Tuesday, May 12, 2009
As you can see early on I'm looking (and feeling) strong. A few raindrops. It's all good!
Then it starts to rain, hard. Legs are starting to get heavy at this point. Look at the stress in the shoulders and arms! Here I am in the final stretch to the finish.
The "Living on a prayer" shot. No I'm not smiling. My face was frozen that way for the last two miles.
Thursday, May 7, 2009
Chip Time 3:56:20
Gun Time 3:57:02
Gender Place 144/692
Age Group Place F35-39: 27/121
This always makes me feel better!
Next up- The first 5k I ever ran revisited. All I asked for on Mother's day was to be able to run this race. I ran it in 2004 and finished in 27:18. I'm looking to shave 5 whole minutes off this sucker.
ETA 5/10 - Finished 5k in 23:41. Third place age group!
Monday, May 4, 2009
Yesterday I ran the New Jersey Marathon in Long Branch. I had three goals for myself. To finish in 3:48, to finish in 3:50 and finally to have a respectable finish. Since I was babying my back & hip last week to finish was my main goal.
I woke up feeling GREAT! So great I didn't think I needed to massage my back & hip from the dreaded sciatica issues I had last week but I did because I knew I should. Ritually I go outside before I get dressed to feel the weather. It was overcast & drizzly. No major rain. I became friendly with a three guys in the lobby and we decided to share a cab to the start. The baggage claim & some bathrooms are inside a hotel on the boardwalk. It was nice to stay warm while eating, stretching, & prepping. Oddly I had no anxiety before the start like I normally do. Today was going to be a true test and I was prepared.
After nervously seaching for my 3:50 pacer I found him. The guy, Tom, was 6'3, hard to miss! I informed Tom that I planned to stay with him the whole time. How many times has he heard that? I waited with the group anxious to start. The race was supposed to start at 7:30 am. At that time it was still just light drizzle and 51 degrees. Perfect conditions. For whatever reasons we didn't actually start until 7:55.
I have to say I didn't really sightsee much during this race. I just focused on Tom, my pacer, in the orange shirt. I mainly tucked behind him most of the time. I felt great going into mile 9 when the hip started to get sore. I tried to focus on smaller strides because this seems to help. This was a really flat course with two tiny inlines at mile 9 & 18. This was also a double loop course. The first half merges with the half marathon finishers. We continued on the course for the second loop. I was kinda wishing I looked around more so I could recall markers but it didn't matter at this point. It started to rain a bit harder by now. I stayed with Tom up to mile 18. I grabbed an orange wedge as I passed the aid stations and sucked on it. For some reason I felt a bit lightheaded. Worried I held back a bit. Tom was still about 20 feet ahead of me while I tried to access my fuzziness. It was at this point that I started to think "am I hitting the wall?" I've never hit the wall before! I soon guesstimated that I did not hit the wall. It was pouring torrential rains at this point and my clothes were drenched. Being soaked led to cold. My hands & fingers were numb. My legs heavy. I couldn't even feel my fingers to reach into my pockets for shot blocks. I decided I didn't need them if I couldn't get them. I also felt a blister on the ball of my foot at this time so I was trying not to apply too much pressure on it as I ran. Going into mile 20 I did the math in my head and knew a BQ was still within reach if I pressed on. Unfortunately my legs were so heavy they weren't moving as fast as I wanted them too. I started falling behind my pace group. I could now see Tom about 200-300 feet ahead. I just wanted to keep him within sight no matter what. My time at mile 23 was 3:23:47. Fuzzily I did the math and figured I needed to run sub 9's for the next 3.2 miles to qualify. It was pouring, I was drenched, my limbs were frozen. I decided at that point to haul butt to mile 24 then readjust my game plan from there. I hit mile 24 at almost 3:33. I knew I didn't have it in me anymore and just wanted to quit. I could attempt to haul my butt to the finish and barely qualify by 2-3 minutes but I decided to enjoy the last few miles. I ran hard but did not look at my watch anymore. I turned off my Ipod and enjoyed the cheering crowds & cowbells. My name was on my bib and for the first time I was happy to hear people cheering for me. One man yelled, "You're a sub 4 marathoner Fran!!" I just smiled at him. Years ago all I wanted was a sub 4 marathon. Here I was on my way to my second sub 4.
I crossed the finish line at 3:56:19 according to my watch. (Official results-3:56:20.) When I crossed the finish line and stopped my knees buckled. Someone caught me. Thank God! A young man held me up as they rushed a wheelchair over to me. I screamed, "No, I don't need that, I just need a few minutes here!" I just kept repeating, "give me a minute, give me a minute." After about two minutes I stood up straight and started to walk. The same guy who held me up walked with me a few feet. I knew I was fine and told him so. I don't know if I thanked him and that bothers me still. Thank you angel at the finish line! They gave out medals & hats at the finish. No heat sheets because it's not environmentally safe. I hurried over to the food tent. I wasn't hungry but knew I should eat/drink something. There were serving hot food but it was gone. I was told to wait for it. I was so cold and wet I just wanted to go back to baggage claim and change into my dry clothes.
Even when I finally changed I was shivering uncontrollably. I went to purchase a cup of coffee to try to warm up. The cashier commented on how I was shivering and didn't let me pay for it the coffee. I called a cab to take me back to the hotel. I waited 40 minutes for the cab, shivering the whole time. The hotel I stayed at had a 4pm check out just for marathoners. When I got back to my room I took the longest HOT shower ever. It was spiritually & physically cleansing.
After that I got a good look at the blister on my foot. If you saw the movie "Run Fatboy Run" you saw the part where the guy got a huge blister on his foot. Mine was almost as big! I now have three black toes too.
After all the tears I've straightened up and realized how well I did despite my injury and the weather. It is my best marathon time to date. I was mainly upset because I felt like I needed to prove to my family that hard work pays off. It does eventually. Going back out there and trying again is a more valuable lesson.
When I came home everyone greeted me with great big hugs & kisses. That's quite the reward if you ask me.