Thursday, October 15, 2009

Twin Cities Marathon 2009 Race Report

So I am finally sitting down to write my race report. The past week has been crazy as you will soon read and I contemplated even reminding myself of the not so fun events, but I do want a log of the marathon so here goes.


Getting to Minnesota was in itself a marathon. I will preface this by saying that I went to college to be a pilot. I have my pilot's license and love flying. My trip to Minnesota reminded me why I got out of the industry. We left for Minnesota on Thursday morning. We got out of our house on time, the kids were in a good mood, we got through security, everything was going very smoothly. I made a comment to Eric that this seems like it is too easy and that maybe we will have a good weekend after all. HAHAHA! That was the last time I felt no stress for an entire week.

We landed in St. Louis and were ahead of schedule so I mentioned we should try getting on the earlier flight to Minnesota. We went and put in our names on the standby list and were basically told we would get on the flight because of Eric's frequent flier status. That is when we noticed the delays. Every flight going into Minnesota that day were hours! We sat and waited as our flight continued to get delayed. At one point they boarded us on our flight, about 2 hours late and then took us off the plane. They told us in another 45 minutes we would board again. Instead of boarding, about an hour later they canceled our flight. They also canceled the flight we were supposed to be on. We were stuck in St. Louis. Not cool! The airline supplemented our hotel, but we still had to pay out of pocket to stay at a hotel and then walk to a restaurant for dinner. I was still thinking positive and staying fairly calm. We checked the internet and all the delays were being caused by runway construction. I figured, why would they rebook us for the next morning if they expected this to continue so I was relaxed.

I got up the next morning and ran 3 miles on the treadmill. The run was very easy and I was getting excited about the marathon. We left for the airport early, we didn't want to miss our flight. HAHAHA. We ate a gross breakfast at the airport and then continued to wait for another few hours. Our flight was delayed, again. The construction was still going on. I sat at the gate waiting for the announcement that our flight would be canceled when finally they boarded us, about 90 minutes late. We were going to make it. At this point, I had already told myself that I didn't think running on Sunday would be a good idea as I knew that I needed the day to be perfect in order for my time to happen, but on we went.

We arrived to the Minneapolis Airport to utter chaos. There were people everywhere! The rental car counters were packed and it took an hour to even get out of the airport from the parking lot. I knew immediately that I wouldn't make my niece's baptism, so the frustration continued. We rushed to my mom's hotel to change clothes and rushed downtown Minneapolis to the Baptism Dinner. I say rush, but I really mean sat in traffic for a few hours as Minneapolis traffic is terrible. The baptism was nice and we went back to the hotel and went to bed.

We woke up early the next morning for my sister's 10k. She rocked it with a time of 53 something. It was very fun and then we headed to have breakfast at a coffee shop and wait for the Expo to open. The Expo was great. There were so many vendors and lots of free stuff. I didn't buy a thing. I didn't want to jinx myself by buying clothing not to mention I have a ton of things from last year's marathon. We only hung out there for about 90 minutes so I wasn't on my feet for too terribly long. After that we got some groceries and ate lunch. For dinner that night I ate waffles with peanut butter. I was very scared of messing up my stomach so wanted to take it easy.

Going to bed that night was easy sleeping wasn't as easy. For the past few days I had woken up at 4am and this was no different day. So I was up early for the marathon and got myself ready. Breakfast was not settling into my stomach at all. I ate a waffle with some peanut butter as my oatmeal tasted gross to me. My breakfast was probably only half the calories as I am used to before a long run, so my worries began.

The Marathon

We arrived at the Metrodome and found out we had to pay $20 for parking! Last year we didn't pay for parking but of course the Minnesota Twins were playing in town and we wouldn't be out of the parking lot in time for the game so we got charged for event parking. We headed over to the Dome and hung out inside until about 7:30. I figured we better head outside, and I wish we would have left earlier. There were so many people outside and already lined up. I was in wave 2 and it was nearly impossible to move my way up to the pace group. I pushed my way up, but only ended up next to the 3:50 group. I figured I would start there and see if I could catch up to the 3:40 group once the race started.

Standing at the starting line, my nerves really kicked in, and I started noticing how thirsty I was. I thought about taking a gel, but didn't do it. Looking back, I wish I had taken a gel. I obviously didn't eat enough for breakfast and really could have used a drink, but of course I will always have regrets.

Wave 1 took off and 3 minutes later we were off with wave 2. There were so many people at the start. I seriously don't remember this many people at the start last year. I was easily able to get into my slightly slower than marathon pace right away. Mile 1 was going great and then the cramp started. Who in the world gets a cramp at .5 miles when you are only going 8:30 pace?! I was baffled. I started relaxing my arms, blowing out, stamping my foot.....Nothing was working. Mile one, I hit at around 8:33, so fine, but the cramp was still there. Going into mile 2 was a hill. I read an article before the race about how you relax up this hill and let people pass you and I did. I hit mile 2 at 8:30, right where I wanted to be, but I still had the darn cramp. My plan was to speed up to 8:20 at this point and I did and also took a gel. A gel at mile 2 was not in the plan, but I needed to get rid of this cramp.

Mile 3-13 was about the same. I wavered around 8:12-8:30 pace and the cramp would NOT go away. I began slowing down around mile 13 as I was getting frustrated and I had to pee and thought a trip to the bathroom would help. My first half was in 1:51, so about a minute slower than my goal pace, but I figured if my body would cooperate, I would be ok. I stopped to go to the bathroom and I heard the clock ticking and my heart breaking. My stomach hurt and I couldn't do anything to make the pain go away. I knew I had 13 more miles to go and there was no way I was going to Boston with this race.

After leaving the porta potty, I obviously slowed down, but I at first thought I could at least get a PR. My first mile out of the bathroom was a 9:24 and I was hurting. My confidence began to sink and I knew this was going to be a mentally tough marathon. At this point my feet started to hurt. It was radiating pain. (At mile 6, I stepped in a pot hole and rolled over on my ankle.) I thought the pain was from the pot hole or from being tired so kept pushing through the pain. I knew I would see my family around 18-19 miles so promised myself if I could get to them, I would let myself stop to talk to them and get some spirit back in me. It was a tough 4 miles to find them. I started having an asthma attack (panic driven I am sure) so pulled out the inhaler. When I finally found them I stopped and told them I was done. I wasn't quitting the race, but I was done trying for Boston today. I figured I was only a few minutes ahead of the 3:50 pace group. I was not mentally in the mood to run a PR of only a few minutes, I wanted the big PR, so I decided I need to switch gears. I saw the 3:50 group run by and then...

I asked my sister to run with me. (Yes, I realize having someone run with you is not the most honest thing to do, but I needed the moral support, it was not planned, but a desperate thing.) So she ran with me for the next 7 or so miles. She made me laugh, she listened to me whine, she recorded me on her flip, she talked to me. She went whatever pace I wanted to go and let me walk when I needed it. My feet were in so much pain and my knees started hurting. I wasn't finishing this race to get a new PR, but I was finishing what I started. This was also when I realized that my husband was nowhere to be found. I knew based on his goal time that he should have been passing me and I never saw him. So I spent those 7 miles looking back wondering where he was. Those last 7.5 miles were pretty much a blur of pain and frustration but we knocked them off between 9:40-11:00 pace depending on if we walked or ran the whole thing.

At mile 25, I told my sister to meet me at the finish line and that I could do this myself. I told her to beat me there so she could watch. She got on the sidewalk and I kept running with her and then took off. She couldn't keep up with me anymore. I picked up my pace to 9:00 and the last .75 miles were at about 7:30 pace. It was downhill and I was so excited to be done. I jumped up and hit mile 26 (dumb mistake, didn't help my poor feet and I almost fell out of my shoes) and sprinted in. I would say I probably passed 100+ people in the last .5 miles.

The finish line clock wasn't working, not cool, so I had no idea what my time would be. I crossed in 4:09. Last year, I would have died for that time and here I was slightly disappointed in myself. I was so happy to be done and to have shared that marathon with my sister. I put on my smile and enjoyed my small victory.

I waited for Eric and he crossed 20 minutes later. Poor guy threw up 3 times at mile 16 and the course officials made him stop to drink and ask questions to make sure he was ok. Then he walked for a few miles because his legs were cramping up. He finished strong though with 3 miles of sub-7 minutes. My husband has never ran a 5k that fast since he was in high school and here he finished a marathon that fast. Amazing!


As I have posted recently, the only thing that was sore after the race was my feet and my side. My stomach/side was sore for 3 days. Talk about a wonderful cramp. My feet were sore for 2 days and then I ran in the same shoes on Thursday. Big mistake! The shoes were shot and my feet are now injured. I am now recovering from Plantar Faciitis.

Mentally, I am upset, but getting over it. Post-marathon blues are no fun. I just registered for a 1/2 marathon that is in a few weeks so that maybe my training can shine, but we will see. 2 marathons in 2 weeks is a new thing for my legs.

Will I do Twin Cities again? I have no idea! I can't seem to mentally break that course, but I could change my mind.


Lacey Nicole said...

oh my gosh you are running baystate? me too! it's my first. saw you on tall mom's list. HIGH FIVE! i'm sooo nervous!!!!!!!! i hope i can get to the finish okay. are you following a pace group?

Caroline said...

I am inspired by your persistance to finish this race so strong, and with such a great time, despite all the setbacks.

All those travel delays and traffic must've been quite the ordeal. And, then that cramp that wouldn't go away! It's great you had your sister there to keep you company for a few miles.

And, here you are just minutes away from a BQ, even with such a tough race! I would be really proud.

Mark said...

You persevered and put up a great time considering all the adversity you faced. You will get your BQ!

Lordyll said...

That's true, I also slow down when I'm from the porta-potties.