Oh, you didn’t know I was running a marathon today? Well, neither did I until 3:30 am this morning I’d signed up for this marathon back in January with every intention of training for it after a good break from Cellcom. Well, I never got said break after Cellcom because I ended up prolonging training for another 5ish weeks and the thought of training right away after Maritime made me cringe. So I benched the idea, signed up for a half marathon the next weekend in Sheboygan and then was going to forget about.
Well, on Wednesday or Thursday I was struck with this overpowering feeling that I needed to do this race. It was while I was out doing my lunch time walk at work and it hit me out of nowhere. As soon as I got back to my office, that VERY second, I received the email confirming that the Sheboygan half marathon had been cancelled (long story for another time…). A sign? A coincidence? I don’t know but all I do know is that it made it damn near impossible to shake the idea of running this morning.
I thought about it all the rest of the week but really could not decide for the life of me what to do. I tried to come up with one negative for actually running it and I couldn’t. Because nothing said I had to finish just because I started! I picked up my packet on Friday night, 90% sure I would try it.
I helped with the packet pickup Saturday and became 99% sure I would attempt it.
When I somehow woke up this morning at 3:18am when my alarm was set for 3:30am, I was 100% sure. (I was half hoping my alarm would not go off or something – lol). So after said alarm went off, I started my morning preparations for a race. Another side note, the weather was predicted to be in the 20′s this morning but it ended up never getting colder than the high 30′s so that was also a really positive sign.
I managed to be ready to go and out of the house by 5:15 am (+ a few minutes to turn around and go back for my garmin!!!) or so to head to the finish area where we parked our cars and were then bused up to Grafton High School to start and then run back to our cars.
The bus ride was nice and toasty and it was also really nice to have the warm school to sit in before the race. In theory they also had flushable toilets but in reality, the lines for those were SO long. So porto-johns it was for me. I ended up taking the time to go through that line twice and was very happy I did. Darn cold always makes me have to pee so bad – lol!
At a few minutes before 7:30am, I threw my drop bag in the USPS truck to get driven to the finish and hoped and prayed my stuff did not get lost I realized how spoiled I am to always have a cheer section at races and this was my very first time ever doing one all by myself! No cheer squad, no pack mules, nothing! After that, I walked the short jaunt to the start line and within 2 minutes, the gun went off!
WTF?! = Where’s the Finish?! lol!
I quickly realized I had failed to switch my garmin to running mode from biking mode so I apparently biked a marathon today I tried to figure it out but this Garmin just pisses me off with how I can NEVER find what I want… Oh well. I figured either way I would know my distance and pace so it didn’t really matter. I also ended up running with my phone which was nice because I would text and give updates to all my cheerers in other states or cities – lol! Plus take pictures!
I started out with what I felt was a pretty conservative pace for me, about 11:30/mile but ended up really struggling to hold that so I ended up bumping it up to 10:40/11/miles. Turned out to be perfect because that’s actually what pace I finished with, well 11:06 or something like that but I call that close enough.
The first few miles were kind of scary. I still didn’t really believe I was attempting this and I kept feeling really guilty passing people because I kept visioning all their training runs when I really didn’t do any. But after 5 or 6 miles, I realized that I could only run my race and not really worry about anything else. We ran from Grafton east towards the lake and then wound down the lake shore towards Mequon. We ran around my old college campus so that was kind of cool. I have not been back there recently and it looked totally different! New buildings and construction everywhere! I crossed the 7 mile mat at about 1:20 gun time, not sure what actual time.
My tuition helped fund this bluff I’m pretty sure…
We then ran along Lake Shore drive (which I’d walked many, many times when in college) so that was cool and then wound around Bayside, Shorewood, etc. I was feeling really good for the most part and the 13.1 marker came and went and I started to feel more confident I would finish! I also managed to take out the 5:00 pacer and 4:50 pacer for awhile here. I kept running and running but started having to stop at water stops because I drank all my stuff I brought. I mixed half gatorade and half water and that tasted like gold!
Mile 15-16 was pretty emotional for me because that is where I was forced to give up at Cellcom. It was that point that I decided, no one could take my race away today, especially me! I was starting to feel sore by this point but I could tell everyone else was too so I wasn’t 100% concerned that my lack of training was totally to blame. The whole way up until this point I was running to the .5 or 1 mile mark and walking 1 minute but I started getting distracted by the lack of seconds on my garmin and started running .4/walking .1 and this was much better for my tired brain and legs to comprehend. I didn’t really slow down a ton either, from 10:53 average to 10:57 average up until mile 24 or so.
Miles 17-20 were pretty rough but they were at my last marathon too so again, I was no more out of it than in June when I ran. Once I hit 20 miles, I knew I was going to finish, no mater if I had to walk the whole rest of it. I also was doing surprisingly well time-wise and was on par for an under 5hr finish which I never in my wildest dreams imagined! I was thinking 5:15/5:30 at my best…
how many miles yet??
Miles 20, 21 and 22 were pretty tough but then at 22 I took a Gu and had a good (relatively) streak of run/walking from 20-24. At 24.2 I started to cramp in my quads so it really started to be painful at that point. But just as I was thinking about the pain, I saw one of the marathon signs that said “The Pain is temporary, the finish lasts forever.” That is one lesson I have learned all too well. Even if you feel like you won’t make it, you really will and it will eventually just be a blip in your history – so run strong!
Around mile 24, we ran down the same hill I’d had to run UP at Summerfest in 2011 so that was pretty cool. Well played LFM with the DOWNhill version over the uphill version Mile 25 I decided to walk for .2 to bring me to just 1 mile to go. But man, that 1 mile felt like it lasted as long as the first 24!! My average pace slipped from 10:57-11:03 or something like that at this point too.
Finally I started seeing the “Marathon finish ahead” signs. Unfortunately, the “finish” was not as close as I was hoping and I had to pass like 5ish of those – ha! But FINALLY I saw the real finish and just went for it! It was a tight finish line which stunk so I had to pass people with a tight squeeze but I didn’t think I should have to finish at there pace, should I?! I felt like I was running fast but I’m pretty sure it was not “fast” ha!
After finishing, I got my medal (which is ginormous!!) and went to sit down!
My legs hurt so bad!!! I honestly could not make it the .75 miles back to my car so I took the shuttle – ha! I also was not really sure how in the world I was going to drive a stick shift car! OUCH!! Luckily it was mostly highway home so not too much clutching. That really killed the ole quads…
But I did make it home in one piece and immediately threw some lunch in the oven to bake while I ice bathed. (I forgot to mention I was HANGRY since mile 1!! – bad, bad planning. Pretty sure my stomach was literally growling on numerous occasions.) I did take gus at miles 5, 11, 17 and 22 so those helped like 5% with the hunger issue. I managed 10 mins in the ice tub and then a nice warm shower and some food!
I am still in shock that I finished. I was pretty darn close to ugly Dawson tears after I finished because I was that shocked it was over. But crying took entirely too much energy so it was a just a couple grunts that I managed – ha!
I know that this was not necessarily the smartest thing to do but I can’t live my life being so afraid of all the “coulds”. I would have quit if I ever once felt weird pain or something like that but somehow my prayers of “Dear God, please just let me finish!” were answered
Maybe this was also a little Marathon Karma coming back to be on my side after Cellcom didn’t go as I was hoping. It’s really true that everything works out in the right timing. And apparently today was the right timing for me to get marathon #2 finished. 26.2 x 2 while I’m 26. I kinda like that
In case you are a numbers person, here are my Garmin splits (totally forgot to stop it though so that last distance/pace is not really true but it seems like it might have paused after a few seconds?)
Those seem close to even to me?? But maybe not, what do I know about these things…
My official finish time : 4:51:23; 11:06 pace (unofficial as of 10/7).
And here are my reflections from Marathon #2!
- Marathon’s truly are 90% mental.
- Gatorade is delicious.
- Doing a race without my family was not the same but was a whole different kind of challenge.
- Still in shock.
- Race Volunteers are AWESOME!
- Fall is my favorite, favorite time to run in the midwest.
- This race was my best, worst decision to date.
- Pain is temporary when you’re running.
- Running for fun is the only way to do it!
- Running carrying an extra pair of socks is the best thing ever. My packet pickup co-worker suggested it and it’s awesome! They make great gloves for like 2 miles and then a nice hankie for the next 24 TMI? Nope, honestly genius!
- Don’t try this at home
- I wore brand new pants + top. Oops.
- 97 days until I have to do this again. This time I will do a few training runs
- Probably some others that I am forgetting that I can maybe post about later this week…
Marathon #2, Done and Done! Whoop!