Hey friends! I ran another marathon on Saturday! Fun, right?
Let's Tarantino this and start at the end. I had a 3 tiered goal with this race as I usually do. First and foremost was to finish but this was the first time I had goals other than survival or beat the cutoff in a marathon so it was a little scary. My next goal was to beat last year's 5:42 which on one hand would be "easy" since I didn't have any broken bones this year but on the other hand, still scary because a lot can happen in 26 miles...not mention the .2. The last goal was a 5:30 or better. That was the time goal I had floating around in my head last year but not anything I was actively chasing. This year I was.
I met my first 2 goals but I missed 5:30...again...by 1 FREAKING MINUTE.
Another stellar performance by me (not quite last in my age group) but more importantly, they also sent us these cute certificates we can print for ourselves.
Why didn't I hit my elusive 5:30 goal? Let's go back...
This race experience was actually quite uneventful which is of course the way you want a race to go. The Colonel and I headed up to Indy Friday afternoon and after battling construction traffic made it to the expo close to 6. Louisville was sunny and quite warm when we left but the clouds moved in and by the time we got to Indy it was overcast, chilly and super windy. I bought a hoodie at the expo because it was cheap and finally got around to getting one of those 26.2 magnets for my car (because I'm totally that person) then we headed to the hotel. I had my usual dinner of rice and beans then rolled out my calves before deciding I'd go to bed.
First, of course, I made a video and I have to admit, the tone wasn't entirely positive.
I'm not sure why, but I was (and still am) really having a tough time mentally surrounding this race. I noticed I was seeded in corral E which also happened to be the last corral and it sort of sucker punched me a little. I went around for a while embracing my slowness because I was doing the best I could but recently I've been backpedaling on that and really thinking about whether or not I'm actually pushing myself as hard as I could be. Hence, this post.
Anyhow, I managed to actually get some good-ish sleep and only woke up 3 or 4 times before the alarm. I unfortunately didn't wake up feeling my best. I didn't feel sick or bad or sore or anything, just not as fresh as I would've liked. We stopped off at a gas station to pick up some throwaway gloves and made it to the start with plenty of time to spare. It was a cold morning and the wind was still very much gusting which made me feel really bad for The Colonel and any other spectators. I made the decision to bring my sunglasses along for the ride even though it wasn't sunny at all and it turned out to be a good decision when we'd turn into a headwind later on.
Two pit stops and I was in my corral.
I like small races for a lot of reasons and this time it was because I was easy to spot for pictures! The Colonel even managed to take a video of me and I saw him! Too bad for you, I have no idea how to share it so...there's that.
I tried to jog the first mile as an extended warm up like I usually do but (like I usually do) I pretty much just went with the pace the people around me were going which felt really easy but turned out to be just over 11 min/mi. I was trying to average 12's for the whole race so I already felt like I went out too fast and tried to back off. The problem was that basically all of the hills on the course were in the first half of the race and a fun fact about me, I like to run hills. I like to destroy them. I like to dominate them. I like to win. So I kind of do a charge when I see hills and that lead to my splits being faster than I had planned.
It also didn't help that the hills really weren't that bad. The park near my house boasts some tough hills and I run there a lot so maybe I'm just getting better at them, or maybe I'm crazy. Either way, the hills weren't getting into my head and being able to see and hear other people's reactions when we'd reach a hill gave me some serious mental pushes as I'd pass them. In case you didn't realize it, I'm not used to passing people.
The first half was really uneventful. The half marathoners didn't split from us until just before mile 13 so it was fun to have lots of people around for much longer than normal. I saw The Colonel right before the split and it had been drizzling off and on. I was a sweaty mess but he still offered me his fleece. Such a gentleman.
Seeing him gave me a little boost I definitely needed in my not so fresh feeling legs and I soared through mile 14 somewhere in the 11:20s which is not where I planned to be at all. After mile 15, things got interesting. I hit 15 feeling alright but shortly after when my 3 hour snack break came I couldn't bring myself to eat anything. I opened my honey stinger (which by the way, is one of the most delicious things I've ever eaten period) and could barely get it to go down. I was so nauseous out of nowhere! I went along for a few more minutes and sipped some water then decided to try again. No dice. I tucked it away and tried a shot blok, another lovely little staple in my training diet. I had to spit it out. I told myself not to panic because that would use a lot of energy I was going to need and to just drink some Gatorade. I have 2 bottles on my belt and usually start with a bottle of water and one of Gatorade or occasionally another sports drink. Once the sports drink is gone I switch both bottles to water and start chomping on food. It's always worked. Until hour 3.
To make a long story short, for the next 2 and a half hours I had to choke down lemon lime Gatorade at every aid station and keep my bottles full so I could just sip non-stop for some calories. It was refreshing to know I could drink as much as I did without any real GI trouble or cramping. I also didn't have an upset stomach in any way unless I put a solid in my mouth. I still can't explain what happened but it's definitely something to keep in mind going forward and I'm a little excited to try out some new things in my next training cycle to create a back up plan. Especially since I may never drink lemon lime Gatorade again.
By mile 22 I could feel the lack of calories starting to catch up to me which was frustrating because even though I didn't feel great, I could have been running better. Short of 2 women who I passed when they stopped for a bathroom break, every person I passed on the back half of the race never passed me again. In fact, I never even saw them again except during out and back sections. Although I was panicked about my pace apparently I did pretty well. A little after mile 25 I knew I'd be close to 5:30 but kind of realized I wouldn't hit it, still I kept pushing and didn't let the dream go until my watch hit 5:29 somewhere after mile 26. I emptied the tank and gave it all I had to see how close I could get and was really excited to have only been 1:35 short.
I didn't feel great at the finish but did finally feel like I pushed myself a bit further than normal and was proud of that. I was hungry and thirsty so grabbed a bottle of water and headed to the food tent. I am still bitter they claimed to be out of veggie burgers. I settled for some cold cheese pizza but only managed a few bites before I was over it.
I still haven't entirely digested the race so I don't have any takeaways or words of wisdom just yet. But I'm really happy to only have minimal soreness and to have been walking close to normal Sunday and Monday. I do think I have a little bit of a cold which isn't terribly surprising so trying to take it easy and be smart so I can make it through Savannah in a few weeks.
Saturday is a local half marathon I really want to do so please send constant reminders to me to be smart, recover and focus on the bigger goal which is to not get injured or hate running before Ironman training starts in January!