So as usual, here is my race recap with a million details. For those that don't want the million details, here is a quick, two-paragraph sum up.
The weather was great. The course is really, really good.The Pocatello Marathon gives some very nice swag. My legs felt awesome (never even noticed my achilles). My stomach was a total nightmare, and still isn't 100%. Ugh was I sick. I lost over 5 minutes in portapotties. I never gave up. While I did not meet my goal of being under 3:30 on the clock, I actually "ran" the race in 3:26-3:27, I qualified for Boston by over 12 minutes, and I shaved 25 minutes off my marathon PR from April. I could not be more proud of my time of 3:32:26 (my official time originally was 3:32:36 but was adjusted by 10 seconds. I'll take it!) because it DID NOT COME EASILY. This race was hard fought.
I WILL be racing Top of Utah (not just running it for fun), on Sept. 17 (11 days!), as long as my legs continue to feel so great. While I am crazy proud of my results in Pocatello, I know I have a faster time in me under better (not violently ill) conditions, and I am ready to run it. Plus, the TOU course is great, and I am excited to race again.
Ok, now for the detailed version. :)
I left my house about 10:15am on Friday morning and got to Pocatello, Idaho just before 12:30pm. As soon as I got into the parking lot of the Red Lion, I met up with the wonderful Cari. She is amazing! She was so sweet and genuine and fun to be with. I am excited she doesn't live that far away. :) We went into the hotel, got my bib and swag and walked around the tiny expo for a minute. The Pocatello Marathon gives some really nice stuff to the runners. I got a great black duffel bag with neon green accents, a long sleeved tech shirt (feminine cut and nice fit!), some samples, and a bag of
|duffel bag and shirt|
|Yeah, I fit in Emily's armpit :)|
I spent a couple of hours in the afternoon alone resting, getting my stuff ready for the morning, etc. and then I met back up with Emily and Dawn for dinner. Note to travelers - there are not a whole lot of dining options in Pocatello, especially if you want pasta! We ended up at Chili's which had very limited options for what I would want the night before a marathon (I ended up with salmon, rice and bread). It was really fun hanging out with Emily and Dawn. They are just as awesome as they seem on their blogs. :)
I was back in my hotel room nice and early and was actually laying down in bed by 8:45pm. It was REALLY nice to be in town the day before a race so early and not having to be up late getting things ready. I talked to Josh on the phone, read for a little while, and then had the best night's sleep I think I've ever had before a race!
I set my alarm for 3:15am, and right after getting up I drank some Accelerade and ate a small bowl of oatmeal sweetened with honey (which is what I have done for all of my marathons). I got dressed and ready. I went back and forth about whether to wear my compression tights or shorts (I have always worn tights for my marathons) but ended up in shorts and didn't regret it. I was feeling excited and "ready", and not super nervous.
|self portraits with a tiny camera are hard, but I wanted something from before the race!|
I left the hotel room and went out front to get on a bus to the start line, and walked right into Dawn and Emily. We got on the bus and were up at the start a short while later. It was still DARK and cold, and there were tons of stars. I even saw a shooting star which I took as good luck. :)
We did the usual - waited in line for a portapotty, stripped off warm clothes (it was chilly!), and checked our gear bags on the UPS truck, and the race started just a few minutes late and we were running by about 6:18am (I think).
The first 13 miles of this course are all downhill (in some spots pretty steep downhill) and then the second 13 miles or so is pretty flat, with a couple of short climbs and a couple of downhills (over the second half the overall elevation change is -150ft). I knew that negative splits weren't likely on a course like this, but my goal was NOT to go out too fast on the first downhill half, no matter how tempting it was. My goal pace was 7:50, and I told myself 10-15 seconds per mile faster was ok on the steepest downhills (and then a bit slower on the uphills later was ok) but nothing faster.
For those first few miles my stomach felt great and I had no clue what was in store for me. I was chilly but knew that the temps were perfect for racing and everything felt pretty dang good! I settled in to my pace, the little bit of nerves I had disappeared as they always do once I get to running, and I concentrated on my pace, my form, my breathing and everything around me. It was a very quiet race, without any spectators until the last miles. I felt strong. As usual I did not run with an IPOD. I don't think I'll ever race with music again. I really like focusing and concentrating on my running and everything around me and soaking in the experience.
My stats for the first five miles were:
7:40, 7:41, 7:44, 7:48, 7:34
Shortly before the end of that fifth mile my stomach started to rumble and I knew I needed a pit stop. I had been hoping to make it to the aid station at 8 miles before stopping, but I knew that wasn't going to happen. I was in and out quickly, and took my first Accel gel as I got back on the course. (I carried Accelerade in my handheld bottle and took an Accel gel at miles 5, 10, 15 and 20. I also took water at some of the aid stations).
I felt good, until my stomach started acting up again around mile 9. I was frustrated to have to stop again, but sometimes on my long runs I need two quick pitstops in the first 10-12 miles and then I can run forever without any more problems, so that is what I was hoping for. I was still feeling good overall.
My splits for the next 6-10 miles were
8:45 (pit stop number 1), 7:40, 7:48, 7:50, 8:59 (pit stop number 2)
I took my second Accel gel at mile 10 and was still feeling ok. My time was still where I wanted it to be and we were getting to the second half of the race which is usually when I feel the strongest and is the part I like the best.
At the half way point we went past where the half marathoners had just started. I am not sure what my exact half split was, but I was just about 1:42, which is exactly where I planned on being (shooting for close to even mile splits and hopefully only one or two quick pit stops in the first half and none in the second half).
In mile 14-15 I started to feel sick to my stomach. I tried to ignore it and run it out, but it was not going to be ignored. The cramps made it hard to run and my whole body felt pretty icky. I was hydrated well, it wasn't hot, and I was fueling well, so I have no idea what the culprit was. In the 15th mile I ended up making my third pit stop. SHEESH.
Splits for miles 11-15 were:
7:38, 7:41, 8:00, 7:37, 8:56 (third pitstop)
From this point on, it was a grunt. It was all hard work and my body just didn't feel very good. I knew I was slowing down a little but that my goals were still possible. It would have been really easy to give up after the third pitstop but I wasn't ready to quit and WANTED that BQ, PR and 3:30 BADLY. And if I wasn't going to achieve what I wanted, then I was going to give it my all trying.
Splits for miles 16-20 were
8:04, 7:55, 7:53, 7:51 and 7:58.
Mile 20-21 had a big uphill and it was the only time of the race that I felt HOT. It was sunny the whole time but pretty cool (I think mid 40's at the start and low 60's at the finish). At this point there were half marathoners and 10k runners/walkers on the course and I felt like I was the only one running up the hill. There was an icky headwind that made the hill that much harder.
I am proud to say that I never once walked during the entire race. I ran the whole thing.
I was worried that having half-marthoners, 10k runners and 5k runners/walkers all out on the course would make it really crowded and would involve a lot of weaving, but it wasn't bad at all. The only time I had to work to get around someone was the half marathon pace groups because they were in big groups. But most of the runners and walkers were very good about noticing when a marathoner was coming and cheering us on and getting out of the way. The spectator crowds were thin and not very loud, but every little "good job" and "you look great" meant a lot at that point!
After the mile 22 mark, my stomach started really cramping again. AGAIN. I have never (ever) had to stop four times in a marathon or even in a long run. Usually after mile 10-12 I am good indefinitely. I was SO frustrated and so tired and felt so icky. And of course, after I stopped at the portapotty at mile 22+ of a marathon, every muscle in my legs wanted to CRAMP. At that point the voice in my head saying "GIVE IT UP" was really loud. It was telling me I was not going to be able to run the last four miles after stopping, that my time was completely out the window after four pit stops, and that there was no reason to keep killing myself at that point. But I told that voice to SHUT UP.
I took off and went for it, knowing that with just over four miles left I had nothing to lose. The end of the course was familiar from running the half last year, and the little bit I was able to do math at that point, I knew that if I ran strong, I would still definitely PR, I could still BQ by a decent amount, and I could be pretty dang close to my goal of being just under 3:30. I still didn't feel great, but I found some inner strength and ran those last four miles strong.
My splits for miles 21-26.2 were
8:30 (this was the big hill), 8:22, 9:33 (pit stop number FOUR)
then 7:53, 8:05, 7:47, and the .2 was a 7:14 pace.
Just before I hit the finish line I heard Cari cheer for me (which was amazing) and I was SO happy to have reached the finish line and to have finished strong and not given up even though it was a hard race for me. I couldn't tell from the clock what my time was (it just had the time of day since there were four different races with four different start times finishing) and I had missed starting my Garmin until after the start of the second mile so I wasn't sure exactly what my finish time was, but I knew I was close to 3:30 and I knew I had the PR and BQ in the bag.
|Cari snapped this as I ran by. This is just before the finish line and I was so excited to see her! The official race photos will be up tomorrow and I will post those too.|
I went over to the kiosk they had to check my final results and got my time of 3:32:26. I texted Josh, Jenny, Dad, Pam and Alana, and then went looking for Emily and Dawn. Dawn was hoping to BQ and I wondered if I had missed them coming in, but it was a rough race for her too and they finished just after the four hour mark. She was disappointed and I felt kind of guilty and didn't want to celebrate and make her feel any worse.
I was still really cold so I went and sat in the sun (and picked at a banana and another half of a bagel) and watched a little of the award ceremony, and then took a bus back to the hotel to shower and pack up.
Normally at this point I would be STARVING, but my stomach was still just not happy at all. I met up with Emily and Dawn to say goodbye. Emily gave me the coolest "BQ present" ever. Check it out!
I am not crafty at all and I was so impressed and touched that she actually made something for me. How thoughtful is that? I told you she is awesome. :)
I called Josh to tell him I was on my way and started driving. I was really tired, but after a quick stop for some lunch about half way through the ride, I got home safe and sound and enjoyed hanging out with the family for the rest of the day.
Josh and the kids were all excited and proud and they had fun checking out the medal. Josh really was very wonderful and excited about the whole thing and wishes he could have been there. Me too!
On Sunday we went to church and relaxed and then walked up to the playground and spent a fun night at the park together as a family. My legs were tired and a little sore but felt better than they had after any other of my other marathons. I was happy, but still wasn't feeling the excitement that I thought I should.
Then yesterday morning I got up and ran an easy six miles with Josh. (I know recovery is different for everyone... for me, I recover better and feel better with slow, easy miles compared to days totally off). A couple of miles into the run, all of a sudden I started feeling excited and proud about my accomplishment. I kept thinking, "I qualified for Boston!" "I qualified for Boston by A LOT!" "I didn't quit when it would have been REALLY easy to quit!" "I fought hard!" "I had a huge PR!" "I kicked butt!"
I am not sure why it took almost 48 hours for the excitement and pride to set in, but it did. :)
And I still don't really know what caused my stomach distress. But it was bad. Really bad. The rest of Saturday I could barely eat. On Sunday I was still making frequent bathroom trips. Yesterday things still weren't normal. Today things finally (finally) seem to be on the mend. I do know that I don't ever, EVER, want Accelerade or Accel gel again. I don't know if that is what upset my stomach (I have used it before without issue on long runs and really liked it a lot) but just the THOUGHT of either of them makes me gag even now. Back to my Hammer products I go.
My final stats were
19th out of all 207 women finishers (top 9%)
7th in the women's 30-34 age group (top 21%)
83rd out of all 488 male and female marathon finishers (top 17%)
Amanda was happy that I beat a lot of boys. :)
I am so hoping that I get in to Boston. With my qualifying time I get to register with the second group (that has qualified by 10 minutes or more) so I think my chances are pretty good. I will know in a week!
But for right now I am concentrating on recovering and getting ready to run Top of Utah in 11 days. My legs feel pretty dang good. They are a little tight, but I am rolling and stretching and running nice and easy. For Top of Utah I am traveling and spending the weekend with Terzah (who I cannot WAIT to meet) and my good friend Alana who is running her first marathon, so it should be a very special and fun weekend. I am already excited.
THANK YOU to all of you who have sent emails, comments, tweets, etc. of encouragement, congrats and support. Most people don't really know what it means to qualify for the Boston Marathon or what goes into a 3:32 marathon. So thanks. It really does mean a lot.