After returning home to COLD Iowa I started looking for races and I also started researching the best training plans for running marathons. I wanted this one to go amazing if I was going to try and do this again. I found a Hal Higdon training chart that I knew I could follow. I read many articles on how to have a successful marathon and decided to take a lot of their advice.
The chart gave me 18 weeks until race day so I looked up marathons on a website called www.runningintheusa.com and chose a marathon 18 weeks out from that day and just registered for it. That one was Sunburst Marathon in South Bend, IN.
My training consisted of running 4-6 times a week. Tons of cross training. The more articles I read about people that finish successful marathons, those people swam, did yoga, did hip exercises, biked and lifted weights. I wanted more than anything to finish a marathon and not feel like it was a big deal on my body. I wanted to finish strong and still feel like I could run more.
I woke up between 4-5 a.m. every day except for Sunday and I trained hard. Most days I did at least 2 hours of working out. How did I have time for this? I was up before everyone else. It was hard, but I wanted to complete this goal.
Below is my story of the marathon and pictures.
First let's go to 10 days out from the marathon. I checked the weather and it looked like it was going to be hot. Too hot to be running for 5 plus hours. I was worried. I decided that on the next Fast Sunday at church that I would fast for the purpose of being able to finish the marathon strong and with nice cool weather and if the weather had to be hot that I would be able to handle it and finish anyway. I knew it was those two things (my health and the weather) that only God could control and I had no control over those things. I continued to pray over and over that the weather would be nice over the next 9 days. Two days before the marathon the weather report showed that it would be really nice on Saturday morning. 55 degrees with little wind, cloudy and lower humidity. I felt so blessed and knew my prayers had been answered. All I needed now was to wake up Saturday morning feeling well and rested.
I woke up that morning at 4a.m. I felt amazing. Tired, but ready. I taped up my knees, ankle, hip and foot. All of those places have caused me grief in long runs in the past however when I have KT tape on them, applied just like the video says at KTtape.com, I don't feel them at all. I applied body glide to my inner part of my arms, around every single toe and other places on my body that would possibly chafe. I ate an apple pie bonk breaker see link here and a tiny bit of peanut butter and drank water exactly 2 hours before starting the race.
At around 5:05 a.m. Jason drove me to the start line. We got there around 5:20a.m. and waited around. I was starting to get really nervous and nauseous. I knew I was scared. I found a place to lay down and put my feet up. That seemed to help. I went to the bathroom for like the 3rd time that morning and then went to the start line.
Miles 1-3 seemed like a nice warmup. I felt great, nothing hurt. I liked my pace, although a bit fast for me to keep up I thought, so I backed off a bit. I wasn't sure if I could keep that up.
Here are my splits:
Mile 1 10:12
I knew I did the first mile too fast, but felt good.
Mile 2 10:59
I was able to talk to people around me and feel good still. Met Paul from Rochester, IN. I asked him if he was from New York and he said no, Indiana. This is the first I learned that there is a Rochester in IN. He is a Martial Arts instructor. We ran together for a couple miles at least.
Mile 3 10:50
The sun was rising at this point. It was beautiful.
Mile 4 10:57
Mile 5 10:59
Mile 6 11:09
We went through a park, a goose hissed at me. There were tons of gnats and they were flying in my face and it was gross. There was steam coming off of the river beside me, that was awesome.
Mile 7 11:53
Mile 8 13:22 Running out of the park, saw a port-a-pottie and felt that I should take this opportunity. (I spent at least 2 minutes or more in the bathroom), obviously rested up because the next mile went so fast.
Mile 9 10:17 The 10K race joined up with us. Someone asked me if I was tired and I said, no not yet thank goodness, then they said "Congrats on doing the marathon, I could never do that." I said that I said that 5 years ago and now I'm on my 3rd marathon.
I don't remember the next 3 miles at all.
Mile 10 11:10
Mile 11 11:25
Mile 12 10:31
Feeling great still, wondering if I would be able to still feel this good later on. Was happy that there was a water stop almost every single mile. That was impressive. I remember running through neighborhoods and thinking that I was so glad most of the course was in the shade.
Mile 13 13:05 (Had to adjust my shoe, by taking it off putting more body glide on, met Jason and rolled my legs out with the stick see link here roller). Was so happy to see Jason. Asked him where the children were and he said they were still asleep in the hotel room.
Mile 14 10:50
Mile 15 11:05
Mile 16 11:22 Started to feel major discomfort in my foot where my KT tape had started to roll. Knew I needed to cut it back. Asked the guy on the medical bike if he had scissors. He said at the next water station they had scissors.
Mile 17 12:25 (had to take off shoe again and cut some tape on bottom of foot that had started to roll, applied some vasoline to toes). This was exactly what I needed.
Mile 18 11:09
Mile 19 10:58
Mile 20 11:42 (met Jason at end of mile 20 beginning of mile 21 and rolled out muscles again). I love that stick thing, it was perfect. However I didn't feel sore, so I was just so happy each mile was going so well. I thought I should pick up the pace at this point. But apparently I didn't do that as you will see from my pace.
Mile 21 12:12
Mile 22 11:14
Mile 23 11:14 saw Jason and waved him on. Told him I was good.
Mile 24 10:48 Started to feel hot and legs were tired. Steps were getting harder. Did a lot of run for .25 then walk a little. Apparently my pace didn't suffer during this.
Mile 25 11:09 Heard the bagpipes play again. That was so amazing. The same man played two other times in the race. I thought that was nice to hear. He was really good. I wonder if he played the entire race because every single time I passed him which was at least 3 times he was playing.
Mile 25.5 the dreaded steep hill. "Hallelujah hill" as they call it. It was so steep that I walked as fast as I could up it. I couldn't believe it. My legs felt like they would literally fall off when I reached the top of that dumb hill. Met Katie from GA, she wanted me to run with her to the finish. She said she didn't think she would make it if someone didn't run with her.
Mile 26 11:47 I was super warm by this point, couldn't wait to be done.
Last .54 9:39 pace I could see the finish line for at least the last quarter mile if not further. I was so happy that I made it this far and wasn't injured. I had this overwhelming sense of gratitude that I can't even begin to explain it. I was beyond happy. I felt amazing. Tired, hot and ready to be done, but amazing. My joy was intense. I checked my watch in the final tenth of a mile and I knew I'd make my goal of under 5 hours, barely, but I'd do it. Wow, what a bonus that was.
I went through the finish line and cried. Tears of happiness. The ladies at the finish asked me if I needed medical attention. I told them I was fine, just wanted my medal. They said, Are you sure, because you are crying. I said, "I'm so happy to be done and I'm feeling so good that I'm happy, these are happy tears, really I'm good, just want my medal. Then they put it around my neck.
As you can see I kept a pretty good pace for the entire thing. Looking back I felt like I took it easy for the first 18 or so miles and only pushed in the last 6-8 miles.
Every mile I was so extremely grateful to still be running without an injury. So happy and thankful. I did a little celebration to myself each mile marker.
I didn't hit a wall, at least I don't think so. I think if any point was hit that I felt I couldn't go on would be at that massive hill in mile 25.5. I couldn't believe such a steep hill would be put at the end of a marathon.
I accomplished 3 of my 5 goals which were:
1. Finish strong and feel amazing at the end without injuries
2. Beat your last marathon time
3. Complete marathon in under 5 hours
4. Complete marathon in under 4:45 hours
5. Complete marathon in under 4:30 hours
I completed the first 3 things and I'm extremely happy about how the race went. My new official marathon record is 4:59:49 which is a 54:31 minute personal record!
Placed 16 of 28 in my age group of 40-44
92 out of 134 Women
278 out of 357 overall
I'm ready to book another marathon right away!
|You can't see it well, but the bridge has the sign South Bend on it. This bridge ended up being two parts of our race course. It took us to a park. A nice shaded trail in a park. Very nice.|
|One of the football fields. I thought it was really nice. The actual football field was under construction so we didn't get to finish on the field like in past years.|
|I stood by this guy who showed the 5 minute mile pace line up. It was funny because when he saw me he said, "Really?" Guess I don't look like a 5 minute per mile pace. Whatever, I still finished strong and that's all that matters.|
|The start line. I was very nervous, but more ready for a long race than I have ever been.|
|Mile 20, picture taken by Jason. I was coming down a hill, feeling great still and keeping an average pace for me.|
|My watch with the miles, time and current pace. A marathon distance is 26.20 but apparently this course was a little bit longer, or I didn't cut all the corners. Either way I finished under 5 hours which was a Major goal of mine.|
Great things about the race:
Chip timing that was accurate
Plenty of water stops
Tons of volunteers
port-a-potties at every single water stop without lines
water and gatorade at every water stop
medical at many of the water stops.
Medical people on bikes riding by to help when needed.
Bib for your scrapbook
Signs everywhere on the course so you know exactly where to go at all times at every turn.
Mostly shaded course
Things that need improvement:
The expo (or what they were calling as an expo). There were a few tables with things to sell, but really it was only the Fleet Feet store with some stuff. No other vendors there. Only a few sponsors of the race were there with some freebie stuff to give away. Was hoping for vendors showing new running stuff.
Cold water is needed at the finish of the race. Only warm water was poured in cups and you had to walk a couple blocks to get that.
Bib could be a lot more exciting like colorful, with our name on it, or anything beside a plain bib.
Ribbon to the medal needs correct date on it.
Whoever is updating their Facebook page needs to respond to all questions
Shirt needs to say anything except for Sun Fun Run. This wasn't a Fun Run, this was a marathon and as such should have Marathon written HUGE on the front or back. This shirt was the same as the half marathon shirt. I feel that the marathon shirt should always be different.
More food and drinks at the end for EVERY finisher. There was chocolate milk, but apparently ran out WAY before I finished. There was only bananas when I finished, not acceptable.
Would I do this race again?
If I lived in Indiana maybe and only if I had someone at the finish line to give me a nice cold water. Since I don't live in Indiana I won't do this one again. I would choose a different marathon to do.