Okay. You ready for a thorough race recap???
Well, too bad. I’m going to give it anyways.
The day before the race, I went up to Sacramento with a Running Addict friend, Cynthia. We got to the hotel room first and I got super excited about how swanky it was (Hyatt in Downtown. Super swank).
Here’s Cynthia in our room… casually standing in the corner, hehe:
We picked up our race bibs at the expo and were kind of sad that there really wasn’t much swag. Not to worry, we ate a bunch of samples at the Clif Bar booth:
For dinner, we met up with four other Running Addicts (just one block from our hotel. Love how I didn’t have to drive!).
The dinner conversation was naturally all about running, racing, and I got to learn a lot from some super fast runners (we’re talking 2:50-something, 3:15ish PRs). We were all pretty optimistic about raceday and meeting our goal times (but as you know, we would get totally pwned, haha).
I ordered a Margherita pizza. It was a little soggy in the middle, but whatevs. I ate about half of it because I got super full off the bread.
We went to bed around 10:00pm and Cynthia fell asleep mid-conversation (I’M SO JEALOUS… and perhaps my answer to her question was too boring that she passed out).
Fast forward to 3:55am and the alarm goes off. We start prepping some coffee right away. I used this stuff, similar to Vaseline, to rub on places that could possibly blister and chafe. I put it all over the soles of my feet, between my toes, sports bra line, rear pocket seams, yadayada.
Last year, I double-socked it with compression socks and normal thick ones. This year, with my PureFlows, I decided to just try with only the compression socks. I had a throwaway jacket and a garbage bag to keep me somewhat dry. I brought 4 GU’s with me, just in case. They were all flavors that I liked.
By 5:00am, we were out the door and in a bus, which departed around 5:15am? We got to the starting point in Folsom around 6:00am where it was raining heavily with high wind. I’ve never wanted to linger in a porta-potty before… but it was nice and dry in there… shelter through the storm. Anyways, like I mentioned in my previous post, coffee didn’t work its magic. I knew today’s race was going to be kind of sucky from that point.
The race pretty much started on time (7:00am) and I wanted to keep it conservative for the first few miles. That I did: (Miles 1-5) 9:02, 8:32, 8:13, 8:31, 8:20. (Peanut butter GU a little after mile 5).
Actually, at mile 3, my right ITB started tightening up. I knew from that point that this was just going to be an “easy” marathon… I would go at an easy pace for as long as I could and walk when my form started altering from the tightness.
It was weird because I never heard the beeps from the Garmin, so I actually didn’t know my mile times. I decided not to look at it much when I knew I wouldn’t PR. I just ran at a comfortable pace: (Miles 6-10): 8:29, 8:26, 8:40, 8:30, 8:18. (another Peanut Butter GU a bit after mile 10)
Now remember, during all of this, I am stepping in to giant puddles, getting whipped by stinging rain (<–wimp), and the gusts of wind make me lose my breath and I panic. My ITB is getting more and more tight, but I keep on going at a comfortable pace. Miles 11-15: 8:31, 8:21, 8:26, 8:25, 8:44. (Espresso Love GU after mile 15. Actually, I never tried it before and it was kind of gross, haha).
By now, we are supposedly over all the hills, but there are certainly gentle rollers throughout the whole course. I try to just maintain a steady pace but I have stop completely on the side of the road to adjust my right sock because I was feeling a hotspot. Miles 16-19: 8:39, 8:32, 8:47, 8:35.
Now, if you own a Garmin and run a race, you can see exactly where things start to fall apart in a marathon. Mile 20 was when my form turned into hobbling because of the right knee and I had to start walking. Miles 20-24: 10:00, 9:34, 10:36, 11:14, 12:06.
12:06??? Yeah. By that point, I had stopped at some medical aid stations to see if they had Vaseline to put on that hotspot on the sole of my right foot. I kind of knew it was too late anyways and I would have a huge blister, but it was worth a shot (and no, they didn’t have Vaseline). I walked some more and tried to jog whenever I could.
Also, I stopped to have a little cup of beer around mile 22? It was fun! I’ve never done that before, but I figured that I might as well enjoy the spectator aspect of the race since I wasn’t going for time.
Just after mile 24, I realized I could technically get under 4 hours if I jogged easily to the finish. “Nah, you’re already way behind. Just walk to the end.” But a part of me knew I could just jog super easily and tolerate the pain in my knee without getting injured.
So I jogged with a slight hitch: (Miles 24 to 26.2): 9:46, 9:49, 8:48.
About half a mile from the finish, my Running Addict friend Tammy zooms by and pumps me up. “C’mon, Michelle! Let’s gooooo!” She has such great energy and I said, “Awww crap” because I knew I had to run without stopping to the finish. Turned out well because my official time ended up being 3:58:14.
Now, this is NOWHERE near last year’s race of 3:40:30 (in ideal conditions). I’m still so proud to have been able to make it through in under 4 hours after dealing with constant ITB injuries during training and with the weather.
Also, these kinds of races only means I have lots to learn! First off, since I’ve gained weight since last season, I know I have to lose some weight to run more efficiently and not get injured. High mileage with more weight is probably what caused my ITB issues (and perhaps the weird way I used to sit in my chair). I also learned that even if I don’t PR, it’s not the end of the world. Having fun and enjoying the crowd was something I didn’t think about too much when I just went for time. A good race is not dependent on the finishing time.
… but I’m not gonna lie. I want a really good time for my next race, hehehe. :P
The Running Addicts got to celebrate afterwards at the Pyramid restaurant:
Unfortunately, my stomach was feeling all sorts of funky after the race (probably all the sugary GU’s and such… considering I didn’t even run that hard). Oh, well. It was still fun to hear all the stories from the finishers :)
Congrats to all the finishers!
To everyone, have a blessed week!