Tuesday, October 31, 2006

MCM


Race morning I got up at 5:20, with the plan being to catch a metro down to the Pentagon stop and walk to the runner’s village, use the potties and then to the start line. I had my usual pre-race breakfast and carried a banana and bagel along for later since I knew I was eating much earlier than normal. I had slept really good, which actually scared me as normally before a race I’m awake every hour and this time that wasn’t the case. Also, due to the start temps of 40s and highs of 60s with winds from 10-20, I opted for my tights and a long sleeved tight fitting but light weight shirt with a short sleeved one for more warmth over the top. I don’t like to be cold and just didn’t want to chance anything. If the wind hadn’t come up, I would’ve regretted wearing that much, but since it did, I was so glad I had on what I did as I would’ve been quite cold. I had a pair of pants I had made to keep warm before as well, they were cheapies I had bought at a second hand store and cut in half and stuck Velcro to, to make pull apart pants for about $4 (and two cuts to my fingers) and they worked beautifully. Connie and I made it to runner’s village about an hour before the start and I went through the potty line twice and figured that should be good, since I had also gone twice at her place, but of course get to the start line and feel like I need to go again, this I expected to go away, but it was always kind of there (enough that I almost used the bushes along the Potomac that many of the guys were using between miles 4 and 5) The start had a 10 minute delay (I was in the scarlet wave, the gold wave had a delay too because of a heart attack, and then there was the man that died at mile 17, as has been stated though, that’s the best way for a runner to go and I know that’s how I would choose, of course years and years from now) but we were off with the guns fired and lots of excitement. It was a very packed start, it took me just over 2 minutes to hit the start line and I was running in a massive pack, unfortunately having to dodge a lot more than I would’ve liked just to have running room. The first 2 miles are shown to be uphill, and it looks like a steady grade, but it was actually an up, then a down then a steeper up but then a really steep down for the next mile or two. This time was pretty uneventful and I didn’t really notice much, but on the downhill was able to pick out the 3:50 pace group a bit ahead of me and I slowly started to make a move to catch them, which I did in the first 4 miles I think. Then I found the 3:40 group and started working my way up on them. At about mile 5 ½ we had seen the lead runners coming back on the out and back we were heading into and that was kind of cool and I noted that when I got back out it would be mile 9 and at mile 10 I’d see my friend Connie, or hope to at least. This section was uneventful except for being so packed and kind of energy draining. I caught the 3:40 group right around mile 8 and heard they were on 8:24, perfect pace and wanted to stay with them for a bit. I knew I was about 2 minutes ahead of 3:40 pace, and I had been training to run a 3:35, so I was doing well, and should’ve still had something in me for the time ahead. I got a bit behind them on one of the packed water stops, but was still with them and Mile 10 came up and I knew as packed as it was finding Connie would be impossible but then I heard my name yelled out and turned to catch a glimpse of her, that is the only time I saw her on the course though. At the next water stop, sometime after 11 I realized I had not had any Powerade yet, and I’m used to taking it with water every few miles. I had had some sport beans, although had lost one bag of them and a gel, but without the Powerade I was feeling a bit off. It had just been so hard to get anything at the water stops, they were pretty packed together and lots of people that didn’t seem to know how to use them so I was kind of avoiding them a bit, except to get the water which was more toward the end. Anyway, I moved a bit ahead of the pace group on this stretch we were heading up to the Capital and I could see the stream heading down the otherside of the mall and the stream ahead of me. I remembered seeing the Lincoln Memorial and the Washington monument, but I didn’t even notice the capital on the way up and down the mall (although that’s all I had seen for the past couple of days prior when driving). On the back side, heading up to mile 13, the pace group caught back up with me and I heard the pace leader telling people to stack up as we were heading into a strong headwind here and it was at mile 13 that I realized it wasn’t my day. I’ve told people that “it just wasn’t there” and I know that other runner’s know what that means. I hadn’t felt comfortable with things yet that day and the halfway point was just leaving me with thoughts of so much time left yet to run. I hit the half with about 2 minutes in the bank, and slowly watched that dwindle away…My IT band has been really tight for the past couple of months. Not sore in the way your knee hurts from it, but just tight on both sides of the knee cap and the whole muscle just ached. I kept moving and just ticking off miles as there was no way I was going to quit. I even attempted to keep the 3:40 pace group with me, they were not that far ahead at the 15 mile point, but they kept moving further away. At mile 16 or 17 I had decided 5 was a good number to retire on…I’d finish this one in under 4 and go out on that, and stick to shorter races…then I started thinking would Grandma’s be a good race for a BQ, and I know there is a breast cancer one that I will want to run in my aunt Elaine’s memory in 2008, but that might just be for “fun”, then I reminded myself no thoughts on another marathon until you are finished and beyond the one you are in…so I kept on. By mile 16 I took some Vitamin I and stretched my IT band as much as I could, I had walked through it to take the Vitamin I, there were three water stops I walked through, just because I needed the water, there was wind that was feeling so drying and to get enough sometimes you had to take it slower to make sure you got what you needed. At mile 17 I was 2 minutes over my BQ goal, so I stopped for the port-a-potty that was open and just kept moving forward, left, right, repeat…So heading up to the 14th street bridge and mile 20 I decided to have fun and played with the crowd a little waving my arms for more cheers along with a few other runners, waved at cars going by honking the other direction, thought about flirting with some of the cute marines manning the water/powerade tables and also decided I would need hugs at the end…at mile 22 there was a Target tunnel to run through and I thought of my sister who works for them. We came through around to the Pentagon again and mile 24 and I am pretty sure we were on the side the plane hit, so I had a thought for those that died on 9/11…I also was running with my yellow Kelsey ribbon on my shirt, but this one also took on meaning as the yellow ribbon for the soldiers, and I had my cousin’s and Letty’s sons names written on my bib. I came around another overpass and down to a water stop at mile 25 and finally the home stretch…I kept struggling on and looked up to see Arlington cemetery, first time I had seen it since I was 17 and in high school and it made me feel very teary eyed…that and the Pentagon are really the only things that stand out for things I noticed of the monuments on the run interestingly enough…and nothing like picking the most emotional ones to see and think about. I finally started hitting heavier crowds and missed the 26 mile mark but saw the hill and knew I was close…I dug in and started climbing, my stomach got nauseated, but that passed quickly and two more curves and finally the finish line…I got my medal and a hug from a cute marine, collected one more from one of the guys handing out the blankets, then got a picture by the memorial….and stood and looked at it for a while…then off to find my friend, it took a long time to get through the crowd, but somehow we did manage to connect…I bought my finisher’s shirt (which was just one more in the huge amount of money I spent on running things, there were way too many good deals at the expo!!) and we headed to the metro, which was packed so instead headed for a walk to Georgetown, back over one of the bridges I had run over and about 2 miles later finally got a cab back to Connie’s. I talk to a few people after the race, well my mom and my roommate, I was disappointed enough that I didn’t make too many calls right away.

I would have to say this is the toughest marathon I have run to date. Not that the course was that tough (although it was a bit hillier than I had thought, it wasn’t that bad, I do run over hills similar to it at home, but I don’t think I did enough downhill running to cover as much downhill as there was) but it just wasn’t there that day. Anyway, I didn’t want anything to really eat right away, I’m not one to be able to eat much after a long run, it takes me a long time to get an urge to eat. We did go for dinner quite a bit later though for a really good burger and fries (home cut fries) and a couple of drinks. Was up and off for breakfast and then a flight home yesterday and I collapsed into bed by 8:30 and slept hard through the night. I am still feeling really sore today. This is the longest that I’ve felt this sore too. Tomorrow I will attempt a run, I was going to cross train today, but I think I’m going to leave that till tomorrow too. Might soak in a bath when I get home and use the marathon fizz that a friend brought me from Lush (she was in Canada and it’s a really awesome bath store up there and other places around the world, but not yet here!!). The verdict is still out on another marathon or not…For right now, I’m going to relax, go back to just running for fun, I’m at 1775 miles for the year right now, I’d like to run 2006 for this year, yes, I know, that’s just silly, but I know you guys will also appreciate the number for what it is…beyond that, no goals, maybe a fun 5K in December and next race is the “I’m Thankful Four” 4 miler on Turkey Day…but nothing else will be decided till January…then well, we’ll see. I’m bummed, but I knew early enough in the race that it wasn’t there, and I know I felt that my training wasn’t quite there either, I was having issues with it and had been ever since June after my great training and race then, I had a lot of after race depression after that one, but this time I’m just feeling relief that it’s done and I can just relax now…I think one hard marathon a year is all my body can take, the 2nd one has to be more for fun, and I think I do better with a spring one. But I’m not going to use any excuses for missing my goal time. I put in training, I know what I did miss and can correct that if there’s a next time, but it just wasn’t there, but I did have a fun trip and got to see friends and have an enjoyable visit.

Official Chip time: 3:55:39, 8:59 pace, 3542/20932 overall, 749/8133 for female and 128/1397 for my age group. I got home to my I’m Thankful Four registration form and my Disney finisher’s certificate, so that helped too. So far I’m not feeling the extreme disappointment that I could’ve, it’s probably because I realized early enough in the race that I was off, but I’m still waiting for it to hit…

5 comments:

Firefly's Running said...

You did AWESOME, Danielle. You still rock. Enjoy the time off while you can and have fun.

Vince A. said...

Congrats are still in order, you are through the worst part. Lets see, top 10% gender and age group, top 20% overall, on a bad day and we've all been there. I just came through a half in the same circumstances, and I feel better about gutting out a top 10% on a bad day than some of the good ones. Give it some time, you are close to your goal if you decide to go next year, enjoy the recovery time and then set that 2007 resolution. Best of luck to you.

Ginger Breadman said...

I really like Vince's comments. It's so true - in the grand perspective of things, you did amazing. It's hard to look at that perspective when you had a time goal. But you have to take what you're given on race day and go with it. You felt 'off', but struggled through it anyway, and still managed to enjoy it too. Great job! Enjoy the time to relax and just run for fun.

Robb said...

You did very well. Feel proud of your accomplishment.

I enjoyed reading your race report - great blog Danielle! Take care, rest up!

Kurt said...

You did a great race. Now take some time, recover and heal up. Next week you can go for that 20 min 5K!