Monday, December 07, 2009
So -- I'm feeling pretty awesome now about my achievement. :)
When I set out to run this marathon I tried REALLY HARD to make my goal just to finish -- but I couldn't help but set a time goal... so I did and it was to finish under 6 hours. And I even expected maybe to finish around 5:45 and only was 10 min slower than that and there's no way I can allow myself to feel in any way negative about reaching all those goals on my first marathon.
I looked at the results and saw that there were less than 100 finishers behind me -- like 93? So close to 100? But then I realized that the last finisher was number 2448.
There were 3500 individuals registered to run! That is over ONE THOUSAND people that either didn't even make it to the starting line or didn't finish!
Not to mention the tons of people out there who wouldn't even think of starting a marathon. haha. I dunno what little stupid mini pity party was living in a corner of my heart that was stealing something away from my achievement but I've squashed it. I would never dare to look down upon any marathon finisher, or even those who had to stop for whatever reason but for some reason I wasn't treating myself as well. NO MORE! :P So just wanted to share that little mini breakthrough with ya'll.
My husband also told me about all the cheers received by an obviously overweight/obese runner who finished the half-marathon not TOO long before I finished my marathon. I think he said maybe 30-40 min before me? They had already shut down the half marathon finish line so she had to come through the marathoner side of the gate. I'm not 100% sure her time was even recorded on the finishing places because the last half time I saw on the preliminary lists was about 5hrs. Maybe that was her! I dunno. But either way, he said the crowd was totally behind her and so proud of her.
All I can say is -- can my body please heal up and recover so I can start thinking about future events? :D HAHAHA. I know the BIG two things I can improve upon in my future long distance races: 1) DON'T GO OUT TOO FAST! 2) Take the walk breaks you practiced... yeah I didn't do either of those things. I let the adrenaline and momentum of the race sweep me along -- trust me, I REALLY ENJOYED those first 6-7 miles!!! It was the TIME OF MY LIFE! :D hahahaha But I paid for it later. And the fact that I still achieved my goals in spite of making the two biggest racing mistakes - I'm really really grateful for.
OK. So you all know that, I just had to write it for myself and for anyone else who ever felt like I did. :) I love what Jackie wrote in her comment (MISSJCISRUNNING): "I had dinner with a man who has run 66 marathons and I'm sure he's not thinking about his first marathon time!!!"
I finished my first attempt at a marathon.
I did this only a little over 2 years after learning to run -- a little over 2 years after finishing my first 5K. I did this only 1.5ish years after beginning to maintain a healthy weight. I did this only just under 3 years after starting to exercise for the FIRST TIME EVER IN LIFE. It truly is mind boggling.
And all of those who commented about how they were inspired to run a marathon after reading my last blog - WOW! :D hahaha Go read someone's race report who had a good race. You'll be even doubly anxious to take a whack at it yourself!!! But then again if knowing how rewarding a really tough race can be is a motivation in itself, and I will definitely be carrying this race close to my heart for the rest of my life, and thinking of it when I rock my next marathon (whenever that may be).
And yes I AM wearing my medal to work today. I think this will be the last day I wear it around... maybe... (maybe to some Christmas parties??? HAHAHAHA ok maybe not...) I have to say, I love the HEFT of this medal -- it has a nice weight to it.
Oh another thing I failed to mention about the marathon were all the people who yelled," Thank you for running for us!" And stuff like that. There is a group called "Team Jake" running for the Jake Owen Raborn Foundation (see jakesfoundation.org) raising money in memory of a child who died at age 4 from a rare liver cancer. Alllll along the course there were signs like "SMILE - Jake always did" GOSH those got me. I had to smile. I was just running. Ya know? There are bigger things in life. Anyway it was a great race to be a part of.
ALSO! The course was really great -- a couple of steeper inclines toward the beginning, but they were not very long (quite short) and the rest of the course was soft inclines and declines with some flat areas -- it was varied enough to not get bored, but not tough. Ya know? There was a nice part through a pretty park (maybe near the zoo?), and of course the downtown areas and the hospital campus to run through.
ANYWAY, I promised pictures.
So we arrived in Memphis probably around 4PM? Something like that? Checked in to our hotel and then headed to the Expo.
I was soooooo stoked to be heading in and getting my bib number, going to the MARATHONER'S table to get my nice awesome long sleeve tech shirt (which was a soft off whiteish color and obviously different than the red normal long sleeve T the half-marathoners got and I dunno what the 5K runner's got...) I also got a free 26.2 sticker w/ St. Jude Marathon on it. SWEET.
OH also -- apparently my memory card was at home and not in my camera, but luckily my camera has internal memory. We didn't even know we were out until after the race! HAHAHA :D
Here's the shirt:
Then it was over to the Goody Bag area! There was a coupon for a free cookie at McAllister's -- no purchase necessary... two little trial thingies of biofreeze (WHICH I SO USED), um... and some other coupons... for other stuff. OH! I DID really like a little running log though! :D I should have taken pictures of that because I will use it! It's got a space at the top for the month and year, and then it gives you a little section for Mon-Sun with distance, time, course, and notes -- then at the bottom Week #, Previous YTD, Year to date, Goal Time Total mileage I guess.. I dunno I just looked at all the details. It's cute! At the bottom of each page it says "Finding Cures. Saving Children." A notepad w/ a map of downotwn Memphis w/ the start anf dinish and it says "I ran the St. Jude Memphis Marathon, December 5, 2009" down the side. AND a St. Jude's Children Hospital Calendar w/ a featured patient for each month -- talk about a tear-jerker. So those are actually cool things I kinda forgot about. And of course the BAG itself is cute!
SOooooooooo guess who was there?? HAL HIGDON! :D I kind of combined his training program w/ the Runner's World First-Timer plan. Anyway -- he totally wrote a NOVEL about a MARATHON - it's a little... weird... so far. haha I'm reserving judgement until I get farther into it and we're not still introducing characters but it's FUN so far to read a fictional story about a marathon. Anyway! He signed my book wishing me good luck on the race. A picture with the man himself:
We then headed back to the hotel and on the way back I TURNED MY FREAKING ANKLE -- the same one I turned during my 5K. It was very very slight and didn't hurt but it definitely mentally freaked me out a bit -- my husband was more freaked out than I was! We headed out after a while to get dinner -- we went to this Italian place called Pa Pa Pia's which was AMAZING. We spit an Antipasto for Two appetizer and I got one of the pasta dishes that was discounted for runners - Rigatoni de Papa (Rigatoni w/ sweet sausage and a cream tomato sauce - YEAH.) Then we split a Tiramisu for dessert. I had never had one before -- and man was it AMAZING. My DH was mind boggled at how good it was.
Then it was home to the hotel to SLEEP.
I think I was able to get to sleep alright, but I woke up around 3-4AM and had to take some medicine cause I just started coughing and couldn't stop. Then it was up at 6AM to get ready and check the weather. HOLY CRAP TWENTY FOUR DEGREES?!?!? It was supposed to be between 30-40! haha.
I ate my oatmeal and an apple and rested and drank water and went to the bathroom until I started getting dressed around 7 and my hubby woke up at some point therein to say he was up most of the night and had to take medicine and was feeling ill so he didn't see me to the starting line, but he did get up to take a picture of me in my getup! I put my hair in a ponytail before we got going, but it felt good to have it around my neck at first when walking to the start. I also had an OLLLLD Hoodie that had holes in it that I discarded at the start.
Yes I hand-lettered the shirt with sharpie markers. :) And that's my cell phone in my back pocket if you can even see that. I didn't use it.
The start was exciting!!!!!! I felt strange in a way being all by myself, but the comraderie of runners was all around me. A lady told me my bottle was leaking and I was able to fix that before it did much but dribble on my butt. ;) Others were talking weather and bouncing and hugging and all that good stuff. FINALLY they started letting people GO and we were able to gradually move up - WOOHOO!!!
And then I told you all about the race -- OH but I didn't mention the cool moment when we saw the first place runners coming up the other side of the parkway!!! The marathon was... KIND of a double loop ish course, but the second loop was different than the first but it crossed over in places... if that makes sense. We ran one way down the parkway during the first half and the other way on the second so we were able to see those amazing looking super lean Kenyan looking men coming at us. :) I just looked up their finish and Gun time for the 1st place man was 2:16:21 - first place female 2:43:42 (overall finish of 16th place). The 3rd place female came in 44th overall -- I wonder what it's like to be an elite male runner who comes in before all the women but is still so much slower than the top men??? I can only imagine. ;) haha.
So .. the finish!!! Here's a shot my hubby took of the scene in the stadium while waiting for me -- note all the finishers with their SHINY CAPES!
Then I come in the stadium and all my pain vanishes as you can see here:
And DH took a cute picture of my wedgie and me crossing the finish line:
Keep in mind that time is gun time, and my corral started a good 23ish minutes after the gun! :P haha. :D
Of course then the meandering limp around the stadium, the gobbling of all recognizable food items and taking of a box of Krispy Kremes....
Here just outside the stadium mugging it up:
So then I hobbled back to the Hotel - winced into the shower, DH slathered me in ICY Hot and biofreeze and set me up with some food and water (PB stuffed Pretzels, Kashi bar, apple the stuff I brought!) and left me to rest and relax (I watched most of My Fair Lady - such a comforting movie for me as I used to watch it ALL THE TIME growing up -- love musicals...) while he went and took pretty pictures of Memphis! For example:
That trolley was my best friend on Saturday after the race -- it was free for runners and only $1 for non-runners that day. I definitely took it to and from dinner...
All cleaned up and ready to go!
Dinner was at
THE KOOKY CANUCK!
I really have no idea what 7.5lb burgers have to do with Canada, but with all my Canadian SparkFriends I couldn't resist when my DH wanted to go here as a second choice when our first choice turned out to be full of cigarette smoke. Oops. :P We ordered some Poutine as an appetizer - which I DID take a picture of:
Does that look at all right, Canadians???
I got a deep friend Cornish Game Hen w/ Sweet potato fries and a cucumber salad... and we split a Nanaimo Bar for dessert.
Then it was back to the trolley and to limp back into the hotel.
OH look how pretty the medal is up close:
I LOVE the back:
Which reminds me of a dude's shirt I saw early on - I was told my my DH that the front said something about this being his First Marathon, the back said:
"Go ahead and pass me - we all get the same medal anyway". HAHAHA :D
The next morning I saw some half finishers eating breakfast in their red shirts...and I was like - haha, I did the full (in my head) and hoped they noticed my snazzy shirt. ;) HAHAHAHA. That breakfast sucked. Then that night we went to this new yogurt place in town (by the oz, toppings bar) and Five Guys burgers and fries. And that's IT for me and the crazy marathon related eating. HAHA.
Now I'm looking forward to first: recovery, rest, recuperation. Next: Strength training - I'm thinking some Jillian Michael's videos at home and possibly some erging and rowing. I don't know when I'll run again, will listen to the body on THAT. With running I just need to make sure I'm ready to hold down a 10 or 12K leg of the Mercedes Marathon Relay on 2/14/2010 but honestly - after the marathon I'm like... PIECE OF CAKE. ;)
Saturday, December 05, 2009
I'd lie if I didn't say I was a LITTLE disappointed...
Because I'm confident I could have had a much better time...
BUT! I met my two basic goals -
Finish upright and smiling, and finish under 6 hrs.
My time was 5:55:04
See... I began the race with the 5:15 pace group. I figured I could always drop back if I needed to and maybe I could stick with them as long as the half. That was only a min faster than my easy training pace (12 min miles), but then I got ahead of them at a water stop and apparently sped up more and more.
I felt FANTASTIC!!! We ran through the St. Jude's Hospital, I high fived so many kids. Some dude read my "GO, Dana, GO" on my shirt and I danced. It was great!!!!
That was about mile 5.
Then about mile 7, my left hip just started locking up out of nowhere...
Then my right foot started majorly hurting for no apparent reason. Looking at it now I think it MIGHT have been my laces, but it really didn't feel like it at the time. :P
Oh and in spite of the bodyglide I used I still got blisters, earlier than ever before. I was actually kinda getting calloused in those areas but the week off of running they came off so I was running on baby skin and I think that hurt me.
So I started slowing down a lot. Then the 5:15 pace group caught up to me and I stuck with them until ALMOST the halfway point. By then I was REALLY hurting and I took a walking stretching break when I THOUGHT I was already halfway, then I came up to the halfway point at like 2:40ish I think.
Oh and right around then my sunglasses also broke in half. They cracked near the beginning but stuck together, and then I took them off to wipe some salt outta my eyes and they totally just broke in half.
OH and I dunno where two of my GU packs left. I swear I packed 6 but I only had four when racing... luckily I did pick up one from a person handing them out (Espresso Love) and then I saw a Chocolate Outrage pack on the ground unopened and I definitely picked it up and used it.
I also used the most unstable portapotty in the history of mankind. When I stood up that thing was wobbling so much I thought someone was playing a trick on me. HAHAHA!
So then I was like, well maybe I can still meet up with 5:30 pace group.
Well they caught up with me later and I tried to stick with them but before too long I was watching them go....
And late LATER on 5:45 caught up with me and I was like, I think I can do this!
I stuck with them for a while but around mile 19 or so I was hurting SO BAD. I walked a LOT of the last 5 miles.
I have to say -- all through the race people commented on my shirt.
I'll have pictures when we're back home, but on the back it read:
used to weigh
People were like, 300lbs? REALLY? You look GREAt and you're doing a great job!!!
That really helped spur me along. People told me it was inspiring. :)
In fact at mile 25 a girl told me as I was walking that my shirt kept her going the entire race before she passed me. That made me cry. In fact I was working on not crying most of the second half of the race because of the pain.
BUT I PERSEVERED. When I came into the stadium I was running on the dirt around the foul area of the infield at Autozone Park and I felt so fantastic.
I wasn't expecting the finish SO SOON right then!!!! They called my name and hometown I was grinning ear to ear and my legs somehow were able to pick up and I ROCKED my way through the finish line. As I turned into the stadium I could hear my husband cheering me and he actually had a little group of people with him that were cheering me on, too! I was smiling as I got my heatwrap and medal and then I was limping and almost crying all the way around the stadium where no one told me how to get out to get food and I walked around forever with people finally guiding me the right way.
I was shaking and eating and limping and my husband was so sweet.
As we were walking home a lady stopped me to congratulate me and she said she saw me right from the start and that I did great. Another man came up behind us with his family and he said he'd been following me for 26 miles and he guessed it wasn't changing anytime soon. HAHAHA :D All the runners were awesome and nice.
To sum up -- physically it was probably the worst run I've EVER had. But it was one of the best experiences and I'm so proud of finishing in spite of all my unexpected difficulties, and still being able to meet the bare minimum goals I set out to achieve when I first started this thing. I intend to have many more marathons in my future to really work on my time and reaching new goals!
Friday, December 04, 2009
Yeah I'm getting a little psyched.
I finished decorating my marathon shirt and laid out everything for marathon day...
The white bundle is undies and my SparkPeople Tech shirt, which will go under the green shirt.
And yes there are three pairs of socks because I haven't decided which ones I want to wear yet. :P
Oh just remembered to make sure I pack my HRM strap and wear my watch.
I'm charging my MP3 player now.
I'll be checking back in POST MARATHON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :D
Wednesday, December 02, 2009
So I didn't run this morning, I will have more time tomorrow morning to try that out -- opted to sleep until almost time to leave instead. REST REST REST! I'm still feeling slightly sick but I'm going it without medicine as of 11AM and don't feel much worse for the wear so I think I really am getting better. :) Went and got some body glide and some more socks as well today. Woot.
So.... one more day of work! Then we head to Memphis!!!! :)
I am feeling soooooo excited... reading through that Race Guide yesterday got me all pumped. Seeing the detailed instructions about the corrals for the wave start, where the bag check is (even though I'm not gonna check a bag it's still exciting race day details!), which way MARATHONERS are to turn when they enter the baseball stadium at the end of the race -- half marathoners and other races finish to the right, MARATHONERS finish to the LEFT ;), stuff like that... there was a little instruction page on how to attach your D-Tag -- which I am very happy that I had the experience of using one at the race in San Diego so I am familiar with it!
Weather.com is telling me that Saturday is mostly sunny, 0% chance of precipitation, low 31, high 47. :) I checked to see how cold it was when I ran the Turkey Trot and it was in the 30's so I think I have a decent idea of what it will feel like and that wasn't too bad! I was wearing my Spark Tech T under a longsleeve T-Shirt, gloves, tights. I also know that I can easily tuck my gloves into my fuel belt (the clip together).
The Race Guide says Gu will be at FOUR stations - at first they said 2, then 3, and now it's 4. I will have my own as well to be prepared but I think I can take less with me - we'll see. Woooot.
I'm ready. Let's do this!!!!
Oh yeah -- I still have a couple more days to wait through. :P hahaha.
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