Saturday, March 23, 2013

Allstate 13.1 Marathon: Recap

Embrace the suck. (And this post because it may be long.)

That is all I can say about this race. Okay. That is a lie. I have a lot of thoughts. And not many of them are happy thoughts. Well, minus that it's over. That was a really happy thought some time around 11:05 this morning.

Oof. Want a race where everything can go wrong? Step right up Allstate 13.1 Marathon!

I guess I should start from the beginning.

I had mixed senses of confidence on how this was going to go for a while now. Last week I went out and did a 10 mile tempo that put me at ease...until this past Wednesday when I did a 30 minute tempo that had me totally doubtful. Always an awesome final run before the race.

My half PR is 1:53:14. I knew it would be work to beat that with where I am at right now, but I was going to give it one hell of a shot. That was the plan.

And then I kind of did everything wrong that I could prior to a race.

I haven't had a drink in about a month and what did I do, had one last night. fail. I didn't run Thursday or Friday but I spent an hour on the elliptical Thursday and Friday did the elliptical then an hour on the trainer (which my ass TOTALLY felt today).

I loaded up on veggies yesterday and also ate a non traditional dinner. You know things that are smart when you haven't been able to get through a single run without a bathroom break in like a month (sorry but I'm not sorry, me and bathroom problems go hand in hand).

In spite of this I woke up at 5:45 this morning bright eyed and bushy tailed with excitement that it was race day. Kind of the only reason to get excited when you alarm is buzzing at that hour!

I decided since my stomach was feeling weird to have get things moving, which I always avoid on race days.

I also ate a different breakfast than normal - but plain - two kashi waffles.

But, the coffee was not working and when I left my apartment to head to Queens I figured I would get there with a ton of time to walk around, warm up and get settled before the race.

Well, that would not be the case. I was set to meet my running bud at Port Authority at 7:30. I showed up a little bit before that and she did not...until 8:00. In that period of time of me waiting, also my (TMI again, sorry) period decided to show up days early. THANKS BODY.

Anxiety levels were slowly rising. The 7 wasn't running from PA so we had to hit up the N to the 7. By the time we got to the race it was 15 minutes before start time. The bag check is a hike away from the start line so we literally had just enough time to rush there, have like 10 seconds in the bathroom then get to the start. We inserted ourselves just as the anthem was being sung and pretty much were off.

As we started running I definitely was feeling a bit stiff. I could tell it was going to take some time to settle in and get warmed up but was okay with that. I accidentally smoked my first mile in 8:33 but didn't feel that was a totally out of reach pace for me, but nonetheless tried to tone it back and slowed up a little bit.

The next couple of miles I managed to settle into a bit of a groove. I was trying to get on that pace that just feels sustainable. Problem was twofold however: within that first mile my stomach was rebelling, and the wind. Oh dear lord sweet baby Jesus, the wind. WHY. For the record there were a few minor stretches where it wasn't too bad (but then was really warm) but holy shit that wind was a effing killer today and it was COLD (and profanity was being spewed from my mouth for approxomitely 2 straight hours.

As we passed mile 4 I knew that I had to stop so made porto potty pit stop numero uno. I seriously tried to make it as quick as possible but there is only so much time to do your business and pull on and off sweaty spandex. Mile 5 was a slower 9:35.

After that stop I was trying to make up the lost time. And from here on out, mentally the race was lost with me. I felt so defeated that my stomach within another mile was in knots that I was ready to throw in the towel. I had to stop at the bathroom yet again.

And each time, I lost the groove I was in and had to get out get going again into the wind (which god I swear felt like I was standing still or attempting to run through quick sand at points) and I just wanted to quit. By the first stop I knew I had killed all chances of trying to PR and started having the mental fight of why bother challenging myself anymore and pushing. It really took a lot of willpower to not just phone it in and dial the pace back and be comfortable half way through.

Then, there was the bridge on the out and back loop that we got to cover not once, but twice. They definitely changed the course from the previous two years as well. But that stupid bridge I wanted to punch someone as I went over it.

On the second out and back I finally decided that I should maybe take a gu because I needed energy; and did right before mile 10...which then resulted in a rather long bathroom break. I mean seriously body - WE ARE STRAIGHT UP IN A FIGHT at this point. Once that one happened, I really lost the energy to push it. I was going to have to bust out some killer miles to finish it off to get sub 2 hours and honestly, I was spent. I was tired of trying. Tired of pushing. I just wanted to cross that finish line and didn't have the strength (mentally) to push myself anymore.

I am not sure if I have ever been so damn happy to see a finish line. I did manage to push out of pride for that last bit to bring in the final bit at an 8:30 pace - which side note there wasn't much wind and that felt fine so note to self I definitely have a better half in me - but lord I crossed that finish line and was just 100% PISSED.

I feel bad a man came up to me right after to say I pushed him and he was chasing me in the last 3 miles and great race, and bratty Gianna was nice, but I wanted to hit someone.

F You Wind and Stomach
Here are my splits. Womp, womp. 

Split Time
1 08:33.3
2 08:46.1
3 08:54.2
4 08:44.4
5 09:35.6
6 08:57.2
7 08:58.3
8 09:14.6
9 09:08.1
10 09:15.8
11 11:08.7
12 09:17.4
13 09:16.6
14 02:11.3
 Summary 02:01.4

I make no illusions that I was going to PR but this from Garmin makes me feel a bit validated in that I had a better race in me:

Moving Time:1:58:39
Elapsed Time:2:02:01

Avg Pace:9:12 min/mi
Avg Moving Pace:8:57 min/mi
Best Pace:6:22 min/mi

This was one hard earned medal I tell you.
And for the third year in a row to go with these:

Take aways from this race and where do I go from here. Man. This was a hard one. Because most of what went wrong was out of my control. I don't know what to do about my stomach we were doing so well for a good clip there. But lately it's just awful. I need to get back to my totally strict diet and pray for the best. Because days like today are totally unacceptable. I haven't gotten TOO upset on stopping during my training runs but during races, and multiple times, that just kills my spirit.

The wind...also can't do anything about the weather conditions. However my race would have been more acceptable in my eyes without those bathroom breaks. And I think had the breaks not happened I would have had a lot more fighting spirit in me and been able to dig a lot deeper to pull out some better splits.

Oh and my foot. Yeah. It was hurting. Quite a bit. But honestly my stomach issues were far more pressing that I didn't even focus on it at the time it was more just nagging and annoying and occassionally I would think to myself, definitely still hurt, hope this doesn't last.

I did still push for this race despite the challenges. Even those last couple miles weren't that bad pace wise and that was when I eased up knowing I was not going to get under 2 and just kind of didn't care anymore.

Mental focus isn't something I lose too often - but good god I just wanted this race to end. I wish I had a script for what was going on in my head throughout. I spent a good chunk thinking that I hate running. Saw the guys with the NJ Marathon jackets spectating and was like mother of god another full in a few weeks, I am nuts. Oh and an ultra after that, even more stupid. I am insane. Followed up with berating myself for being weak and to man up.

Where I am going from here with my training - back on the speed work. I do think I need to start doing a lot more speedy runs with speedy friends. My friend whom I would push last year, smoked it in 1:50:07 today! Total run envy and I totally need to get back to doing more runs together even if I am chasing her around. I think I need to stop focusing on pace and more training by effort.

So now I am spending some quality time with my legs up, pro compression socks on, icing my foot (which is oh so not happy right now) and just relaxing. I will say my legs are BEAT and it has been a long long time since I have had soreness from a run.

Oh and of course - stomach has been 100% fine since the race.

Bad races happen. I will get over this. And reasons I know that I 100% love it: I cannot wait to run tomorrow with my running buddy. I was humbled greatly today but I will have my day and knock it out of the park. I just need to not overthink it.

But, again body, we are in a fight. Just for today, I kind of hate you for failing me.


  1. I'm so sorry it was a rough race, but I feel like this is where you gain the mental fitness. Even though you knew you weren't going to PR, you kept at it and kept going. I'm sure that'll pay off in another race!! Nice job pushing through :)

  2. You are right- bad races will happen. And with all you had against you (wind, period, bathroom stops) you ran a pretty phenomenal time! Somehow I've lucked out and never had a bathroom stop in the middle of a race, but I know my day is coming...

  3. I gotta admit... I say "THANKS A LOT, BODY!" every time my period comes, even when it comes right on time. I freaking hate it.

    Dude, this sounds like it was a beast of a race. Did ANYONE in the blog world enjoy it? The good news is that you've proved you can push through even the worst conditions. It's only up from here, right? Congrats on what is ultimately a pretty awesome finish.