Wednesday, June 22, 2011

26.2 - BQ & Injury? Grandma's Marathon Race Report

How to put into words something you have worked, sweated and dreamed about for years? I want to shout from the mountaintops "I am a MARATHONER!". I feel like wearing my finishers' t-shirt everyday (and maybe my medal, race number...) but I digress.

I'm smiling because I had just seen my family. :)
Saturday morning we awoke to heavy rain in Duluth. It was not looking good for the 35th running of Grandma's Marathon. I had resigned myself to slogging along and kissing my time dreams good-bye.

Duluth is not a huge city so we had to stay about 90 minutes away in a whistle stop called Hinkley. Grandma's Marathon is a point to point race which meant I had to board a bus at 5:30....which also meant I had to wake up at 2:45 to leave at 3:30.  (Did I mention I have an amazing family that is so supportive of me?)

After getting a little bit lost we made it to the buses and I hopped aboard. It was raining heavily and my fellow racers and I commiserated about the weather for the 30 minute ride to the start. Literally as the bus pulled up to the start the rain stopped.  It remained cloudy & 50 degrees with a few sprinkles here and there, but throw in the tailwind and the weather was just about perfect.

Two nerve induced pit stops later it was time for the gun! Before the start the pacer had said he liked to go out fast and lose the people who couldn't keep the pace. I thought it was joke, but no, he took off like a bat out of you-know-where. The first couple miles were sub-8. I knew I couldn't keep that pace so I let them go. It's interesting with each race what your mantra ends up being and what gets you through. Saturday after those first 3 really fast miles I knew I had to run my race and this was my day. I relaxed into my own pace and settled in to run my race.

The course is beautiful. The first 18 miles are along the lake and you get really stunning views. I tried to take it all in and not just stare at the pavement the whole time!

I couldn't believe how quickly it all seemed to go. After all the months of training the actual race seemed to fly by. It remained rather uneventful until mile 23 when I felt a searing pain under the toes of my right foot. I knew I was on-pace but didn't have any time to spare but I had to check and make sure I was ok. I was certain that I was going to fine blood in my shoe but thankfully when I pulled off my sock I saw only a blister. I put on my shoe again and took off.

My amazing family met me at mile 25 with high fives and cheers. My hubby looked so proud and said "you're right on time!" and I knew my goal was in reach. I picked it up and killed the last 1.2.

Thank God I ran the last mile hard because my Garmin was off on time. The only thing I can think of is the auto-pause activated because the Garmin time was almost 2 minutes faster than chip time.

But can I just say either way I qualified. Barely. ;)  When it hit me at the finish line that I had run my race and hit my goal I was overcome and cried. That's when my daughter took this photo of me hugging my son. He is my biggest cheerleader and gave me the sweetest post-race hug. I'm so thankful that as I pursue this passion I have a family who supports me AND puts up with me!

Garmin time 3:43:31 (and 26.32 miles but who's counting?)
Chip time 3:45

Thank you sweetie for loving & encouraging me all the way to 26.2!

After the race I was hurting so off to the hotel for a little r&r. This photo may or may not have been staged.

Now for some rest and reverse tapering. I think I changed my gait in the last couple miles to compensate for the blister so I'm paying for that in my 5th metatarsal. No break but it's very bruised. I'm under Dr.'s orders for no running until it doesn't hurt any more. I'm trying to remember that as much as my brain is ready to hit the road again, I want to run for the long haul so it's ok to take a break to heal. To the pool I come! :)