Tuesday, May 27, 2008

My best race ever, and my first marathon!

Coming across the finish line, beating out some old man!

Me and my family. My husband was so supportive during all my runs. Thanks, K!

Taking an "ice bath" in a very cold Lake Michigan. We should have gone all the way in.

Me (on the left) with my friend K, who ran all the long runs with me. She finished in 3:45.

My sweet pace tattoo. I thought this was a great idea. Saturn was handing them out.

Last Monday, as I thought about my first marathon race looming at the end of the week, I was so nervous and unsure of myself. Something changed in the middle of the week, though, and I had a ton of confidence in my ability to finish. I appreciate all the words of advice and encouragement from my friends, family, and fellow bloggers. They really helped! I slept well on both Thursday and Friday nights (all things considered) and woke up at 5:30am ready to race! Instead of feeling nerves and worry, I felt excitement and energy. Maybe it's because I didn't feel like I was going to be holding anyone back or really racing anyone but myself.

The race conditions for the Bayshore Marathon were perfect. The course is an out-and-back and travels mostly along a road that hugs the side of a peninsula that borders Lake Michigan. There wasn't a cloud in the sky as we started the race, and the temperature was just under 50 degrees. Perfect. I shed my overshirt and gloves by mile 3, and was left wearing a tank and a running skirt. I felt perfect the whole race. The sun was shining, but there was a breeze off the lake, so I was never too hot.

I was amazed to see people begin walking as soon as mile one. This also improved my confidence, as I knew I could make it at least the first half without feeling like I need to walk. I kept an even pace of around 9:20/mile and was able to pass quite a few people. I said hi and had short conversations, but mostly just listened to others talk and enjoyed the run. I was worried about not listening to music (against the rules in this race), but I saw lots of other people with headphones. I decided that I could start my music (in only one ear, just in case) after the first half was done. That was incentive to keep moving. There were some rolling hills, but nothing too difficult. Because I had my own water bottle, I moved quickly through the aid stations, just taking Gatorade at every other aid station. The first half was over so quickly!

Because I have allergies and some trouble breathing when the trees and grass are pollinating (right now!), I decided to stop and use my inhaler at mile 14. This meant taking a 4 minute walking break. I also put my headphones on and got the tunes going. I took my second GU too. (Gag! I hate that stuff. I love how quickly it works, but I hate how sweet it is. I might experiment with other foods in the future.) Then I was off again! I didn't want to take any more breaks, but a chafing problem caused me to seek out some Vaseline (they had it at every aid station) at mile 19. Then I told myself NO MORE WALKING! Except through the aid stations. That really helped. I felt like miles 20 - 25 went pretty well. I was definitely slowing down, but I felt like I could continue fairly easily. My stomach was complaining a little bit, so I quit popping sports beans and decided to just do liquids after mile 20. I don't know if I could have gone a bit faster with another GU. I was still enjoying the race, though, and getting excited that I was going to finish somewhere between 4:10 and 4:15, which was my "if all goes well" goal.

My friend E, who finished the half marathon in a blazing 1:35, joined me at about mile 25 and jogged in with me most of the way. It was nice to see her and have someone to cheer me on, but I knew I had it and was going to do just fine on my own. The last .2 of the race were onto a local high school track lined with spectators. I saw my husband right before I ran onto the track, so that was cool. All my kids were on a playground somewhere, though, which made me a little sad.

When I finished I felt pretty calm. I did it! My time was 4:14:38. It was a great experience and I'm feeling pretty good three days later. I'm not going to bring it up to my husband quite yet, but I'd like to try to run St. George with some friends next year. Shh, don't tell! Until then I plan on working on toning and speedwork. I think I'll do a 10K or a half again in the fall. Thanks for reading my REALLY LONG race report. It's fun to get it all down.



foxontherun said...

Congrats! You did it! Isn't it the best feeling? You had a great race and felt well the whole time. That is quite an accomplishment.

JP said...

SO EXCITING!! Congrats! I'm so excited for you!

Polliwog said...

Great race report! I've been waiting for it. I'm so glad you had a good race (finally!) :)

Oh, and I definitely think you should run St. George with "some friends" next year. (tee hee) If I can get myself back to last year's condition, we should match up pretty well. What fun!

Anniebananie said...

Great race report! Way to go! You had a great race, good job, go for St. George, I will too! Happy recovery week!

Nikkei said...

Congratulations! Thank you for posting your race report. Having a good marathon after weeks of training is a wonderful feeling. I'm glad that you are already thinking of another one!

Anonymous said...

Wow! Congratulations! I am new to running and I hope to be in your position someday.. finishing a marathon. I'll get there, I know I will.

Great Job though.. That's just fantastic.

workout mommy said...

congratulations!! What a great report with great pictures!

Roxanne said...

I love first marathon stories. Good job, what an accomplishment!

Ang said...


I was thinking about you on Sat. and wondering how you did! So happy to hear it went soooooo well. You're awesome!

staciandrolo said...

I bet you are still on cloud 9! Thanks for sharing your awesome experience! You did it!
I am happy for you :)

Kelly(M&M) said...

Wow, I couldn't imagine a more perfect first marathon. Sounds like it went just how you planned. How exciting! Thanks for sharing it with us. It was a great report and congratulations! I hope we get to meet up when you move to Oregon!