Tuesday, December 30, 2014

San Antonio Marathon - Complete!

I completed my first (and only??) marathon and met my goals!!  Finished in under 5 hours and injury free!  It was a very rough run; those last 6 miles were brutal, my feet hurt the entire run, I got a side cramp around mile 16 and the back half of the marathon was desolate (very little crowd support).  I'm also not sure why this was called a rock n roll marathon as I swear I only saw maybe 5 bands total.  However long story short, IT.IS.DONE!  Check one off my bucket list.  :)  A big thank you to all my running and bootcamp buddies.  I wouldn't have been able to do it without you!

I could barely contain my excitement the week leading up to the marathon.  I followed my training plan religiously and had made it through without injuring myself; no broken hips, or fractured feet or IT band issues (which are all my usual downfalls).  I ate lean when I could (meats and veggies), carb loaded the week before, and was on an alcohol moratorium 2 weeks before the race.  I was ready.

Runner girl nails!

At the expo

Thanks to Amanda and her marathon check list I had everything I needed for my big day.  The hubby and I drove down to SA the day before, hit up the Expo and purchased a few items, and then checked into our hotel room.  We stayed at the Courtyard San Antonio Riverwalk as it was only 1 mile away from the start line.  Since we got there first I made sure the front desk put Pete, Laura and Danielle in adjoining rooms.  We barely had enough time to take a shower before heading down to Texas Land & Cattle for our Team Beef dinner.  As Pete was a Beef Tip in training for Team Beef, he was able to invite us along.  I'll be a Beef Tip next year!  After dinner we made a quick stop at a very shady quickie mart for some water and then headed back to our rooms.  Pete had purchased a 'buffer' (really awesome massage thingamajig) from the Expo so we spent the next couple of hours buffing our legs, Malek took one for the team and ended up buffing off the hair on his legs.  Around 10:30pm I called it a night and headed to bed.

Danielle (sherpa), Laura and myself on way to Team Beef dinner
Goof balls.  My hubby Malek (2nd sherpa) and Pete

I woke up the next morning around 5:30am to begin my pre-race rituals.  I must have been nervous because I went to the restroom 3 times before we even left our rooms!  And thank goodness I had brought bagels and peanut butter (and a knife) as the hotel restaurant didn't open until after 7am.  By 6:45am I was 'gently' pushing Pete out the door so we could make our way to the start line.  Unfortunately we didn't make it out of the hotel until close to 7am, which made for a very tight timeline.  We had just made it to the Alamodome around 7:20am-ish when we heard the national anthem.  We had to rush down some stairs, jump over a wall (to avoid other runners and a bottleneck at a staircase) and run up a street to get to the start line (that was our warm-up).  They had already released the wheelchair participants when we found our corral and jumped in at 7:29am.  Talk about down to the wire!  At 7:30 they started releasing the corrals every few mins.  Laura joined my corral so we could run together.  We were stoked!  The music, the vibe, it was surreal!  We were actually here.  Time for all our training to pay off.  We had no idea what we were really in for...

pre-race hotel room pic

In our corral, ready to go! 12/7/2014

It was 53 degrees when we started, warmer than I would have liked as I was hoping for low 40s.  Thankfully it was overcast for the entire race.  I wore shorts and a tank top, hat, glasses, mp3 player, 7 Gu's and my hydration vest.  I had my phone in the back pocket so Malek could track me via GPS.  We crossed the start line around 7:50am, HERE WE GO!  I could hear Amanda and Jenn in my head telling me not to rush, so I made sure to run between a 9:45-10 pace.  There was so much going on I didn't even turn my mp3 player on until after the 5K split.  Unfortunately at mile 2 both feet started to hurt.  :(  This had NEVER happened to me on any of my training runs.  The bottom of both feet just ached, and I could feel my big toe on my right foot rubbing.  This was going to be a LONG and painful race.

We encountered our first hill halfway through mile 5.  Thankfully this big hill was at the beginning of the race and we totally conquered it.  We saw Ashley at this point (she was running the half) and we high fived each other as we passed.  Danielle and Malek found us around mile 7 and cheered us on.

Mile 1 - 9:32, Mile 2 - 9:26, Mile 3 - 9:51, Mile 4 - 9:58, Mile 5 - 9:49 (hill), Mile 6 - 10:19 (hill), Mile 7 - 9:51

Mile 7 - feeling good

I don't remember too much about the individual miles after that, some of the roads were kinda sketchy and uneven, and we passed some pretty shady houses on cinder blocks with dogs tied to chains in the front yard.  There was excellent crowd support for the first half of the marathon.  As we approached mile 12 (where the half split off from the full) Laura made a quick decision to run the full marathon.  I'm so glad she did because after the half marathon runners split off everything changed.  The course became desolate.  The crowds and the energy disappeared.  We only saw 3 other marathon runners in front of us, it was like we weren't even in a race anymore.  Where did everybody go?

Mile 8 - 9:37, Mile 9 - 10:01, Mile 10 - 10:07, Mile 11 - 10:16, Mile 12 - 10:10, Mile 13 - 10:44

Miles 13-16 were rough.  We started feeling warm and both of us were experiencing feet pain.  WTF, seriously why was this happening!?  This never happened on my training runs.  At mile 14 I told Laura that this race was not panning out how I thought it would and that I would probably end up walking towards the end, I already knew my pace was suffering.  She was in the same boat, after mile 14 it just got worse.  I ended up with a side cramp around mile 16 (ugh!) and when I saw Malek at mile 16.5 I finally walked...and cried.  I WAS MISERABLE.  I told him not to ever let me sign up for another marathon again.  At mile 17 I started experiencing lower back pain.  At least by this point we caught up with the rest of the marathoners, miles 18-20 felt like a race again with all the people.

Mile 14 - 10:35, Mile 15 - 10:36, Mile 16 - 10:58 (side cramp), Mile 17 - 11:15, Mile 18 - 13:27 (walked), Mile 19 - 11:08, Mile 20 - 10:59

Mile 16/17 - miserable, hit my wall.  I'm actually crying here...

Mile 16/17, side cramp, sherpa meeting.  I cried when I saw my hubby

Walking for a bit helped calm me down and mentally regain control.  We started running again and didn't stop until we hit mile 20.  For almost all of mile 21 we walked (and ate my last Gu).  I didn't feel bad at all about walking as I noticed all the other marathoners were doing the same thing.  After mile 21 I told myself I'd only walk up hills and run the flats and declines.  Laura and I broke away from each other around mile 21.  I think there were 2 or 3 more hills on the last 6 miles.  Those last 6 miles were brutal, not to mention they were on this concrete path along a river in some park...very little support and the runners had thinned out again.  Finally around mile 23 I told myself no more walking and I pushed myself to jog in the last 3 miles.  It finally felt like I was back in a race the last 2 miles as we made our way back into town.

Mile 21 - 17:10 (walked), Mile 22 - 11:43, Mile 23 - 14:00 (walked up a hill), Mile 24 - 12:04

I can't even begin to describe how I felt when I saw that finish line, I was thrilled!  I could see it from about half a mile away and I was just overcome with joy and relief.  I remember asking a bystander if that was really the finish line.  'YES' they said.  Finally, the end was in sight!  I have never been so relieved to complete something and JUST BE DONE!  I saw Malek and Danielle just a few feet in front of the finish, gave them a high five and propelled myself across that finish line!

Mile 25 - 12:00, Mile 26 - 11:51, last 0.48 - 10:59 pace

My official chip time was 4:52:57 at an 11:11 pace, based off 26.2 miles.
My garmin showed I ran 26.48 miles in 4:52:57, which averages out to an 11:03 pace overall.

trying to smile and wave...took a lot of energy
Finish line ahead
official finish line

I'm a marathoner!  Oh the pain!!!

We survived

medal, time, bib

Video of me crossing the finish line

It was 60 degrees when I finished and my entire body ached.  I found Pete in the recovery zone and we headed to the medical tent so I could have bags of ice taped to my hips and calves.  Malek showed up shortly after that to congratulate us and then we found Laura and Danielle just a few minutes later.  Thank goodness our sherpas parked close so we didn't have to walk very far.  Making our way back up to our hotel room was painful, my feet were killing me!  We got back a little after 1pm and barely had enough time to shower and gather our belongings before we had to check out at 2pm.  To celebrate we all went to Las Palapas for sustenance; margaritas and all the queso we wanted!

I was sore until Friday, mainly my thighs, day 2 was the worst.  I also had blisters under both big toe nails (ewwww).  I'm pretty sure I'll lose the toenail on my right big toe.  I had told myself I'd never run another marathon...3 days later us girls were talking about when we could compete in our next marathon and how we could improve our times.  Pain will pass, pride will last.  Bring it!

Sweat + Sacrifice = Success
All this for a lousy banana!
Run like you stole something!
No one ever drowned in sweat.
You must do the thing you think you cannot do.  ~Eleanor Roosevelt

Race prep:
What I ate:  Steak, mashed potatoes and broccoli the night before, lots and lots of water!  Breakfast consisted of half a bagel with peanut butter, water.  I ate a gu every 5 miles during the race as well as one right before it started.  As I had my hydration vest I didn't have to stop at any water stops, Malek met me at mile 17 to give me an extra water bottle just in case I drained my pack.
What I wore:  Nike shorts, tank top, garmin watch, hat, glasses, hydration vest, asics gel nimbus shoes sz 9 (which were shot after this marathon, and apparently too small), wrightsocks double layer.
Other items I carried:  Cell phone, 7 Gu's, mp3 player.

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