I have mixed feelings about the race. I'm happy - or at least content - with the time, given all the barriers to completing this race at all (averaging 30mpw in marathon training does not a good marathon make!). I was so thrilled to actually complete a marathon at all that I was nearly giddy for the 4.2 seconds in which I felt remotely normal today.
But I hit the wall and that's never fun. I really struggled through the part of the course that is full sun on the lakefront - always a challenging portion. I just didn't have the necessary long runs and mileage to pull through it intact.
I ran what, for me, is a really consistent race, wall and all.
My plan going in was to run 7:35's (about 3:20 pace) throughout, but to start it out a little slow. I basically did that, except that I picked up the pace a little too much in the middle and paid for it later. So here's my race rundown:
Pre-race: Last night David and I ended our packed Saturday with two birthday parties. They were both scheduled for 7pm, so we planned to go to one from 7 to 8 and the other from 8:30 to 9. However, the birthday boy was an hour late to his own party #1, so both parties got pushed back. We didn't get home until 11:30 and I spent the whole night standing! BAD! Plus, my pre-race dinner looked like this: glass of wine, birthday cake at 8:40 pm, birthday cake at 9:30 pm, terrible beer. Regardless, I was up at 5:30, and after coffee and about 1/2 a cup of plain white rice, I was ready to go. Getting to the start was smooth as can be, and in no time I was in the corral, where I ran into one of my favorite bloggers (who is having a break-out year) - Audrey! She was in town for a girls weekend/race weekend! But she is in better shape than I, so I shooed her to the front before the gun went off.
Miles 1-3: I really tried to start slowly, and I did. I was far enough back to avoid getting swept up into a faster group. St. Charles Ave was beautiful, the weather was great, and I was loving running! But I knew that the heat was coming. It was way too warm for that early!
Middle miles: I saw friends at mile 4.5 (who had a camera!) and picked up the pace a little. By the time I was cognizant of that, it was mile 8, and I was glancing at the distance to start planning my gu's. I realized I'd been slowly speeding up, and I backed off a tad, but examination of my Garmin reveals that I ran ~7:25's consistently from mile 6 - 16.
|It's still shady! The weather is lovely! I am happy!|
NO. Glukos cannot really even be called a gel. It's a liquid. I grabbed one at mile 8, ripped it open, and - fluid spilled out all over my arm. The packets are really large and the "gel" is just semi-viscous water. But the worst part? The worst part I didn't discover until I got home and indignantly went to the company's website (like I should have pre-race!). Each packet has just 60 calories and only 20mg of sodium. A Gu has 100 calories and 60mg of sodium. Because I planned two gels that I brought, plus two Glukos on course, I was seriously shorting myself on calories and sodium - especially since I spilled half my first Glukos.
Marconi and lakefront - miles 16 through 21: The wheels starting coming off early. At mile 16, I was starting to feel a little disoriented, and I felt my pace slow. A gel helped, and that told me that I was behind on calories - and probably sodium, since my face was crusted with sweat. Then we hit the lake. Man, did I ever struggle. It was burning hot. The sun was strong, there is no shade, it was windy, and my blood pressure was plummeting. People were walking, and I SO wanted to join them. To stay focused, I'd pick a person ahead of me and fix them in my sites: except that they kept dropping and walking! Gah! It was a death march!
|That is some burning sun and some serious marathon shuffle.|
A friend took this one on the lakefront.
And then the hallucinations started. My sodium was perilously low, and I started seeing things. First I kept thinking cars were driving toward me (on the closed course!), then I thought I saw a pack of fast bikers zipping through the runners, then I thought everyone was running towards me - I could see their facial features and everything - but it was the backs of people in front of me! I was losing it!
Miles 22 - finish: I was so happy to get off the lake and onto Wisner Boulevard. We had a brisk headwind, and I LOVED it. It was so cooling after getting burnt up on the lake. Plus, shade! But I knew I needed some sodium - licking my own sweat wasn't cutting it. Thank goodness, a medical tent had salt packets, and I practically ate the paper, I ate it so fast. I believe that this is where I saw reader/local powerhouse runner Allison, who took a great pic, but I have no idea. I was out of it.
|On second thought, that is definitely on Marconi, but I can't be bothered to move the picture now that it's here.|
Right at mile 26 were the Power Milers! An awesome group of fast guys who also lead Varsity's speedwork! Drew shouted at me, "Grace! Catch that guy!" and of course, I had to do it, even though I moaned, "Guys! Don't do this to me!" I found enough energy to break 7:00 for the last 0.2 miles.
I crossed the line and made a beeline for the pretzels. More salt!
Post-race: Post-race (and post-race thoughts) and recovery gets its own post. This post is long enough!