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Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Mountains 2 the Beach 2016 Race Report

My Sunday race day prep started on Friday.  I never sleep well before races, so I wanted to make sure I had a good night sleep on Friday.  My husband and I had been saving a good bottle of wine, so we opened it on Friday and I had one good size glass.  I’m not sure if it worked or not, but I slept pretty well on Friday night.  I, also wanted to hydrate and get in extra carbs on Friday.  I put some carb powder in my juice in the morning, but it gave me a headache.  My body doesn’t process sugar quite right.  Candy bars sometimes give me a headache.  The carb juice gave me that same candy bar headache, so I’m pretty sure I’ll never take it again unless I’m about to work out.

On Saturday morning, it took us a while to get out of the house, but with the entire family finally on board, we headed to the expo in the afternoon.  The expo was fine.  There was plenty of parking, and I got my bib within a minute, and I got my shirt two minutes later.  I could have been in and out in all of five minutes, including parking time.  I really like the shirt.  I can see myself wearing it a lot.  There were a few vendors, so we walked around a little.

I picked up my free bottle of kool n fit that I had registered for.  It is something that you spray on your legs that is tingly like bengay or tiger balm.  The old lady selling it was very funny.  She handled me, ordering me to pull up my pant leg and sprayed it all over one leg only before I even had a chance to consider what was happening.  There is no rubbing it in, so I walked around the rest of the time with one pant leg pulled up.  It smelled awful initially, so I didn’t want stinky capris.

I brought spaghetti for dinner that I had made at home.  The kids and Tony (my DH) went to a Mexican restaurant a couple of blocks away.  They came back full and happy, and we all watched a Harry Potter movie.  I’m an expert at sleeping through Harry Potter, so I got some ZZZs during the movie.  The room was suffocatingly hot, but I think I slept better than anyone.  I set my alarm for 2:45 AM.  The race had a 6:30 start time.

At 2:45, I drank a water and ate an energy bagel with jam, a banana and I had some coffee.  I didn’t want to drink anything after 3:30.  I have serious pottie issues, and two hours liquid free before my last bathroom break is the only solution.  I didn’t bother going back to sleep, because I figured the coffee would keep me up.  It took a while, but eventually the coffee magic did its job.  At 5:30, I took a caffeine pill, and I ran down to the start (about .25 miles) to get a feel for what it was like and see exactly were the start would be. I wore a jacket, but it wasn’t cold.  I became a little concerned that it would be a hot day, but what I could I do?  I put that thought out of my mind.  

Accompanied by my husband, eventually, I made my way to the start, for real.  The weather was perfect-slightly cool and overcast.  We had about 15 minutes to spare.  I looked everywhere for the 3:38 pace group, but they were nowhere to be found.  Right before the start, my husband left me in the second corral, and two 3:38 pace groups moved up right beside me.  The pace leaders just started talking randomly to people trying to pump them up.  I heard one of them say that you should stay within 5 feet of the group.  If you let a group get more than 5 feet away from you the group will pull away.  I decided, at that moment, to try and stick close to the group.  Within 10 minutes of standing in the corral, the national anthem was sung, and the race started, on time. 

The race was super crowded.  I assumed that the crowd would thin out, but it never really did.  There were just too many people trying to run with the 3:38 pacers.  The route started with 3 miles uphill. I didn't realize it at the time, but it was the most scenic part of the race.  The course meandered through what seemed to be an orange grove.  I felt strong, so I sped up just to get some space to run.    I was running alone, but I could see the 3:33 group in the distance.  I knew that I would catch up if I kept up the pace.  The question was whether or not I wanted to keep up that pace.  I knew a long stretch of rolling hills with an overall downhill grade was coming up.  I decided to pace with 3:33.  There were a lot fewer people pacing with that group.  Even so, it was difficult maintaining an actual comfortable spot to run, because I stopped to drink water at every station.  Everyone else ran and drank, but I actually stopped.  Each time, I lost my spot and had to find a new spot to run.

There wasn’t a whole lot of crowd support, but my DH, kids and a friend found me on the course multiple times.  They even had signs.  Seeing them was so much fun and very motivating.  I felt fantastic most of the race.  Throughout the race I chatted a little.  I asked whoever was running next to me what their name was, if they could hear me.  I sang a little bit.  Maybe a got a weird look or two on “Uptown Funk.”  I felt great and I was in an insanely good mood, almost giddy.  The weather was perfect throughout the entire race.  It was pleasant, maybe even cool, and there was no sun whatsoever-just the familiar coastal overcast.

Around 15 miles there was a hill, and I thought it was getting a little difficult, but I wasn’t worried.  At 22 miles, I was scheduled tot take a gel.  I was getting really tired, and for some reason I didn't take it.  There was a hill at 24 miles and that is when I hit that wall, completely out of the blue.  My body fell apart.  My pace went from about 8:05 to 9:15.  Nothing I said to myself could make my legs go any faster, and a dull pain set in everywhere.  I saw my friend at this point happy and waving, but I couldn’t manage a smile.  People were passing me left and right.  I was running into walkers from the half hogging up the entire lane with their backs to me.  It was difficult to avoid them.  My husband was screaming my name when I crossed the finish line, but I didn’t hear him or see him.  For such a magnificent race, it really was a sloppy, sad finish.  When my husband finally caught up to me, I wanted to cry (happy tears), but I didn’t have the strength or air to let it out. 

If I were alone, they would have had to take me to the medical tent, but my family and friend took care of me.  I never imagined that I would feel so terrible, especially considering how good I felt for most of the race.  I could hardly walk.  I couldn’t eat.  I couldn’t enjoy the after party which was such a shame, because I was so happy deep inside.  No one could tell, because I was on the verge of collapse.  I finished with a time of 3:33.47.  I never even hoped to run that fast.  I give all the credit to the Hansons’ training method.  It worked incredibly well for me.

After the race, my entire body was in pain.  I thought about ringing the Boston gong, but there were too many people.  I couldn't focus or walk without help.  I had to get back to the hotel.  I went directly to sleep in the hotel, but my kids were starving.  I wasn't hungry, but I knew that I had to eat.  After about an hour nap, I hobbled down the street to the Mexican restaurant.  My appetite appeared as soon as I started eating, but I didn't have the strength to sit upright in a chair and chew.  We were hoping to go out for dinner in the evening, but I couldn't manage to get out of the bed after my initial rally.  We ordered pizza, and, luckily, there was more Harry Potter to entertain the kids while I slept.  The next day, I was fine, but extremely sore.  The soreness lasted a couple of days, but, on Wednesday, the soreness completely subsided

This marathon was one of the most fantastic experiences of my life.  I didn’t take the buses, but I don’t have a single complaint about the start, finish or expo.  I thought that course was a little crowded, and I wasn’t crazy at all about the new addition of a hill at mile 24.  If I weren’t doing Boston in 2017, I would definitely do this marathon again, next year.

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