Monday, October 7, 2013

Smuttynose Marathon!

Sometimes you wake up on Marathon morning thinking "I've GOT THIS I'm so READY!!!"
Yesterday did not happen to be one of those days.
However, this is a story that proves that how you feel when you wake up doesn't count!

You might have noticed a distinct lack of chatter blog wise last week and this was for a good reason. I was not having a particularly delightful taper and managed to come down with a rather unpleasant, although luckily not debilitating stomach virus type thing on Thursday night.
Knowing that a good training cycle (which I had) is more important to reflect upon than a shit bag taper (which I HAD) I decided to keep my whining inside and zip it.
Also, nothing pesters my delicate sensibilities more than reading blogs that say "I'm SO SICK before my big day but I will PERSERVERE #OMG #sobrave." So again, I zipped it.
I decided that if I felt better there were no excuses not to have a damn good race and if I still felt like a stomach ache wrapped in a vomity feeling then I better bag the whole thing and wait for a better day. Straight up sensible plan.

If nothing else, I was going to look damn good...
Pre race day was normal. I felt about 90% good so felt pretty confident that I'd be on my A game for Sunday morning. I worked for a few hours, went on a 2 mile run with my taper filled yucky dead legs and hopped in the car to meet up with my family-in-law down in Hampton, NH. We enjoyed a lovely evening of pre race chit chat and copious amounts of my favorite pre race food: bland, unoriginal Olive Garden Italian. I do not lie when I say that I seek out the OG for pre game food. We all hit the sack early in anticipation of the 4:45 alarm clock.

I selected this race with two big goals in mind.
PR the ever loving shit out of it. (3:29:00 or BUST)
And by doing that secure myself a -10 BQ time for 2015 (I'll be 35 for those of you counting.)

I had no B goal for this race. I was ready to sacrifice my legs/bod/GI system to the running Gods and I had no plans to hold back. In fact, I had made the educated choice to bail at the half if I started feeling horrible and to save myself to try again in NY next month.

So back to the beginning of this post, since I got sidetracked.
I woke up super neutral (read: whining a lot about getting up early) I was a bit put off by the VERY windy ocean conditions and storm on the horizon weather.
Luckily, with an 8:00 start I did not have too much time to mull it over- especially since I decided to start in wave 1. I was seriously like, UGH! Cold! Dark! Potential RAIN!!! But, as is often the case once I got running everything was fine. Proving my point that you must not judge your potential race on your early morning mood!

Who was grouchy at 5AM??? Oh me, that's right.

The bummer about this being my A race is that I fully and completely missed the first half marathon starts (and hugely successful finishes) of my BFF and SIL. They had worked so hard getting ready for this big day and I would have loved to be there for them at the start and finish- alas, I was already/still out on the course... I thought a lot about them in my first couple miles and was wishing then luck from afar (well, afar-ish. You can only get so far during a marathon!)

The wind made the first couple of miles more challenging than they would have been in an ideal world. Luckily they let up almost 100% after we moved away from the beach- and a good thing as I do believe my race would have been impacted by running into a monsoon. At mile 3 I pulled off my throwaway shirt and found myself in a good rhythm. I had turned off the auto lap on my Garmin as I actually enjoy doing a little math mid marathon (seriously, it keeps me amused and keeps me in touch with how my mental faculties are...) I was running DEAD STEADY at just barely sub 8. This pleased me. I concentrated on maintaining a very sustainable pace as I was zero percent interested in bonking at mile 15 similar to GCI, or running out of legs at 13 like Hyannis, or sucking in any way whatsoever. And so along I cruised....

I picked this race because it is pancake flat. There are a couple of little inclines (mile 9, 16, 22) but nothing to get your knickers in a twist about. I found that very little got in my way and that I was able to maintain my just-under-8 pace much longer than I had planned. The miles just kept ticking by, it was one of those perfect days where I never wondered "where the hell is the mile marker?" because it would be there long before I expected it!

Thank heavens for tough Facebook friends who sit in the rain to get pics!
I'm totally gawking around to see if there were snacks.
Apparently the guy in the raincoat was gawking at me.... Haha!

At mile 14 it started raining and never really stopped. 52 degree rain is cold, but I have had much worse this year. My best running conditions are cooler ones so I will refrain from complaining and be happy that it was not 90 degrees!

At mile 19 I started to calculate how close I was to my goal time and it was in reach, comfortably. At mile 22 I started to have visions of coming in sub 3:25 but knew to do so I'd have to kick it up about 10-15 seconds a mile and did not think it was feasible! (I mean, come on!) The good news is that I was able to chug along at the same damn pace the whole race, right to the finish like!  It was almost even splits which makes me all kinds of happy! Mile 25 came along, and not a second too soon because both of my legs fell off and got swept into the ocean. I was like "LEGS you only have one job and that is to get me to the END of this damn RACE!" Luckily they complied.

I ran across the finish in 3:25:45 and promptly started ugly crying and basically falling down. Jyoti popped up from out of nowhere and I fell down on her and cried some more. Angie, Eric and Andy showed up shortly to hear me babble incoherently, watch me shiver uncontrollably and tell me that they had all had amazing races and PR'd!! You guys!!! I'm so proud of you ALL!!!!
 My legs were broken and horrible and I froze to death in five seconds. So I totally skipped the music, beer and lobster party in favor of changing all my clothes and taking a sink shower at the police station and then heading off to get pizza in a warm building.

Angie and Me FREEZING post race!!!

So "A" goal completed. Kicked the crap out of my PR, BQ'd with a time that I never thought possible even 6 months ago, completely murdered my legs out there, left it all on the course and came home knowing it (and feeling it!) Thank you Coach Kelsey for getting me here in one piece. Clearly your help has brought me to this point and I am so pleased to have your know-how and logical guidance! And thank you Eric, for driving me home even though you were exhausted too!

I think this was a really nice way to wrap up this particular cycle of hard work. I honestly loved almost every minute of my late summer/fall training. I love the work involved in getting marathon ready and feel lucky every day that I have the ability and good fortune to be able to participate, and do fairly well in, something I enjoy so much. While I believe that this summer I discovered that I don't need to ever race farther than a marathon (50k is not really my bag) I do feel that at some point I might have a faster marathon in these old legs. I'm pretty excited to find out just how fast...



  1. Yay!!! Congratulations on such an amazing day!! You worked really hard to achieve this goal and I am so happy that you did!

  2. Dude! This is so amazing! YOU are so amazing and a running goddess. Don't let that go to your head...okay, maybe a little! Seriously, wow.

  3. Amaaaazing! Sounds like a really incredible day and a course I'd love to try some day! Congrats on your PR and BQ! I'm both inspired and cold while reading your post, ha ha!

  4. so fast so fast! You would have beat moose man for sure!

    I feel like I know all your friends and thus feel like I know you too! Can we meet sometime for real? That'd be great. ok. thanks. :) Maybe sometime when you are running past me at the Mid-winter Classic you can just yell out hey! ;)

  5. Completely awesome job! Way to kill that goal.

  6. I knew that was you! We had a number of friends running Sunday, so made it our job to cheer our butts off. I saw you go by after mile 9 and thought "Hm she looks familiar" and then after running to mile 20, saw you fly by and knew it was you. Social media is crazy fun :)

    Awesome job out there!!!! It sure was blowin' and the cold rain was no fun, but agreed, those temps and the tail wind along the coast were sweeeeet for runners!

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