This marathon marks one of the toughest races I have ran mentally and physically ever. I did not reach A, B, or C goal, but I did finish.
Friday was our travel day. We were up at 4 am to leave the house by 5 am since we were getting a lot of snow and wanted to make sure we got to the airport in time. We had a flight from Grand Rapids, MI to Atlanta, GA then a short flight from Atlanta, Ga to Savannah, GA. We arrived about 12 noon. Picked up the rental car, eat lunch and headed to our AirBnB. We got the little one down for a nap and got settled. We decided to make pasta at the villa for dinner since I never know what to eat the night before a race since I do not was any GI issues. I decided to just pick up my bib the morning of race day since it was at a hotel that was 20 min drive from our villa. I even went to bed at a decent time after checking the weather which said it would be low 60’s-mid 60’s and cloudy.
Saturday morning we got up at 6 am. I had a little breakfast and was getting everything ready that the hubby and little would need (diaper bag, snacks, books, toys, clothes). I just was not feeling ready. My calves were a little tight, my neck was sore from sleeping, had an awful cough, and just in a funk. We got to the start about 7 am and picked up my bib. It was cloudy, the roads were wet from the rain the night before, and a little muggy. By the start time- 8am- the clouds went away and it was sunny, humid, and about 64 at the start. I remember saying this is going to be a hot one.
All of the race distances started together (26.2, 13.1 and 8k), which I do not like because I am very competitive that I try and stay with the half marathoners. I started running about a 7:30 min/mile, but was fighting hard for the paces. We were running on a highway. It was wet and slippery and slopped. My legs were in trouble. We got to the bridge (hill) at mile 6 ish. I read about this in the website, but I must have missed the you are going to run it 4 times! It first time up was great and loved the downhill.
We ran inside a park and hit a trail- WHAT? I do NOT run trails. I slowed my pace since it was muddy and I did not want to fall. Luckily it only lasted about .25 mile. Then back to the hill we went at mile 8.5. I was still doing okay but fighting for my paces. I was the third female overall at this point.
About halfway I fell apart. My quads and calves were cramping. I was very dehydrated. I was taking water at every aid station, but the humidity was killing me slowly. I tried to fuel, but it was not settling so water and Gatorade were my options. I fought really hard until mile 18. I saw my hubby and daughter for the 4th and last time. I had not walked at this point. I told the hubby I was hurting. I grabbed my water bottles from him and walked to the aid station that he was just in front of. Filled one with water and one with Gatorade. This is when my body took over and told me that this was going to be a fight. I was still 3rd female overall. I was now averaging an 8-8:30 min/mile. I ran until 21 when we had to run up that hill again. I ran up and down it for the third time. On my way down the 3rd female passed me and said “were you really in front because all I have seen female wise is 2 others in blue tank tops”. I replied as “YES TODAY IS NOT MY DAY” I thought that was very rude and I was so mad and upset.
Miles 21-23- I was running/walking and was averaging about 11 min/mile. Mile 23 hit and up that dreaded hill ONE MORE time. When I was walking up it, I facetimed my husband and told him I did not think I was going to make it. He told me do not worry about time just finish. I will see you soon. So, the last 3 miles I did not walk. I wanted to so bad. I hurt everywhere. We even had to run through a field- remember what I said about trails- same goes for fields. Anything that is not pavement, I do not run on. Back on that highway for the last about 1.5 miles. It was boring, hard, hot, and I wanted to quit. I didn’t. I wasn’t going to let a bad time stop me from finishing. We got back to the park we were finishing at and had about half mile left. I kicked it into gear and was running a 7:22 min/mile. I could not feel my legs moving anymore. I crossed the finish line at 1:41:55. 1st in my age group and 8th female overall.
I know some people would kill to have that time, but I know I am way better than that time. I have had so many good races that I forgot what it was like to have an awful one. It is just a race and there will be more. I know that I need to focus on water intake and nutrition the few weeks leading up to a marathon. Sometimes conditions are just on ideal and your body is not 100%. I normally do not set time goals for races, but I have been lately and it is causing me anxiety to push my pace when I am not 100%. Therefore, I am going to go back to my no time goal races and just run off how I feel for the day. We all know we have good days and bad days when it comes to running. That Saturday was just a bad day. I will have more bad days I am sure, but I am going to learn from them to make me a stronger runner.
It is time to put this race in the history file and look at what is to come. I have a half marathon in March and Boston in April.