Don't write me off your radar yet.
Training is overrated.
I have one pace, and I am sticking to it. And I don't even own a single device or gadget besides a simplest watch with a timer!
I won't keep suspense, so I am pasting my splits below.
I have to say a few things. If there is anything I had to work hard recently, that was this marathon. There was no room for error the whole way. On another note, if I ever ran a close split, this comes as one of the closest, even though I am a master at keeping my pace even. And another interesting point - marathons can be fun, despite effort and pain. Thanks to tremendous amount of people cheering you on at the aid stations and simply lining up the streets, it felt pretty cool to see school-age kids being excited and yelling out for you, as well as read all the posters along the way.
Now, a short recap. After my last post, I ran 10 miles on trails on Sunday and then 10 miles on roads on Monday, just to see a) if I can go that far, and b) if my foot holds up. I could, and it did. I ran 5 on Wednesday and 5 on Friday, easy, to make a choice for the shoes giving least impact to the foot pain. Hoka One One (Mafate trail version, although never in my life do I plan to wear them on trails) came the winner, because every time I step on the outside edge of my left foot without a cushion protection, I am in pain. It was time to fly (pan intended).
I had 3 goals, as usual. #1 - finish and not damage foot more than it is now, #2 - not let 5 hr pace group pass me (Meredith pointed out it was the last pacing group, so here is the goal), and #3 - if all goes well, make it in 4:30. I had 5 gels, 8 Ibuprofen tablets, 4 Succeed! and 1 NUUN cola flavor. I used it all by the end of the run. I was relaxed and ready to give it a go.
Before the start I chatted with a trail runner gal, and told her my favorite pace is 10 min/mile. After that, I turned my music loud, and went running. There is not much to say about doing it, you just put one foot in front of another, synchronize your breath with your footfalls and rhyme it all with the music beat. Simple it is.
Since a road marathon has mile markers, I took fun into checking in, and it seemed I kept just slightly above 9 min/mile pace. Uh-oh, how long will that last? But I kept clicking them in, in fact, when the hills started to roll a lot, my second 10k split was a full minute faster than the first one. I love hills!
I refilled my bottle from a huge water cooler station at mile 8, and took my first Iburpofen, as the foot reared its head. At mile 10 I passed Joe and Joyce Prusaitis, our Tejas Trails owners. I saw Larry with my fresh bottle at mile 13.5 - and he almost missed me in a crowd, so I had to run into him and exchange the bottles:) I still had no goals besides clicking along. At mile 17 I looked at my watch and calculated I just ran 36 min 4 miles, and I am ok, like, not breathing hard. I realized 4 hrs is in a view...but there is no room for error, I have to keep same pace regardless. This is about the same time my body began to feel the task of running so many miles, and the foot talked again, thus went second dose of Vit I. I kept my head down till I saw Larry one more time with another bottle at mile 19. At mile 20 I was 3:03 in, what meant I had to rujn last 10k at the same pace as I did first 10k. Crap. The fleeting thought of "I don't think I can do that" came and left, and I kept running. Mile 21 saw my last gel, mile 23 - my running club HCTR cheered me on, where I briefly stopped to poor more water into my bottle. I don't think they expected me to do that, or to not stay longer, but had not a split second extra to chat - the pace couldn't be let up at all. At mile 23 I had 29 minutes to make it. I groaned and moved my visor down, thinking this marathon will be either one hill or 0.2M too long for my goal. At mile 25 I had 11 minutes, an incline, and a pretty steep hill. I'd like to say I had a finishing kick, but I didn't. While I was passing a lot of people from mile 15 and on, and only ones wearing various other marathon shirts runners would occasionally pass me, in the last mile, as I focused right in front of my feet, I saw in a corner of my eyes quite a number of running shoes going by. I was hanging on for a dear life, that's all I was doing. We were all gunning for the same goal. I crested the hill, checked the watch at mile 26, saw a sign "200 meters to go", figured quickly that I need to run my track interval to make it, and ran my heart out.
I never gave up. That was the hardest - and the most fun as well. I never thought I would say that, but it is true. I love pushing myself. Once I set out a goal for myself, I never stopped fighting for it. Must have been one of my proudest races, even if the time is not something to be thrilled by any normal standards. Larry and Harrison managed to get to the finish line and snap a picture of me, working super-hard those last meters before crossing the mat. The whole last mile was a pain cave, my right quad was giving out (I guess I was compensating without noticing), my right knee screaming (it actually was for the whole last week), my left foot was crying mama, and the whole body felt like out-of-this-world experience. If you think I was pushing it, you'd be wrong. More like my legs had their own life. I have to thank them big time. And my body. And my mind. I am back. I am alive. And I broke 4 hrs in a marathon - time I used to click in my training runs, but not since 2004. Holly cow. 9:09 average pace, baby! I ran every single step in this race - something I had to re-learn last year when I trained for the other marathon after years of ultra-trail running in Oregon. Something I almost forgot how to do. Lets the 2012 begin in its earnest. I am a runner...
It is nice to be home at 11:30 am, with a babble bath and a brunch made by my bestest husband, having a whole day ahead. I may try it again one day:)
More stats: this was marathon #19. Race at 26.2M and over #98. My results for long races.