Wednesday, April 24, 2013

The Long Run Diaries - Epilogue The Big Show

It's been a little over 3 days since The Big Show. I'm finally walking like a normal person and it's not taking me 15 minutes to get up and down (down is the worst) our stairs. I wasn't sure what to expect from my body post-race, but I'm surprised how little discomfort I experienced. 

I still am in awe of my new bling! Isn't she purdy?!?!
Overall the race went fabulously. I don't know how runners that blog can remember every detail about their races. Most of it is a complete blur. I tried not to focus on one thing too much. Five hours is a long time be alone with your thoughts and having the same thought in your head the entire time can be maddening! 

Not really knowing what to expect, I had 3 goals in mind:

  • Primary Goal-Finish
  • Secondary Goal-Finish in under 5 hours
  • Tertiary Goal-Finish in under 4.5 hours

I achieved #1 and #2 and came SO CLOSE to #3, but I am so proud of how I did that there is no way I'm disappointed! It just gives me a goal for next time and I can guarantee that there will definitely be another marathon in my future!

The stats
26.2 miles
10:24 pace
Overall Place: 528/738
Gender Place: 153/264
Division Place: 37/58

The start of the race was cold. Much colder than I would have liked. I couldn't feel my fingers or toes and had to wear gloves and my shell. None of that would have been a problem for a shorter race, but I knew it would warm up and I wouldn't need all those layers. Not what I was hoping for, but in the end it all worked out. I got up super early and went through my regular race-morning routine. Diet Coke, oatmeal, shower (Yep, I always take a shower before races! It wakes me up and makes the event seem more special. You wouldn't just roll out of bed the morning of a big job interview would you?), feed the baby, get dressed and use the bathroom about 800 times. Traci and her hubby picked me up at 6am and we were off. We parked hit the restrooms a few more times and then got in line with our other running partner Christy S. It was a much smaller race than I was used to. They had pace signs up so that people could line-up accordingly, but before the start they just asked everyone to scoot up. The 4:50pace group was ahead of the 4:25 group and we were all mixed up. There was a moment of silence for Boston that brought tears to my eyes, our National Anthem was sung and with the sound of a blow horn, we were off!
The first few miles were VERY quiet. I guess we had finally ran out of things to say to each other! A marathon is a long race, Carmel is not a very long city so there were LOTS of twists and turns. I'm a more an out-and-back runner so the twisting was a little annoying to me, BUT it gave the hubby lots of opportunities to see me along the course. He first popped up at mile 3 which was a huge and welcoming surprise! We gave a little wave and continued on our way! We stuck with our plan of walking every 4 miles. It had worked well on our practice long runs so there was no way we were going to change a thing. The first break came up quickly and we all shed our gloves and outer layers. I don't remember much of miles 4-8 but I do remember that for some reason 8-12 was one of worst stretches of the entire race. Each mile seemed to crawl along and I couldn't wait until mile 12 for a break. It was around mile 12 that Traci started having some trouble and it seemed like she wouldn't be able to keep up. Her husband was there too and he agreed to stay with her. That's the thing with the Big Show, no matter how much you prepare there's a lot of time for unexpected things to occur! 

By mile 13 I was feeling much better. My feet felt strong and my head was in the right place. Nate made another appearance and ran a tiny bit with me. We decided that I would need a little bit of company along the way so he went to his car to put on his running shoes and agreed to meet up with me around mile 18. I'm not sure when, but I started to pull away from Christy S too. I get like that sometimes. My feet takeover and my head is not really sure what is going on. I just know one minute she was next to me and the next she wasn't. At the mile 16 walking break I put in my earphones and Blink-182 was my running buddy for the next 10 miles. 

Around mile 18 Nate found me again and he ran with me for another 4 miles. It was so nice to have him there. We didn't do a whole lot of talking but having company kept me from thinking about how much further I had to go or how achey my legs were. It was funny to hear everyone cheer him on too. He got a lot of "you are looking FANTASTIC" and "You've got this, you're doing awesome!!!" People were so amazed to see someone looking so "fresh" so far into the race. Miles 18-23 had a little bit of trail running which was a welcomed break from the looping through neighborhoods. Nate left me around mile 23 so he could sprint to the finish line and cheer me on as I crossed. The last 3.2 were my own.

It was around  this time that my stomach started feeling a little barfy and my legs oh so heavy. Coming up on my final walking break at mile 24 I was a little torn. My main concern was not being able to start running again if I took a break, but if I didn't take a break I was concerned that I would need a break before the finish. I decided to take a short walking break. Just enough to get a reprieve, but not too long where my legs got comfortable. The last few miles were a little tough and it felt like forever before I could see the finish line, but there it was! 

With the finish line in sight I got my last burst of energy and a HUGE smile on my face. It was a fabulous finish. The hubby on my right cheering me on and my good friend Christy B on my left screaming my name (Christy had finished at 4:04 and was waiting for me!). I finished strong and happy! I can't wait to see my finish-line photos, I'm sure I have a Cheshire-Cat grin on my face!
I think it's true what they say about marathons, that it's just as much a mental race and a physical one. I knew that physically I was ready. I had trained hard and my body was ready. There was no doubt in my mind that as long as I kept a clear head, I would finish. I looked at the race in 4 mile increments. I can run four mile, four miles is nothing. I tried not to think about how far I had left to run and rarely looked at my watch. As long as I only thought of the current four miles I was golden. Like many other runners, I have my own running mantras that I've been using for years to keep me motivated, but Boston was my true motivation last Saturday. I just kept thinking of all the runners that had trained and prepared so hard and were unable to finish. My little leg aches were nothing compared to their heartache and loss. The only thought in my mind as I crossed the finish was BOSTON STRONG.

So I crossed the line a happy girl! 
I was crowned a marathon runner with my medal and my mylar wrap. I was rewarded with cookies, pizza, bananas, fruit snacks and hugs from Nate and Christy B. We headed back to the finish to wait for our friends. Traci's husband Eric came in shortly after I did. Traci finished in under 5 hours and earned herself a new PR. Christy S had some knee trouble along the course but she also finished in under 5 hours. One-by-one the day's goals were achieved. 

The hubby and I had our traditional Five Guys post-race meal. I knew I'd regret it later, but it was SO worth it! At home I got a shower and a little nap. Then Nate put on my 26.2 sticker that I had definitely earned and that I am super proud of!
The celebration continued with a glass (or 2...or 3) of my favorite bubbly. The hubby knows me so well!

That night I had so much trouble sleeping. My mind was going in a million different directions and I'm sure it was just way overestimated. I'm getting eager to start running again but my "coach" Hal says I have to rest. Tomorrow I get to start running/walking again. It's nothing compared to what I had been doing, but on Sunday I can run 8 miles and I'm so looking forward to it!

The next race is Labor Day weekend. Traci is going for an under 2-hour half and I'm hoping to help her do it. Our training "officially" starts June 10th but there will be lots of running before then! The next marathon is The Flying Pig 4-way in 2014. It'll be a 5k, 10 and a full marathon in the same weekend. I'll get 4 medals!!! 



  1. I am so proud of you for how amazing you did on your first marathon. I loved watching you finish!! I am in love with the marathon and knew you would not stop with just one:) I plan on doing the flying pig 4 way next year as well. Should be great! Also, I can't believe you didn't say anything about the hills. There were a tons of hills!! Great job!

    1. There were hills, but it's almost impossible to have a completely flat race. You think about "Heartbreak Hill" in Boston and then the Carmel seems downhill in comparission!