Monday, March 21, 2011
Shamrock Marathon Recap Part 1
So I could not sleep at all last night. I think I got about 4 hours total. After I put up my blog post, I did my usual dress/eat/etc pre-race ritual, and we left for the race about 6:20. I really wanted to see Mike start the half marathon at 7, but parking was ridiculous and I didn't make it. I was really nervous this morning, more than I have been for a race in a looooong time, so much so that I left my pre-race banana and my hair bow in my checked bag. We found Nicole and Emma after the start of the half, followed by a porto-pottie with TWO PEOPLE in line for it! Not 5 minutes later there were at least 15, and it kept growing. If you've been to a big race (around 6,000 marathoners) you know what a big deal this is.
It was freezing, as I posted last night, at the race start, and massively windy, which was nerve wracking. Once I checked my sweatshirt I was shivering uncontrollably, and then they announced the start would be delayed 15 minutes for no apparent reason! As nervous as I was I was dying to run just to warm up! We found Mike and looked obsessively for Lily, but never found her. I knew she was running with her aunt though, so we gave up after the national anthem and Mike and I headed to our corral.
The only thing that kept me from collapsing of nerves was the thought that running would make me warm!
They counted down each corral, got to us (#3) and we were off - I was finally running my second marathon!
I was totally not feeling it. My toes were frozen, my body was stiff, we passed a waffle house and Mike joked we should stop for waffles. I thought "why the hell are we doing this, we could be sitting in there eating waffles" and I was only half kidding.
Feeling a little better about running a marathon. At mile 6 I took my first Gu and thought "only 20 to go!". We chatted with a girl from Kentucky wearing a Skinny Runner shirt - my first in person sighting! As usual, meeting a new friend makes the time go by faster. The wind was at our backs and we went up the only elevation in the course - a forty foot bridge. The scenery was totally lame and there was next to no crowd support. I slowed myself down a few times to stay closer to 9:50.
We went through a navy base, and tons of seaman? and seawomen? were standing in a huge row and I ran down giving everyone high fives. The high point of the race so far.
A porto - potty with no line! I was in and out in under a minute and couldn't believe my good luck. At mile 10 we turned onto the boardwalk and looked out over the ocean. It was so gorgeous it completely changed my mood and then I felt euphoric. I told Mike I couldn't believe we had already run 10 miles and just stared at the beautiful waves crashing under the bright blue sky and loved running. My average pace was about 10:00 minute miles, and with 10 miles under my belt I was feeling good and knew it was time to pick it up to meet my goal pace. I told Mike goodbye and headed out to finish the last 16 miles on my own.
I turned on my ipod to try to get a picture of the ocean. It didn't turn on right away and I panicked and my mood took a nosedive. I focused on seeing Eric at mile 12.
All I could think about was how happy I'd be to see Eric. Crowd support picked up a bit here but it was still sparse. I took a chocolate outrage Gu, which I thought I had tried before but apparently I hadn't and it made my stomach hurt :(. That's the last of that. At mile 12 I actually surprised him, gave him a hug and kiss and handed off my water bottle and gloves. It was so cold I still had my cotton throwaway long sleeve shirt on. Once I ran away from him, I all of the sudden felt so exhausted and frightened. The disposable water bottle he'd given me was freezing and heavy, I was cold again, and I couldn't believe I had 14 more miles to go completely on my own. The way the course was designed Eric would have basically had to just run the marathon with me to see me again. My pace was still about 10:00 miles and it felt so hard, I didn't think I could keep it up and thought to myself I could never reach my time goal, and I was overwhelmed just at what it would take to finish.
Someone was screaming my name hysterically and running into the street. It was Nicole (who I thought had left as soon as Mike finished the half over an hour prior)!!! I was so excited and ran over screaming "I'm going to give you a sweaty hug!" She told me I was awesome and I kept going. That was completely the boost I needed. I kept repeating that I was awesome and focused on getting to the halfway point.
They were playing "Living on a Prayer" which is my JAM. Some lady yelled "You said you were going to do this, and you're doing it!" That stuck with me and I kept repeating it to myself, thinking, "ya, that's right I'm doing it! So I should enjoy it!". I put in my music and got PUMPED to finish a great race! Thoughts "How did people run marathons before Ke$ha was invented?".
Rocked out, felt good. It was an out and back and I got totally jealous of the elites who were at miles 24 and 25, but I thought about how good it would feel to see those mile markers coming the other way. Some crowd support here, not too bad. Looked forward to my Gu at 16.Thoughts: "Thank you God, for creating this perfect weather for my race. Thank you NBC producers, for creating Glee".
My coach Marie ran this race and warned me there wasn't much crowd support at this point. UM try absolutely none, zero, zilch, not one person who wasn't running. Runners and trees as far as the eye could see. I was feeling good and excited that I was keeping a good pace, however the scenery was pretty but boring as hell. They did have random signs/St. Patty's day puns up along the road, and thank goodness, because that was the only thing distracting me. I finally wanted to take off my long sleeved cotton shirt, but my garmin and ipod were around my arm, and my bib and belt were around my waist. I literally spent an entire mile (16) planning the exact events that would occur to remove the shirt (pull wrist out of garmin, unstrap ipod, drop through shirt, etc etc) and a good chunk of mile 17 actually removing it. Oh the little things you do to get through.
From mile 18 on I started passing people like crazy. It wouldn't be an exaggeration to say I passed at least 100 people. I loved it, especially passing the guys. Thoughts "I can't believe I'm going this fast! I feel great! It doesn't even feel that hard or like I'm pushing it too much!"
Mile 20 - 22
I was excited to hit 20, as usual, and a little scared of hitting the wall because my pace was quicker than I had expected it to be at this point. It kept getting closer and closer to 9:50 and I finally hit it and prayed (literally) that I could keep the pace. I wanted to yell out to runners "can you believe we are at mile 20?", but thought I'd already creeped out enough people by running up to not one, but two girls and telling them they had great legs. Hey, these are the things you notice running behind people for extended periods of time. I took my last Gu at mile 21 and even though it was espresso love, my favorite all time flavor, I was dreading the sweetness and really only wanted water, but I knew I needed to take it. I tried to motivate myself by thinking of the amazing food I would eat later, but food didn't sound appealing, only that medal around my neck did! At mile 21 I decided to try the "I'm just heading out for a five mile run around my neighborhood" tactic again (didn't work at the last marathon), but as soon as I said it to myself, I thought "F no, I'm not running 5 miles around my neighborhood, I'm finishing a marathon and that's way better!". At mile 22, my boy JT came on my Ipod with 4 minutes so I changed it to "I only got 4 miles" and sang to myself.
Oh my god running was getting so hard! I was keeping the pace and feeling pretty strong but it was such a mental battle to keep going! I was constantly checking my Garmin and kept seeing the average pace drop further and further below 9:50, and every second that dropped off was a little victory. I saw the 10 mile mark for the half and knew there was only a 5K left but that seemed so far now. There was a little more crowd support here but still not too much. I just focused on getting to the next mile marker, and keeping up the pace! My Garmin was ahead of the mile markers again and I was so proud of myself for turning off the beeping at each mile. Turns out unless I figured out how to turn off everyone else's, that was pointless. I was hearing the beeping anyway.
Mile 24 - 25
I was completely obsessed with my time and pace now. Kara told me last week to beat her AMAZING first marathon time of 4:19, and I laughed out loud to myself when I read her comment thinking "um, ya right, that's not happening". Her average pace was 9:55 so I knew I was on pace to run under 4:20 and I just kept thinking what if something happens? What if I have to walk? Can I still make it? HOLD THE PACE!!!!!!!!!! I just kept picturing how excited I'd be to have my time in the four teens, if that makes any sense.
Mile 25 turns onto the boardwalk, and you run by the ocean and can see the finish line. I'd been warned it was still nearly a mile away and not to start sprinting (ha, like I could have anyway). I forced myself to just listen to the music and keep the pace steady. I did that and looked down, then looked up a few minutes later and the damn finish line hadn't gotten any closer! And where the hell was the 26 mile marker??? Was this some sort of sick joke?
As I got close to the mile marker, the crowd support finally happened and everyone was screaming my name. I was still passing people like crazy and running strong, and grinning like an idiot. I was SO HAPPY that I hadn't slowed down! That last .2 went on forever and was a killer, but I finally got close to the finish line and for the first time ever at a race finish heard them call my name!
I ran through the finish and looked at my Garmin - 4:17! I nearly collapsed after I rushed through and started crying from my amazement at crushing my time goal, I never thought I had 4:17 in me. I saw Eric on the sidelines right past the finish and yelled "4:17!" at him.
One of the medics came rushing over and thought I was dying or something so he walked me to the water and Eric saw and got all freaked out, but I was fine, just emotional, as usual. Getting my medal was just incredible, as it was last time. I've run lots of races, but crossing the finish at a marathon is just unparalleled happiness. The only other time I can remember feeling that sort of pure emotional joy is when I took my wedding vows.
After all that searching Lily finished in 4:16 and we never found each other until the end!
I am so tired! I have way more to share, and a blog post that is guaranteed to make you laugh your ass off. But I ran longer today than I slept last night, and therefore I am not even sure if any of this makes any sense! Part 2 coming tomorrow (hopefully).
Could not have done it without this handsome guy supporting me the whole way! Thanks so much for standing outside for hours and hours to give me a hug and a kiss for 2 seconds as I ran by!
Everyone LOVED this sign!
Thank you SO MUCH for all the comments and support!!!