Let's just say pre-race for the Bay State Half/Full Marathon was a runner's dream. Minus the fact that we had to get there super early to avoid the traffic, it was smooth sailing. We got to sit around in the nice, warm Tsongas arena which had REGULAR bathrooms and lots of them, which I chose to use, multiple times. Not only that, this was the first race that I had soo many people to hang out with pre-race. My running buddy, her sister, my cousin, and my law school buddy were all running it and their supportive significant others were all in toe (so happy to be along for the ride).
Getting Ready!!! Love me some fuzzy pants (yes Aaron has his "Crazy" shirt underneath)
The running buddy and I!!! She is so ready to kill it and did! (left)
Oh hi law school buddy, so nice to see you! (right)
We hung out in the nice arena until right before race time and then jumped outside as a herd of powerful women on a mission. We gave our well wishes and then I hung out with the Running Buddy for five minutes while we waited for the gun to go off. How wonderful it was too have someone with me waiting in the beginning of the race. But before I knew it, we were wishing each other luck and were off. So how was it? Well, I like to call this the yo-yo race, at one moment I was full of energy and happiness and the next minute I wanted to cry. I would go from determination to exhaustion from courage to OMG I am never going to make it 26.2....
Let's talk goals. While the goal for this race was to race, it was also to learn somethings in preparation for 26.2. So goals were:
1) Food - Try real food. Apparently, I really need to be having more like 200 calories an hour during the marathon instead of 100. I wanted to learn to use Gatorade, GUs, Shotbloks, and shocker, real food - like Snickers.
2) Aid Stations - I am scared of Aid Stations. Of being slowed down. Of drinking water out of the cup. Of dropping water all over myself.
3) Hydration - We all know what happened last weekend, I needed to hydrate better. Drink more and drink Lemon-Lime Gatorade yuck, was the plan for today.
As soon as we started, I knew I felt great! My legs felt soo rested and I could not calm them down slower than 8:15 and it felt good, too good to be true - oh Steph when will you ever learn. You can see my short lived happiness here. I could not help but show you a bunch of these!!! Looking back on the pictures, I now know where my energy went...
From Miles 1-6, I continued to feel good! It felt so easy. I was flying. But my stomach was not so happy. For the past two times I have been running long, I have been dealing with side cramps. I can't seem to get rid of them...help!!! I have been stressing lately about eating enough during the marathon so this race I was using to learn what my body can handle. The plan was that around Mile 5 I would fuel up with food, the dreaded Snickers, no less HAH! But ultimately my body had other plans and my tummy laughed at me. So at Mile 4.5 I started to get my GU ready. I store my GUs in my back zipper pocket and as I was trying to get it out and zip the pocket back up, I saw my cousins cheering. Seriously, they must have thought I was picking a wedgie, it looked sooo awkward. Sorry guys! I promise, I was just getting food.
Meanwhile, Aaron was waiting for me at Mile 5. I bought mini water bottles with sports caps for him to hand to me. But I was just so speedy he was not even ready for me as I whizzed by grabbing the water out of his hand. I took the water and the GU = success on the GU, but fail not trying the Snickers. I just am not sure it is going to happen...
Unfortunately, it kind of went downhill from there. I began to struggle. I was able to hold on for a little longer with the GU but by Mile 7 I was not feeling it. All of a sudden my legs felt dead!! I wanted to walk or lay down on the pavement. And here is where the Yo-Yo began. I started to doubt myself, to think that if seven miles was hard now, how was I going to get to 26.2. Oh and there is that freaking side cramp again - CRAP! But then I bounced back. I told myself no! I remembered all the other ladies out on the course with me. I remembered my virtual race date with Samantha, and I kept going.
The half marathon was a double loop course. I was told by some wonderful woman, who will remain nameless, you know who you are ( I love you though don't worry I could not do this without you!), that the course was flat. HAH! HAHAHA, not flat. And to add to it, the wind was unforgiving. Just as you start to get to the hill, the wind picks up and just keeps on going...funnnn bah....But I continued on, mustering strength from the 26.2 gods and having the opportunity to see Aaron twice and my good friend Ariella who jumped and cheered for me when I passed. She cheered me on just before a hill - what is better than seeing someone right before a hill and letting them carry you? Not much!
Meanwhile, back on the goals front, I tried the Lemon-Lime Gatorade. FAIL! I tried, I really did. I took two or three sips but it just made me crazy thirsty...and in my opinion there were not enough water stops. So once I had the Lemon-Lime I was thirsty for the next mile plus. To add to it, it got all over my hands and was a sticky mess. Thank goodness for my pit crew though and I grabbed some water soon after. Also around Mile 10, I just felt out of steam, and forced down two more Shot Bloks = Success - additional fueling!!
The last three miles were no easy feat - more hills, MORE wind. I could not understand why my legs felt soo tired with just 13, which was disheartening. But again, with the yo-yo, my last minute playlist worked out perfectly, with the best songs at the worst times. Usually I spend hours on the playlist, lesson learned = only spend 10 minutes max to get best results on a playlist. I continued to dig, thinking of the women, of the music and pushing as hard as I could, I was not moving fast but I was getting there. Then we rounded the corners of death, the ones at the end, where the end never seems to come. Seriously, what is with that, why aren't there more clearly markings at those points. Don't you just want to scream WHERE THE HELL IS THIS FINISH?!?!
But finally, I saw it. And I figured a good pump for good measure!!
Goal #1: Food. I learned no on the Snickers, unless I get a major craving on the go (haha) but Vanilla GU with caffeine here I come
Goal #2: Aid Station. SUCCESS! Not too scary at all. I rocked that.
Goal #3. Hydrate. Not bad. Probably can still do more but the Lemon-Lime Gatorade is a NO go. Ugh. I tried some "light blue" Gatorade once I got home, not bad at all. Trying that next week!
Ohh and the results: 1:52:51 - not a PR, but respectful. AG: 62/385. Overall: 512/1590...
So I can't complain, but better yet the ladies around me did awesome - running buddy with a one minute PR and what a time indeed, and my cousin with a ooo 20 minute PR, what now?! So proud of all these ladies
Ok I need help!!! I am in blister hell (lots of cursing today, sorry!) I have been getting awful blisters on my right foot, my two toes next to my big toe and on the side of my foot (buonion area) help!!!! Also, side cramps, really? Help!! How was everyone else's weekend? Races, life beyond races?