10 days Before Race Day
I pulled a muscle in my back on Thanksgiving Day. My back locked up, and arching my back at all was out of the question. Ten Days before my first marathon. A price I paid for giving my ten year old daughter a piggyback ride after I paced her to a PR in the Dallas Turkey Trot 5k. Her time was 24:09, and she placed 3rd in the 12 and under age group!
Slowly over the next week my back loosened up. Just not enough to run relaxed with the stability I needed on Race Day.
On The Night Before Race Day
Saturday night, race nerves kicked in. I did as much pre-race prep as I could without reaching that obsessively organizing all of my race gear stage. I knew before the trip that the weather was not going to be ideal. 70 degrees. 95% humidity. A misleading ‘chance of rain.’ So, I spent extra time planning ahead for rehydrating and refueling. Around 8pm, I turned my race brain off, watched The Big Bang Theory, and called it a night.
At 4am, I rolled out of bed and began my routine. Contacts, coffee, cereal…4oz of Tailwind, stare at my phone, scroll through Deadpool apparel on Amazon, reread my coach’s email, put race gear on, wake up my husband, and go.
With the humidity being so high along with the fact that this was marathon #1, I had no idea how much warming up I needed to do, so I went with half as much as normal. One slow mile, some drills, and a few strides. Sweat formed almost instantly which confirmed the need for a short warm up.
I decided to start with a water bottle in hand, and my husband planned to meet me at mile 13 if possible to hand off another one to me. Tailwind was my main electrolyte replacement for this marathon.
When I entered Corral 1, the lack of race nerves came as a surprise to me. It felt like the race was not about to start since the marathon is so long.
This is something I need to think more about, because the uncertainty I had later in the race about when to turn race mode on may have affected the second half of this race.
After a powerfully sung National Anthem, and a few introductions, the race began. Chaos broke out immediately. High school kid cuts in front of me, lands an elbow, and leaves me on a 99% guaranteed crash course into a jogger that slowed to a stop within the first 100 meters. Somehow I made it out and found a comfortable pace and space.
I kept my average pace around 7:15 for the first 4 miles, and my plan was to work my way down to 7:00/mile. Mile 5. 7:02. Mile 6. 7:17. Mile 8. 7:15. Mile 9 7:08. The humidity started to drain me around Mile 9, so I backed off. I ultimately wanted to have a good first marathon experience.
Mile 10. 7:28. Mile 11. 7:37. At Mile 11, something unexpected happened. The skies opened up, and rain poured down. The rain came down so hard that I couldn’t help but laugh and run with my arms out embracing the horribly awesome experience. Slight chance of rain? Ha! This was a New Orleans style, out of nowhere downpour.
By the time I reached my husband at Mile 13, the rain had stopped. I swapped out water bottles and continued on. My half marathon time according to my watch was 1:34:50.
After the halfway point, my pace started to drop off. My thinking was that I had way to far to go to feel terrible just yet so I accepted the slower pace.
This is what I need to think more about, because pushing through this stage may be the key to a better time.
The next few miles were a blur. I zoned out a bit, but I remember at Mile 18, I felt sick to my stomach. And then my back locked up, and my hip flexor (same side as the pulled muscle in back) felt off. I drank some gatorade at a couple of stops, but that made my stomach feel worse. My pace suffered. 8:30/mile. 9:00/mile. My knees were killing me from slipping on the wet roads. At Mile 24, a woman passed me, but within a minute her legs started to give out from dehydration. I slowed up, ready to do what I could to help, but I was not in great shape myself at that point. Luckily, a spectator came rushing over to help her. I saw three more people walking in front of me. I powered through the next two miles slowly.
One last surge of speed got me back down to 6:15/mile passing three men before the finish. 3:34:31. 26.7 miles according to my watch? I guess you can add a good amount of distance to a 26.2 mile race by not taking the shortest path. Within 10 minutes, I drank 16oz of gatorade, a chocolate milk, and more gatorade, and then I felt like throwing up for the next 20 minutes. The half mile walk back to the hotel took 30 minutes which amused my husband. He kept offering to carry me. No way! I had just run 26.2 or .7 miles. I could walk a half mile more. Of course he followed up with, “Well, can you pick up the pace then?”
3:34 was nowhere close to my goal time, but I am still proud of myself. I have no doubt that I will crush it next time. I am thinking…The Cowtown Marathon 2018!
Recovering from the marathon has been easier than I expected. All soreness was gone after a 4 mile run on Monday. I ran another 4 miles on Tuesday with a few strides at the end. Wednesday was an all out rest day, but today I ran 9 miles easy.
Thanks for Reading! Like! Share! Follow! Comment! And if you live in Dallas, did you see it snow this morning?
This post is sponsored by Run Texas, a specialty running store in Frisco, TX!