"I Believe in Miracles...since you came along....You sexy thing."
What a start to a race day!
I hit the port-a-john lines wearing a long sleeve top and gloves I planned to toss after a mile or two in the race. After that, I went to the gear drop and ran into Julie on the way. We checked our stuff and visited briefly before parting ways. Then I ran into another friend I met at races, Emily, and we decided to do a little warm-up together. I always like to see a face I know before a race and chat- it cuts the tension.
After warming up for maybe 7 minutes, I found my place in corral A, right next to the 3:15 pacer. My goal was to start with the pace group, be conservative, and hopefully move up if I felt good. It seemed like a good plan based on my training, the course, and the weather. I had modified my training plan after a bad cold and a minor knee injury, but reduced mileage and intensity got me to the starting line still feeling pretty well prepared.
My bib was on my skirt and I had been wearing pants over it. Somewhere along the way I must have crunched the B tag chip, because only my start data showed up for people tracking me. Then it was taken out of the system.
7:25, 7:19, 7:26, 7:29, 7:27, 7:12
The gun went off and we wound through some residential areas that were a little rolling, on some narrow streets with parked cars (not a big issue, if you were looking out). I saw Robbin on his hand cycle and gave him a shout, but he was swarmed with people on the packed street.
There were some people cheering in groups here and there. I stayed in front of the pace group for a few miles, and was greatly encouraged to see my friend Tami, who drove from Elkton (an hour away), cheering at mile 2 and mile 6. It was an early morning drive for her- she is our pastor's wife and made it back to church for 10:00 service.
We had an uphill climb for a mile and then a downhill back to 30th Ave. The water and Gatorade stations were well tended, but I was glad to have my fuel belt and 4 gels pinned on. My plan was to take half a gel at each of the 6 scheduled fueling times on my pace band.
7:17, 7:16, 7:27, 7:15, 7:11, 7:26, 7:28, 7:29
The 3:15 group had caught up to me here and I ran with them for awhile. The road had some serious camber in some parts on this stretch. I felt a bit of stress on the outside of both my upper knees (not a previous injury area) and I told them, "I will deal with you later."
Then we took the only big hill up and back by Hayward field. As we passed the water stations, I tried to remember to sip from my water bottles and take a shot, or part of a shot. A little bit later I was ahead of the pace group again and was making my way past the half marathon split to the Willamette river path. At this point I heard Amanda , her husband, and their kids by their hotel! It was a surprise cheer section for me.
|Feeling strong at mile 8.|
Near mile 11, as we were running through a residential part of Springfield, I felt the first sign of my calves wearing down. This was not a good indicator. I was going slower than my half marathon pace at mile 11 and feeling my calves already--(more thoughts on why in another post).
I fought off some negative thoughts here and knew I should just try to maintain pace. Speeding up was not going to work. I tried to focus on various friends, praying for their healing. I hit mile 13 around 1:36 something ? Checking my pace band, this was just around the planned 3:15 pace and I hoped that I had what I needed to maintain.
7:33, 7:23, 7:25, 7:24, 7:29, 7:19, 7:34
An overpass over I-5 was the last real hill in the race- the rest of the course was virtually the same as the course I ran in 2010, and I could visualize it before i got to each part.
I began to see some other runners start to struggle. A nice stranger-lady cheered for me, told me I looked STRONG and BEAUTIFUL. I wanted to put her in my fuel belt and carry her with me (someone else was already riding in there though).
As I got back on the river path, and the familiar Pre trail, I knew it wouldn't be long until I saw Amanda again at our planned exchange. I tried to focus on that. My quads were starting to burn before mile 18 and my calves seemed to be holding steady.
|On the river trail between mile 18 and 19. Photo by my dad.|
Then I heard them...
I thought I had a pretty good gap between myself and the 3:15 group, but they passed by me right before I traded bottles of water with Amanda and also saw my dad and Jon and the boys. I tried to catch them, but didn't like running in a pack at all. There were maybe 10 people tightly together, and the pacer mentioned that they had about 45 seconds banked. I gave them a little space and tried to keep up. There were a few ladies who were doing a great job in that group- but my legs were just getting harder and harder to keep going. The group slipped away from me after we crossed the Owasso bridge, but I tried to keep the balloons in sight. People had really thinned out at this point.
7:29, 7:49, 8:01, 8:15, 8:14 (Not sure about the last bit over 26 since I didn't turn my watch off)
Seeing the pace group move out of reach sent my mind into a battle. My legs were done and I had lost my goal to beat 3:15.
When a time goal is out of reach, it is easy for me to say, "This race is a failure." I haven't done a lot of B or C goal races. My form fell apart. It became tempting to walk. It hurt bad.
I knew that it would just take longer to get to the finish line if I walked, so --I kept running.
My thoughts were shifting between what (if anything) I had done wrong with training, to how to pull it together for my best possible time.
Some of the thoughts in my last 3 miles were:
- What the heck was I thinking? Why did I think a marathon was a good idea?
- I bet I tapered too much.
- I wonder if I needed more 20+ milers.
- Give me a good 5K any day! 3.1 miles of sheer agony, but then it's over.
- Maybe I could have put my twenty milers closer together.
- I should have kept doing interval workouts.
- Maybe this is the best you can do, even with a perfect training cycle.
- Maybe I could have ran a faster marathon the day I did my 22 miler.
- I can keep doing this..In a little bit it will be over.
- This is worse than having a baby...
- No. No it isn't.
- My watch says I am running 8:09, but my legs feel like this is a 12 minute mile.
- God, please keep my legs moving.
- I hear cheering. For me. I have no idea who it is, but I hear them.
As I entered Hayward field, I heard my dad first and then Jon and the boys. I tried to pick up the pace for the finish line with the gun time reading 3:18:06. My net time, after Bazu Sports reviewed the data (chip malfuntion), worked out to be 3:17:49.
Of course I forgot to turn off my watch! I got my medal and headed for the medical/ice tent first. I just wanted to see if they had any ice-baths- simply out of curiosity. I didn't see any. But I got a couple of bags of ice. :)
|Talking with Tasha (Healthy Diva Blog) - super nice -and speedy.|
I grabbed some snacks and water and met my family in the reunion area. My kids were so excited to see me and my sister had come down from Portland for the day. I took my opportunity to get a few pictures since I might not see her again for a few months.
|My boys with some post-race snacks.|
|Family and a childhood neighbor|
|I can imagine the fun Jon had waiting for me with the boys :)|
|My sister- so honored that she came down to watch.|
- There is nothing like a marathon to remind you of how weak - and how strong- you really are. When I was at my weakest, He carried me. I am grateful to friends and family who let themselves be extensions of His love for me with prayers, messages, packages and as cheerleaders on the course.
- Although I didn't meet my time goal, as I sit here, I am really VERY happy with a new PR. A PR is never a guarantee, and I was blessed with fantastic weather and a great day in Eugene.
- I am satisfied that I gave all I had for this race. Often times I will look back at a race and wonder if I could have executed the race any better. This one was well executed, I just didn't know how much to shoot for. And you can never really be certain of that until you are in the midst of the race.
- The race organizers and volunteers did a fantastic job, all around.
- I am really happy with how I fueled and hydrated for this race. It was totally worth wearing the fuel belt to have water when I needed it or wanted it. I am not a big drinker and it was cool. I probably drank about 16 oz of water, but that makes me think that in my previous two marathons I probably only drank 6 ounces.
- This is only my third marathon and I still have SO much to learn. I wonder if I could improve my time in the full. There is really only one way to find out, but a person would have to be sick in the head to do that. ha!