i opted not to do an official "september recap" as i had a really low running total, a close to nothing bike total (18 miles), and other than a lot of puppy chasing (and growing!), it wasnt an all too exciting month. last month was the lowest running mileage month i have had since april at 115 miles. i made it to the 1,000 mile mark for the year and then just decided i was tired. i knew i had a race coming up (that i didnt tell anyone about) and i felt more like resting my legs than trying to go out and run all the time and get faster and go further and push it and all the things i did leading up to my epic breakdown of a marathon in july.
and apparently it worked.
three days after my around the lake disaster, i registered for the smuttynose marathon. i needed redemption. i already knew where i had gone wrong (started off way too fast, was over confident, my fueling needed help)... and i knew that mount desert island was not going to be the race for me to attempt sub 4 again. smuttynose was said to be a flat, fast course, so i thought i would give it a try. and i convinced sarah to join me for her first marathon (despite her super awesome ultra marathon 50k finish, she had yet to toe the line of an actual marathon). and we decided to keep it just between us (which turned into telling a lot of people as the day got closer... but my mom only found out at about 8pm saturday night haha. she wasnt all too pleased....)
like i said, i cut my mileage waaaaaay down in september. probably not the greatest of ideas heading into what i wanted to be a major PR marathon, but my legs were tired. physically, emotionally, and mentally i was broken down. i raced a 10k for the lobsterman triathlon as a relay with andy, averaging about 8:20s but felt like junk. i had a solid 22 miler a few weeks ago at about 9:20 pace but that was really the only run i felt good on. so going into sunday i had no idea if my legs were going to be rested and up for the challenge, or if i would fall apart like i had done in the past 6 marathons.
i started my taper after lobsterman, and gave up caffeine and alcohol (I KNOW!?!?) i chose not to do the long run/carb depletion/long run/carb load thing like i did last time. i think it did work well before but just didnt feel like doing long runs or giving up carbs haha. instead i did a few 2 mile runs, a couple of 5 milers, and my longest run was a 7.
runner of the year here folks.
anyway... i felt well rested on saturday as ty and i headed down to pick up my bib. the expo was really nothing to write home about but i got to see my friend liz who was preparing for her first marathon there and we went out to eat and did some shopping in kittery. i was in bed by 9 with the alarm set for 4am. ugh. just like last years marathon i woke up and it was raining. the forecast called for 30% chance of precipitation... how do these weather people not lose their jobs?! luckily it wasnt freezing, but it was certainly not warm either. i decided to wear my under armour compression capris and a long sleeve shirt over my reach the beach top (hot pink... which did not match my red REV 3 visor. fashion fail). i also brought gloves (those and the long sleeve top came off by mile 2).
i picked up sarah and andy at 5am and we made a quick stop at dunkin donuts before getting on the highway. we got to the race with about an hour and a half to spare, picked up sarahs bib and hung out with our friend jim for a bit (he was running the half). we also met up with my friend from college, sarah and her fiance jim (sarah was running the half), and also found liz and elizabeth (sarah, sarah, liz, elizabeth, jim, jim.. haha sorry for the confusion). college sarah had tried to send me salt pills in the mail which ultimately got returned to her due to not enough postage, but i was worried that the FBI had confiscated them (a ziploc bag with 5 pills, some which had exploded with a white powdery substance...so sketchy haha). she gave me a few to take on the run with me just incase i needed them.
marathon maniacs photo pre race
elizabeth, sarah, and me
me and liz. we clearly love pink.
the reason i accomplished what i did today
couldnt have done it without this girl
with about 5 minutes to go, andy and jim wished us all good luck as we headed to the start. i lined up with timmy, the 9:00 pacer. i found it odd that they only had pacers for the half marathon, but i was so happy to have him to run with so i didnt go out too fast like i usually do. jim told me that timmy was usually spot on so that was good to hear. i was feeling a little nervous but knew i needed to try my best and if sub 4 wasnt in the cards i wasnt going to be upset about it.
the first mile i felt alright, weaving up and down side streets of hampton beach. i had no idea where we were going, which was kinda nice. i just ran, keeping timmy next to me. the road was very crowded but i wasnt needing to weave in and out of people. i just ran whatever pace i was at, trusting him. when we got to mile 1 at 9:25 i thought "uh oh..." we settled into about a 9 min pace after that, with a few sub 9s to catch back up. i had a half gatorade/half water 22oz handheld with me (which got SO heavy, ugh), so my plan was to grab a cup of water at all the water stops. of course i forgot at the first one, and then ran through the 2nd and ended up at the gatorade table and had to back track for the water... which then caused me to have to run 8:40s to try to catch up with timmy. i was not pleased with this, but i saw him up ahead and decided to stay a ways behind and hope to kick it back up at the end if i was needing to. at this point i was almost 2 minutes ahead of my 3:59 pace band i had so i felt ok. my stomach was grumbling by mile 3 which made me a bit nervous but i took a peanut butter gu (a little earlier than planned) and some sports beans which seemed to help.
my knees started hurting me around mile 8. this might have been when i started questioning if i would a) go sub 4, and b) finish. i hadnt taken any ibuprofen so i knew i would probably have some aches and pains but i kept pushing. i was a bit of a mental mess shortly after the half way point, but i knew (well hoped...) andy was going to be at mile 16 to take me the last 10 miles and i looked forward to having him there to push me to the end. (i had told him if i didnt see him i wasnt waiting around, so i was just hoping he made it there.... which he did). the second i saw him and we took off i handed him my water bottle and tried to get feeling back in my left arm (i had been switching it from hand to hand but i hate running with it in my right hand and i just couldnt get comfortable with it). i talked to him for a little bit and then turned my music back on and just got lost in the run. i told him if i stopped or started to really slow down that he needed to yell at me (im not sure he could actually yell at me, but luckily i didnt need to find out). i did stop one time around mile 18 to stretch my knees out and then again around mile 20 to get a rock out of my shoe. other than that we just continued to run side by side in silence. which was just what i needed. we also saw our friend eric a bunch of times along the way on his bike, my friend brett (his wife erin was running), his mom kelly & scott (and erin's sister/brother in law) were out and about on the course cheering us on, and liz's husband and friend courtney were at mile 8 & 20 ish... all were such great supports for me :) thank you guys!!!
side note: i really hope you all have such great/supportive friends/family as i do. leading up to this race i got so many words of encouragement and support from the people who knew i was running. i had my best friend and running partner at the race. i had a great friend running next to me to make sure my mental doubts didnt allow me to quit. i got a "tip of the day" for the 5 days leading up to the race... run smart, pacing, its the journey not the destination, breathe.... and one text that came in saturday night read: "dont forget to just run for the love of it. thats why we do it, after all". just what i needed to hear. and i got gorgeous roses from ty when i got home (awwwww).
theres a pretty sharp uphill at mile 22 and then a nice downhill to a flat finish. i walked through the water stop at 22, slapped the sign (favorite mile/#), and knew this was it. i had 40 minutes to run 4 miles. i didnt want to start my push just yet but i tried to keep a constant pace around 9 min/mile. mile 23 was really hard... i stopped and stretched and talked to andy a little, and then decided to start pushing it. my pace for those miles doesnt show it until the last mile, but i felt good. "fix you" by coldplay came on my ipod and i started crying... but it was what i needed right then. with over 10 minutes to run the last mile, i knew i had done it. (im very happy to be able to write that mile 26 was an 8:25 rather than 22:28. and no puking either.)
the last half mile was the longest stretch ever. i took my salt pill shortly before andy left me just incase i cramped up. i couldnt see the finish line and i kept looking at my watch seeing the seconds tick by. when i finally saw the finish line up ahead and had secured the sub 4 hour mark, i pumped my fist in the air and ran strong through the finish, giving college sarah a huge high five in the chute (see below for the awesome video her fiance snagged of me! yay!) sarah came running over to me and i broke down crying giving her a hug. im now 2 for 2 with her at my races for huge PRs (hyannis half breaking sub 1:50).
i met up with andy and ruddley (sarahs husband) after i finished and we cheered (and cried) as sarah came thru the finish chute completing her first marathon. theres nothing quite like that feeling and im so proud of her for overcoming so much to get herself there yesterday.
i finally did it :)
elevation gain: 333 ft
elevation loss: 335 ft
min elevation: 1 ft
max elevation: 88 ft
finishing time: 3:58:14
average pace: 9:05
overall place 342/868
i probably should have bought a lottery ticket or something yesterday... my 7th marathon, a 17 min 14 second PR... lucky #7? i also found it really odd that i had the very same race bib number (960) as i did at my very first marathon in 2009 (i was nervous pre race that it was a sign this one might be my last...) buuuuut things went well, im feeling alright today (despite swollen black and blue knees)...
bring it on Mount Desert Island marathon... 13 days :)
pretty even splits overall