I started chronicling my running training for the 2012 Hood to Coast Relay, which I ran for ZERO: The Project to End Prostate Cancer; now that I'm running different races I'm using the same blog to post about what I'm doing, where I'm running, and the tips I'm learning.
So obviously the marathon happened this weekend. You’ve seen the photos and the results, so it comes as no surprise now for me to say I finished.
Today, as my legs are mostly recovered from Sunday’s exertion, I thought it would be a good time to say a few words about what went well!
Normally I guess a person would say what went well and what they’d do differently next time, but I really feel like for a first marathon things went unbelievably well. I did get a stitch for the first time in probably over a year, which was of course disconcerting and painful, but obviously it didn’t hinder my progress too much, so overall no issues. I guess running 26.2 miles with no noteworthy pain would be its own kind of magic; I feel like a six-mile stitch is probably on the mild end of things that could happen.
Running the race went fine, and actually faster than anticipated. I had no time goal for myself, since finishing was the main accomplishment. My coach, though, estimated our times for himself and his assistant Tonya so he’d know when to look for us. He did this based on our 21-mile run pace. Dave and I were having an ok 21-mile run until his stress fracture, which obviously slowed things down. My pace included that stopped time, and I knew I could run faster than my total time on that day indicated (I sped up for the final four miles after Dave had to leave me). However, I decided that even if I had the worst run of my life and I took seven hours to finish, I’d call it a victory on Sunday.
During the race I knew I was basically killing my coach Joe’s expectations of my finishing time as I passed other people from my running group. I kept thinking, “uh oh, she’s usually way ahead of me…” and then I’d stay with that person for a bit, and then I’d end up in front of her! This didn’t happen literally every time—I ended up a few minutes behind one woman I saw around mile 10, but I think she’d been hanging back with her friend and her pace later increased. That’s what it seemed like, but I did slow down over the course of the race, so maybe she stayed consistent. Hard to tell.
In any case, I saw lots of familiar faces both in the race and along the course. My friends in Springfield had a rainbow sign with my name on it, which was a great boost at the halfway point. One of my friends was by our apartments ready to wave, but she didn’t recognize me because I didn’t warn her I was wearing a yellow long-sleeved top over my group shirt, so I had to yell to get her attention. One of my dance students and her mother were out by River Road, and it was fun to get their encouragement. One of my peers here at Oregon was at three places along the course to see her husband (and me!), and at the finish she was joined by two other friends of ours and their baby.
I finished around the same time as Ben, her husband, so we took a finisher photo together and got our food together. I tried to high-five my baby fan, but he hasn’t quite mastered that yet, so oh well. (He had also missed nap time to watch the finish, so maybe that’s a factor.)
At the finish as I got my medal, I could hardly believe the race was done and I could stop running! It had been nearly five hours of constant forward motion (minus two bathroom stops—far fewer than my usual 4+), and all of the sudden I could stop and rest. It was a great feeling.
Finishing on the Hayward track with fans yelling for me was amazing, and when they announced my name on the intercom I felt like an Olympian or something.
I think because of my school exams in the fall, I won’t be able to commit the training time to another marathon until next spring, so I’m going to hold off on setting any goals for my marathoning future for now. Tentatively I think I’m going to plan to do the same race again next year, so closer to December I’ll decide if I want to work on my pace or something.
Up next: Rainier to Ruston (June 1 in Tacoma), and the Ragnar Northwest Passage (July 19-20 in Washington).
Marathon photos by Dave!
He came to six or so different locations along the route to see me and bring me water, Clif shots, mini Luna bars, and extra sunscreen! He was the best fan I’ve ever seen!
In my jogging class the other day, our teacher gave us two hard-line rules about when definitely not to ever run while sick. Generally, you can run through allergies, coughs, headaches, things like that at your discretion—you’re just deciding with yourself about how much you can take and how it feels. But if you have these conditions, do not go running:
- pneumonia: the fluid in your lungs + running is really bad
- fever: this is horrible for you and your body can overheat and cause lots of problems
This is excellent advice for me right now, because with just three days pre-marathon, I have a huge sniffle and I’m tired, but I think even if my symptoms persist a little bit on Sunday, I’ll be able to push through and do the race. I hope being so tired doesn’t negatively affect my performance, but with my new flexible pacing guidelines, I know how to adjust even if I am tired/stuffed up.
Getting excited! (And anxious!)