Thursday, March 26, 2009

Shamrock Marathon Race Report!

So I need to write an official race report....I don't even know where to begin! What a day! (photo: me at mile 19.)

Thank you for your kind words, good luck emails and post-marathon cheers...I appreciate you guys so much! Someone suggested that I go for a Boston qualifying time next time and since he mentioned it, I'll go ahead and tell you guys what my original pre-marathon plan was. I'll turn 40 a few weeks before Boston 2010 which would mean I'd need a 3:50 to qualify. My original plan (that I totally got talked into because I never would have thought of it on my own) was to run with the 3:50 pacer and see if I could get it. That was the plan until Friday before the race. I started to think real hard about it and I was really concerned that the pace would be too fast for me to sustain for that long so at the last minute, I chose to run with the 4 hour pacer. The morning of the race, my friends were telling me that I should stick with the 4 hour guy until about mile 6 then take off and I could make up the time and still get a 3:50. That sounded like way too early to leave the comforts of a pacer so I decided against that as well. I really wanted this to be a good experience and I didn't want to have any regrets and if I had run with a 3:50 pacer and thus hit a wall, I would have really been upset with myself.

The 4:00 pacer was fantastic. He was really fun and hilarious and kept us dead on a 9:09 every single mile. There were a few times that I felt strong enough that I could go but I kept thinking it was too soon. He said several times that if we felt strong enough, that we should go but to wait until mile 20 or, if we were first timers, even wait until mile 22. I took his advice and at mile 22, left him behind.

At that point, I still felt really, really great. Too good almost. I had a ton left in the tank so I just ran. When I realized that I could make a 3:55, I really turned on the gas. I got water at the 24.5 mark and I think that's where I lost that 30 seconds. I was a little bummed that I missed it by that little but then again, I was just so happy at how great I felt and how strong I finished.

Things that I did that I think really helped:

Pacer. I would recommend a pacer to anyone. It was so helpful. Like I said before, there were times I felt I could have taken off but I stuck with him and he made me glad I did. Having said that, there were times I was thinking about letting up a bit but I was terrified of losing him so I just kept listening to his voice - his corny jokes and crazy songs and before you know it, I felt great again. Pacers are the best people in the world.

Sport Beans: I ate a package of sport beans about 20 minutes before the race then every hour, regardless of if I felt like I needed them or not, ate another package. I really think they helped. I had so much energy, it was incredible.

Water: I made a point to get something at almost every stop. Even if it was just a splash of water to rinse out my mouth.

Pre-race Fuel: I learned my lesson after my first half (Historic Marine Corps in Fredericksburg last year) where the night before, I only had a tiny piece of plain chicken and a small amount of potatoes. I ate a pretty good sized dinner the night before then the morning of, I had two eggs, two plain pancakes, a couple of bites of a bagel and a banana. Oh, and lots of water. Food, food, food.

I'd like to say there was something I did wrong, but I really wouldn't change a thing. I'm happy that I stayed with the pacer for as long as I did because I think it helped me stay so calm - not to mention filled with so much energy. Could I have left him earlier? Yeah, probably, but there is no way I could have known that. I had so many people telling me that the 20-mile mark was "the worst" and that "everyone hits the wall at mile 20!" that I had this huge fear of that point of the race. Note to self: don't listen to other people's horror stories (kinda like child birth)! But I'm glad I stuck with him. I had a really good time, finished strong, finished happy and most important, with no regrets.

On Monday, I had some pain in my left knee. My left IT Band started hurting early on...around mile 6 which had me a bit nervous...and I think it's just left over from that. I also have a very strange pain in the bottom of my left foot that I've never, ever felt before. That pain has me a little nervous but I'm hoping it will be much better by the end of the week. I'm thinking that it was caused by my orthotic because there have been a few times since getting them that the left one felt a bit funky in that arch area. Other than that, I'm good to go! Oh, and a funny thing - my shirt collar must have been rubbing on my neck because I have all these awful chafing marks on my neck right smack dab in the front. Pretty.

So I guess that's about it. Nothing too crazy to report - didn't seen any crazy outfits or anything. It was just a really, really fantastic day and just about the best feeling of my life. And a pretty good after party too! (photo: my husband and I at the after-party!)

I have to give a huge shout out to my husband who drove my friend Amy and I down to the race and drove all over the race course taking photos like my own little paparazzi and my friend Nancy who planted the seed in my brain and even drove down to VA Beach to cheer Amy and I on. You guys are the best!!


Crumbs said...

Hot Damn! That's great!
Congrats on a wonderful race (and report!)
Funny, if there's one great thing about aging, it's learning to cautiously gauge your day.
It's so great that you were left wanting more.
Can't wait to hear about your next one!

seeAndreaRun said...

This is so great. Congratulations on a perfect race. You did the smart thing! I always go too fast too soon and feel like quitting at the end. I cannot imagine not feeling that way. But here you are - proof that people can really enjoy every step of a marathon.


Anonymous said...

Yay!! Totally inspiring! Thank you!

morgan said...

You rock!

Now that is my goal for the Marine Corps Marathon in October: enjoy it and feel good. I have run a few, but always manage to muck it up just enough to suffer at the end.