Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Miami Marathon 1/31/2010


I left it ALL out there! As you know going into the race I was gunning for a Boston Qualifying time of 3:40. As we started the day out the weather was cool (around 70) with a 30% chance of rain. What I didn't know at the time was that it was also damn near 90% humidity. Safe to say I didn't train in that amount of humidity.

That weekend leading up to the race I had some gastrointestinal issues. I will spare you the details, but it was the opposite of what you think of when you think of gastrointestinal issues. Anyway. I felt okay at the start of the race considering that this issue is pretty common for me.

The half and the full started together so Miranda, Ridge, Erin, Betsy and I all started out together. Betsy, Erin and I planned to stay together to try for 3:40, Miranda was running the half and planned to stay w/ us and Ridge was in it to finish it. We started out strong and I felt good. We were all drenched in sweat in the first two miles. The first couple of miles are always a little slower because of the huge crowds. Within the first 3 miles we had set into pace ahead of the pacers (there were two). When the first pacer caught us Erin told me to stay with him while she went to check on Betsy (she was pacing us). I stayed with him, but he started running sub 8 min miles and I thought I was going to die. I heard him say that by mile 10 we should be caught up. I've never done this before so I assumed he knew what he was doing, but with each mile we ticked off at sub 8s I started to fall back a bit more. Erin got back to me around mile 9 or 10 and I told her I was dying and that this guy was running sub-8s. I was pissed that I felt like this and that he was pushing it so hard. She said he was going a bit too fast (per the other pace guy) and that I should relax, slow down a bit, find my pace again and focus on getting my breath under control. She reminded me that I had trained for this and I could do this. So I did that and we settled in and I started to feel a bit better. I can't remember what mile the other pace guy caught up to us, but I know it was only a couple miles later that I started to lose him too. All I wanted was a huge jug of ICE WATER! I knew that I was over heated at that point. I was feeling a bit dizzy/chilled, but managed to keep it together. I continued to hydrate and dump water on my head.

At around 16.75 Erin told me that I needed to make a decision as to whether I was going to pick up and run the pace guy down or face not qualifying for Boston. I was so tapped out. I didn't have any particular pain that I felt like I needed to run through. I just felt like I couldn't keep up. My legs couldn't turn over any faster and I couldn't find a groove where I could breath and keep my heart rate in the right place. I was fatigued.

I told her I would make the decision in a quarter mile. As I thought about it I was reminded of many conversations I've had with Tom - particularly when I was training for a half Ironman and I was always frustrated with my bike speed. He would always ask me why I do this to myself. Hold myself to a standard, make it all about a time or other goal instead of just enjoying myself. This is about having fun. I WAS NOT having fun trying to run that guy down when I was just not feeling good. I decided I was going to find MY pace and run the last 9 miles of this race as MY race. The race that I was given today and stop holding myself to an arbitrary standard. I wanted to have fun and enjoy this.

I could tell that Erin was disappointed, but I couldn't worry about that. She made me reiterate that I was 100% sure I wouldn't be disappointed at the end even if I missed it only by minutes and I assured her that I was sure.

I don't feel like I quit or gave up. I feel like I assessed the situation and made a good decision. I was still going to have an amazing PR even if I slowed down to 10 min miles.

Erin dropped back with another runner that was suffering with a painful hip and I ran on. I ran alone focusing on my breath, stride and each mile marker. I got in MY rhythm and was feeling good. I saw Erin one more time for a bit then she dropped back to check on Betsy.

I again got in my zone. Running alone and just focusing I was able to maintain an 8:45 to 9:05 pace and I was happy with that. In the last 4 to 5 miles my calves were so tight that I was just waiting for one to charlie horse and for me to hit the ground in a writhing fit praying for relief from the pain, but I made it through. I finished around 3:50. (I haven't looked up the official results yet) My last marathon was 4:20 and my first marathon was 4:08... I feel really good about that PR!

I left every last ounce I had out there. Normally at the end of a race I kick on the afterburners and run as hard as I can through the last .2 to 1 mile. This race had taken it all already. I had no afterburner, no kick. Nothing. I just pushed as I had been and got there as fast as my legs would carry me.

I feel really good about the effort I put forth out there and wouldn't change anything about the race... okay maybe the toe thing.

I'm so glad to have had my girlfriends there to run this race with. I appreciate Erin running with me and helping me to 'almost' qualify. She pushed me just enough and knew when I was officially done "chasing it". I loved starting this race together.

Some people have asked me if I will try again. I am too close to it right now. I don't know. I have some serious SERIOUS toe injuries. Think blister on the entire end of your toe and I"m not sure of the outcome for one of my toes. Might permanently loose that sucker. (the nail not the toe) UGH.

We're in Miami

After the race we relaxed a bit then ate our way through the day. There was a group from Madison that went (Fleet Feet/Race Day Events) and we all went to dinner as a group then went out dancing... FYI this is a great recovery strategy. Drinks and dancing late into the night. (which I swore I wouldn't do then did anyway)

It was a great trip! I needed it and I feel better. As you know running long/racing always brings out a lot of emotions and maybe even realizations. I've talked about the physical parts and will delve into the emotional at another time. This is long and I'm tired.


  1. Great job on our race! I know we have all experienced that relief or maybe frustration when we know that perhaps we are not at our best on race day. It's all in the attitude and you showed why you are tough and smart. Be proud of that PR! It's a huge improvement... plus I think for that you deserve a nice pedicure for the hurt toes, right?

  2. You did great! I can't believe your PR!

    I understand you wanting to qualify. I'm sort of that way too. However, Tom is right and what's the point if you don't have fun too.

    I hope the post race blues don't hit you too hard.

  3. Wow! You have me beat. If I lived in the cold I would gain 80 lbs and NEVER leave the house.

    It is AMAZING that you were able to train for a marathon (and get a smokin fast PR) while living in a cold climate.

    Nice work!