I am really proud of how Grandma’s went this year. In part because it was a 5 minute post-baby marathon PR, but also because I put my head down and went to WORK that morning. It was not my best day. Sometimes marathons are like that. That’s the nature of the beast.
The first 4 miles felt okay. Not great, not bad. I wasn’t springy by any means, but I chalked that up to a poor warm-up. I typically have a great routine – four minutes with 30 minutes to the start and another four minutes 10-15 minutes to go – but I was a little frazzled between figuring out the elite sweat drop location, porta-potties, and finding Craig and Sara (F42 in the picture below). I had chatted with Sara after her 2:47 at CIM and have followed her OTQ dream ever since. We decided to start out together and then her plan was to drop the hammer the last 10k.
After 4 miles at 6:30 pace, Craig said that it was time to start notching down the pace. I tried, but a little bit of clumsiness came on (NOTHING like I used to have!) and I could tell I was reaching for a pace that wasn’t natural. Heck, even 6:30s-6:35s felt more like work than they probably should have! I noted to myself that I didn’t nail the taper perfectly.
At 1/2 way I saw a 1:25:40-something split. I hadn’t been paying attention – I guess I thought I had been staying closer to 6:30s than I actually was – so asked Craig if the clock was right. I did the math: if I can hold on to this pace, it would be a 2:51. Not my goal, but also not bad. Keep going, Nichole. Keep going!
I placed my bottles perfectly along the course. One at mile 7, one at mile 13, and a last bottle at mile 22. I had the majority of a gel at all three of those bottles (taped to the outside), plus UCAN hydrate inside the bottle. The green pipe cleaner handles worked great! Very easy to spot & grab!
I had another gel at mile 17 when volunteers handed them out. Total fuel was as follows:
- Oatmeal in morning (larger portion)
- Banana 60 minutes before
- Chocolate UCAN w/ protein – heavily concentrated – sipped on all morning, majority of it taken with 45 mins to race start.
- Gel at mile 7, 13, 18 (grabbed it at 17, stomach was pretty full so I carried it for a mile), and 22 (didn’t take much of that one)
- Water at every water stop
Around mile 17 I started hating life. There’s a point in every marathon where that happens, right? I contemplated stepping aside. I wondered why I hadn’t taken up a hobby more like knitting or gardening. Then I remembered my TNC athletes out on the course. I definitely can’t quit. Nope. Plus, even though I’m not feeling great and paces are becoming more and more effort, I know I’ve hurt worse in workouts. I know I can power through. I had one 7:00 mile around the 20 mile mark. I allowed myself to slow to a pace that felt comfortable and boy, it felt nice to ease up! I quickly realized that it didn’t actually hurt less to run at 7:00/mile pace, though – and that just meant I’d have to be on the course longer – so I picked it back up to 6:35s/6:40s.
The last 5k I called upon the 2×6 mile workout I had done two weeks prior. I remembered how I felt with just 5k left to go then. Because I had done it then, I could do it now. My stride felt powerful and smoother than those around me – I could tell that I was well trained for the distance. I noticed my stride more than I have in the past because during previous long efforts my leg would NOT have been doing well at this point. Again, I am so thankful Dr. Moser and I were able to “cure” my clumsiness! It’s only been 5.5 weeks, but wow! What a difference!
I passed the clock at mile 25 and knew I had a 2:53-high for the day. I held my pace, excited to cross that finish line. If I would have been on the cusp of a 2:52 I maybe could have kicked it in! Me, kicking it in?! I don’t know that I’ve ever said that about a marathon. Maybe I was better trained than I thought! Ha! I was on pace for a mid to high 2:53, though, so I allowed myself to just cruise in.
I gave Craig a big hug afterwards and thanked him for helping me through the day. It was a tough one, that’s for sure! He said that he could tell. I limped over to the gathering area “T” letter (for TNC) and had someone help me to the ground. My legs were shaking and they just hurt!
I am following orders and NOT running at all until this upcoming Sunday. An entire week off! My next post will be about future plans and changes… hint: I’m fired up to get after those last 8 minutes and 42 seconds 🙂 🙂