12 months ago, I went on my first very uncomfortable 1 mile run after giving birth. Yesterday, I ran my fastest marathon ever 26.2 miles at 7:20 pace. I finally breakthrough my old PR which was set almost 4 years ago. It was a fight down to the last second of the race.
It was a stressful but pretty successful training cycle. In the 3 months leading up to the race, my husband started a new job/career, my son had surgery, and my job was very busy. I was also in PT for 2 separate injuries throughout my training. 5 weeks before the marathon I ran a 1:27:26 half marathon PR which boosted by confidence.
Morning of the race:
For the first time ever, I had a lot of worry about a potential DNF. I had been in PT for several months after being diagnosed with a torn labrum. I also have ongoing hamstring issues. After every race in my build up, I had appts with both PT and ART therapists. Both of my doctor’s knew I was running and supported it 100%. However, this was my first time racing a marathon in over 2 years, and it seemed like my body just didn’t hold up like it used to.
I had a smart game plan for pacing. I wanted to be conservative. My A goal was 3:07 (7:07 per mile) and I was going to go out in a 1:34:40 (7:14 per mile) to try to negative split!
I lined up right in front of the 3:20 pacer, and I planned to go out conservatively
Mile 1- 7:22
This was right around where I wanted to start. The first mile is very downhill. People were blowing by me left and right. It was not hard to hold back this mile because I wasn’t feeling it.
Mile 2- 7:27
I felt like I was going faster than 7:27 pace. It didn’t really feel smooth. I tried not to overthink it since I was still warming up my body
Mile 3- 7:08
Mile 4- 7:12
Mile 5- 7:17
I took my first Gel here. I felt like I was working harder than I anticipated for the paces I was running. I felt okay, but I was really hoping the first 5 miles going out conservatively would feel a lot easier.
Mile 6- 7:14
Mile 7- 7:20
A guy came up from behind and started chatting with me. I didn’t really feel like talking, but I thought it would take my mind off how ‘off’ I was feeling.
He was making the pace look effortless.
Then he shared some soul crushing information with me:
“I didn’t even train”
“I am injured”
Suddenly, my mood went from bad to worse.
Turned out his PR was 3:19 but despite not training AND being injured he was still hoping for a PR today.
My head exploded.
A flood of negative emotions came over me. “Why is running so much harder for me than everyone else?” “why do I have to work so hard to only marginally improve?”. I almost started crying thinking about how ‘unfair’ it was as he continued to run just ahead of me with strong form without even training.
I trained my ass off for 7 months straight and I was fighting for the paces he was running effortlessly.
Mile 8- 7:13
I could still see the guy who ‘didn’t train’ in the distance. I tried to zone it out, but anger was building up inside me. I was angry because running is really HARD for me. I was angry because the race was already feeling hard.
Mile 9- 7:12
The anger was now fueling my fire. I really didn’t care how I felt. I was 100% confident I could PR today. I did NOT care how I felt or how miserable it would be. It was GOING to happen. I knew what I was capable of. I started blocking out all the stuff around me.
Mile 10- 6:55
Mile 11- 6:59
Mile 12- 6:59
Mile 13- 7:04
Half Way – 1:34:39
I came through the half feeling no better and no worse than I did at mile 5. Things were never feeling smooth during any point of the race, but I felt confident I could continue to run 7:20-7:10 pace for the next half. I knew I was capable of it.
Mile 14- 7:00
Mile 15- 7:12
During the climb, my hamstring started tugging. I tried to change my gait and reach down to massage it. I almost tripped a few times as I was adjusting into a new stride. I realized I was slightly limping, but I was glad I could at least continue.
Mile 16- 7:08
Mile 17- 7:06
The thirst was starting to set in. I was taking 2 cups of water and/or nuun at EVERY single stop since the beginning. I don’t know why it suddenly felt like I hadn’t take in anything.
Mile 18- 7:13
Mie 19- 7:13
Waves of nausea started. I was drinking A LOT, but I knew the water was not getting absorbed into my stomach fast enough. The sloshing around of water was making me feel sick. I had to work up the courage to take another gel. I could only take a little and gagged as I took it.
Mile 20- 7:19
I had hit the EXACT same 13.1 and 20 mile splits during my PR marathon race. I realize I needed to stay tough and buckle down if I was going to get a PR today. For 4 years, I had fantasied about being able to ‘redo’ the last 10k of my marathon PR race. Now that I was in the moment, I felt like I was living my nightmare HAHA.
Mile 21- 7:33
My hamstring was throbbing. I felt like I was limping while running. Thirst was insane.
Mile 22- 7:40
4 miles never felt so long in my life.
Mile 23- 7:41
Mile 24- 7:48
My gait was really impacting my pace. Since my left hamstring was hurting, I was running with more weight in my left leg, a few times I thought my left leg was going to give out.
Mile 25- 7:51
I knew if I didn’t continue to run at exactly this same pace, I would not PR. I was fighting hard. I almost fell as my legs were nearly buckling underneath me as a tried to surge
Mile 26- 7:55
I couldn’t see the finish line as I looked down at my watch and saw 3:10 something when mile 26 clicked. I seriously did not know if I could make it 400 more meters without my leg giving out.
Last .4 my garmin recorded was 8:30 pace.
The medical volunteers must have seen my wobbly legs and grabbed me immediately and wouldn’t let me go for a few min. I felt like someone took a sledge hammer to my pelvis. My calfs and foot on the left side where I had been compensating for my hamstring pain started cramping uncontrollably like a charlie horse. For about an hour after the race my calfs and feet were cramping so bad.
Yesterday was not a day where the ‘stars align’. Some days you feel amazing and unstoppable. Some days you feel mediocre and things head south. I am overall extremely happy to be walking away with a marathon PR. It is a really big deal for me to finally prove I can do it especially after several failed attempts over the years. I don’t know when the next one will be. I am hoping for a fast half PR at Grandma’s in June. I will be enjoying some time off for the next few weeks. Hoping to ramp into more serious half marathon training in Feb 2019.
1st- 4:09- 9:30 pace
2nd- 3:47- 8:40 pace
3rd- 3:45- 8:38 pace
4th- 3:43- 8:34 pace
5th- 3:27- 7:55 pace *First BQ
6th- 3:31- 8:02 pace *BQ
7th- ULTRA 50k in 4:53
8th- 3:26- 7:55 per mile *BQ
9th- 3:19- 7:40 per mile *BQ
10th- 3:20- 7:40 per mile *BQ
11th- 3:14 – 7:26 per mile *BQ
12th- 3:24- 7:47 per mile *BQ
13th- 3:23- 7:45 per mile *BQ
14th- 3:26- 7:53 per mile *BQ
15th- 3:28- 7:58 per mile *BQ
16th- 3:26- 7:55 per mile* BQ
17th- 3:42- 8:30 per mile
18th – 3:13- 7:20 per mile *BQ