Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Leah's Chicago Marathon Recap

Chicago Marathon

PAULA!!!!!! Brrrr. Epic Garmin Fail. Ouch. PR. OUCH!!!

Wow. I'm in pain! I do not like that, but luckily I have something else to think about. I'm not sure what was more exciting this weekend - meeting Paula Radcliffe and getting my photo with her (actually TWO pictures, thanks Malinda!) or setting a new marathon PR while qualifying for the 2014 Boston Marathon. Ok, I do know ... it was meeting PAULA! Paula, my idol, my hero, my inspiration! I can't say how much I loved reading her autobiography and learning more about her struggles. I was giddy when she replied to one of my tweets on Friday and was shaking for nearly an hour after meeting her in person on Saturday. I can't believe how amazingly lucky I was to have that experience. HURRAY!!!!

(Here I am telling Paula how happy I was to get a reply to my tweet to her!)

So let me get to the race report!

I started off the marathon at 8:30 pace for at least 1/2 a mile and I was proud of myself for starting out on my target pace (Paula had said on Saturday to trust your training, pace yourself and focus on your goal!). However, when we went into a tunnel and weird things started happening with my Garmin. One minute I'm going 9:30 minute pace, the next 7:45, I had no clue what to think! I reset it hoping that would help give a more accurate pace, but then it was saying I was going 10 minute mile. WTH? I ended up resetting it a total of 4 times and after the last one I just switched to the clock because I didn't trust it anymore. I never looked at my garmin again for the rest of the race!

Luckily I caught up with one of two 3:35 pace groups (I started in Corral C, but I'm pretty sure the group I ran with started in Corral B). I hoped that I could stick with them until mile 20. I started fading around mile 17 and somewhere between miles 18-19 they were out of sight (ahead of me!). I thought, oh well, I still can BQ (3:45:00) even if I can't run under 3:40.

I knew when I got to the 20 mile point that if the clock said 2:45, I would be ok. Since I started around 3 minutes after the gun went off, I knew I could run 10 minute miles and still reach goal.

When I had 4 miles to go I started to get painfully uncomfortable (damn you piriformis!!) and figured if I wasn't going to PR, I didn't have to kill myself by pushing harder through the pain. Although, to be honest, I think the only way I would have gone any faster is if I had someone like Kristen Keller running with me and encouraging me like she did the final mile at the Turkey Trot last year (thanks again for that, btw!)

When the finish line was within site I was searching for the clock but couldn't see it clearly until I was less than 200M away. When I saw it was still under 3:40 I think in dug a little deeper and picked up the pace a notch to make sure I made it. That was the first time I finished a marathon and had no clue what my unofficial time was! I tried to check my phone, but as soon as I entered my password i got the low battery signal and it turned off. Doh!

The walk through the finish line area to the Balboa tent was almost as painful as last year. Shifting from running to walking made all the pain intensify and all I wanted was my phone charger, a cold beer, and a massage (in that order!). I think it took me nearly ten minutes to get to that beer and massage. At least I met a very nice guy who chatted and shuffled with me to the tent (and I BEAT him!).

The post-race massage was my longest and best one ever! The perk to getting a ticket to the Balboa tent and finishing in a reasonable time was NO wait! I even had two therapists work on me simultaneously. What a luxury! It was painful, but also relaxing and they forced my legs to engage in some post-race stretching.

During the massage I started to shiver and regretted that I didn't pack an extra long sleeve fleece top in my bag. Despite the chills I grabbed another cold beer (mmmm!) and on my way to find a seat, I found a vent blowing out heat. Heaven! I sat on the floor in front of it and changed my socks and shoes, noticing that I had a new black toenail on the toe next to my little toe on my right foot. Wow for a little nail that can cause a lot of pain! I've never had a problem with that toe before so that was kind of strange.

When the heat mysteriously stopped I decided to walk over to meet my friend Amy and the kids who were getting bored. To my huge surprise I saw my twin Malinda walking towards me! Either I was in that massage for longer than I thought or she was smoking fast on the course! And she was! She even beat my time from last year AND ran a negative split (something I've only done once in 19 marathons!). WAY TO GO MALINDA! So proud of you!

So I didn't hit my A goal (3:34:59), but I did achieve goal B (PR/-5BQ for 2014). I'm a little bummed that I didn't run a negative split, but considering I could only judge my pace when I passed a mile marker clock, it could have been a lot worse! My 2nd 5K was my fastest and I am certain that's why I started fading the last 3-4 miles. Stupid, stupid, stupid. I had no business running nearly 3 sub-8:00 miles in a marathon. DUH!

A few random thoughts....

The temperature difference between last year and this year coudn't have been more stark. Last year I started the race in a bra top. This year, I was covered in a lot of layers. I left my extra shirt and jacket on for almost three miles. I ditched the gloves around the 10k pt and the arm warmers and fuzzy headband a couple miles later.

Pet Peeve: I really wish they would alternate flavors of Gatorade at the various stops. I never want another cup of lemon-lime! I would have paid extra for some fruit punch and a variety of other flavors.

I'm so grateful to my long-time friend Amy for taking my kids to the race and getting this cool picture of me in Chinatown. I look unhappy, and at that point, I think I was ready to be at the finish line!

I loved having my name on my shirt. I almost felt like I was still in Charlottesville because I heard my name so much! :)

This marathon didn't feel as easy and pain free as my previous PR at Charlottesville. After that marathon I actually walked home 2 miles after the race and felt fine! After the race yesterday, I was struggling to walk without wincing and could barely keep up with my sister! And I'm still pretty sore today.

So here are my stats!!

No comments: