Tuesday, May 27, 2008
My best race ever, and my first marathon!
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.