Wednesday, October 24, 2012

SoJo Marathon 2012 Race Report

I ran the SoJo Marathon on October 20, 2012, and I was really impressed with this race. I have to say that after our 18-mile course preview, I was less than thrilled about the course. It just seemed hard and not very interesting because it was just in the city. But Shannon still had a lot of excitment about it and good energy so it was fun to meet her for lunch when we picked up our packets. I was happily suprised by what I got in my goody bag:

Along with my race number (with timing chip attatched) there was a nice, soft long sleeve tech shirt, a cliff shot, an ice cream scoop, a pen, and a key chain light. Plus it was all in a reusable bag. Sweet! It turns out everything about how the race was run was really nice. I was impressed with the support even though there were less than 300 people running the full marathon!

Race morning, I let my house at about 5am to meet Shannon. I was running late, though, so I called her and told her I wasn't goig to make the 5:20 bus. She sounded pretty groggy when she answered her phone, and when I told her I wasn't going to make the 5:20 bus, she said, "It's 6:20." Relief flooded my voice, "It's 6:20?! Oh, ok, I'm going to make it!" She invited me to come hang out at her house for  a while since I was an hour early, but I decided I didn't want a chance for anything else to go wrong so I just sat in my car and waited for time to get on the bus. I was actually scheduled for the 6:30 bus, but was going to go at 6:20 with Shannon, but she didn't end up getting there on time so I just got on the 6:30 one and waited for her.

I kept her seat open until the last minute when I realized she wasn't going to make it. But she made it onto the next bus, and actually made it up there before us because our bus driver got lost! Luckiy a guy went up and sat with him to help him figure out where to go and we weren't late.

I got to hang out with Shannon for 15 mintues or so before start time. We checked our gear bags and stood under the heated tent as they played the National Anthem. Then we headed to the start line. I wished her luck and said goodby since I knew she was trying to quailfy for Boston and I wouldn't see her unti the end of the race.

I tried to feed off of some of her excitment!

Here is the course we would spend the next several hours of our life on:

Within the first mile, I happened to meet 3 ladies who were running at about my pace. They said they were shooting for 4:30 and asked me what my goal was. I told them I'd love to finish in 4:30 and decided to stick with them. It was so much fun!

We all just chatted and the miles just seemed to fly by! We were all feeling great and having a great time, especially coming down the first hill:

I love this picture, I feel like it really sums up the first half of the marathon. It was all happy go lucky and we felt like we could take on the world! The scenery was beautiful and the temperature was just perfect! We felt like we could have done without the headwind, but we didn't pay too much attention to it.

I didn't know that first girl, but in the bright pink is Angela, then me, Kirsten and Janelle

The 4 of us stuck together until about the half-way point which we hit at almost exactly 2:15 so we were right on track for 4:30 if we could keep it up! That was exciting, and we were still having a lot of fun! For a while Kirsten and Janelle pulled ahead and it was just Angela and I, but we caught up to them at the next aid station. Then Kirsten and Angela (both first time marathoners) pulled ahead and we never caught back up. They were looking really strong! I was impressed. I stayed with Janelle for a few more miles. We stuck it out, pushing ourselves to keep going but trying not to go too fast because we knew we had to make it up the hill going past the Oqurah Mountain Temple at about mile 16.5 so we stayed at a nice comfortable pace. 

At this point, I was getting tired, but I still felt pretty good. Nothing really hurt, I was just feeling like I'd run 16 miles or something! Janelle told me she wanted to push it once we got over the hill, though, and I didn't feel like I had enough fuel in the tank to do that so I told her to go on. I wish I would have realized that meant I should fuel at the aid station here! Duh!

I watched Janelle run off into the distance, put my headphones in and turned my music on hoping for some motivation, but it didn't work as well as having someone to run with. Now I really noticed the headwind and it made it really hard to enjoy coming back down the hill by the temple. I turned the corner and put my long sleeve shirt back on because the wind was now getting pretty cold. I turned the corner again and just really, really wanted to get to the next aid station! Forgetting to fuel was catching up to me now! I don't know if I even took some gel here or not, but when I got to mile 19 my legs were suddenly hurting so bad I just wanted to cry! I've never really had a problem with cramping, but I think that must have been what it was. I thought I had been taking in enough elecrolytes, but I guess I was wrong about that. I actually sat down on the curb at the aid station and stupidly refused the second cup of water the lady offered me. I just wanted to cry my legs and ankles and feet hurt SO bad! I started texing Pete:

He was right. I got up and started going again. I was not going to quit. Pete's encouragement really helped me keep going. I wanted to quit so bad at 19, but I kept going. Then I actually stopped and sat down again. This time it was in the grass, though, and I really had a good stretch. When a policeman stopped and asked me if I was ok, I told him I was and that I was going to keep going. I almost didn't believe the words that were coming out of my own mouth when I said that, but really I knew I could finish this race no matter what. Stretching actually helped a lot and I got up and started walking again.

I told myself going into this race that it didn't matter what my time was anyway, and not to worry about it. I started shuffeling along again. This older guy ran past me and said, "Let's run to the road, then we can walk." Tricky old man! It actually worked, though, I started "running" again and just kept going. He didn't stop to walk either. That lier. :)

I plugged along very slowly. This picture was taken on the Jordan River Parkway so it was somewhere in the last 2-3 miles. It kind of looks like I'm pretending to run, but that I'm really hardly even moving. Yep, that was pretty much my last 7 miles. 
But I DID IT! I did keep going. I tried to just walk the aid stations during those last few miles, but when I was almost to the finish and still couldn't see it I did stop to walk for a minute just because I felt disheartened. But then a spectator told me that the finish was just around the bend so I started running again!

I came in at 5:20. 

I really, really thought I was going to beat 5 hours this time. I felt like I was really prepaired and my 20-miler just had gone so well! But then again I took my 20-miler nice and slow, and I almost colapsed afterwards. It took me the same amount of time to run 21 (4 hours) this time as it did to run that 20, and that even includes me sitting down twice.

So it was not a fast time, but guess what, it was still a marathon PR for me! And best of all, I DID NOT QUIT when I wanted to so so badly! 

It was so great to cross the finish line, but when I stopped and they handed me my medal, I suddenly felt like I couldn't breath! Luckily that didn't last too long.

Shannon was right there to give me a hug and tell me that she finished in 3:24, qualified for Boston and won our age group! I am so happy for her! She is so amazing! I knew she would do it! It was nice of her to hang around for 2 hours to see me finish too. :)

My beautiful finisher's medal:

I got a water, a bagel and a chick-fil-a sandwich at the finish line. Yum!

Then I headed right over to the massage line where I just sat for a long time, ate my food and just enjoyed not moving. Someone even brought me an ice cream sandwich too which was nice! Pete and the kids didn't come to watch me finish because I wanted to be able to just take it easy and get a massage after I finished and I didn't want to feel bad about them waiting around for me so that was actually nice even though I would have loved to see them out there.

On my way over to my massage, I saw Janelle. She gave me a hug, thanked me for the 17 miles and told me she had finished in 4:45. Nice! I'm glad I got to see her again. Then I saw Angela in the massage line. After she got her massage, she came over to get a picture with me. She had finished in 4:24 and Kirsten was just a few minutes behind her! I am so amazed! They stayed strong the whole time and did such a great job! 

I waited in line for my massage for like an hour, but it was so worth it! I think that combined with icing my knees and ankles twice later on made me feel a million times better the next day! After the race I just wanted to cry every time I had to move so I was amazed that I was hardly even sore Sunday! This also makes me really think it was a fueling issue and not really my muscles that caused the problem. I could say "what if, what if, what if" all night, though. I need to try not to worry about it too much. :)

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