Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Newport Marathon, Race Day...

So where did I leave off? Oh, yes...I was jumping into bed for an early morning wake up and MARATHON SUNDAY!
creepy 6 AM bug-out eyes...your welcome :)
So I know a lot of you were wondering if I was really able to sleep from 10:30 - 5:30 the night before the race, with all of the nerves and thoughts of crossing that finish line going through my head...well, I did...I honestly hit the pillow at 10:30ish and was out like a light moments later.  Tripp and I did get up a little earlier than expected, we were up at 5 AM to the sounds of the dog in the house barking (we were dog sitting for the awesome couple that let us stay in their house), but honestly it was good to get some "wake-up" time and to walk around a little in the morning.

I took the time to get dressed (decided on the capris, as the morning was 52 degrees and the wind was predicted to hit 21+ mph), pack a bag for Tripp to carry (filled with post-race clothes, flip flops, extra GU and protein bars, and more body glide - just in case), and enjoyed a big and toasty poppyseed bagel with cream cheese and a little jam - my tummy can't process peanut butter enough before runs, and I really didn't want to burp up PB for 4 or 5 hours.

Around 6:30 AM we decided to head over to the start, as we had planned on meeting Chris and Emma at the bag drop at 7:20, and we didn't know how quickly we could find parking, or how far away it would be.  Now Tripp and I are NEVER on time, so it was a happy surprise that we were parked and walking to the race start by 6:58 AM...even got to catch a glimpse of this gorgeous scene on our way there!
She was just too mesmerized  by the amazing sunrise behind me
Even though I made sure I peed, twice, before we left the house...I clearly had to go as soon as we got down to the hectic start area...so I left Tripp with the dog and our friends, and I braved the 25 minute porta potty line (so thankful I did before the race, as I know I would have had to stop to pee in the first half if I didn't).  The race started at 8 AM, and it was now 7:45 and we still couldn't see the starting line marker...so it was clearly the prime time for a pre-race photo shoot, you know, to distract us...
Mic was still not into the whole photo thing...but I think my #1fan was lookin mighty fine :)
It's early, it's cold, I am nervous, can we just start already?!
Chris and I showing off the awesome sign Katie (his wife) made to cheer us all on! 

And then out of no where, this huge inflatable start line popped up! Reality set in...hardcore.  Photo shoot done, nervous pee break done, time to race!

Because it is on the smaller side of races (821 finished the marathon I believe and maybe another 2400 or so did the half), we were able to line up at the front of the pack.  Now, I know this is not the proper race etiquette; however, there no corrals, no elite line, and not a ton of order to be honest....when we looked around us, there was a large variety of runners, so we just stayed put and made sure to get to the outsides of the lane when the gun went off.

Emma, Chris, and I planned to start together, but we also had an additional runner added last minute to the group...which I have to admit, was a bit surreal.  Chris' brother was supposed to run the full marathon with Chris and I, but a few weeks ago decided he wasn't going to go through with it, so in his place, Chris recruited this phenomenal woman, Laura.  Laura is beginning her campaign for the Olympic trials...in the marathon, and said she would come pace us for the first half, since she had a long run on the schedule for the weekend anyways.  The news that Laura was going to run with us freaked me out at first....she is a sub-3 hour marathoner, gunning for the Olympics, if we try to keep up with her, we will surely burn out early!

Chris convinced me that she was going to stay back with us, and was totally fine running our planned 8:30 min/miles for the first half of the race, and that it was her last long run of the week and she was fine going slower.

Keeping this in mind, I knew I would have to really focus on staying on pace, if I wanted to even make it to the half mark...remember, I hadn't run more than 6 miles since August 19th due to my knee injury!
 The gun went off, and so did we...Emma peeled off to the outside lane early and told us to run our race, and she would see us at the finish line.  And then there were 3...
If you look close, I am the one being ushered by the ray of light behind the guy in yellow, see my sunnies :) Chris is in the red shirt, and Laura in the race shorts and blue tank
The race starts up a decent sized hill, and still our first mile was a quicker than planned, but it was the start and the adrenaline was a flowing! We ran the first mile in around 8 minutes....then we hit mile 2, and somehow we were at 7:50s....whoa....I kept nagging Chris to slow down, and we hit mile 3 at around 8s again, which was alright...I felt good in the pace, but still really nervous I would burn out early, we still had 23.2 to go!

Mile 4 we hit with a 7:47 split, and I let my secret creep out...."hey guys, in an ideal world, we would keep this pace up and qualify for Boston!"

Needless to say, we didn't stay at 7:40s for too long...but we did hover around 8, sub-8 for the next 9.1 miles, which was blowing my mind! I had a bit of knee pain throughout those miles too, but not a buckling or "oh my god I need to stop" pain...it was more of the achy, throbbing I had experienced with the tendinitis - so I kept on going.  I popped a couple advil and fought to keep Chris and Laura in my sites for the rest of the first half, until we lost Laura at around mile 11.  Chris put it best, "it's like she switches into a gear none of us have discovered before and doesn't seem to notice" - she was gone in the blink of eye, to put it bluntly.  And then there were 2...

Chris and I crossed the halfway mark (which is also the finish line for the half marathoners) at around 1:46, which was way ahead of our planned time, and just over an 8 min/mile split!

13.1 Mile Mark: 1:46 (8:06 avg. pace)

Whether it was the crowd lining the half marathoner's finishing chute, or the fact that we had just run a competitive half marathon and were still going...I was still smiling?! This is the first race where most of my pictures are of me with a huge smile on my face...go figure, I would pick the hardest race of my life to smile :)
Hey Katie, here take my motivational tunes, I don't need them!
This was also about the time Chris and I both told Katie we didn't need our iPods because we were going to finish together what we started together...two minutes later Chris turns to me and says, "my stomach just fell"...oh no...we are at mile 13.5 and have another 12.7 to go...he pushed through the sick feelings and we were back into a comfortable pace of around 8:30 - 8:40, at this point we just kept telling ourselves that even if we do 9's, we will still pull out a sub-4 (which going into this race, I had thought was impossible - who sub-4s when they took 8 weeks prior to race day, to rest?!).  I got a wave of excitement and as we crossed the 16 mile marker we came gliding down the hill, only 10.2 to go!
16 miles, done and done :)
 Leading up to the mile 17 marker, we entered a little beach area, with big sand dunes, and horrible head winds (sand everywhere, not pretty), this is also the section of the course I lost Chris.  Our paces split, and I was trying to keep the 9 minutes despite the wind.  And then there was 1...

I had a feeling of anxiety that Chris was behind me, and not by my side anymore, and at the end of this mile, was my do or die moment of the race...I stopped to walk through a water stop and started limping pretty heavily...I could feel my knee throbbing and it was uncomfortable to say the least, but as I chugged down the little water cup and looked ahead to either press on or walk off the course, I spotted my man....he was standing up ahead and my feet started moving...I was jogging towards his clapping hands, and I ran right up to him and gave him a huge hug and kiss...then I was off
approaching my motivation
From that point on, I didn't feel my knee, no throbbing, no pain, nothing...I knew I was going to finish...I was determined to finish, and if my watch was correct, and my legs would still carry me, I would finish strong.

There was some wind, and some killer hills in the final miles, and since it was a fabulous out and back on this section, I got to experience those hills up and back...twice :)  I fell in with this group of ladies, one of them was coaching the other up the hills...it was the best strategy I have ever tried in a race, and it worked...you pick an object up ahead and you focus on it until you reach it, and if you still aren't at the top of the hill, you pick another object and focus on it, until you reach it...that compartmentalized thinking is what got me up the next 3 or 4 hills we shuffled over, and I couldn't have been more grateful...

Miles 20 - 26.2 were the toughest mental game I have ever played...so you will just have to check back to see if I came out ahead :)

------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Do you start out faster in races than intended? Or do you stick to your plan?

I always start out too fast...it's the adrenaline, all the adrenaline!

What are your thoughts on letting someone quicker pace you?

I was really nervous, but honestly she pushed us through that first half and we came out all right...I admit I should have been more conservative because I hadn't run in so long, but the pace we settled into felt comfortable, not strained...

7 comments:

  1. So far so good! Can't wait for the home stretch report! I AlWAYS start too fast. Like ridiculous.

    ReplyDelete
  2. good thing we are DM friends so I am not AGAIN left sitting on the edge of my seat in anticipation ;) okay...really I still am because you write and recap the race SO WELL! i am loving this. literally hanging on to your every word. ahhhh and I can totally relate to your "then there was 3, 2, 1" thing. totally how I felt at St. George which led to PURE ANXIETY! and those last 6.2 so mental. and i always celebrate at 16.21 knowing I have "single digits" left! haha! so proud of your for pushing through that pain and running an incredible race! you are amazing and such an inspiration to me!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Jesus Christ, you ran a marathon after taking 8 weeks off??? I don't care if you finished in 18 hours, you are a ROCK STAR. That is super intimidating to have someone so fast run with you- but probably really motivating, too! I always start off fast... I can't help it!

    ReplyDelete
  4. I'd be really nervous about being paced by someone so fast!

    I'm loving your suspenseful recap!!

    ReplyDelete
  5. I ALWAYS start out too fast! Girl you killed it...there are some major hills on that course...I've run them all my life and they kick my butt at mile 6 let alone 20!!!

    Way to go girl!!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Ya like where is your final time?!?!?!? it's killing me I GOTS TO KNOW ;) anyway I love your 6am bug eyes and that Mik was being funny :D can't wait to hear how you did. BQ???

    ReplyDelete
  7. i can't wait to hear about the rest!! you are freaking amazing! who runs a marathon (and KILLS IT) after 8 weeks off?!? i've had two weeks off and have and 8k on saturday and i'm freaking out. LOVE the shirt too!

    ReplyDelete

Thank you for keeping up with Happy, Healthy & Strong - I love to hear all of your comments and feedback!