Grand Rapids Marathon Recap

Hello and welcome to my blog! I have always loved reading blogs. Running blogs, nutrition blogs, blogs of friends and family; I love them all. It was a hard day for me when google reader became extinct. I’m still not sure I’m over it, though to be fair, feedly has served me well thus far. Also, sometimes I enjoy sharing my own thoughts and ideas. I have no idea if others will enjoy my musings on running, kid raising, recipes, life, and whatever else happens to be in my head, but I thought I would try sharing. Feel free to stop by and visit now and again!

Now, onto a running related topic: the marathon I ran a few weeks ago. First, a little history for you. For nearly two years, my biggest dream has been to qualify for the Boston Marathon. I completed 16 weeks of a 20 week marathon training program in the fall of 2013 with an awesome coach (Laura, over at mommyrunfast), only to fall prey to an IT band injury a few weeks before the start of my planned race. I was devastated.

For this second attempt, I did a few things differently. I ran slightly fewer miles, I trained for fewer weeks, and (most importantly, I think) I incorporated much more cross training, mainly through strength training – especially focusing on legs and core – and taking kickboxing classes, which included some plyometrics training. I also went to physical therapy, and was very good about doing the recommended exercises that would strengthen my hips and glutes. Additionally, I paid more attention to how I was fueling my body, both while I was running, and also how I was eating everyday. I hope to write more about these things later, and how each one played an equally important part in my training.

On the morning of the race, my alarm went of at 5 a.m. I was surprised that I had been able to sleep at all the night before the race, but I fell asleep fine! I did, however, wake up every hour or two and each time I was convinced it was time to bounce out of bed only to realize I had several hours until my alarm would go off. When it was finally time to get up, I was ready. I’d felt ready to run this marathon for so long (I guess the taper works?!) and began to get dressed and fuel up. I had read several articles about the importance of eating three to four hours before the start of your race to allow your body to absorb and use what you ate, so as soon as I felt I could stomach it, I had a banana, a small bowl of oatmeal, and most of a Clif bar. I also began sipping a few ounces of my sports drink of choice, and before I knew it, it was time to leave to meet my friends and drive to the start of the race.

We stayed in the warm car as long as we could, since it was only about 35 degrees outside. About fifteen minutes before the gun was set to go off (it’s a fairly small race!), we left the car, used the bathroom, and waited anxiously in the corrals with the other runners. When it was finally time to run, I tried really hard to take it easy. I know I have a tendency to go out too fast, and didn’t want to do that here. Fail! My first mile clocked in at a speedy 7:33. I knew I needed to slow down, but it also felt like such an easy pace that I wanted to let my body go with it knowing that anything can happen in the last six miles. The next three miles were 7:47, 7:54, and 7:46 and I was worrying a little about reigning it in, but mostly just enjoying myself. I saw my family for the first time, grabbed my first sports drink from them, and kept going.

IMG_0447Miles 5 through 10 were really fun, lots of gorgeous scenery to look at. But also lots of curves. I tried to be conscientious about running the tangents to avoid running more than I needed to, and I think that was wise. Miles five through ten clocked in at 7:53, 8:05, 8:06, 8:03, 8:01, and 7:59. I got into a groove and kept my pace really even.

Before I knew it, we had reached the halfway marker (miles 10 through 13 were 7:57, 7:54, and 8:00). When I saw my half marathon split at 1:44:33, I was both excited and a little worried. That was a few full minutes faster than I was planning to run it, and I wondered if I used too much energy over the first half of the course. I tried to slow down a little more, which was easier by this point since my legs were showing the first signs of feeling tired. I saw Eric and the girls again at mile 14, and high fived my youngest, which was a huge morale booster!

IMG_0446Miles 14 through 18 were a little tougher, but I was still feeling pretty good. Splits were 8:15, 8:14, 8:29, and 8:26. At mile 18, there is a turn around and you start to head back towards the finish. That was great mentally, knowing that every step was taking me physically closer to the finish line. I also saw Eric again, and he ran with me for almost a mile. Fun!

Miles 19 through 23 were definitely harder (8:09, 8:11, 8:29, and 8:19). My stomach was growing more uncomfortable by the minute (kind of sloshy and queasy: maybe I overfueled a little?). And my legs were starting to talk to me. After I saw my split for mile 23, I knew I had enough time banked that as long as I kept moving, I would likely make my goal. Knowing that, I made mistake of stopping to walk for a few seconds to try and calm my stomach down. The very second I stopped, my legs started screaming, and even buckled a little bit underneath me. Hmmm. That’s not so good, so I began running again, which was actually easier than walking on my legs. My stomach was still not feeling great though, and I began to wonder if I was going to make it to the end without puking. Not good! Thankfully, my awesome friend met me at mile 24 and ran to the end with me. She ran the half marathon, went home and showered, and then came back to help me finish. How wonderful, right? She asked what the goal was when she first saw me, and I think I actually told her to finish without getting sick. She was great, super encouraging during those last few miles! I know I could have finished without her, but probably not quite as fast!

IMG_0452The last three miles were 8:48, 8:49, and 8:35! I was so happy to cross that finish line almost five full minutes ahead of my BQ goal time. My official time was 3:35:15. My Garmin time was 3:35:12 with a distance of 26.36 (so I did a pretty good job of not running further than I needed!). After a few minutes of dizziness and more stomach pain, I started to feel more normal. And I felt even better when I saw my crew waiting for me and cheering for me. It’s feels pretty amazing to have met this goal. Boston 2016, here I come!

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One thought on “Grand Rapids Marathon Recap

  1. Pingback: 2014 Running Recap – It all came together! | Running Mom Musings

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