Yesterday, I ran the BayState Marathon. Here’s my recap of the day and part of the day after. I’ll warn you now, it’s a Marathon long post.
Sunday morning the alarm went off at 5:00 a.m. I learned at my 1/2 Marathon in East Hampton three weeks ago that getting up early and eating a full two hours before the race was ideal. We had to drive about 30 minutes north of the city to Lowell and wanted to arrive around 6:30 a.m. to avoid any traffic, parking issues or un-necessary stress! This careful planning and the fact that my cousin Meg offered to be my “support crew” for the day meant that the morning went very smoothly. Breakfast was the classic English Muffin with Almond Butter and Banana. I wrapped it up in tinfoil and ate in the car (pitch dark!) around 5:45 a.m.
Alongside my English Muffin, I drank a lot of water and about 7 ounces of black tea.
As I said everything went perfect with the drive there (no traffic) and we found the parking garage with no problem. It was a bit chilly but I knew that it was going to warm up as the day progressed. We made our way to the Tsongas Arena where all the racers were lounging, using the bathrooms and stretching.
I really appreciated being there so early. This picture was taken around 6:15, a full 1 hour and 45 minutes before race time! I used the bathroom probably 4 times, had time to stretch everything thoroughly and around 7:15 I began chomping on these.
This was my first time eating these (I know, not the smartest) but I couldn’t find sport beans at the store I was at and figured these couldn’t be much different. They were super chewy but pretty tasty and seemed to give me some good energy just before the start.
At this point, we realized that if Meg was going to see my at the three mile mark (the best place for spectators to stand since we loop back there twice) she better get moving (she was running there with her backpack which held my extra clothes, what a champ!) So she wished me luck and set out on her 3 mile run to the bridge. Before she left she snapped one more “pre-race” shot. Standing straight up and smiling!
Before I knew it they were moving us out of the warm arena into the cold October air and getting us to line up! I was chilly but not too bad, I actually ran the 1/4 mile to the start to keep warm and jumped around in place before the gun went off. I placed myself behind the 3:50 pacer thinking I might be able to keep up but I didn’t want to see them pass me. Once the gun went off I felt great. I didn’t have the nervous anxiety that I normally have at the beginning of a race and everything felt good! I cruised along for the first mile at a 9:23 pace and felt good with that because my pattern is to go out way to fast and this was perfect.
Around mile 1.5 I noticed a sharp pain in my left calf muscle. I immediately stopped to stretch it out a bit and then continued running. The pain actually seemed to get worse and felt like there was a golf ball lodged inside my calf muscle. I ended up stopping two more times to try and stretch/massage it a bit but each time nothing seemed to help. This was a really tough thing to be up against so early on in the race especially since I have never experienced this pain before. I was used to my hip hurting, or my knees getting wonky later on, or my ankle which I sprained last year feeling a little sore, but my calf? No way, my calves are always fine. So I made a decision at this point that since it wasn’t a pain that felt like I was doing damage to my body that I would run through and see how it continued to feel.
By this point I was getting excited and focusing on seeing Meg at the 3 mile mark. It was awesome to have her yell my name and start running alongside me with the camera. I didn’t hear her at first but she managed to get a good action shot!
From here we made a 10 mile loop which ended up feeling O.K. despite the leg pain. I tried to focus on other things like the people around me and making sure that I wasn’t favoring my right leg at all which would of course contribute to poor alignment. I had a Strawberry Banana GU packet at mile 6 and 12 and grabbed some water at the water stop to wash it down. I hit the 13.1 point at about 1:58 which was nerve racking because I had the goal of beating 4 hours in my mind and I knew that it was going to be close. Meg was there on the bridge again and got one of me looking quite happy. I am telling you knowing that she was going to be there at that point was so motivating, I definitely sped up my pace on the bridge before and after seeing her.
This next half was definitely the hardest. Of course this is to be expected, you’ve already run this far and you have to do it all over again? I think it was especially hard for me because this course was another loop which is not my preferred style of long-distance running. I much prefer and out and back or one big loop but I suppose there were some benefits. I knew what to expect. I attempted to have my 3rd fuel packet at mile 18 but this one didn’t go down as well. I bought two vanilla flavored PowerBar gels and after one slurp I realized it was going to make me vomit and I quickly got rid of it. I was bummed that I hadn’t taken the free GU packet at this point but I also had a suspicion that anything at this point would make me want to vomit. So I continued to drink my watered down Pure Fitness that I had in my Fuel Belt and grabbed some full strength Gatorade at the next couple stops. Despite the lack of fuel, things progressed well and I managed to maintain a 9:09 or better pace (average) all the way until around mile 21. After that things began to slow down for me. I saw my sub 4:00 hour marathon slipping away and had to give myself some major pep talks to keep going and relax because I was beginning to get discouraged. I kept telling myself that I had trained so hard for this and I was still going to finish faster than my previous time. So because I am goal oriented, I readjusted and said to myself, “I want to beat 4:10”.
What made things harder was my Garmin was off by about .25 miles so every time it beeped saying I had completed another mile it was wrong and I still had more to go! Tough. But not enough to stop me. Around mile 23-25 I was dying inside. Seriously, I felt like I had nothing to give and I just kept visualizing a field of grass and lying down and crying. I tried to keep myself from getting to emotional because I knew I would just fall apart. I told myself that you can cry all you want when you finish, just finish. I actually walked through the last water station which felt good, my calf was pretty numb by this point but it made it feel a little better to not be running. However, I quickly realized that walking was not going to get me to the finish line any faster so I picked it up again. My pace during these miles was around a 10:15. Finally I started to see people and what looked like the finish line, however, it was further than I thought. Basically we had to run into this arena and I saw Meg and thought that it was the finish line. Sadly I had to now run around the track to the finish line. Oh my god, who would have thought a track could feel that long!
Finally I came to the Finish line and looked up and saw the time 4:11 something and I knew that I had done it since I started 1.5 minutes behind the gun.
Here are my splits according to the Garmin which says I ran 26.50 (which would be a new PDR but I think it must have been off)
Mile 1: 9:23
Mile 2: 9:01
Mile 3: 9:10
Mile 4: 9:13
Mile 5: 8:44
Mile 6: 8:57
Mile 7: 9:17
Mile 8: 9:10
Mile 9: 9:00
Mile 10: 9:14
Mile 11: 9:07
Mile 12: 9:01
Mile 13: 8:55 < sped up due to Meg!
Mile 14: 8:58
Mile 15: 9:35
Mile 16: 9:34
Mile 17: 9:28
Mile 18: 9:18
Mile 19: 9:22
Mile 20: 9:16
Mile 21: 9:25
Mile 22: 9:52 < the WALL has been hit!
Mile 23: 9:59
Mile 24: 10:59 < ready to die, and wanting to stop.
Mile 25: 10:46
Mile 26: 10:14 < maybe there is an end in sight?
Last .2: 9:33 <which ended up being my overall average time!
So my official net time for the Marathon was 4:09:49 with an average pace of 9:33.
I was SOOO happy to be done and literally collapsed onto the ground. Meg was kind enough to hike up the stadium stairs to where they had the food for the runners (cruel joke to make people climb stairs after a marathon?) but I wasn’t hungry at all, and in fact felt nauseous.
I tried a few bites of what I thought was a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Turned out to be just jelly and it turned out to make my stomach turn.
I wish I had been able to eat more at this point as I know it is a crucial time to get food in and start repairing your muscles but everything just looked unappetizing. Plus, nothing they had on offer had any protein in it anyway (except chili and chicken noodle soup, both which disgusted me at the time!).
I did manage to drink 3 bottles of water and eat this banana along with one bag of Cape Cod Potato Chips on the way back home.
Did I mention how gorgeous the weather was?! This was the perfect day for a race in my opinion, sunny but not too hot (60 degrees) and no wind. I also have to thank my cousin Meg again for all her support. She was awesome and I could not have done it with out her!
The ride back to Boston was what I had been fantasizing during the last part of the race. I kept thinking if I can just make it I can recline and have the heat on and just relax for the drive home. It was everything I imagined and more. Once home, I iced, showered and got into the coziest clothes possible. We ordered Thai Food and just as I started to get really hungry it arrived.
Brown Sugar is my favorite! We ordered Vegetarian Pad Thai (which is loaded with fun veggies like Cauliflower and Zucchini not to mention Pineapple!) and an order of Chicken Pad See Yew. We also sprung for the Vegetarian Thai Rolls.
Consumed with a bottle of Low Calorie Gatorade while watching Hulu and sitting on the couch. Best post race meal ever!
After that I was pretty spent and ended up doing a bit more stretching and icing and then got into bed and fell asleep around 10. This morning I woke up feeling sore but not awful. The best news was I had scheduled a massage that I bought with a Groupon for this morning knowing I would be totally wrecked and needing some TLC. This was my first ever full body massage and I was so impressed. She listened to what my needs were and took it easy on tender spots but dug in where I could handle the deeper pressure.
After the massage I ran walked a few errands and ended up getting some food at Trader Joe’s on Boylston. I ate this bar and an apple around 11:30. I had a bowl of cereal for breakfast this morning but my stomach is still a bit off. The bar tasted great though.
I could have taken the T back home but it was so nice out, and my legs felt pretty good considering, so I decided to walk the mile or so back home and get the blood flowing a bit. So with my newly purchased Trader Joe’s cooler bag,
I took the scenic route home.
If you asked me yesterday if I would be walking around the city today I would have just laughed in your face. Just goes to show you what a good night of sleep, some advil, a massage and plenty of fluids will do for you!
Now I am not ready to sign up for another Marathon just yet but I am excited for the one I mean TWO half Marathon’s I have coming up in the next few weeks!