Monday, June 25, 2012

Vancouver USA Marathon race recap

Its been over a year since I ran my last marathon and I was feeling withdrawls!  I am so glad we had the chance to run this one, in our hometown.  The worst part of marathons is the traveling and/or early morning wake up calls to get to the start line.  With a 7 am start time, we didn't have to get up that much earlier and I was so grateful for that!

The day before the marathon was unusually hot and that concerned me.  We haven't been training in the heat and I know that high temperatures and humidity can make for a long day. The days before I drank a couple Hammer Fizz tablets and hoped for the best.

We followed all of our pre marathon rituals. I had sushi from Whole Foods for lunch on Saturday and Outback Steakhouse for dinner that night.  I laid out all my running gear the night before, got the car packed with our water, our recovery drinks and our after marathon clothes.

I wasn't really nervous, this was marathon 9 for me and two years ago, when we did three marathons in 52 days, that killed my nerves over marathons.  I would say I was apprehensive.  Last year I had a huge personal best at the Eugene Marathon.  Remember THIS?  Now that I am a 4 hour marathoner, I didn't want to go back to being a 5 hour marathoner.  There is nothing wrong with taking 5 hours or more to run 26.2 miles, I just wanted to stick with my most recent time and I was pretty sure that my training did not support that.

I had been fighting some pain in my abdomen - a muscle that cramps up and makes it hard to breath, resulting in stomach cramps and around mile 17 on the few long training runs I did, I would fall apart.  More on that later....

Anyway.  We got down to the start/finish area and parked really close to the Start line.

We are good friends with Brian, the race director, and he always takes really good care of us.  We were really early and figured we would wander around and then come back and drop our stuff at the car.  We ran into our friend Angie - who was one of the lead bikers. Always good to see her.

I was excited about this race because I knew we would know everyone.  Alot of our customers are runners, our friends are runners...we hang out with runners most of the time and this marathon is our hometown run, so there were all kinds of familiar faces there.  We wandered around and said hi to everyone, got our picture taken with one of our training groups and then headed back to the car to drop off our stuff.

As with most events, before I knew it, it was 5 minutes to race time.  We hustled to the start line.  Trevor was going to start with the 3:40 pacer and I was going to start with the 4:20 pacer. We kissed goodbye and got to our places.

Talk by the Mayor, playing of the National Anthem (that gets me every time), final countdown and off we went.  My plan was to stick with the 4:20 pacer and/or stay under 10 minute miles.  After about two miles, I was pretty sure the 4:20 pacer was going too fast and I knew I couldn't maintain a 9:15 minute mile. Plus she was wearing a tutu and I was getting sick to my stomach from staring at it!  Not because of how it looked but because the hot pink color was too much for my eyes!!

We headed out towards Frenchman's Bar.  A 7 mile flat, open stretch out and then 7 miles back to town.  About mile 3, I saw a familiar face - our customer and friend, JR was there cheering us on with a cowbell. What a great surprise!!!  Around mile 5, the leader was coming back the other way, he looked so fast.

Around mile 6, I saw our friend Koby, I ran across the street and high fived her.  Right behind her, I saw Trevor so I stayed over there to high five him.  I love races with the out and back, it gives me chance to see Trevor even though we run different paces.

I got to the mile 7 aid station, filled my water and used the restroom.  I started back to town. The sun was out and it was getting hot.  I was starting to worry a bit about the heat and how that would affect my day.  I had already drank two full waters.  My plan was to use an electrolyte tab around mile 12.

Around mile 11 my water was empty and I hated that.  3 bottles of water down before mile 13.  Not good.  Once that thought enters your mind, its hard to get it out.  My friend Krista had said to think of her at mile 10 and so I did.

We got back into town around mile 13. The half marathon had started at 9 am and we merged with them at this point.  My timing was such that I merged into the slowest of walkers.  I spent about two miles weaving in and out of them.  They were all having so much fun, I considered just walking the rest of the damn thing with them.  But I didn't....yet.

Trudging along, I made it to mile 16.

I really wanted to run to mile 20, but around mile 13 my legs has started to cramp and that muscle in my stomach was starting to talk to me.   Mile 17 came and that was all I had.  You race the way you train and in my long training runs I fell apart at mile 17...and so that's what I did in the race.  I started to walk.  Over the next 3 miles, my legs cramped so badly that I actually wondered if I was going to finish.he

I kept moving, I would run a little, walk a little.  I tried to find landmarks - like I would run for three lightposts and then walk one.  I did that for a while, got up the hill at mile 19.5.  The railroad tracks were around mile 20.5.  I didn't want to get stopped by the train - last year, there was a 17 minute delay due to a train. I didn't care so much about the time, but I knew my legs would seize up if I stopped for that long. I kept thinking that I needed to run until I got to the railroad tracks.  I didn't want to get stopped by the train and wish I hadn't walked.  It was a great plan until I came to the top of a rise and realized how far I had to go to reach the tracks and so I walked.  As I headed down the hill towards the railroad crossing, I heard the whistle.  F*ck, I said.  Three times to be exact, as the gates came down and we all had to stop. I looked at my watch, filled my water and wandered around to see who I knew!

4 minutes later we were on our way again.  Mile 21 - 5 miles left.  Looking at my watch, I was at 3 hours and 55 minutes.  I had originally hoped to finish in 4:20, then figured 4:30 would be okay, then 4:45 would do, now I just wanted to break 5 hours. I knew I could go 5 miles in an hour, but I had to keep moving.  My walk/run intervals continued.  Everyone was walking some - the heat was really getting to just about everyone.

From my chest down was one big constant cramp.  I wasn't miserable and I wasn't asking myself why?  I kept telling myself "this is just what we do".  A mile at a time, I kept moving.  Around mile 24, I saw Brian, the race director, delivering some Jamba Juices to the volunteers, as I passed him, I said "You and your stupid marathon"...only I used a different word instead of stupid.  He said "ha ha!  Want a Jamba Juice"  Normally, no I don't want a Jamba Juice, but I could have tackeled him and drank every last one.  I knew there would be some at the finish if I could just keep moving.

I ran along the river and enjoyed the view - last year, this part of the course was flooded.  I approached the land bridge - EVERYONE was walking. I knew my friend Angie would probably be on at the top of this little hill and I did not want her to see my walking, so I ran.  There she was, cheering us on.  Once I passed her and was out of her site...I walked again.  I knew the mile 25 sign could not be far away.  Once there, I really would be almost done.

I saw and passed mile 25, came around the corner off the trail and there was Doug. He had his camera and again, I was not going to let him see me walk, much less capture it on film!!

I passed him and walked again! Up a little hill, we had our last water station coming up. I decided that once I got there, I would run to the finish. It should be about 3/4 of a mile and once I covered that distance, I would be done.

I got to the water station, turned left and started to run.  My body was so unhappy, but I knew it was almost over. I made the final turns and headed into the finishers chute - it was about 1/4 of a mile. I remember watching people here last year and being so jealous.  I soaked it up - the streets were lined with spectators.  This last little bit of every race really is the best.  No matter what has happened over the last 26 miles, no matter what deals I have made with myself, no matter the amount of questioning my sanity that has happened, in these few moments, I am at peace and I understand why.  You can't get this feeling any other way.

I made the last turn and was at the finish.  Bart Yasso said my name and said "she's from Vancouver, these are her streets!".  I saw Evan Pilchik, taking photos.  He lowered his camera, told me good job and high fived me.  That is one of my favorite parts of any race. I  also high fived Bart and crossed the finish line.  Done.

I wandered until I found my friends and then Trevor.  My body hurt.  I sat in an ice bath for a bit, layed on the grass and didn't want to get up.  Finally, I did.  I had my Jamba Juice and it tasted great.  Then we made our way towards the car and headed for home.  Number 9, done.  What's next???  Only time will tell.

What a great day.

1 comment:

ibounce said...

I love to read your experiences. It helps me feel good about my running!