On Saturday, I ran my 3rd marathon. My first in 10 years. It really was an amazing experience!
After walking around the Strip for a couple hours Friday afternoon, Katie and I headed to Mesquite, NV. We checked into our hotel, settled in, and then met up with George for a carbo-loading dinner. I ordered the Chicken Parmesan, and it was mediocre at best.
I headed to bed early - only to awaken around 11 pm with a stirring in my tummy.
**TMI alert** I had to spend some time in the bathroom; it wasn't very pretty. I was so afraid the smell would wake up Katie!
Luckily, I was able to fall back asleep, but I was nervous about the race. Would I be able to make it through the race without any more tummy issues?
My alarm was set for 5 am, and when I woke up at 4:30 I laid in bed until the alarm went off. I was excited, but I wanted as much sleep as possible. Finally I crawled out of bed, got dressed, and we headed down to breakfast. The fine folks at the Holiday Inn Express were kind enough to open their continental breakfast a couple hours early for all of us crazy marathoners. I had a bagel with cream cheese, and it was delicious!
The marathon was a point-to-point course, so we hopped on a bus around 6 am to take us to the start line.
|Ready to run!|
THANK YOU to everyone who offered me advice on what to wear for a cold weather marathon, but ultimately, I chose adorableness over warmth.
It was COLD, but I wasn't miserable. True, I might have appreciated another long sleeve layer and/or a turtleneck layer to cover my neck and maybe another layer covering my bum, but I definitely didn't freeze. I was more afraid of overheating, and that definitely didn't happen. :)
Besides, it was super fun to get all kinds of comments on my outfit. When you feel cute, you run cute. LOL.
As you can tell, there was snow on the ground at the start, and YES, there was the slightest of flurries falling from the sky. Combine that with the mountain in the background, and the start was absolutely gorgeous.
|It looks a little dreary here, but it really was so pretty.|
We did our 1st mile in 9:39. Whoo hoo!! I wasn't tired, but I decided I wanted to take a walk break. I hadn't set a timer for 10:1 intervals, so I decided I'd walk one minute at every mile. Katie had never run intervals like this before, but she decided to give it a try.
Since I had those tummy issues in the middle of the night, I didn't want to take any chances, so when I saw the first port-a-potty around mile 6, we decided to wait in line to use it. SEVEN MINUTES LATER because of the line, not because I was in there that long we were back on the road. Ugh! In all reality, I probably could have made it another 3 miles until the next port-a-potty, but once the decision had been made to wait, we decided to wait.
|At least the scenery was pretty while we waited!|
Just past mile 9, we crossed the state border from Utah to Arizona.
Whoo hoo!! One state down, two to go. Little did we realize that we'd really only be in state #3 for less than 1/2 mile. AZ was the bulk of our race, for sure.
Katie and I were just enjoying the course - chatting here and there, taking in the scenery, having a great time.
My first little wall came at mile 12. There was still so much more to go. I was cold. My legs were already getting tired. We weren't even halfway there yet!!
And then all of a sudden, we crossed over the 1/2 marathon start line.
|Pretty classy start line, right?|
It totally took me by surprise; the first half had just flown by! The time isn't exactly accurate, because I had to turn around to go back and snap the pic.
My intention had been to start my music at the 1/2 marathon mark, but around mile 11, Katie had attempted to turn on her ipod and it wouldn't come on. I didn't really need music, and I felt a little guilty turning mine on, when she didn't have the option of turning on hers, so I continued just enjoying the course.
Just after we passed the 17-mile marker, we were faced with the first huge hill.
Me: Why do most marathons have a nasty hill around mile 17 or 18? And by most, I mean the two I've done. But I do think I've heard others complain about hills at this point in other marathons, too.We walked up most of the hill, and therefore, most of mile 18. Little did we know, that was the first of many treacherous hills to come. What?! I thought this was going to be a mostly downhill, flat course?!
At mile 20, I started to get really excited. ONLY A 10K LEFT TO GO!! I couldn't believe it! I'd exceeded my longest training run (19 miles) and still felt relatively okay. Pretty much everything below my waist was sore, but without any pain, and time was flying by!
We were getting so close to the finish, but the thought suddenly came to me around 20.5 miles that I could turn on some music without headphones that we could both listen to. Yay!!
I turned on the Fit to Fight mix that I'd downloaded from RockMyRun. This is a great mix filled with lots of run-inspired songs that get me pumped up. A few minutes in, Break My Stride started.
Me: Katie, this song is making me cry!With almost every following step and every mile marker passed, I got a little more emotional. This was really happening. I was almost a marathoner. Again.
Katie: Why? What's it saying?
Me (singing): ♫ Ain't nothing gonna break my stride. Ain't nothing gonna slow me down. Oh no. I've got to keep on moving. ♫
Me: I ♥ running to this song. I usually belt it out loud and run as fast as I can. So. Much. Fun!!
We'd done pretty good with our race strategy up to this point - taking minute walk breaks at every mile. With a few extra walks sprinkled here and there. We gave that up after mile 22, and just walked whenever we needed.
At mile 22, there was an aid station with a very peppy volunteer. So peppy that she inadvertently (I hope) lied to all the runners. There always has to be one, doesn't there?
Her: Only 4 more miles to go! Not really a lie. This is the last long hill. Big, fat, HUGE lie!With every hill, we
Thankfully, Katy Perry's Roar came on to help us up one of the crazy hills.
Me: I'm going to sing it for you. ♫ YOU got the eye of the tiger, a fighter, dancing through the fire 'Cause YOU are a champion and WE'RE gonna hear YOU roar. ♫Kind of dorky, I know, but singing it like that to Katie, really helped motivate ME to keep on going.
Finally, we made it to the 5k start.
The end was near. So exciting!
Until we hit mile 24.
Me (screaming): WE'RE SO CLOSE YET SO FAR AWAY!!But seriously, no one gives up at that point, right? Even if we walked the entire rest of the marathon, we would definitely finish.
Just past mile 25, we saw the biggest hill of the marathon
Me: Do you think we'll have to tackle that hill, too?We watched the guy in front of us to see if he turned before the hill. Nope. He started trekking up that damn hill.
Me: We're so close to the end, and it looks far enough away. I bet we turn off before it.
Katie: No, I bet we'll have to go up it.
Me: No, it's too far away. The finish would be halfway up the hill. We must turn off before it.
Me: Oh, I really didn't want you to be right.So, we slugged up the hill from 25.5 to 25.9 miles. Booo. Who plans a hill that close to the finish?
Katie: I didn't want to be right, either.
We picked up the pace at mile 26, and when I saw that finish line, I gave it my all and finished strong. It felt great!
|WE DID IT!!|
I couldn't help it. I broke into tears after crossing that line. I had done it. I'm a marathoner again. And I'd do it again!
I paused my watch at 5:21:44.
There weren't any sensors at the start, so everyone had the same start time. Apparently, it took us 13 seconds to get to the start.
We didn't get Katie a sub-5, but we did get her a 13-minute PR. Definitely a WIN!! You can read her recap here.
Overall, I really enjoying this race!
It was really well organized.
The aid stations were nicely placed, every 2-3 miles. They always had water, and some sort of candy - from Red Vines to M&Ms. Some of them had pretzels, and usually there were gels or Hammer Heed energy drink. There was always something that I needed right at that moment. Honestly, I probably could have easily run this without my hydration vest.
This was definitely not a marathon for spectators. It was really small, so there was no point along the course where there were crowds cheering you on. In fact, the course was on an open highway. Sometimes, the drivers at least waved as they passed by. :)
I'm mostly a solo runner. I was a little nervous to run with someone, but it turned out to be amazingly fun to run this with Katie. We ran a lot of it in silence, but it was nice knowing she was there if I ever need to talk or walk or whatever.
The second half of the course was tough, but it was worth it, and I'd definitely consider running this one again. Next year, it will be in November, so hopefully it will be much warmer.
Did you race this weekend?