Wednesday, July 13, 2011

A Very Belated Grandma's Marathon Race Report

I didn't quite succeed in getting my Grandma's race report done before my next event.  I was asked at the last minute to swim on a tri relay team with my friend Traci and her sister-in-law Chrissy.  I told them I was slow, but they didn't mind and I needed the practice!  We ended up taking 4th out of 6 all-female teams at the Elysian Rookie's Triathlon.
Team 'Babes in Triland': Me, Chrissy, & Traci

I've sat down to write a Grandma's Marathon race report a couple times and just can't get into it.  Maybe it's because we had a two-week vacation immediately following the race.  Maybe it's because I'm already focused on the next race.     Either way, here are the highlights.

I ran the entire race with my friend Traci.  Traci and I have been friends since first grade.  She took up marathoning a few years ago and we discovered this year that we run about the same pace.  Traci was instrumental in my huge PR.  I don't think there is any way I would have been able to run that fast on my own.  For one thing, I'm sure I would have talked myself scared in the first few miles! 

We met up just before the start and talked about goals.  Traci wanted to run 4:50 and I was hoping to break 5 hours.

We took off at what we were hoping was a sustainable pace.  Our first few miles averaged 9:40.  We used my Garmin to monitor our average lap pace, and Traci's Garmin to monitor our current pace so we wouldn't go to fast. We walked at all the water stops (neither one of us can run and drink without choking).  We hit the halfway point at 2:10:00!  We were on track for a sub 4:30 and I was ecstatic!

The next few miles went by quickly.  We were still having to watch our pace to make sure we weren't going too fast (we were pushing 9-minute miles a couple times).  I figured that was a good sign and boded well for the end of the race.  Unfortunately, although my cardiovascular fitness held up, my legs did not.  At mile 18 my glutes became extremely sore.  Then one hip, the opposite knee, followed by an ankle and the opposite foot.  We decided at that point to start a run/walk sequence and ran for 5 minutes, followed by one minute of walking.  My legs needed every break, but it was soooo painful to start running again after a break.  We followed that schedule for just a couple miles before going back to just walking the water stops (every mile beginning at mile 20).

I told Traci a couple times that she could go on ahead, but bless her heart, she stuck with me the whole way.   I think she was a little afraid that if she went off by herself, she'd hit a mental wall.  It is unbelievably helpful to have someone to run with during those last few miles.

Our pace had slowed quite a bit, and although we were still on track to beat our original goals (4:50-5:00), we were getting farther away from the sub 4:30 I had thought was possible until my legs started to ache.  With 5K to go, I thought pulling off a sub 4:40 would be a miracle.  Turning into the last mile, our lovely tailwind that had accompanied us the entire race changed to a COLD headwind.  I managed to fight my legs and run the rest of the way in, even picking it up a little at the very end.  Official chip time: 4:36:57.

This was a 50-minute PR for me.  I should have been overjoyed.  While I was happy about the PR, I couldn't help but be a little disappointed that my legs had given out so early.  I know it has a lot to do with my triathlon training as I have only been running three days a week.  My muscular endurance just isn't there.  I already have plans for next year to triathlon train with more of a run focus, rather than splitting all three sports evenly.

In the days following the race, I started to think about a fall marathon, hoping to give my legs a chance to redeem themselves.  Twin Cities had already reached their limit and I actually think that's a good thing.  I need to back off on the heavy training for a while and focus on some more weight loss.  That's very hard to do when the long run hunger strikes!  Instead, I have penciled out a plan for the following year that, if successful, should get me down to racing weight and prepare me for another great PR.
Okay, so the compression shorts aren't super flattering, but they keep me from chafing!

Traci and I each completed our third marathon.

Next race, Chisago Lakes Half-Iron Distance Triathlon.  Only 11 more days!

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