Marathon number 4 is in the books!
Avg HR: 172
Max HR: 188
Actual measurement by my garmin: 25.49
Div (F3539): 21/98
Weather: about 65 at the start and 75 at the finish; humid; cloudy at the start, eventually full sun. Not good!
Although I didn’t meet my ultimate time goal, or even my secondary time goal (to PR), I did meet my non-time related goal which was to finish feeling decent about the race and decent physically and mentally. This was my best feeling marathon. So I’m happy about it.
Got to Champaign around noon on Friday and met Lora and Maria for the first time in real life. So fun! We hit the expo, had some lunch and then just kicked our feet up in our hotel rooms and relaxed until dinner. I limited myself to checking the weather forecast only about 10 different times. 🙂 They were predicting heat and wind, maybe even some rain. It was CRAZY windy all day Friday.
Friday evening we met a couple other kickrunners, Nettie and Kate and went to dinner with them and with Maria’s boyfriend Jason and his mom and her boyfriend. Yummy italian food which would have been even better if I could have ordered one of the rich, wine cream sauced dishes and had some more drinks. But I stuck with the basics and only had one beer. After not drinking even one beer the night before Grandma’s, and then doing shitty in the race, I decided to allow myself to have at least one drink and enjoy myself. Good call!
I got back to the room and started settling down about 9:00. Read til 9:45 and then turned out the lights. And then guess what happened? I fell asleep! Right away!! My normal pre-race sleep issues did not happen. Maybe it was the beer. Maybe it was my confident attitude about my training this time. Maybe it was the comfy bed and warm blankets in a room that I cranked the air down and made it nice and cool in. Whatever the difference was this time, it was fabulous! I did wake up ever 2 hours and peed, drank water and went back to sleep right away. (OK – I confess – I also checked the weather in the middle of the night – and was very happy to see the predicted 25 mph winds had died down to 14 mph).
Alarm went off at 4:00. Sweet! I basically got 6 hours of sleep! Good start to race day. Ate my oatmeal and had a cup of coffee, some water and some gatorade. About 6:20 I realized that I had forgotten to also eat the mini bagel and peanut butter that I had planned on. Darn! Wasn’t sure if I should just skip it, since race time was at 7:30, or if I needed the fuel. I opted to eat it. Previous races I hadn’t fueled enough before hand. Crossed my fingers that I wouldn’t have issues with eating it that close to race.
Met the girls in the lobby about 6:45 and we walked over to the start area (less than 1/2 a mile from our hotel).
We were all feeling good about things. The winds had calmed down. The weather wasn’t ideal, but it wasn’t horrible. There was cloud cover, so that was good. We were all ready for the day. Maria and I had plans to BQ. Lora had a plan that would have put her about 3:50. Nettie was running the half and hoping for a sub 2:00.
Little did we know the sun would come blasting out, the humidity would be a killer and the wind would completely disappear.
We lined up in the corrals and waited. Took a gel at 7:20, 10 minutes before start time. I hadn’t done this before, but knew that Jen and Baggs do it, and they are fast, so I figured maybe it’s the secret to being fast. I think it was a good thing to have done. I needed all the extra fuel/electrolytes/energy I could get. The race started 15 minutes late, because of some issue with the 5k that was run immediately before the marathon. A little irritating, since I felt like we needed to get going before the weather heated up.
The first 10k: 53:21 (8:35 pace)
We kept the first couple miles easy – under 8:45. Maria, Lora and I ran together, which was a good start and kept our pace in check. I commented that this pace felt harder than it should. Lora said her coach told her the first 5 miles would feel harder than it should because of going from zero to running at pace (no warm up). I felt like it was from the humidity.
At mile 2.25 we saw our friend Kate, who was biking around the course and cheering us on all day. It was a great boost to have her around the course. (And Jason and his parents at points later). Going to a marathon in a different state was new to me and I was thinking it would be hard not to have support out there who actually knew my name. So it was very welcome!
Just after mile 3 I picked up the pace. My plan had been first 3 miles 8:45ish. Next 10 miles 8:35ish. Next 10 miles 8:20ish. Last 3 miles whatever I could do, but under 9:00ish for sure. I felt a little bad pulling ahead of Maria and Lora without saying anything, but I sort of got sucked into the crowd and I figured they knew my plan and that I was there to run my own race. So off I went. I knew Maria planned to pick it up to a pace that was faster than mine, so I figured I would see her soon anyway.
I actually felt better when I picked up the pace a bit. I think mentally it helped. I knew the weather was going to be a huge factor later on, so I wanted to get on pace or even ahead from the start.
Saw a Boston Terriror along the side of the road at about mile 5. I yelled, “Hi little Boston” and took it as a sign that today was my Boston day. Nope.
10k – Mile 13.1: 1:53:28 (8:39 pace overall )
I continued feeling “ok”. Clicking by the miles. Not entirely on pace because of their length (measuring a bit long), but on pace when I look at lap pace itself. Feeling decent. Wondering when Maria will catch up to me. Taking in water from my handheld. Grabbing gatorade at most water stops. Stopping to refill my water bottle when it’s empty (having volunteers pour water in – which made me lose about 15 seconds at each stop). I ended up refilling it 4 times. Drinking more water at the stops when necessary. Gel every 5 miles, NUUN tablet in my water at miles 7 and 13.5.
We went in a prairie like area at mile 8 that was HOT. Full sun. Tall prairie grass. Two medical emergencies (runners collapsing on side – I think from heat). I tried to just stay relaxed and not let heat bug me yet.
The half marathoners split off from us at about 11 mile mark. I have to say I was happy that they left. It was crowded with them there. (There were 6500 of them).
13.1 – 20 mile 2:55:05 (8:45 pace overall )
Saw Jason and the parents at mile 13ish. Again, nice boost to have someone cheering for me. I felt pretty good, but wasn’t necessarily feeling like this was my BQ day. At mile 13 I started to loose energy. It was when “my plan” had been to pick up the pace to 8:20ish for 10 miles. That wasn’t happening. I just couldn’t do it. I thought I would still be ok if I could maintain around 8:35ish. Even that wasn’t happening though.
I had a few miles in here where the right foot issue felt like it was happening. So I stopped to tie my shoe a couple times. It felt better when I did that, but each time I lost at least 30 seconds. I knew BQ was slipping out of reach, but hoped to still come close. I even thought if I had a second wind, I could speed up and still make it. Nope.
Mile 20 – 26.2 (1:04:23 10:21 pace for the last 10k)
At mile 20 I looked at the garmin and knew a BQ was pretty impossible. The heat was really bad. So I decided to back off pace and save myself for Grandma’s. I let myself relax. I still had a few issues with the foot (which I wonder now if they are just in my head when I get tired??). I was feeling very tired, my form wasn’t the best. But I was moving forward and not walking and not hurt. The crowds were very nice – telling me I looked good.
Somewhere around here the 3:50 pace group (which only had 4 people in it!) passed me and the pacer said, “It’s 90% mental, gang”. Ummm, no. In this heat it’s physical! Briefly entertained trying to stay with them, but didn’t feel it happening and decided it wasn’t worth it to risk totally screwing my body up.
I saw Kate and then Jason’s parents at Mile 23. Gave them a shake of the head this time, to let them know it was now a sucky race.
Mile 24 I had stomach issues. Needed to find a portapotty IMMEDIATELY! Thank goodness one was around the corner. I was seriously in there with GI issues for like 2 minutes. Yuck! It was so hot in there that I thought I was going to pass out. Wouldn’t that have been horrible!?!
Oh – 2 times between mile 18 and the end, I felt like I was gonna puke after I took in gel or gatorade. I did little “puke burps” – but kept it down. Yuck!
Sometime around here someone shouted out that I was the 92nd female. Hmmm. That seemed weird to me that someone was counting. But I guess I picked it up a bit, because I ended up 90th female. It did feel good during the last mile to be passing people instead of being passed!
Mile 25 I see Nettie and hear her shouting my name. Up to this point I had stopped looking at my watch, because I didn’t want to know if I was near a PR, because I had decided to take it easy and not push myself so that I would be good for Grandma’s. So at 25 I looked and did see PR was out of reach. Still, I felt good, so picked it up the last mile to have a stronger finish (which is what I had wanted). I was soooo tired.
Rounding the final turn towards Memorial Stadium was cool. Crowds were great. Coming down the final stretch and into the stadium I looked at garmin and saw that I would have to totally kick it in and I could get under 4:00, so I did. Finished on the field at 3:59:28.
I was dizzy and tired, but happy to be done. I was looking around for Maria and Lora, because I thought they had probably passed me somewhere along the course while I was in the porta potty or water stops. Unfortunately, they didn’t have their days either and they finished a bit after me.
The gang after some post-race chow
It was great to have people to hang out with post race, even if it wasn’t the celebration that we had been hoping for! Not the race that I had hoped for either, but overall my best marathon experience to date.
Bring on Grandma’s!
Data: (pace) (avg HR)
1 – 8:38 (168)
2 – 8:45 (175)
3 – 8:37 (180)
4- 8:37 (182)
5 – 8:43 (186)
6 – 8:15 (185)
7 – 8:47 (185)
8 – 8:38 (183)
9 – 8:47 (181)
12 – 8:32 (176)
19 -8:52 (172)
20 -9:25 (169)
21&22 – 20:13 (164)
24-11:06 (152) (2 minute porta potty break!)
.2 – 1:51 (168) (8:08 pace)