What a day! A new post-babies PR for me in 2:52:48. 15th place among 3,185 women. 10th place American.
I had been battling a cold all week, so much so that I took an unplanned day off on Tuesday because my muscles felt achy. I started taking calcium, magnesium, and zinc (if that helps ward off a cold at all). I started a nasal spray to open up my sinuses. The workout on Wednesday went great. My lungs felt small, but my legs felt great. Light and springy. 4x1k at GMP, and I clicked off 6:25s on each of them without any effort. Awesome!
Thursday and Friday were 6 miles and then 30 mins, nice and easy. I started a sinus rinse in the mornings and evenings to help get some of the green junk out. Saturday morning I was clearer – less green stuff! – and I went up with 3 of my high school XC athletes to pick up my packet and prep my fluid bottles. It was a lot of fun to show them all that goes on behind the scenes! They raised their eyebrows a little when they were in the elevator with 2 very fast looking men, covered head-to-toe with Nike gear. I hope it was a memorable afternoon for them!
I made 4 bottles, each with a gel taped to the outside for miles 5, 11, 17, and 23. In the first two I had just water (so it was solely to get the gel out on the course!), and the last two bottles I had electrolytes (mixed light). I will change my fueling for my next marathon – as well as fueling for all training runs this upcoming cycle – but more on that coming in a later post.
I went to bed really early on Saturday night, thanks to some help from melatonin :). I awoke 8 hours later and dressed with the clothes I had set out the day before. Body glide, check. HR monitor (so I can see how I race a marathon), check. Watch on and charged, check. Sinus rinse = much more green stuff. Gross. I also took a decongestant pill to hopefully open up my nasal passages. I also told myself that everything usually loosens up during a run and workout. Which it usually does! Nate dropped Craig, Eva and I off near the start and I executed my pre-race plan and warm up perfectly.
The marathon went GREAT, until it didn’t. I clipped off 6:25-6:30s like I was putting on a pacing clinic (Jeff’s words). Ha. I paid attention to my hip and gait and moved to the right side of the road whenever I felt myself lean on the left side (good side) too much. I don’t think I’ve raced this strong – or smooth – in the last 5 years! Honestly! It felt so fun to just — fly!! We went through the half in 1:24-high, perfect for my 2:49 goal.
Jeff ran with me the entire way, and wow, did that make the race a lot of fun!! See the picture below of him blowing a kiss to Nate :). We chatted back and forth, me in shorter responses, and he would jabber about this and that, followed by a big smile from me :). My lungs felt a little singed – or a little small. I wasn’t breathing much for the first ~18 miles, though – it felt like a true marathon pace effort! – and even after that I wasn’t needing to take big breaths/bring air down deep into my lungs. So, how much did that affect me? Not sure.
Then the last 10k hit and my pace just dipped to about 7 min miles on the uphills. I know I’m not a great hill runner now, but still — that was a significant slow down. I started to have a little trouble concentrating, which is typical for me in a marathon when I haven’t quite fueled right, but overall my legs still felt great. I just slowed and couldn’t muster a pick-up back to 6:25/6:30. I finished strong, though, and held my place in the women’s field. I notched a new post-babies PR for me, and was also a top 10 American woman finish!
I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t still lamenting that I couldn’t pull off my sub 2:50 goal. It was an arbitrary benchmark, but it was important to me to show myself that 2:45 was possible. The competitor in me wonders, how bad was this cold, really? I know I’m stuffy enough to need to sleep open mouthed and my lungs sort of hurt… and I’m still getting junk up three days later. It certainly didn’t help my performance! But then again, I think I could have pushed harder that last 10k. I really do. Typical marathoner? My non-running colleagues looked at me like I was crazy when I said that. But for those of you who understand, you’ll probably also relate to the comment on social media by one of my athletes: “#neverdone”. 🙂
But I’ll quiet those thoughts with the fun stats above. Top 10 American at the 9th largest marathon in the country is no small feat 🙂. Seriously, I’m proud of this cycle and know that I’m as strong and fit as I ever have been, minus the 6 months before qualifying at Grandma’s and the build up to the Trials. It will be SO FUN to build on that fitness and strength going forward. Gary and I have laid some great training-foundation bricks. Good things are coming :).