Thursday, December 17, 2009

Thunder Road Marathon - 12/12/2009

Training and running a marathon is a funny thing. Not funny like a joke or cheap laugh. But funny like ironic, crazy, how can I find different ways to be in pain. It is a great teacher. It teaches humility. It teaches friendship. It teaches endurance. It teaches a person to dig down so deep that it is scary. The race itself is difficult, anything can happen. A person learns.....Well, I learned a lot about myself. I learned that I can throw up on the side of the road, not be embarrassed, then start running again. I learned Matt will not take me home during the race. I learned that at mile 21, I an kick it in and finish strong.
So here is my story.
I trained 18 weeks. Getting up to 50 mile weeks. Consuming more gels and propel, running more miles, and wearing dorky compression sleeves (I secretly think they are cool.). Tapering perfectly. Restricting my sugar intake. All this for one day. One moment in time. One marathon.
I went and picked up my number and shirt at the expo on Friday afternoon. I saw my buddy Julie there. She is running her 1st marathon. Told her to have fun and enjoy the moment, and make sure you look up at the skyline at mile 25. It is always beautiful and inspires me to finish strong.

I picked up my stuff and checked my chip to see if it worked. It did.

I wasn't really nervous about this race. I was able to sleep well. However, when I woke up the next morning, my tummy was not cooperating. I didn't really think that much about this because my tummy is always a bit upset on race day. I choked down 1/2 a PB&J bagel and some water. We left the house at 0700. This made me have to hurry once I got to the race site. I did not get to line up with the 3:45 pace group. In fact, I was almost in the back. I was behind the 5 hour pace group, but I told myself to put this out of my box. This is something a friend on BeginnerTriathlete.com told me. She is an Iron Man...so I feel like she knows what she is talking about. Anything negative that happens, you put out of your box so it will not negatively effect your race.
My nutrition plan is to take in 2-3oz of propel/H2O per mile. I will start my gels at mile 4 and take 1/2 gel every other mile.
This is a picture of the fast guys. They deserve a shout out. I bet one of these fellas won...WOW!

I started out trying to get past all the walkers and slower than me runners....however, at the same time, I tried not to slam it the first few miles. I was doing around an 8:40 pace. That is OK. I can totally make that up. Put all negative thoughts out of my box. I had to play the passing game for the 1st 4ish miles. I take my 1st half of gel. Around mile 5, I saw my friend Debbie and caught up with the 4 hour pace group. Remember, I am behind the clock so my pace is ahead of 4 hours. I am finally able to run. Debbie and I run together. we do the next 3 miles around an 8:00 pace. At the 10k point, I take the rest of my 1st gel. I start feeling a bit sick to my stomach. I really don't pay much attention to this, but it feels like my gel is still in my stomach. Ugg!
I pass mile 8 and decide to wait a little while before starting my next gel. I am still drinking though. I want to give the other gel time to get down....it doesn't.
Mile 9...10...11...up Morehead.....still on target but feeling sick. I decide I should go ahead and start the next gel because my legs feel dead. I take 1/4 and slowly sip on it until the half mark.
Here is a picture Matt snapped of me at the 1/2 way mark. I didn't know if I should be happy I was 1/2 way done or overwhelmed b/c I have 13.1 more miles to go. I decide to put this out of my box and look forward to the 2nd half of the marathon. I am still within reach of a Boston Qualifying time. And good for a sub 4.

At mile 14, I see my friend Jessie. She asks if I need anything...I say I am fine. I lied. I need her to come and carry me to the end. Every time I try to take my gel or take a drink, I start gagging. Not good. I have to have nutrition to finish this thing. I decide just to hold a gel and walk when I am taking it in. I also decide to go ahead and put on my Ipod. I try to rally myself by dancing to the drummers at Panther's Stadium (mile 16) and thanking the police and the great volunteers. But I am feeling BAD!
Here I come up to Matt at mile 17. I decide to tell him to take me home. I am no longer able to take in anything and I can feel all the stuff sloshing around in my stomach. This is also the point where the 4 hour pace group passes me back. You can see them in the orange. GRRR! I have been churning out a few 10:00 miles. Not cool. This is mainly because I am close to throwing up. However, I am able to hold it somewhat together.

I think a marathon brings out something in you that you did not know you had in you...Matt snaps this picture of me when I am telling him I am going to quit. I am actually saying the word quit in the picture. I tell him I am sick and need him to just take me home. Then to my surprise he says NO! He tells me that I only have 9 more miles and to get my butt out there and finish the race. I had run the last 10 miles of the course for my last long run. He reminded me of this and how a 10 mile run was a short run in my training. Then he pushed me back on the course and told me he would see me at mile 21.

MILE 21!?!?! How am I supposed to make it to mile 21. I told him that I would see him there and we would renegotiate this there. I drink a bit more and start another gel. I pass mile 18, 19, 20....AHHH! Mile 20. I can do 6.2 more miles. I hit this at 3:04, I think. I am starting to feel a little better. I know I will see Matt soon.
This is a picture that Matt snapped of Joseph at mile 21. This was his 1st marathon.

I run up to Matt while drinking a sip of Propel. He yells that he just saw Joseph. I was surprised b/c I had not seen Joseph the whole marathon. I take a gel pack to carry with me.......

and take off. I will run the last 5 miles. I put my mind into racing mode and run. I think I can catch up to Joseph and break 4 hours.

I start doing 9 min miles....and a few 8ish min miles. I pass mile 22 and take another sip of gel. I have to stop and go to the side b/c I am gagging really bad and think I am going to throw up. i hold it together though. I throw the gel in my pocket and decide not to try that again. I could tell that none of my gels or H20 has gotten into me. I can feel it almost coming up. Pass Joseph and we say hello then I continue on. Mile 23, oh that is hilly! Mile 24...more hills. Mile 25....look up and see Charlotte sky line. NICE! I look at my watch and do a bit of figuring in my head. I can totally break 4 hours. I have about 10 minutes. I get to 25.5, have around 7 minutes b/4 the 4:00 mark, and pass through some children at the drink station. I hi 5 them and take a drink b/c I am thirsty. Take a sip...and try to speed up a bit. Now I am not sure if it was that last sip or that last kick...but I start throwing up....I stop then start again...then stop...then start again...and stop...then start again. I blessed about 1/4th mile of McDowell. I have never thrown up b/4 like this....every time I started to run it would start again....but when I finally finished, I felt better. Not good, but better. OK...so the last time I started throwing up, I looked at my watch....it was 4:00. Oh man!
Here is me finishing up the last .2 miles. Just don't throw up again...Just keep it together. My friend Leigh runs the last .2 with. She runs it on the sidewalk so as not to get in any one's way. This really helped me get to the finish.

I go across the line, get my medal, blanket, another shirt, and a wonderful volunteer takes off my chip.....Thank you!

I then see my sister, brother-in-law, and nephews.
This is my sister...no we are not the same person! We have run 2 1/2 marathons together...Read the race reports...they will touch you. Lots of pictures...hey! That's is what it's about!

My buddy Leigh! We have run a 1/2 marathon together!

My sweet hubby, JRT...scream team!

The whole gang! Brother-in-law, Nephews,sister, JRT, Hubby, Me! My youngest nephew told me I was the winner when he saw me.....I choose to believe him.
I finished 1 second more from last year. My time was 4:05.18 this year. I was 4:05.17 last year. The difference was being sick. I am disappointed in my time, but at the same time, I feel like it says a lot about my training that I was able to finish 1 second higher than last year and was sick...in fact, I felt so bad that I wanted to quit.
Now on to Myrtle Beach.

3 comments:

Jessi said...

Girl! I totally would have carried you the rest of the way! I'm proud of you for finishing even though you were sick. That's why you're my Yoda!

triblog carol said...

Wow way to tough it out despite a stomach bug. I am so sorry you didn't make the BQ time. And, I am honored that you used my box idea :-) Oh, I agree, compression sleeves are cool!

ron said...

GUTsy performance. You are still a star to me. Maybe do some experimenting between now and MB with E-Caps instead of Gels for your electrolytes? Or Sport Beans? Or something else that won't make you hurl? Let's talk about it at the track next time!

You are THONWOMAN!!!!!!!!!!!!!