I sincerely apologize for how long it’s taking me to get these recaps up. I mean jeesh, the marathon was nearly 1 month ago! My job has been keeping me super busy, and I don’t want to put up a crumb bum recap. You know me and my recaps. Detail city - that’s obviously not always a good thing! Well, here’s part two. Okay, so where did I leave off? Oh, right. The start. I kept saying to myself, “I can’t believe that I’m running my 2nd marathon - and in a single year’s time!” It felt a little different this time around because now, I had a time goal in mind. Sub-4 hours. I would’ve been happy with a 3:59:59, and to get that time, I knew that I had to run at an average 9:10 pace at the very slowest. It seemed doable. The odds were in my favor. My long training runs were faster than they have ever been. I incorporated speedwork during this cycle, which was something that I was lazy with during my 1st cycle. The weather was much, much cooler than it was for the Pittsburgh Marathon, like 30-40 degrees cooler. And, my left knee was NOT angry before the race began like it had been before Pittsburgh. I felt ready. Heck, I was pretty much guaranteed a new personal best from the course alone. See.
Pittsburgh Marathon elevation profile.
Wineglass Marathon elevation profile.
On the right, you’ll see the Wineglass Marathon elevation profile. Overall, you can visualize that the downgrade was very gradual, so it wasn’t something that I noticed much for a majority of the marathon.
I apologize in advance because I’ll probably be doing a lot of random comparisons with the Pittsburgh Marathon.
Once the marathon officially started, it took a few minutes for me to be able to find my “place,” allowing me to run without tripping on people and weaving in and out like Frogger trying to cross the street. This time, I didn’t run with a beloved friend. I ran alone, well as alone as I could possibly be with a couple thousand other runners. And unlike Pittsburgh, I chose to run with music. I knew not to expect as much crowd support like Pittsburgh, so music was going to be necessary for my sanity. Although the volume was turned down very low, it helped. I felt like I was cruising through the first 5 miles (took my 1st gel at mile 4 - better early than late). My legs felt fresh, and I was completely warmed up by this time.
I went into this race with a good attitude, but I didn’t know what was going to happen as I chipped away at the miles. Distance running, marathons especially, leave so much room for prosperity, disaster, and everything in between. Like I had already mentioned, the beginning of the marathon felt easy, almost too easy. I glanced at my watch (Garmin 10 at the time) a few times and was startled when I realized that I was running a sub-9 minute pace for a couple of miles. I was significantly ahead of the 3:55 pace group for quite some time, and I knew that I had to cut back on my speed if I wanted to avoid hitting the wall later on in the marathon.
I decided that from the get go, I was going to speed-walk through the water stops to be sure that I was hydrating properly. I’m very clumsy with water cups at races, and I either spill it all over the place or choke on it, despite pinching the top of the cup. I learned a hard lesson: The faster I run, the easier that I cramp up upon walking/slowing down. Lo and behold, I set myself up for a few setbacks. It took me, at the very least, a quarter of a mile or longer to find my groove again, which began to add to my overall time.
After the first 10K of the marathon, my GI distress issues started sneaking up on me. I did as much as I possibly could’ve done to prevent this from happening, like avoiding fiber intake, eating easily digestible carbs, and during the marathon itself, I made a point to NEVER drink Gatorade and eat a GU energy gel simultaneously. I think that I’m beginning to realize my tummy problems arise from caffeine intake, but I’ll have to begin logging what I eat before and during my training runs within my upcoming training cycle. I’m also going to begin taking the more natural approach to long run fueling, like consuming honey or raisins. This is an entirely different story, so I’ll discuss this in a later post. My stomach was doing flip flops, and I had no other choice but to scurry to the next porta-potty available, which came to my rescue at mile 8 (took my 2nd gel). This stop took away about 2 minutes from my time. I already felt crummy, and I was only at mile 8. My legs still felt good, but my tummy was having an all-out rage fest. I had no other choice, but to put on my game face and fight through the nausea.
Going to the bathroom gave me some relief, but then I found myself struggling to run at an even pace. My speed went up and down a lot, likely due to the stopping and brief sitting motion. It was getting kind of ugly. Mile 9 ended up being a 10+ minute pace, which is now very rare for me. It was clear that I wasn’t feeling my best. I didn’t think that I was ever going to make it over the half-way hump in the marathon. You may as well have asked me to climb Mount Everest because it would’ve felt pretty dang similar.
13.1. I just had to get to 13.1. Better yet, I knew that if I made it to the halfway mark, I’d get a bit more crowd support since that’s where the half marathoners started their race - motivation was definitely needed. There were people cheering here and there, but they were so few and far in between. I started picking up the pace until I made it to mile 12 where I had a sip or two of Gatorade. I started regaining my initial confidence, and I managed to run to mile 13.1 without any issues. I crossed the half way mark around 2 hours on the nose and some change. While I wasn’t exactly on target with my time (goal was 1:55), there was still a slight glimmer of hope if I could miraculously run negative splits. With how things were going, who was I kidding?!
The next comfort station was set at mile 13.3, so I decided that was where I was going to take my 3rd gel. Literally in between mile 13.1 and 13.3, nausea was once again in full swing. I think my stomach, bladder, and some other unmentionables were playing jump rope with my intestines. Thank goodness that I was close to approaching a comfort station. Although, during my stop, it felt like all I accomplished was consuming a gel and refunding it within minutes. It was terrible. It was worse than any bout of nausea during training sessions or what I experienced briefly in the Pittsburgh Marathon. Forget Corning, NY…it felt like I was heading towards the road of despair. Everything else felt fine - legs, breathing, tootsies, body temperature, you name it. My stomach issues were causing my goal to crumble beneath my feet. There was no way that I was going to run a sub-4 in this condition, so I had to reach into my pocket and pull out plan B. Plan B was to beat Pittsburgh’s time of 4:24:42, and at the time, this seemed much more attainable. There are going to be plenty of marathons in my lifespan. Sub-4 will come, and September 30, 2012 was simply not that day. But, running a new personal best? Yes. Mindset changed. Game back on. Mode: BEAST.
All that stood in the way was 12.9 miles. It was time to kick asphalt before it kicked me.12 notes
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