Apologize in advance that this is long...
Here's my race report, but before I go into it, I need to thank the hundreds of you who gave me so much support and love through messages, blog comments, FB, etc. It was so overwhelming (in a good way), and I have to thank POCOHANTAZ for having the BBQ Spark Team send so much love! And friend KC for dedicating her blog the day before to me ( networkedblogs.com/cFEMT
)! And so many others! Needless to say, I felt the pressure to achieve the goal to make everyone proud. But I learned, that achieving the goal is not as important as knowing you've done everything towards the goal TO achieve it. There are some things you just can't control, and it's okay.
So here goes:
Saturday night before the race, we met my friend Lisa and family/friends for dinner. This was going to be Lisa's first Marathon and we planned to start together.
Pic of us at dinner:
Pic of Lisa and I:
We were both so nervous! My trainer Stefanie told me to get some peppermints to suck on, and they did help settle my stomach. So got back to the hotel (stayed at Disney Pop Century) and went to bed around 9:20pm. Was hoping to get a little sleep, as the wake-up time was 2:15am so we could get on the 3am shuttle to the race site. Race was starting at 5:35am. Lisa and I both went to the bathroom 4 times before the race, mostly from nerves and not wanting to have to stop during the race! We had over 2 hours to kill before the race, but it seemed to quickly. The weather was perfect, not too cold, guessing around 50 some degrees. We both had our "throwaway" clothes on to stay warm.
Pic of us waiting before the race:
So we get to the corral, we were in "B" out of A through H and we start looking for our Pacer. No where to be found. Finally, about 10 minutes before the race, the Pacers show up. We're pretty far from the port-a-potties now and we both had to go pee one last time! Not enough time to go back, so we, along with a few dozen others, ran across the way to the grass and "went" behind a truck. New bonding experience ha ha! (Sorry if this is grossing anyone out.)
Finally, the race starts, we were in the 2nd wave and it was cool, fireworks to start each wave off! Our goal was to stick with our pacer who would be running at a pace to finish at 3:50. It was pitch dark and super crowded (over 17,000 participants), and for the first couple miles all I wanted to do was not trip and fall! For the first 4-5 miles, I thought, "this isn't too bad, I can hang." and stayed right with the pacer, a few times running slightly ahead just because I was comfortable.
The pacer never even slowed down for any water stops, which were every 1.25 miles, so I was challenged to grab my water or powerade and actually drink some without choking myself. Finally, around mile 12 I got it down how to do it. Was still with the Pace team going strong.
Around Mile 15, I started to have some breathing problems and had to stop completely for about 15 seconds, then walk about 10 seconds, then I sprinted to catch up close to the Pace team again. Still hanging strong! I just kept thinking "Let's just get to mile 17, then only single digit miles to go!". I knew a lot of people were tracking me and thought about every time I ran over the tracking block (miles 5, 10, half and 20), and I thought about Mom, Grace and hubby waiting for me at the finish line. I was doing well, surprising myself. It was getting harder but I was keeping up. There were a lot of "inclines" like overpasses. They weren't steep, but they were long. Wasn't expecting that!
Hit mile 20 and still on track! 6.2 to go! I can do this! ...then my body starts acting up in mile 21. I started experiencing a pain in my side that hurt when I would inhale and my calves were cramping so bad. I could actually feel them spasm as I ran, but tried to avoid it all. My quads and hip were on fire but I knew I could ignore that. As mile 22 hit, I had to start walking, my body was just not cooperating. Up until now, I had been averaging my goal pace of 8:46. Mile 22 I did 9:03, then Mile 23, 9:09, then Mile 24, 10:16. I was having to walk more and more and it was killing me. In Mile 24, I knew I only had 2.2 miles to go and I had enough time to make my goal. So I started running, but just couldn't continue, the pain was too bad and I was getting dizzy. I didn't want to not be able to complete the race! I dug deep to find the mental capacity to run, and would start, but would have to stop. Mile 25 in 10:25.
Somewhere in Mile 25, I see a friend of mine, Brian who was calling for me to come on, keep running! He was so encouraging and I started running with him, but after only a few feet, I had to stop, so he stopped with me and then said 10 seconds, then let's go. So we went, but I just couldn't. So he went on and I kept walking. I'm looking at my Garmin and when I saw the point where I knew for sure I wouldn't make the 3:50:59, all I could think about was everyone who was rooting for me, especially my dear husband.
But at that moment, I made peace with myself that I knew I was doing the absolute best that I could do and I had run a great race, better than I would have ever dreamed. So I smiled, turned off my music, said a prayer to Yahweh and kept going. I pretty much walked most of the last mile and when I got to the turn where I could see the finish line, I knew I had to run through it. So with everything I had in me, I "ran" though it was really slow and practically limping through the finish line. Usually at races, as I'm crossing, I'm all smiles and holding my hands up, but this time, I just made through then went over to the side to rest. I just wanted water and to lay down.
I was done. My goal was 3:50:59. I finished in 4:02:05. Am I disappointed I didn't qualify for Boston? Yes, a little, but not as much as I thought I would be. I think it's because I knew I gave it everything I had. There's a saying "I'll do it or be found dead on the side of the road trying." That was practically me! I never stopped focusing on finishing the best I could. My first and only marathon in Feb. 2010 I finished in 4:46:21, so I shaved off 44 minutes from that, so I really can't be disappointed in myself. That's a huge accomplishment. And it also let me know that with a little better training, I could definitely do it. So while I was in sheer agony after the race. This is how you know I was in agony, I didn't take ANY post race pictures (you know how I love pictures). Grace took a pic of me just after crossing the finish line. Can you see the agony in me? :-) (That's me in the yellow and black.)
I asked my hubby if his heart sank when he saw 3:51 come and no sign of me. He said, he, Mom and BFF Grace had a little cry and hug. But they were all very proud of me, and I knew they really were. I know I was proud of myself! I did my 2nd marathon at age 42 at 4:02:05 and 2 years ago, I had never even thought of doing a marathon, let alone two and going for Boston!
I say this because sometimes we don't hit our goal, but as long as we know in our heart we've done the right things, it's okay. We keep going! I thought about the Chumbawamba song "I get knocked down, but I get up again, you're never gonna keep me down!" It's about giving our best in our goals, no matter how big or small. I did the right training, did the right things, it just wasn't my day to qualify...and it's OKAY. I'm proud of ME!
So what's next? I'm not giving up on Boston. I've already started looking at the best Boston Qualifying Marathons and currently have my sights set on the Nashville Country Music Marathon on 4/30. It's part of the Rock N Roll series. It gives me enough time to recover and train, and I'll use a more aggressive training schedule. I know what to do better to get my body more prepared. I'm determined to run Boston 2012 with my dear husband!
So I'm excited about the next one, and the races I'll do in between, a Half, maybe a few 5k's and a Half Marathon with Mom and Grace on 4/10 (their first). So I have a lot of great things ahead!
Thanks for reading about my best race ever! May you reach your best goals ever too in 2011!
And here's a finish line video (me in the bright yellow and black around 4:06:16) and some pics that Disney got: