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Race Report from WDW Marathon 2011! My Best Race EVER!

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Monday, January 10, 2011

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!
- Tia

And here's a finish line video (me in the bright yellow and black around 4:06:16) and some pics that Disney got:

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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Wow! I did my first 5k feeling great afterwards, but my second I felt terrible even though I improved. I cannot imagine doing a marathon without agony! You are amazing!
    2579 days ago
    Wow amazing job!! I recently ran my first marathon and am also contemplating qualifying for Boston. After reading your blogs I'm gonna go for it!! Any advice??? I did my first marathon in 4:28 but I was running with a slower friend and could've finished around 4:00 by myself. I'd need a 3:20 to qualify.
    2615 days ago
    Loved reading this! I just posted a question on Sparky Marathoners and MBSHAZZER directed me to your page. I was curious how long it might take to improve my first marathon time (4:55:51) enough to qualify for Boston. I now am encouraged that shaving an hour off is not entirely out of the question, although I know it will take a lot of hard work.
    Thanks for the inspiration, and good luck on your next one!
    Happy Running!
    2646 days ago
    I'm in awe of course because you are AWESOME and so inspirational. THANK YOU!
    I fell off my training for my first 5k; I'm back on and definitley going to do the 5k but I agree "that achieving the goal is not as important as knowing you've done everything towards the goal TO achieve it".

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
    2725 days ago
    Thanks so much for a great read, and a great reality-check!
    Your perseverence is so impressive -- you'll surely be in Boston. Rock the day,
    2735 days ago
    Well done! I also ran that marathon (my second, my sister's first) but she hurt her knee around mile 6, so we were no where near our 6 hour goal. But she finished. You quote "I'll do it or be found dead on the side of the road trying" was my sister!
    Thank you for sharing your story and good luck qualifying for Boston! Maybe I'll see you next year =)
    2735 days ago
    So proud of you...26.2(and could've been more--I always trust the Garmin!)

    2736 days ago
    emoticon Just emoticon

    Giving Up Is Not An Option

    You will reach your Boston Marathon Goal

    2737 days ago
    Great work! Even though you didn't reach your time goal, you still stuck it out and persevered, even though it was uncomfortable (painful?) I'm planning on my 1st half marathon in august, something I never thought I'd do! Thanks for inspiring me!
    2739 days ago
  • DOODIE59
    You're a winner! emoticon emoticon
    2739 days ago
    Amazing. I have it on my bucket list to run ONE marathon so if I finished in a DAY I'd be happy. You're truly an inspiration. Great job!
    2739 days ago
    As somebody who was thrilled to run 3.1 miles in 53 minutes last night (week 1, day 1 of bridge to 10k) I bow down to you :o) So true about finding peace when you have done your best. Great blog!
    2740 days ago
    fabulous job on the marathon! you'll get it next time...i'm sure! congratulations! emoticon
    2742 days ago
  • MJASR5
    Congrats Tia! What an awesome experience it must have been! I know you will get to Boston! emoticon
    2742 days ago
  • ERIN4771
    oh tia....i am so proud of you!! i have tears in my eyes while i write this....i love that you didn;t give up, and are already looking for the next race and ways to improve so you can run that boston with that awesome hubby of yours!!! keep strong, i have no doubt in my mind that you will do awesome at your next race, and can't wait to see those pictures as well!!! you are awesome lady!!!! emoticon
    2743 days ago
    You still did awesome to me! I can't even do 500 feet. You are still an inspiration! God Bless!
    2744 days ago
    What amazing courage you have shown to finish this race. Hold your head high and be proud you really are a champion!Your time was great too. To take that much time off your marathon time is incredible. Good on you! All the best for your next challenge! emoticon
    2745 days ago
    Way to go girl! You will get to Boston. Get that weekly milage up. I was 10 minutes off of a BQ but I wasn't shooting for it either because of doing the goofy thing. I hope I can get a BQ and run 2012 with you. You did great!
    2745 days ago
    Tia, you can't believe how very proud of you I am. [I know perfect stranger huh?] But seriously, reading through your race I was elated at your perseverance. As I read through I was right there with you cheering you on. You never gave up! Not even when you were hurting and I could tell you were hurting too in those shots! You shaved off almost 45 minutes from your last time, incredible. You're an amazing woman, congratulations on your wonderful journey so far, I know we'll be cheering you on for Boston 2012!!!! emoticon emoticon emoticon
    2745 days ago
    Tia, you should be very proud of yourself and not just for this race but for all your accomplishments. Your pictures sum up alot of that. Your wonderful spirit that you give off gives other including myself inspiration. I ran my first 5k at Disney Jan 08 and just finished the Goofy. I will never see Boston, but you will never take away my accomplishments. Be proud of yourself because we are very proud of you.
    2745 days ago
    Ur such a motivation! A huge congratulations to you my sistah!
    2746 days ago
    I'm so happy for u. My eyes were literally filled with water when u said ur family cried....I love ur willpower in everything u do. COngrats on all ur accomplishments thus far emoticon
    2746 days ago
    This is a great post! What an awesome account of the race. I felt like I was there with you. Wish I could have been there cheering you on! You did great! I know you will not give up! There is nothing that can keep a fighter like you down. I hope you are enjoying your rest. We both know that you will qualify for Boston. It is only a matter of time.

    Again, awesome job and congratulations! Woohoo!
    2746 days ago
    Loved your race report! Girl.... Been there, done that. That is what makes the marathon so awesome... You never know what is going to happen. You did wonderful and should be proud!
    Do you do nutrition during your race? It sounds like your electrolytes were low.
    2746 days ago
    I am so inspired by your race report. I am running my first marathon in June at age 41. I am trying to figure out how to calculate my target splits. At first, I just wanted a goal to finish but now I want a target finish time and target splits. Now I too want to qualify for Boston and I haven't even ran my first marathon yet. Congratulations and I know with your determination you will meet your goals!
    2747 days ago
    Absolutely wonderful!! you've encouraged me to keep going and never give up!!

    You will qualify and when u do, we want to see the pictures!!!

    Enjoy and respect your training and your REST!!

    2747 days ago
    I am so very proud of you!
    2747 days ago
    As I said in my text msg to you. I am so proud of you. You will be my inspiration forever - even though I won't be running any marathons. I will follow your inspiration in the half.
    2747 days ago
    Congratulations on a great race!!

    One of the best BQ marathons is the Snickers Marathon in Albany, Ga. I think it's 11th in the nation or something for percentage of ppl who qualify for Boston. I am shooting for a BQ time there in 2012.
    2747 days ago

    Awesome time for your second marathon, great blog of your race !!
    2748 days ago
    Great job!!! You've made some incredible gains!
    2748 days ago
    I am sooooooooo proud of you, and I am so INSPIRED by you! Congratulations on finishing so strongly!!! And congrats on such a wonderful time! BQ will come...just keep plugging away! :)

    Way to go!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    2748 days ago
    You did simply amazing Tia! I am so proud of you girl! I love your spirit!
    You will qualify for Boston!
    2748 days ago
    You and your husband are such a lovely couple. I really thought this blog was uplifting and inspiring. It shows the power of perseverance and dedication. You kept your eyes on the prize and still improved your time dramatically. I have complete faith that you'll be qualifying with Boston and running alongside your hubby because you're a fighter. Keep fighting, T!
    2748 days ago
    You did awesome! Like another person said, Boston isn't going anywhere :) I don't think you realize how difficult it is to knock that kind of time off! Keep up the good work :)
    2748 days ago
    You did fantastic. So proud of you. The Boston Marathons not going anywhere. It will be here waiting for you when your ready.
    2748 days ago
    Congrats! Great thought about goals and how sometimes not meeting them is NOT failure! So proud of your new time, and I know you will be qualifing for Boston soon enough!
    2748 days ago
    What a great blog and what an incredible job you did ... while in pain. YIKES 44 minutes off your last marathon. My first marathon is Saturday and I will be happy with 5:30... yes over 5 hours. I am 42 also but you are in GREAT shape. YOU GO GIRL!

    Keep it up!
    emoticon emoticon
    2748 days ago
    Hey you did an awesome job. I wish you the best for Boston. Thanks for the encouraging words about never giving up. Nice pictures.
    2748 days ago
    What a great blog! I was litterally crying for you towards the end! You have such an amazing outlook and positive vibe and just...wow. Thank you for sharing!

    Best of luck on your next. I have no doubt you will make it to Boston. Amazing!
    2748 days ago
    emoticon emoticon
    2748 days ago
  • ANDREA0301
    What a emoticon blog from an emoticon lady!

    Keep up the great work! emoticon

    emoticon emoticon emoticon
    2748 days ago
    Your finish time was still incredibly amazing & with your attitude (the right attitude!) I know that you will reach your goal of qualifying for Boston. You ran a great race! Congratulations of a HUGE PR & marathon finish!
    2748 days ago
    You did such an awesome job! You'll definitely get there next time. Way to go! You are such an inspiration to me!
    2748 days ago
    you did great!!!! shaved 44 minutes!?!?! CRAZY!!! I've read horror stories about those last 6.2. You pushed through them like a champ. I can only DREAM of doing what you did. Amazing!
    2748 days ago
    You gave it your all, and that is exactly what you set out to do. You are right. This isn't the end, it's only the beginning!!! Way to go.
    2748 days ago
    Fantastic! So proud of you! emoticon
    2748 days ago
    emoticon emoticon you did a great job! emoticon
    2749 days ago
  • SHANN1530
    Tia!! Congrats on what sounded like a GREAT race! I know you'll get your goal next time. :)
    2749 days ago
    Tia you did SO GREAT!! Congrats!! :)
    2749 days ago
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