On February 14th 2016 I ran the LA Marathon in unfavorable conditions. It was 70+ degrees and sunny the entire course. I had to adjust my goals, and I finished with a time of 3:23:23. 9 minuets slower than my personal best.
Two months later, on April 18th, I ran the Boston Marathon in 70+ degrees with lots of sun. Again, I adjusted my goals and finished with a 3:26:08.
After two marathons in two months, I was ready for a break. However, I had one last marathon on the agenda for this spring- Grandma’s Marathon.
Grandma’s is special to me because I ran my first official half marathon there in 2013. I also set my current marathon PR of 3:14:12 there last year. I love Grandmas. Even though I was feeling very burnt out leading up to the race, I didn’t have the heart to skip it.
We picked up our packets on Friday at the Expo and checked into the UMD dorms. I think Jason, Adrian, & I got about 3 hours of sleep that night LOL.
Saturday July 18th 2016
7:45am start time
65 degrees and 90% humidity at the start
76 degrees and 90% humidity at the finish
My running buddy Adrain & I had planned to start at 8:00-7:50 pace and just “see how we felt”. That plan was thrown out the window around 800 meters into the race lol.
Mile 1- 7:22
Way too fast. But decided it felt like a cool enough day to maintain my PR pace and “see what happens”.
Mile 2- 7:12
Mile 3- 7:12
Mile 4- 7:10
Mile 5- 7:13
Obviously I was feeling good and confident (who doesn’t during the first few miles of a marathon..). I caught the 3:15 pace group, and I decided to run with them for awhile. In my mind, I thought I would have a chance to maybe PR.
Mile 6- 7:15 * Cliff gel
Mile 7 – 7:07
Mile 8- 7:15
I was feeling good here, and I passed the 3:15 pacer. The breeze from the lake felt good, but I could tell it was heating up A LOT. At this point, I stopped looking at my garmin and changed the setting to HR to make sure I was not over-doing it at this point in the race.
Mile 9- 7:15
Mile 10- 7:08
I still felt good, but I could tell it was getting really hot outside. I began to get worried when I saw the “high danger” flags getting raised. I continued to only measure my performance from my HR. It was tough because I knew I went out to fast and the next 16 miles were going to be tougher than usual.
Mile 11- 7:39
RunLongRun was the first person I saw on the course, and it was super uplifting seeing him here!
Mile 12- 7:41
Mile 13- 7:36
Half Marathon- 1:36:26
This was about 1-2 min slower than I came in the half last year. I was now kicking myself for even attempting to go after a PR. I knew this second half would be very painful.
Mile 14- 7:46
Mile 15- 7:55
I was feeling a bit weird here. I thought I would be a good idea to eat my GU that I bought at the expo.
When I ate it, my gag reflex immediately caused me to throw up on the course. I was gagging and coughing while running.
Something like this has NEVER happened to me while running (let alone during a race). I began panicking. I didn’t know if I needed medical attention or what to do. I continued to run. However, I felt sick to my stomach. The nausea was VERY extreme. I was racking my brain trying to figure out what I should do.
Mile 16- 8:00
It was here that I saw my friend WAY up ahead. My friend Josh has been training SUPER hard, and he was ready to destroy grandmas. With a 3:08 PR (down from his first 4:00 marathon), he was more than ready & capable of a sub 3. When I saw him, I realized it wasn’t going to be a pretty day out here for anyone.
Mile 17- 8:43
Words can’t even describe how happy I was to see Josh on the course. I had almost made the decision to drop out before I saw him. I told him about my nausea, and he told me he felt sick too. We started chanting things like “let’s just finish! It’s a rough day, but we will finish”.
Mile 18- 8:38
I posted a picture to facebook saying how hot it was at mile 18.5. I was just in survival mode.
Mile 19- 8:32
Nausea was coming and going in waves. My rationalization was that even if I stopped running, I was still going to be nauseated. If I ran at a slow enough effort, I would not get sick. I knew I could walk to the finish.
I was going to get there even if I needed to crawl.
The thought of DNF brought me to tears. I was going to finish this thing. I had to.
Mile 20- 8:55
Mile 21- 8:55
Mile 22- 8:55
It was SCORCHING outside.
I have no idea how on earth I was passing people at my 9:00 pace . It was slightly reassuring to know I was not the only person feeling like crap.
It was hot.
I saw the “High Danger” flags being taken down and the “black flags” getting raised up.
Mile 24- 8:53
At this point, I had not been nauseous for almost an hour. Slowing down had helped a lot. Despite the temps, I had some gas left in the tank.
I looked at my watch for the first time in 5 miles, and I realized a sub 3:30 was in sight, and I went for it.
Mile 25- 8:20
Thanks to Jason for cheering me on and telling me to go for it at mile 25.
It was about 76 degrees, sunny & 90% humidity right here at mile 25
Mile 26- 8:22
My mom was pouring water on me at mile 26. It made me laugh & it felt great 🙂 My parents don’t go to many of my marathons, and I don’t think they have ever seen me at mile 25-26 before, so it was fun 🙂
last .29 @ 8:08 pace
I ran 14 min slower than my time last year, but my placement was better this year. I think this is a telling sign that it effected everyone.
Every marathon teaches a lesson. I was humbled by the marathon yesterday. Yesterday was my 15th marathon & 10th Boston Qualifying time.
I am more thankful to have finished than I ever have been because I didn’t know what my body was going to allow me to do in those hot conditions after getting sick.
Moral of the story:
Marathons are hard. Add hot temps , humidity & sun, they are even harder. 2000 of the 9000 people who started the marathon did not finish. Every finish is something to be thankful for!