This report is going to be super long. I need to get it all out of my head and onto “paper” so that when I consider doing this again, I can see what I was thinking. Not that that stopped me from running a second marathon after saying “never again” during the first. Grab a beer (or coffee or wine, whatever) and settle in. Or, just look at the pictures LOL.
- To my darling Beer Geek – for supporting me through the training, for delivering the newsletters that came on the worst day possible, for driving there and back through hideous DC traffic, for wrangling the boys and then bringing them to the finish line. I couldn’t do it without you.
- To my boys – for putting up with mommy constantly going out for a run, for accepting that mommy was sometimes cranky after long runs, for frequently asking me if I’d won after I finished a run, for running me in at the end of the marathon.
- To my family and friends – for listening to me when I talked about nothing but the marathon, for watching the boys whenever I needed to get a run in, for believing in me, for the awesome notes on FB that I’ve received over the course of the training (especially the last few days). You all are awesome!
- To my blog friends – for reading and commenting and keeping me focused. I also blame you all for getting me into the situation in the first place, though. ;o)
- I will never run a small race for anything over the length of a half marathon again.
- I prefer rolling hills to completely flat.
- I’m too much of a city girl to run (non-technical) trail races. (And too much of a klutz to run a technical trail race LOL).
- Running a marathon anywhere besides my home area needs to involve extra days at the location, not drive up Saturday, run, drive home Sunday.
- Sometimes it doesn’t hurt any more to run “fast” than it does to run slow.
Where I proceeded to not sleep at all. Sigh. I got up at 4:15, got ready, and RunningLaur and her mom picked me up around 5:45. (HUGE thank you to them both for allowing me to let the boys sleep in and still have them be at the finish. ) It was cool out (I wore a pair of Beer Geek’s old socks as arm warmers, ’cause I’m classy like that.), but I’d prefer cool to hot any day. I got the chance to meet Abby before the race and then it was time to line up.
Right before the race, I decided I’d aim for 10:18 miles, which would bring me a 4:30 marathon time. Nothing ventured, nothing gained, right? The race was not chip timed, but I knew I didn’t want to race to hard at the finish, so I hung at about the middle of the pack with RunningLaur and one of her friends. We stayed together for about the first mile, but near the end of that mile, she wanted to stick with her marathon plan and I’d fallen into a nice groove right around 10:15 miles. I also happened to be running right behind Tammy and was enjoying listening to her talk to another runner about her ultramarathons. (One of these days I need to introduce myself or she’s going to think I’m a stalker LOL) I was bummed when it became apparent around mile 2 that they were going to be going just a bit faster than I wanted to go and they moved ahead of me.
Then, around mile 3, I met Bob. Bob was planning to just finish, but he was feeling good at that point and running exactly the pace I needed to go. We ran together to at least mile 10, sometimes with me needing to catch up to him when I did a GU or walked a water stop. It was nice to chat with someone and have basically a pacer, as he was running a pretty steady pace. The times of my first 10 miles show this – 10:12, 10:16, 10:18, 10:15, 10:24, 10:10, 10:19, 10:11, 10:07, 10:12.
The remaining 10 miles are pretty much a blur. This was one of the reasons I will never run a marathon on a trail again. I was completely alone. As in, I could see a runner in the far distance occasionally, but really, for the most part, all I could see were flowers and trees. I should have pulled out my ipod, but I just didn’t have the energy. I walked every water stop and I did some GUs. Along the way, I saw a guy skipping the marathon. As I followed him, I gave that a try and discovered it loosened up my very tight hips. I’ll have to remember that! I passed him and kept on going. At mile 20, I called Beer Geek and told him I had about an hour to go, so that they knew when to meet me. At mile 23, the back of my left knee began to hurt, but not enough that I couldn’t run. I found that running slowly didn’t feel any better than running faster, so I tried to push myself. It’s really hard to try to push from landmark to landmark when there are no landmarks. I kept making myself run to the next tree or the purple flowers or occasionally a big rock or bridge. I was starting to get a little loopy and wanted to stop, but I just kept counting down tenths of miles on Garmin.
At mile 25, my other leg began to cramp up. I was pretty sure if I walked, I’d not start running again, so I just kept trudging along. When I hit one mile to go, I began singing “99 bottles of beer on the wall.” I knew when I finished, I’d be done. By this point, it was quite warm out and there was no more shade. I was just trudging along, one step at a time. Finally, I hit the end of the trail and I had only .2 left to go. Splits for miles 17-26 – 10:38, 10:34, 10:44, 10:49, 10:13, 11:21, 11:11, 10:50, 11:23, 11:35.
That last .2 involved the only hill to speak of and then about .1 on a track. I trudged up the hill, figuring I had nothing left to give. However, as I stepped on the track, they announced my name and I could see my boys on the infield, near the finish line. I started picking up my speed, knowing I wanted to have nothing left at the end. As I got near Jones, I yelled at him to join me. He thought I was crazy, but he started running. As we got closer, I was still picking up speed and Shoo jumped in too. Typical of his personality, he stayed ahead of me and I had to give everything I had to try to catch him. I don’t know exactly how long that .2 took as I forgot to turn off Garmin, but my best pace during that time was a 7 minute pace!
After the race, we hung out in the mid-field for a bit. I was covered in salt and exhausted and my legs were cramping up, but a friend and her family had driven a couple of hours just to see me finish, so I wanted to talk to them for a bit.
Some volunteers came over and gave me and the boys cookies and bananas and then we raced back to hotel to clean up and drive home. Our drive home went as well as any drive on a Sunday near D.C. can go. Which basically means that by the time we got home, Beer Geek was in dire need of some quiet time. I spent the remainder of the day rockin’ my compression socks (CEP compression socks recommended by my LRS and Recovery Socks I won from Erica) while unpacking, doing laundry, and hanging with the kids. I’m convinced that the walking up and down the stairs yesterday is why I’m feeling good today. My sore knee has stopped hurting and I’m a bit stiff and tired, but generally I feel great!
I have to give kudos to Sean Potts and the rest of the organizers. It was a really well organized race, with great snacks during and after, awesome volunteers, and wonderful water stops. I would, however, not do it again. I’ve got too much “city” in me to spend that much time by myself on a trail.
So, what’s next? Not another marathon. I’m thrilled with the time I managed and I’m thrilled that all my miles were sub 12 and most were sub 11. I’m not going to say never (that 4:30 is still whispering my name), but I am going to say not for a while. I realized during training and during the race that I love running until about 15 miles and then I hate running. HATE running. Since I run to stay happy and sane, hating running is not a good thing.
Here’s the plan:
- Reverse taper this week
- Run the Rock Your Socks Virtual 10k this weekend
- Start my “Fit and Fast by 40” plan next week (more on that later)