Monday, March 19, 2012
Shamrock Race - THE MARATHON
RACE DAY - I woke up feeling awesome. I don't have trouble sleeping pre-race thank goodness. Grabbed a bagel and could only eat half. No problem, listen to the body. It doesn't want food. Drank some coffee and some OJ and headed up to hang out and wait for race time. Our hotel was in a perfect spot so we waited on the balcony to watch the half marathon elites cross the line. They are simply AMAZING to watch. Then we headed out for the corrals. I had been obsessing about the weather and the weather channel said 60 and cloudy all day until 4pm. I ended up wearing my hot gear capris, skirt on top with my compression shirt and another Under Armour hot gear shirt on top of that. Trust me, I don't look good in just compression gear :) I had bought arm warmers at the expo so I threw those on as well. It was chilly and overcast, great day for a race.
The race started and we were off. I wanted to run by feel but keep myself on the slower side of race pace for a half since I had to do double the distance. I settled in at a nice 10:40 pace and pulled ahead of the 5 hour group. No big deal. I was feeling good. Right before the first water stop, the 5 hour group flew by be. I dropped into step with them and they were doing a 9:30 pace - ouch! That was going to kill them. I let myself fall behind without care. Turns out they were stopping at water stop #1 so I quickly caught up to them and we tackled the first hill together. The lady was funny and told stories the entire time. Turns out she is a teacher from Pittsburgh who loves to pace marathons and just run. She was crazy and funny. She was still singing and talking at mile 19 - Lord bless her!
So the first few miles were great. Everyone was chatty and I talked with all sorts of random people. I pulled way ahead of the 5 hour group and i felt great. I maintained 10:40 miles and was sailing through the first hour. I fueled as planned. Gu and water at 4.5 miles. I carried my own Nuun to avoid the Gatorade so I sipped that as needed. The sun came out strong at mile 6 but I was hoping it would go away soon. The part of the course that went through the coast guard base was inspiring and I was zipping through all those men in uniform giving them high fives. I had to slow myself down then since I looked at my watch and was doing <9 min miles. Stupid adrenaline. I really do feed off a crowd. I hit the next water stop and was off again. At this point we were back to the bridge and I stopped to walk up it while I let my husband know I was headed back towards him. I was 10 miles in and loving it. Getting a bit warm though.
After we got back to the beach side we turned and headed up the boardwalk. This was hard. The wind was strong and so was the sun. I learned the ocean isn't that scenic anymore when you are fighting your way into the wind. There were 2 girls I was pacing behind and all of a sudden the one girl yells "ouch" and jumps off to the side. Oh no, looked like she cramped. I hope she made it back out there. I never saw her again. I made it off the board walk and found my hubby! I gave him a kiss and handed off my arm warmers and kept on running. I hit the half in 2:24. Not bad at all. About 7 minutes slower than my half PR but I wasn't aiming for a half here.
The next few miles I slowed down a bit. I was averaging right around 11 min miles. Looking good. Starting to get tired but loving the crowds and loved watching the runners coming back to the finish. The sun was getting hotter and my stomach was not happy with the liquids. I drank some Gatorade and probably shouldn't have so now my stomach hurt. At mile 17 I started to to take walk breaks. I defaulted to a run 3 min, walk 30 secs, run again pattern. This was working for me although this gradual uphill was tough. I kept passing and being passed by the same people. I was hanging tough and my muscles were tired but not revolting. Chalk one up for me.
The course through Ft Story was a sauna. I'm sure of it. The sun was beating down and I couldn't get enough water to pour on me. I kept up the run walk pattern, texted a few people, and even took some pictures. I was enjoying this thing anyway. The bananas being handed out by the Ft Story crew were a God-send and it felt good to have something in my stomach that was solid. I had stopped consuming liquids at mile 18 due to the pain so I devoured the banana hoping it would help. I think it did, eventually, at mile 25 :) I pushed through the rest of Ft Story and was grateful to turn for home.
The last few miles were tough. I was tired and SOOOO hot. I was cursing the sun. Stupid weather people, what do they know? I kept going with walk run walk run walk run with no care for time. The 5 hour group caught me and passed me in mile 19 and I didn't care at all. As we came down to the last mile there was a Superhero water station that I was eternally grateful for in addition to a Live Strong group that even made me a quick poster with my name on and Ran with me for a few steps. That was just awesome!
I made the final turn on to the boardwalk and the finish line was SO FAR AWAY. 8 blocks really - but damn! I was tired but I couldn't walk now. There are people watching. Yup, I guess I am influenced by other people. Darn Peer Pressure! So I kept running and running and running. Then I saw my husband and he took my picture then joined me on the course. I had to ask him to leave because he was making me cry and I already couldn't breathe! He was so awesome to do this for me. So I kept running and I made it. I really did. I crossed the finish line. I had run 26.2 miles in 5:13:37. It is something incredible and unbelievable and amazing. It was hard and it was worth it!