Tag Archive | race recap

Take Credit Where Credit is Due

It has to be said….

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In the last year, there have been several running news stories about people committing fraud during a race.   Some have gone to extremes to either claim to complete a race they never had any intention of completing, faking a chip time, or just lying about the whole thing.   I have never understood that mentality.

Never.

This is why I am having such a hard time with my chip time from the Iron Girl.

I believe in giving credit where credit is due.  I also believe it is wrong to take credit for something that isn’t true.  In my heart of heart I know after some thought that maybe not that my chip time is wrong, but that something is wrong.   And the thing is it pisses me off.

I am pissed not because I’m pretty certain that I didn’t run a 19:12 5k.    I am pissed because I intentionally didn’t wear my GPS watch so I could focus on running the way my body felt.  If I had worn my watch, I would know what I actually ran and how fast I actually ran it.

I am pissed because I trusted the race organizers to have not just an accurate chip system, but also have the proper race distance for the course.    This is actually what I think happened.   I’m not sure.   I’ve run this race enough to know the course somewhat, so it does feel the same.   That being said, I know there is something off.   I am really just not that fast and I’m really not sure what happened.

Now, I know that there are some people who will be like shut the blank up already.   I respect that, but as my real life friends will tell you, I am nothing if not honest.   Like all the time.  Brutally honest, but in a nice way.   They know not to ask me a question that they don’t want my truthful  answer to.   I am not a yes Mam kind of gal.   So I just want the truth.

Here’s the thing though, I’m not sure if I will get the truth but I’m certain it is out there.   I’ve been comparing not just my times from 2015 and 2016 but the some times of those that I saw that ran both years that were top finishers.  EVERYONE is much faster.   Obviously, everyone would have different times from year to year.   That being said, everyone is consistently faster by at least 5 minutes.   Now granted I am not crazy enough nor do I have enough time to do a statistical analysis nor would I even be good at doing it.   I just know that I looked at a few people and this is what it appears to me.    So I’m thinking that somehow they messed up the course and shortened it.

I’m pissed.   Not because they shortened it but in looking and thinking about this, I realized that even though I know in my heart that I didn’t run a 19 minute 5K, I might have actually still run under a 25 minute 5K and I will never know.   I feel robbed, cheated, and a little bit of a fraud.

Now I know that there is nothing that I can do.   Although, I did email Iron Girl organization to verify the course.   I know that if I had the time or inclination I could go down to Sandy Hook and do that myself.   Knowing me, the next time I am down there I just might do that:)     That being said, when asked what my 5K PR is I will still go with 26:26 which really is a rocking time.

Has this ever happened to you?

 

 

 

Believe the Unbelievable

It’s been a LONG Day, but it’s been a good day.   I’m guessing any day that starts with a 4:00 AM alarm will be long.    Those are the breaks though on race day.

Today was my what appears to be annual trip to Sandy Hood Gateway National Park for the Iron Girl Sprint Triathlon.   The race that started it all.   The race that is always full of surprises and always worth doing although I question why on the drive down.

The morning had to start at such an unsightly hour because I needed to allow extra time to pick up my bib.   I will say that I normally like to pick up my bib, rack my bike, and get my bearings the day before.   This is not always possible when you are attending your son’s soccer tournament in the blazing heat.   That being said, it was all good.   Really only made for a slightly earlier morning.

Arrive with time to pick up packet, rack my bike, and set up transition.   I’m good to go.    Have swim cap and goggles and ready to make my way to swim start.   Hold the phones…. Swim is cancelled.    Apparently the current is making it unsafe.   I will say that I was disappointed, but I would much rather they side with caution than someone get hurt (myself included).   My very first Iron Girl Tri the swim was way wicked.   Everyone complained that they didn’t cancel it.   Then today many complained that they did.   Can’t win.

So today I did my first Duathlon.

Run, Bike, Run

It took a bit for them to reconfigure, but once they did it went without a hitch.   The beauty of being in the older groups is that I didn’t have to wait so long to start my run.   I think I was off by 7:45.     We started off with an out and back of 3 miles.   Why they didn’t do the full 5K, I have no clue.

So off I went watchless.   It was strange not starting my Garmin, but this was supposed to be just do what the body says you can do day.   It was supposed to be an easy recovery day especially after yesterdays 11 miles in the disgustingly hot weather.

First run feels good.  Get back to transition and really nothing to do except put on a bike helmet and suck down a Honey Stinger.  Bike sucks and only because I literally did not train or ride my bike ALL summer long.  Also might have been helpful to bring another gel with me.   Oops.   Get back to transition and I feel like I’ve been sitting on a horse all day not a bike for a little more than an hour.

I will interject to add that on the bike portion I knew they made the right decision about the swim as the wind was wicked and the white caps were plenty.   I will also like to add that I was starting to think that my name had changed to “on your left” which is what people say when flying by you (or me).   I admit, that I should have ridden my bike more or at least a little bit.

Go out for the second run.   This one being the full 5K.   I feel like my bottom is still in the saddle and I REALLY want to walk.   At this point, I decide though that I am going to run the whole thing.   I am just going to keep moving.   I dig deep as the saying goes and remind myself that this is nothing compared to a 50K (Ok it is, but you say what you say to keep yourself moving).   I also remind myself that this is how I’m going to feel come mile 22 of NYCM, so I just need to keep moving.   I know that I’m running brisk because not only can I feel a little stitch in my side but I’m breathing pretty heavy.   I’ve got no watch.   I’ve got no clue and I know if I slow down that I might just stop.  I also don’t feel like I’m dying, just like I’m at the end of a race

Just keep moving.    Going to make it to the end without walking.   This is it.

Cross the finish line.

Yeah!!!

Get my time.

Holy Crap.   This can’t be right????

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Now my question is why would I question it?    I know the course.   I know that my bike time is right about where it was last year.    If my times were in slower, I would never question.   Why is it so hard to believe the good stuff?

One of my friends suggested that I never run with a watch again::)   Ha!

I will say that I am in shock.   Last year my run was 31:53.    My fastest 5K was over the summer at a local 5K where I ran 26:26.   This is unbelievable and I keep expecting them to tell me that they made a mistake.    The won’t because official times were released and apparently I do run much faster without a watch to tell me to slow down.

Now all I need to do is see what m coach says about m easy recovery run that I was supposed to do.  So much for easy recovery run:)   Really shocked

It was a great day and even though I went into it by myself you can never feel alone when your surrounded by a group of Tri Women!

Now it is time to put this to bed and myself included.

Don’t Think, Just Run

My town was hosting an inaugural 5K yesterday.   I had signed up for it a month ago as a way to support the event, but really was not sure if I was going to even run it.    The race was to start at 7:30 and a friend texted me in the late afternoon and I still didn’t know if I was going to run or not.   I got dressed in my running gear and figured I needed to run anyway, so I headed over to pick up my bib.

Met up with some of my MRTT and chilled out a bit.

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(This was post race, but we didn’t take a picture before the race.   Also, I forgot to tell you Happy Birthday!   My bad.)

Still didn’t know what I wanted to do, but knew I didn’t want to start in the back.   Would much rather start up front and fad to the back.   Besides it was elbow to elbow.    So I started near the front with another amazing MRTT Mama.   Then saw another one who was running with her two boys.   She was going to run with her 6 year old, but her 10 year old told her he was going to sprint ahead.

So when the race started, I sprinted behind a 10 year old the first mile.    He was faster than I wanted to run and he had no idea that I was following, but I figured I would stick with him and see where it took me.   We ran an 8:12 mile!   Oh my.  Did I mention that it was HOT too!    It was too much for both of us.   I saw him holding his side and I wanted to say something to him about how awesome he was doing, but I thought better since he didn’t know who I was and he might have thought I was a stalker:).   I was so proud of both of us, because although we both slowed for the second mile neither of us gave up.   At this point, I ran ahead as it was time to pace myself.

I will say that I didn’t really look at my watch except to see the distance.   I didn’t want to think about pace, I just wanted to run.    I pushed myself.   I was breathing hard.  I probably wasn’t smiling, but I was running.   This was a run that I needed.   This was the run I didn’t even know I wanted.   I can honestly say that I gave it my all the entire race and really don’t think that I could have pushed any harder than I did.     That really is all I can ask of myself.   At the end of the race I could barely breathe, but I did it.   I  finished in 26:26 which is a PR!

By the way, the 10 year old finished in 28:16!

So I believe the moral of this story is sometimes it is best not to think and just run.  I thought way to much in my 6K and not at all in this one.   The races could not have been any more different.   It might also have helped that this run was in my backyard, so I also knew many people.   Who knows.   All I know is that maybe overall I should just stop thinking so much, stop looking at my watch so much, and just run.

just-run

 

 PS – the only reason I looked at my watch for distance was to know how far before I could stop

 

If I could just Shut the Little Man Up!

This morning started off just right.   Actually woke up right before my alarm.   Had a good night sleep, although maybe not enough.    Got up and was ready for the Queens 10K Crew to pick me up.    Moving right as scheduled, then the brakes get put on.

Literally.

We could arrived to Citifield right before 7:30 giving us plenty of time to get to the start line at 8:30.   At least it should have been more than enough time!   We literally did not park the car till 8:30.

The frustrating part is that there was more than enough parking, but they just didn’t have the lots open.   It was annoying.   It was frustrating.   It was not the volunteers fault who were directing traffic.   Someone made a mistake or underestimated or something, because it was ridiculous!

Queens10k_16Why oh why when there is this much space did we have to wait an hour to get into the lot.   Crazy!

Then we had to do a 3/4 mile jog to the start line and literally jump into a corral and start the race.

Not the best way to start.

The corrals were crazy croweded probably due to people such as ourselves getting to the start line late.    Elbow to Elbow.   Bob and weave.   Stop and go.  Crazy start.

Then I settled into it or as much as I could settle in.   I was on pace.   I was on the money.   Then The little man in my head would not shut up as much as I told him to.   Physically, I think I may have had it in me today even with the heat.   Mentally, my mind just was not there.

Queens10k-16_2Look at these beautiful negative splits……. Backwards!

Mentally, my head wasn’t in the game.   As much as I wanted to pretend it was, it was not there.   It did not help that I did not plan my music accordingly causing thoughts to pop into my head that I had no business thinking about while trying to run a race.

Physically, there is no reason that I needed to walk during this race.   Mentally, I admit that I took a few walk breaks.   There was a point that I almost gave up and walked.  At the end, I did push it but it was too little too late.   It was just not my day.   You need these bad running days to appreciate the good ones.

In the whole scheme of things, it is just a race.   It is not a make or break thing that I didn’t PR today.   It would have been nice, but at the end of the day (to me) I know it really doesn’t matter.   There will be other days, other races, and other PR’s.

And you know what?   As much as I’m going on that the race wasn’t my race, I ran it faster than last year. I still ran it pretty decently even if I walked a time or two.   I still finished with a good place and overall my pace was good.     Was it the race I wanted?   No, but those are the breaks.

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I finished in 59:14.

So I was under an hour this year and still not a bad race.

Overall 5093 out of 9,982

Women 1594 out of 4,814

Age Place 110 out of 432

So I really think I need to shut up that it wasn’t a good race.   I know that I could have pushed myself and run better but I mentally didn’t care.

Every have one of those days and realize in the end it wasn’t so bad?

me too:)

Denial is a Wonderful Thing

Runner’s are a funny breed when it comes to getting injured.   I know many runners who the first thing they do when they wipe out  on a run is to stop their Garmin.  I, personally, don’t see anything wrong with that either.   Seriously!   If you don’t stop your watch, you are going to mess up your paces.    Admit it, you do the same thing.   Don’t you?

Then there are the times that maybe the injury is a little more than just falling during a run.   Denial is a powerful thing and most runners I know embrace it 100%   Even if we aren’t in denial about getting injured, maybe we are denial about how injured we are.   Maybe something like rolling your ankle.  Yes, you can admit that it is hurt.   No, you can’t admit how hurt because that’s just crazy talk.

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That being said, I’ve been a very good girl and rested for two weeks.   Is the ankle all better.   Nope.    Does that mean I am going to keep resting it?   Nope.

This past weekend I took it out on a test run.   A local Parish in town has an annual 5K.   It’s for a good cause.   It’s a great fast course and it’s local.    I knew I was going to be running on Monday, so I thought this was a perfect place to test out my foot.   Seems reasonable to me, don’t you think?

I went to the 5K with no expectations except to test ankle.   That might be a slight lie, but that is what I told myself.   I did know that I wasn’t going to push it too hard.    The race started and it felt so good to be running that I just went with it.   I felt my foot/ankle the whole time, but  just under the surface.   I ended up with a really nice run, but was sad that I was 3 seconds off of a personal record.   Official time 27:20:40.   Now I had wished that I pushed a little harder, but it is what it is.   Besides I was running again, so Yeah!

After the race, I did feel sore and my foot was still tender.   But it is what it is.   It just needs some more time and I’m being smart about it.  Really, I think that I am.

Monday I went for 8 miles and a nice and easy pace.    My foot was more of a dull ache and manageable.   I actually felt better after the 8 than I did after the 5K since I wasn’t pushing the pace.    I am rolling into the end of my 50K training and really need to be smart but also prepared for the race.  Scary thought is that it is literally only a month away!!    One thing that I have going for me besides having a great coach is that I am not putting any pressure on for my pace.   My goal is to finish.    That is all.   Seems like both a reasonable and doable goal to me.

What type of injured runner are you?

Not that I am saying I’m injured.   I’m just need some TLC:)

 

The Good, The Bad, and the Awesome!

I’ve run in NY many times.  Maybe not compared to some people, but a lot for me.    I’ve run enough last year to qualify for the NYC Marathon.  That being said nothing prepared me for the feeling of running the NYC Half Marathon.    It was amazing on so many levels.   I loved it so much that I’ve already signed up for two more Boro races to qualify to run it next year.   I don’t want to chance the lottery and I would love to do this run again.

Why?

It was AWESOME!

Yes, it really was.

Now there are some thing logistically that weren’t so awesome, but you’ve got to take the good with the bad.  For example:

Early wake up call

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Yup.   Early.   I needed to leave my house by 5:00.   I require time to wake up, have some coffee, eat a small breakfast, and not feel rushed.

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Then there is the fact that the start and finish line are at totally opposite locations which makes for a great race, but not so exciting when the race is over.    We decided to park at the start line and had to take the subway and then walk a bit to our car after the race.   Not really bad except it was cold and we were not really dressed for it.  On a positive note, it did give us a chance to cool down with the walk.   Plus we parked literally around the corner from Magnolia’s Bakery.   Finally though, if you’ve got a fun group to take the walk and subway with it really doesn’t matter anyway.

Magnolia Bakery

Need I say more.   Oh my.   So good!

Security.    I get it.   I really do.   There was only one entrance to the park for runners.   We had to go through metal detectors and have our stuff screened.   I get it.   I really do.   I applaud all NYRR and Police Department does to keep the runners safe.  That being said, I really think if there was someone out to do something bad, they would not pose as a runner.   I really don’t.  I was having panic attack as once we finally made it through security we had to make our way through the park to our corrals.   I honestly for the first time at any race thought I would miss the start of my corral.

That’s it for my complaints.   Got nothing.

And these things I wouldn’t even say too bad in the whole scheme of things.

Now the good parts that makes it so awesome.

When you do a big race like this there is a level of excitement that you really can’t get anywhere else.   You’ve got the news coverage.    You’ve got the huge crowds with over 20,000 runners.   Then you have the spectators and volunteers.

But what made it so special?

The course.

Really.

Honestly.

Can’t wait to do it again.

Seriously

The race starts in Central Park where you run the first few miles.  Then the magic happens because you leave the park shortly after mile 6.   You running down 7th Avenue towards Times Square.   As if that isn’t enough, you then run down 42nd Street until the West Side Highway coming out near the Intrepid.   Then you run through Lower Manhattan and cross the finish line.

You don’t have to be familiar with the city to know how awesome it would be to run through the streets.    That being said, as someone who has been to the city, driven in the traffic, and knows the congestion of all the vehicles; it’s nothing short of awesome.    I was having so much fun running these streets that I literally had to slow myself down.   The crowds in Time Square are incredible.   When I was running by, they were starting the kids 1 mile race in Time Square which just adds to the excitement of it.

I even took my phone out and took several pictures while staying on pace if I do say so myself.

 

Then if that isn’t enough, there is the finish!

The medal and the sense of accomplishment that finishing brings.

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And I would like to add one more thing.   The post race snack bag.   Some races you finish and you get an apple and a water.   Not here.   Every finisher gets their own personal bag with a big water, a Gatorade, and apple, some pretzels in a reusable clear drawstring bag.  No picture because I was too busy consuming.

What is your favorite race?

 

 

Trust In The Training!

Trust is a funny thing.    Trust is something that needs to be earned and is sometimes hard to do.    I had to go out on the ledge and trust my coach, my training, and myself.   These are not necessarily easy things to do.   I trust my coach but trusting in ones self can be harder.  Sometimes the doubt creeps in, but I shut the door on it in New York City.

I had a great race.   I had phenomenal race.   The stars were aligned.  The sun was shining and it all came together.    I pushed the doubt and the fears to the side.   I took a leap of faith and went with it.     I started the race with the knowledge that I could do this.    I had a plan.   A plan that my coach helped me develop.   All I needed was to stick to the program and trust in my training.  I went out as planned, but almost got sidetracked early on by the 2:00 hour pace group.   They blew past me around mile 2.    At first I think that I tried to stay with them, but I stopped myself.   They were not following my plan.   They were running a different race.   I knew what I needed to do and they were not doing it.   They were going out too fast for me.   I let them go.   It was hard at first, but I had my mantra that I kept repeating to myself.   It was not a planned mantra, but it was fitting.

TRUST IN YOUR TRAINING!

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It was that simple.   I needed to trust in the hours that I’ve logged.   The miles that I’ve ran at pace.    The fact that I had done the work to set me up to do what I needed to do.   What I needed to do was not what everyone else needed to do.   So I let them go.   I trusted in my training and my ability to get it done.

I was in the zone.

A friend that I went to the half with came up to me a few miles in.    I actually said to her, “Karyn, just so you know I’m not being a Bitch.   I’m just in the zone.”    I needed to run this race by myself.   Some things are like that.   You need to do them by yourself.   This was that race for me.   I needed to focus on my pace, my calculations, and moving forward.  She understood.   (Love you, lady).

As I ran, I knew where I needed to be.   I had a pace band in my pocket that I didn’t use during the race; but had done some calculations ahead of time.   I kind of knew where I needed to be when.   I added up the time I needed to hit as the miles rose.   I was hitting my targets.  There were times that I had to reign myself in as he race was so exciting.   I was trusting in the training and not trying to bank time.

My plan was to run consistently till around mile 10 where I would pick it up a little more.  At that point my mantra became NO REGRETS.   By this I meant that no matter what, I would not have regrets because I was doing all I could.   I also meant that I would not give myself an out.   That I would continue to push it and fight for the sub 2 because the only way I would have regrets is if I backed down.   So NO REGRETS.    By mile 12, I was pushing it pretty hard but trying to make sure as to not burn up.  I knew I would be close.   I knew that I was going to need to give it all I had at the end.   So I saved a little fuel in the tank and when I hit the 20K mat, I pushed it even harder.

NO REGRETS.

You can’t have regrets if you’ve done everything that you’ve needed to do.   If you’ve given all you have.    I dug as deep as I could go and I did it!

1:58:59

A minute to spare:)

I honestly can say that if somehow I didn’t make my goal, I would have been happy with this race.  Honestly, I am not saying that because I reached my sub 2  goal.   I was telling myself that that last 3 miles.

That being said, I am over the moon with reaching it.

This was an amazing adventure.   There is more to tell, but this is enough for now.

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Fake It Till You Feel It

As the weekend comes to a close, I’m working on recovering from it.   I went it to it not really thinking that I would need to recover from it.  I was signed up to run my first trail marathon.   I hadn’t trained like I was running for a marathon.  I hadn’t blogged about it at all.  Outside a few of my running friends, I’m not sure anyone knew I was supposed to do it.   I was very ambivalent about it.   To the point that my coach sent me an email the day before asking how I was feeling and also addressing the fact that I had been VERY quiet which she let go because of the holidays.

My reply to her really held no clues as to what I was going to do or how I was planning to do it either.

“Yeah, I know I’ve been under the radar lately with this trail race.   Things seem to be settling into the normal crazy routine.   I’ve probably been quiet because I’m really a bit ambivalent about this weekends event and really even today just planning to see how it plays out.   I’m thinking because this is not one of my goal events for the year and it is also a place I frequently run at that is causing the lack of excitement.  I also am going into this knowing that even though I could probably run the marathon distance,  I won’t if tomorrow I feel like it’s going to cause me problems for NYC Half training.  This is not to say that I’m not going into it not wanting/planning to run the full.   It just means that I plan to listen to my body.   In saying that I am do not mean that I am expect it to be a piece of cake.   Again, very ambivalent. “

I’m sure after she read my email, she scratched her head and was wondering why the Hell she is coaching me.

 I really was planning not to plan and just do a wait and see approach.   That being said though, I did decide to pretend that I was really going to run a real race.   I carb loaded the night before with some yummy Mac & Cheese and chicken served with a side of bread.   I packed my bucket for the event.   Yes, a bucket.   It was a great suggestion from a running friend, Mary, whose hubby is a pro at these things.

I got to the event and met up with my fellow MRTT Mama’s and friends.   We took the required pre-race pictures!

NJTrail

We were all running different distances, so we  only got to cross the start line together.   I’ve run all my big events by myself.   I’ve also done many of my training runs by myself.    Even so, I still didn’t know what I was going to do.   Part of my mind was thinking that I would just do the 30k and be happy with it.  Part of my mind thought that I might even settle for the half and recognize that was ok especially since I hadn’t been running tons in December.  Then something changed along the way.

Now what changed me from being ambivalent to actually running a marathon?   I’m not really sure.   I think what helped was that in the very beginning I met a fellow runner who I was able to fall into not just a good running pattern with but I was able to chat away the miles with.   She has her own amazing story which isn’t mine to share, but I will say that she has run over 40 marathons, 50K’s, 100 milers.   She is a true Ultra runner. More importantly she was someone who  made the miles go by easily.    So we ran almost 3 laps of the 4 needed for the marathon distance.    She was stopping, but I felt strong.   I felt like I had more in the tank.   Also my mindset somehow changed from ambivalence to “I want this.” I was so close how could I stop?

I recently had a conversation with a friend who had lost her Mojo about how to get it back.   With the New Year, she was starting back with her running.   She was doing it, but her heart wasn’t in it yet.   I told her that she just needed to keep going until one day she realized that she once again had found her Mojo.   I told her to fake it until she felt it and I guess that is what I did at this trail race.    Sometimes, you just need to show up for the magic to happen.

Since I went into this event with no thought, no plan, no idea; I had no pace or time in mind.   So when I ran it, I just ran it.   I wore my watch but I really didn’t pay any mind to it other than when it would beep the miles away.    That being said, my laps were consistent.

Lap times – 1:29:53, 1:29:48, 1:42:57, 1:47:13

I even stopped at the end of lap 3 to take a picture or my running buddy and then some more pictures on the trail.

 

In the end, I am glad that I went as I really had thought of bailing.   The trails as always are beautiful, peaceful, and bring me happiness.  In the end, I am happy with my official time of 6:30:08.   My actual running time according to Nike+ was around 6:18 which I can’t believe.   It boggles my mind to think that I ran that long, but numbers don’t lie.   It also gave me a big confidence boost for the Dirty German 50K as even though I was VERY happy to have finished, I felt like I could have gone more.  Maybe not happily, but I could have if needed.

It was a good day all the way around.   I am so glad I went and I’m even happier that I finished especially when my running buddy Dawn puts it like this about me, she “is always pushing me to take more chances and to go for it. She put her money where her mouth is with a great marathon at Watchung!”

And truth be told, I couldn’t do it without the encouragement that I get from my running and non running friends.

The funny thing is when it was all over both Dawn and my Coach were not surprised that I did the full as that was what I originally wanted to do.   Dawn said I’m too stubborn to back down and my Coach just said that she knew it.

Have you ever gone into a race not caring about the outcome?

Road Trip!

We all makes mistakes.   We all look back and think well I should have done it this way instead of that way.    These same things apply to a marathon.   Some of them although not the correct choice for the marathon were the correct choice for a weekend away with my Mom and sister that I’m not sure I would change.   If I was racing for the win, yes but I’m only running for me.   The journey is just as important.

The Hotel

Not knowing the city or the lay of the land which would be true for any destination race does make it difficult.   I did what I could.   I got the hotel, Sheraton Pentagon City, from the Marine Corps Marathon list of hotels.    I went on Google Maps to try and get an idea of where it was in relationship to everything.   It was a little apart, but it was also a little more reasonable priced than those right in DC.  Don’t get me wrong it was a beautiful hotel with very comfy beds, and an easy shuttle service to Metro.   The downside is that once the race was over we then had to navigate a way back to the hotel to get my car.   My sister checked us out and packed the car before they went out to cheer along the race.   When it’s all said and done though I think the comfy beds were a good choice.

My second mistake with the hotel though is that it would have been nice to stay over the actual night of the Marathon.    BUT I am a mother of three boys and a husband who works long hours, so I needed to be home Monday morning.    The real downside to not having a hotel to go to after the race is that I had nowhere to shower.   Now I don’t know about you but I don’t normally smell that sweet after a 5K let alone a marathon that I got rained on some.    I did manage to change and wipe away some of the grime, but I really did not feel human again till I got in a shower at almost 9:00 PM.    Best shower ever!

One thing that I did do right with the hotel though was to go in on Friday instead of Saturday.    This way, we were able to get up at leisure Saturday morning and feel rested for the day.   I think if I had to choose going in a day early is better than staying a day later.

The Tourist

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I’ve never been to DC.   My mother hasn’t been since she was in High School.  This made us want to tour the city especially because I honestly don’t know when I would be going back.   Would love to, but don’t know when or if that will happen.  There is so much to see in such a short time.   I think I only saw 1% of it before the marathon and honestly during the marathon I probably missed a lot too.   But even with only seeing a small portion of it, I probably walked 6 miles on Saturday.   Probably not the best thing to do the day before a marathon.

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My sister’s boyfriends pre race plan includes spending the day watching movies and lounging.   I made fun of him for this, but I think there is something to this.  Although I do think that is to the extreme.   Maybe we should have found a happy medium where we toured in the morning, but made in back to the hotel before 9:00 PM.    We could have sat by the pool in the afternoon.    Although again, I’m back to I wanted to see DC.   So it’s a choice you have to make.   I’m happy with mine and I can live with it.   Besides, I got to see some amazing sites.

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The Food

This is the part that I would and will change in the future.   Since we were being tourists, we really didn’t know where we would eat.   We just played it by ear.   This was a BIG mistake.   Although we found a great Irish Pub for lunch that was super yummy, we did not have such luck for dinner.    The appropriate places were few and far between as I did not want to eat anything out of the ordinary and spicy.   We walked and walked and walked searching for the elusive perfect non fancy, non spicy place to eat.   Finally we just gave up and went into one.   I ordered what I thought would be the best choice.   On the menu it really was the best choice, but when the dish came I really did not enjoy it.   I ate what I could as I knew that I needed to eat.    It wasn’t enough.

The funny thing was that at this point my sister was meeting a friend who lived in DC and my Mom and I were going to take Metro and the shuttle back to the hotel.   We get off the Metro line and sit down to wait for the shuttle.   Look up and literally across the street is a California Pizza restaurant.   Seriously.   We run over grab something to go and race back to catch the shuttle.   By this time though, I really don’t want to eat but do manage to eat some more of the yummy pasta.

When I told my coach this, she said this is why she always takes food when she is traveling to an event because you never know.   She said some people think that it is strange that she travels with food, but I think she might be onto something here.    Either that or next time, I will make reservations!

The Company

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As some of you know, I got into Marine Corp through the lottery.   I personally did not know anyone going, so I would have been flying solo without my family.   I do remember though that the first thing my Mother told me when I got into the marathon was that she was going with me.   Then my sister decided to join in on the fun too.    They made the trip so worth it.    Jen, my sister, even commented on how sad it would be to be there alone.   She is so right.   I could not imagine crossing the finish line and having no one to share it with.  Besides it made for an awesome girls weekend!

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How do you plan for your destination races?

Random Thoughts During a Marathon

MarathonMemeThere isn’t just a lot of truth to this.

This is a fact!

But before we get to mile 26, lets go back to the beginning!

I started the race with the thought that I was going to go for my B plan of 4:30.   My A plan is just a dream, but you’ve got to have one of those anyway.    It was a cool morning with a very light drizzle as we were waiting for the start of the race.  The race started and I was near the 4:30 pace group.   We hovered around each other all day, but alas they finished where they were supposed to.   I felt strong during the first half of the race.   I remember thinking around the half way point how good I was feeling, how much my training had helped me get to this point, and was just having an amazing race.

My pace was good.

My legs felt strong.

I was on fire.

Then as the saying goes, all good things must come to an end.   My legs still felt strong.   It really was never my legs that gave out on the run.  As the saying goes, running is a mental sport.  By mile 22, I was having a full on conversation with myself about how absolutely stupid running a marathon was.   It went something like this:

Who ever started the first marathon was an idiot.

How stupid is it to run these things.   I mean really, does it really matter if I run 26.2 miles.

What is the point of this?

Why am I doing this?

I dragged my Mom and sister to come watch me do this!   What is wrong with me?

Then I hit another mile and realized that if I would just shut the hell up, that I might actually finish this race.   The conversation changed to:

You are this close, you might as well finish this.

You didn’t drag you Mom and sister here for you not to finish.

You can throw up later.

You want that cool medal don’t you?

It’s up to you.

Then my sister met me for the last two miles and ran along side me.   Even though that was my slowest mile, it was my best mile as she encouraged me to finish.   I didn’t throw up although I thought I might.   I didn’t give up, although a big part of me wanted to.   Then I hit mile 25 and knew that I could finish it.  Then I hit mile 26 and hit my fastest pace of the day 8:23.   So there really is more left in the cup when you think it is empty.

My advice to anyone running a marathon in the near future is to make sure that when you hit mile 20, you tell yourself to shut the Hell up.    They are right when they say that the Marathon really doesn’t start till mile 20 because that’s when the fun really begins.

So enjoy the ride.

Stay true to yourself.

Never give up and remember

You Got This!