Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Marathon race report

Sunday morning I awoke with temperatures outside in the mid 40's but rising quickly as the sun came up. Knowing what to wear so that you are comfortable for the race is a challenge for me. I decided on shorts, a sleeveless running top and a long sleeve dri-fit shirt that the sleeves could be pushed up. I have worn these clothes on many runs before so there would not be any wardrobe problems.

I first headed down the elevator and enjoyed a protein bagel with chive cream cheese from Einstein bagels. It is located in the hotel and many other runners were doing the same thing. I enjoyed the bagel and drank a glass of coconut water. I have recently had digestive issues on long runs and I am still figuring out the whole fueling and hydrating thing. I head back to the room and finish getting ready. I have decided to use my new Garmin watch to see my time. I have not used it before since I have run indoors on a treadmill since being given this gift. I have usually used my smart phone and an app called endomondo to track my runs. I also think that this is a Rock 'n Roll marathon with lots of bands playing and we are in Phoenix the 5th largest city in the United States so of course there is going to be tons of fan I decide to not bring my headphones and run with my phone in my armband so that I can meet up with DH and DS at the end. I had raisins and sports beans to fuel me and a plan on hydrating at the water/Gatorade stops.

at the race start

It was a 2 minute walk to the start area. It was cool and the sun had not yet come over the mountains. The air was alive with music and announcements and the excitement of the runners set to give it their best. The start of the race is always crowded with the actual runners and the people that are supporting them. There was an announcement over the loud speaker that there were just over 5000 entrants in the full marathon. This was a bit perplexing to me since they had advertised that there were more than 25,000 people participating in it. I imagine that the numbers were based on the half and mini marathons and perhaps the other smaller races that were a part of the weekend. There were 7 corrals and based on your expected finish time you were assigned where to go. I was in corral 6. The race started and within 4-5 minutes we were running through the starting arch and over the timer to begin the marathon.

I knew very quickly that not having my headphones and the distraction of my playlist was not the best decision of the morning. The bands were maybe 3-4 miles a part from each other. You heard them for a minute or so and then you were past the music. There were a few places where I would say you had crowd support but they were few and far between the miles. The water stations were spaced every 2 miles so you did have a chance to hydrate which thankfully I took advantage of.

The first few miles always go by in a blur. You are people watching and getting into the running zone. I had lined up by the 4:40 pacer and was not going out fast or slow. I felt strong and the running was easy. Around mile 6 the sun started beating down and there was no shade to run in. I did not have a hat or sunglasses so this might be the second poor decision of the day. At mile 10 I was feeling good but looking forward to an energy boost from seeing DH, DS and my dad at mile 11. I passed by and did not see them. With little crowd support, seeing your family or friends can be a real boost and you garner strength to keep going. My dad was cheering and shaking bells for all the racers a little after mile 11. It was great to see him!
It really was this lonely out there.          

Only a .2 away from the finish

There is a 3 mile out and back loop that the course followed and my DH and DS were waiting and saw me twice - mile 13 and 19. At mile 13, I was still feeling good but at the 19 mile mark, I told them I could finish with just over 7 miles to run but I was slowing down. They ran a short way with me and next found me at the finish line.

I did a few things right and a few things wrong for this race. I learned some things about myself and will continue to get smarter training and actually running a marathon. I know I am a person that thrives on crowd support and distractions. I will run with headphones even if I don't use them.  I fueled ok but perhaps could have been better rested so that the last 13 miles I would be less tired. I don't regret staying up late and having a great conversation with DS. I am going to purchase prescription sunglasses or glasses that have the photogray lenses so that I don't have to squint in the bright sun. I am not a hat person. My clothing selection was perfect for me. I did not get any blisters and my smartwool socks worked well. I listened to my body and heeded the soreness and pain signals from my hamstrings. My training in the week prior to the marathon was modified. I walked my mileage on the treadmill the two days before. It was a very smart decision.  I did not have any troubles during the race with hamstrings, cramping or digestive issues. Running indoors on a treadmill to train for a marathon in winter is maybe not the greatest choice that I could have made but I did it. I have finished my second marathon and I am proud of that. My time was respectable- just under 5 hours, and I am satisfied.

New races await me. I am excited to have my DH begin training with me for a half marathon that we are going to do together in May.

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