Sunday, June 18, 2006

Anyone know where I can get a new pair of quads?

Short version of Danielle's first marathon: I finished!

The long version:

Warning! I am going to ramble here, but when else will I get to ramble about my first marathon? Never! Plus, enough people have asked me how it went, that I figured if I write it here, I can just tell them to read this instead of me writing the same things repeatedly :-)

So I finished. But it was rough. I knew it wasn't going to be a good day when I woke up at 3am when Kori had to get up to catch the bus for the half marathon and my left IT band was throbbing near my knee. As I lay in bed trying to massage it, Kecia rolled over and said in a sleepy haze "Do you have fleas or something?"

I felt nauseous all the way to the starting line - the nerves were raging. The thunderstorms held off. For better or worse. It started out foggy and about 65 degrees, but the sun soon came out. By the end of the race it was almost 80 degrees. And humid. Now, I thought I was running a race in northern Minnesota to avoid running in such weather!

I did my 20 mile training runs at about 10:35 pace, so I knew I wasn't going to finish this sucker any faster. Very uncharacteristicly, we actually managed to pace ourselves and ran that pace or so to start out. I think we held this pace for ten miles or so. And then we followed Bill's race advice of "Start slow and taper." By the time we hit mile 13, I was feeling the way I felt at the end of our 20-milers. My IT bands, hamstring, and calves didn't hurt (the usual suspects), but my knees were unhappy the whole way as well as my right ankle and Achilles tendon (which I hurt in March).

But we kept truckin'. Considering I actually felt pretty good at the end of my last 20-miler, I am stunned at how miserable the last 6.2 miles was. It took me almost an hour and a half to do that bit. I think I was almost crying from how much my legs and feet hurt.

We ended up walking mile 25 and started running again for the last 1.2. There was conveniently a relatively short but steep downhill at the beginning of this mile. I am a good downhill runner so I just let go and it actually felt really good to lengthen my stride and when I hit the bottom of it, I just kept going with the long stride - it hurt so much less than my shuffling or walking did, so I went with it. So I booked it the last 0.7 miles or so. Granted, at this point "booking it" was about 10:30 pace, but considering that I was shuffling along at about 13:30 pace before we stopped to walk, that is practically sprinting. The adrenalin started hitting too, especially as I kept passing people and not a single person passed me in that bit.

About 5 miles before the end, I whipped out my ipod because I couldn't keep up with Kimberly and I wanted a bit of a boost. I kept it on until the end, but in the pocket in the back of my shirt, so it was hard to mess with it. During my little sprint to the end, what I thought was the worst song ever for running came on - "Ghost" by the Indigo Girls. But I went with it and totally belted out the entire song as I ran past people (it took my mind off the pain). I figured I didn't care if everyone thought I was weird - they could tell my backside that I was a freak as I ran past them :-) That song ended with the finish line in sight - at 26 miles. Then the song "Look at Miss Ohio" by Gillian Welch came on. While I really like this song (the reason it was on my ipod), this really is THE WORST SONG IN THE WORLD TO FINISH A MARATHON TO. I felt the energy being sucked from me as this uber-mellow song came on. But I finished, yay!

I had three goals. The first was just to finish. The other two were to not walk and to finish under 5 hours. One out of three is good enough! I figure it will be a lot easier to improve my PR if I start at 5:15 :-) And honestly, I was so happy to just finish I didn't care about the other goals. At breakfast this morning, another guy who ran it told me he was hoping to come in at 4:20 and with the heat and humidity he came in at the same time as I did (although I think he may have been overly optimistic about his projected time). But several people who had run multiple marathons before said they were about 20 minutes slower than other runs because of the heat. And if you need proof, Bill actually needed an IV at the end (he had us scared for a while).

Although apparently the heat didn't affect everyone. Barrett ran his first marathon in 2:48 - he came in 68th place. Insane! The boy freaking qualifies for Boston on his first try!

On the plus side, I think I nailed the hydration/energy thing - I didn't feel horribly dehydrated or lacking in energy. The heat kept me slow, but ultimately it was my legs that gave out. I don't know how to help that - do more long runs? Considering I hadn't been feeling great from the beginning of the run, it may just have been one of those days - we all have some days that are better than others for running and it seems largely random which days suck.

We did follow Pete's advice, and, besides being well hydrated, made sure we had a malt at the PortLand Malt Shoppe. Yum. But unlike he claimed, I did indeed notice Lemon Drop Hill - it was actually a pretty measly hill, but, at mile 22, I hurt no matter what I did :-)

But again, yay I finished my first marathon! And my "I can do better than that!" personality means I will eventually do another one. I am thinking fall is too soon, especially since I know from training for Chicago last year that training in the summer sucks. When we are having a slow blogging week, I will write about Kori's and my scheme to become rock stars.

12 comments:

Joe said...

congrats on finishing. first time around, that's all one should really hope for. good job!

Jamie said...

Joe's dead right. I know my first one was pain'n'suffering all around. Of course, almost all of them have been pain'n'suffering all around. At mile 20, it's always "Why do I do this to myself? I'm never doing this again! This is stupid!" Then three minutes after the finish, it's "When can I do another one?"

So, congratulations, and welcome to the club!

Danielle said...

So, you mean miles 20-26 never get any better? Man. To quote Kimberly from the weekend "You don't seem so crazy when you hang out with the crazies." She has a three week window after a marathon where you can't talk to her about running another one - I think I am probably the same way (although I know I'll do another, I just can't think about planning to do another quite yet :-))

lisa said...

congratulations! Way to press on with the granola music playing.

Mark said...

Nice one Danielle! I don't understand the old fashioned temperatures you American's like to use - this is the 21st century! ;-) - but sounds like it was hot and makes it an even greater acheivement. My 10km yesterday morning was also undertaken in brutal heat and humidity (30+ degrees C) but I'm not complaining as it was less than a quarter of your marathon after all...

Danielle said...

The funny thing is that since I deal with temperature stratified flows, my research life is in Celcius, yet I still can't seem to think of temps in my daily life in anything but Farenheit - I even get confused converting...

Did you meet your 10k goal? Or was it a bit too brutal out for that?

Mark said...

46min 25sec - maybe 3 or 4 minutes slower than I was expecting but at least the heat provides a credible excuse...

Danielle said...

Well, that is still speedy in my book!

Jamie said...

20-26 has been better for me in one marathon, the last one I ran. But I was basically just in low cruise for the first 18 or so, then kicked it up 'n' out for the last eight. Every marathon I've run for real, to get a good time, I've suffered the last six miles.

The time I qualified for Boston, I had screaming cramps in my calves quite literally from the 20 mile point on. My support crew thought I was dying.

Danielle said...

Well Kimberly's boss said that the end of a marathon is worse than child birth - no pain no gain, huh?

Speaking of which... At the start of the race there was this overwhelming smell of pot. About five miles from the start Bill overheard the people behind him say "We should make t-shirts that say 'No Pain, No Jane'" and said "I think we found our culprits..."

Jessica Deline said...

Congratulations. that's awesome!! great report :) And I know what you mean about improving your PR. Mine is almost identical. 5:14 is my PR and first and only marathon time recorded :)

Danielle said...

Yup, nowhere to go but up! (or would it be down?)

I am just going to point out here that Jessica is running a 50k in 11 days - if I get her to join our team, our badass quotient will go waaaay up...