fun to see the runners in the half coming back by you, and i always cheer them on. i even saw joan benoit samuelson... shes speeeeeedy fast! but once you pass that turn around cone (which i always ask the flagger if i can change my mind, hehe) it gets a little lonely. i saw ty & kenny again at mile 10, which is another big spectator point. my knees were starting to ache a bit, but i was still running about a 9:50/mile pace which surprised me. the race course goes out and back with a little loop, and before i knew it i was at mile 17 (where mile 10 is on the way out). i saw ty cross the street up ahead of me, so i figured he had seen me and was getting on the right side of the street to exchange my handheld. but when i got there, he wasnt there. i yelled for kenny to bring my bag to me and i started going through it. apparently ty hadnt seen me and headed off into the woods to go to the bathroom! i grabbed some ibuprofen, my new full handheld, two GU's, and my ipod. right before i was ready to head off, ty came running out of the woods. good thing he didnt miss me!

i headed off up the hill and immediately took down a chocolate outrage GU (thanks, andrea!). i had felt pretty good about my fueling throughout the race... i had 3or4 gu chomps before the race started (i didnt think the oatmeal was going to be enough), then a tri berry GU at mile 5, and an espresso love GU at mile 10. but right before i got to mile 17 my stomach was growling so i knew i needed more. i had one more tri berry GU at mile 21 and just hoped that would keep me going.

i couldnt believe how fast the time was going by, and was surprised at mile 20 that my legs were still feeling really good. i had some knee pain on and off from mile 10, but the ibuprofen seemed to help. i looked down at my garmin and checked my 4:20 pace sheet and realized i had 63 minutes to run a 10k in order to finish with my goal time. i was shocked! at mile 22, i thought the wall was fast approaching, but i stretched for a few seconds and kept going. the last 5 miles felt great. the closer i got to the finish, the better i felt. there were more and more spectators as the rain had lightened up, and the energy level was encouraging. at one point along the last 2 miles there were a group of college kids blaring music from their apartment and dancing around and giving high fives to all the runners. i ran onto the boulevard (1.5 miles left) with a huge smile on my face knowing i had about 18 minutes to run the distance to make 4:20, and i knew (even if i had to crawl!) that i would kill my course record.

the feelings among the last mile are indescribable. i passed a few people who commented on my energy level and i honestly dont know where it came from. i saw ty & kenny along the side of the road at mile 26, threw them my handheld and teared up. i saw mark & christine right before the finish, smiled for the camera man, and fist pumped crossing the finish line seeing the timing clock read 4:19 (knowing i was about a minute ahead of the clock).

sadly my mom didnt make it to the finish line in time to see me cross through since i told her i was figuring about a 4:30 finish. also sad that i didnt have anyone take my pic with my finishing medal! hopefully the race photographer got a good pic :) im still on such a high... i still cant believe my time having had the crappy training i had. it seemed like the race flew by, and as much as i had been dreading doing the two marathons back to back (well, 14 days apart), im now really excited for it! the feeling of crossing the finish line after running 26.2 miles is amazing, and im glad i dont have to wait long to do it again.

13.1- 2:08:30
26.2- 4:18:03 (9:54)
146/401 female
29/59 age group 30-34


    I had the same problem with my ipod- too much water in the ears!
    Awesome job on a rainy day- congrats to youuuu!
    (btw- this is the middleaged runner. your blog comments hate me and won't let me comment as me.)

  2. Great job out there despite some nasty conditions!!! Woot on the course PR too! I can't imagine running an entire marathon in that mess, I've done 18 miles and that was more than enough for me! You are my hero girl!!!

  3. man, GOOD FOR YOU, girl. i loved getting the updates from ty yesterday, i felt like i had magical sneaky tracking. so proud of you!

  4. Great post! I loved meeting up with you yesterday morning. Thank you for all your help. I too always eat toast (2 slices) w/ pb and coffee! Sorry about your iPod. I know it sucks when you are counting on it and a fails! Ugh. Great run yesterday!

  5. You are AWESOME and such an inspiration! One day I will be as amazing as you! :)

  6. Great job D! So happy for you! Seems like even with training not going as planned you knocked it out of the park. Hey- who knows maybe soon you will join me in the world of music-less runners!!

  7. congratulations on an AMAZING RACE! And wowsers on your two half splits. Almost identical! Now I'm going to have to do some WERRRRRRRRRRRK.


  8. Congratulations! What a great recap. Sorry for all the mishaps. But man, you had an awesome race!!

  9. Great job on the PR! I love those shirts this year! I did the half last year.

  10. You're such a rockstar. I was seriously screamin' my face off every time I got a text message update from the race or Ty. So proud of you for running a strong race on a tough as balls day. :D