Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Where are all the St. George Marathon reports??

So I've been waiting to hear how others have done. I know there aren't a ton who ran the St. George, but you who did, how did you do??? I guess I will start with my report.

My first ever marathon was a success! I can now say I have ran a marathon. Wahoo! I am still on a high from the race even though my body is sore and tired. This may be a little long but I will try to be somewhat brief though.

My husband and I headed headed down to St. George on Friday morning. We were both running the race. We took our two kids- our 3 1/2 yr. old son and 10 month old daughter. We went to the expo, picked up our race packets, picked up some things for breakfast the next morning, got the kids down for bed and were in bed and asleep by 11 PM. Early for us. My little girl woke up a few times and I kept waking up to look at the clock. I didn't sleep well. :) I woke up before my alarm went off at 4AM. I wore my pink tank top, shorts, my Asics shoes and a big hoodie pullover. I also brought some cotton gloves in case it was cold. I had some Ibuprofen, 4 fuel gels, and some Kleenex in my shorts pocket. I noticed that it was very warm outside, especially for 4 AM and I was thinking it was going to be a hot race.

We boarded the buses very quickly and were on our way! It was a dark and LONG ride up the canyon to the start. I thought we were never going to get to the starting line and I kept thinking 26.2 miles is a LONG way. It started raining as we were driving. Outside it was cold, wet and windy. My husband was very smart and brought plastic garbage bags that we immediately put on after getting off the buses. They kept us dry and somewhat warm. They had a few garbage bags that people were handing out as well. Many people had their small grocery bags on their heads. :) We got to the starting line where there was a huge line of porta potties, fires to keep warm and a ton of people. I huddled by a fire for awhile then headed to the porta potties.

The race was about to begin so I kissed my husband goodbye (he's faster) and found my place near the 4:30 pacer. I was going to follow the awesome advice marathon mommy Lilrunner73 gave me (thank you!) and take it real slow at the beginning and then speed up at the end during the downhill.

A lot of people had shed their extra clothing but I kept on my hoodie and gloves because it was too cold. The gun started the race (I didn't hear the gun go off) and I sat there... and walked.... and 7 minutes later I crossed the starting line! We were off! I started running slowly since there were a lot of people and it was dark. We were warned to watch out for discarded clothing and other items on the road. I was ahead of the 4:30 pacer and stayed that way for the first 6 miles I think. Those first 6 miles went by so fast! I could not believe it. At around mile 6 I could feel warning signals in my knee. I had previously had horrible (IT Band?) knee pain on my training "20 miler" that turned into a 13 miler so I was taking it easy so I would be able to just finish. I slowed it down and kept it easy. I can't remember for sure when the 4:30 pace group passed me.. it was somewhere around this point. I didn't care too much because my new goal for the past several weeks was to finish without killing my knee. At about mile 8 or 9 my knee was hurting pretty bad and by mile 11 or 12 I had sharp pain shooting up my leg. The arch in my right foot kept cramping up as well but this didn't bother me as much as my knee. I was very worried at this point because I was just half way there. I kept stopping, stretch, walk, stretch, run a bit, stretch and the cycle kept going. It helped to stretch and I could run awhile, but then my knee would hurt again. I took one Ibuprofen along here somewhere (I lost the 3 others I had with me when my frozen hands dropped them in the wet pavement)- I had taken 2 earlier before the race. I then tried something the sports medicine doctor had told me when he gave me a shot of cortisone 2 days earlier. He had said that he found that when he changed his foot position so that his toes pointed slightly inward, it helped. So I focused on pointing my foot inward. It felt very weird, but it helped!! After running like that for awhile, the pain would go away. I also started having the aid station workers rub icy hot on my knee. I did that at every aid station. By mile 17 I realized my knee wasn't bothering me and hadn't for awhile so I ran normally again.

The miles just kept flying by and I couldn't believe how fast the marathon was going. I kept waiting to "hit the wall" as most people do somewhere around mile 20 or on. It never happened for me! I felt awesome. After my knee stopped giving me trouble, I felt like I was flying by people. I fully expected to get the side aches that I normally get when running, but that didn't happen. I didn't dare take off my black trash bag until mile 20. :) I must have looked kinda funny since most people had dropped those way back in the single digit miles. I was fully enjoying every minute of the marathon, taking in the amazing beautiful scenery (still raining) and the runners and spectators. I saw a barefoot runner- a big man with absolutely nothing on his feet- ouch! I ran by 2 young boys around the age of 10 or 12, one running his second marathon. A young girl that was 8 (?!) years old running the marathon! Anyhow, it was awesome.

I got to mile 23 when we were entering St. George and people were lined up along the street. I still had not "hit the wall" but those last 3.2 miles stretched on because I felt so close to the finish line, but it didn't come. I was so excited to cross and I knew that no matter what, I was crossing the finish line. Emotions started flooding me and I was trying to not completely lose it. I kept trying to keep back the flood of tears because just the day before, I wasn't sure if I would make it (the furthest I had ran up to this point was 15 miles). I felt so incredibly blessed to have made it that far. I picked up the speed the last hundred yards and finished at 4:48:57 chip time. I negative split the last half, running it much faster than my first half by 15 minutes! I was more than happy with my time. I do wonder how I would have done injury free. My family cheered me into the finish line and I found my husband waiting for me at the cool down area. It was a sweet reunion. He had been waiting there for over an hour and I think hypothermia was setting in for him. :) We booked it out of there so he could get a hot shower.

It was an absolutely amazing feeling crossing that finish line. It was an amazing journey getting there. I've learned a lot about myself along the way. I am even more amazed at what the body can do. I started out never running more than 3 miles in my life, and my body adapted to running. It was an amazingly organized race and I can see why people love the St. George marathon. The majority of race reports I read were not happy ones so I think a lot of people really struggled with the weather conditions (rain, chilly, head wind) on this race. I have nothing to compare it to so I thought it was awesome!

All you running mommies inspire me and I don't think I would have done a marathon without your amazing examples. I want to hear all the other race reports!


amydear said...

CONGRATS, Alicia! I've been waiting for other reports as well. I think I'll try to get into St. George next year. Great job surviving your first marathon. I think you were smart to take it easy on your knee. Sounds like the weather did not cooperate, but you still did well. Thanks for sharing!

JP said...

Way to go, way to go!!! (and in the rain, too!) I've been excited to hear about the St. George runners. I'm so proud of you guys!!

Shelah said...

congrats, Alicia! I'll post mine too, I guess (way to twist my arm, lol).

Megan Adamson said...

Congrats!! I finished at 4:49 chip time. I wonder if I was by you. I loved running. It was my first marathon. I can't wait until my next.

Mel said...

Wonderful post and very inspiring! I can't wait to run my first marathon.

Suzie Petunia said...

Great job on your first marathon! There will never be another "first", even if you do hundreds of marathons in the future. Isn't it an amazing feeling? We're all proud of you!

lilrunner73 said...

Congratulations Alicia! I thought about you on Saturday morning as I was sitting in the rain watching my boys football games! I'm so glad you had a wonderful experience. You ran smart and enjoyed every minute. That's awesome.

Imagine how well you'll do with your next marathon. I'm sure without the injury and the weather, you'll get a great PR next time!

Give me a call when you're feeling up to a short recovery run. I enjoyed running with you the other morning.

Again, congratulations and enjoy your accomplishments!

Robyn said...

Great job finishing your marathon! I ran TOU last month and had a VERY similar experience. Very sad but I am so glad I finished. I can understand a little of what you went through. Are you able to run now? How is your recovery?

Kelly(M&M) said...

Hi Alicia,

I love your report! You ran it exactly as you should, and you should be so proud of yourself. I felt as though I was there with you. Congrats on a fantastic race! What's next?!


Alicia said...

Megan- we must have been right near each other, especially since I was all over the place with my pace time... how funny!

I haven't gone out running yet- my husband did a few days ago and said it was a little rough so I think I will just take the whole week off. So far, I haven't had soreness in my knee....I hope it lasts!

MaMa eNCHaNTeD said...

I am currently crying, thanks for this post. I am training for the St. George Marathon '09. You are so similar to me...never having run a marathon, knee troubles, a baby....It was really good to read about what I may encounter. This is definitely stretching me beyond anything I have ever known