On Sunday morning I ran my 9th marathon. I had a very specific time goal in mind. I had trained hard for that time. I knew I was capable of getting that time. But it didn’t happen.
I arrived in Springfield, Missouri Saturday afternoon with my friend Tish along with two of her children and one of their friends. Tish used to live in Springfield so we stayed with a close friend of hers in the area. It was great! We got our packets, ate dinner early and I felt very at peace Saturday night when I was laying out all my gear.
Sunday morning was fall back on the time change which was also very ideal! I think I was able to get at least 7 hours of sleep which is a lot for me the night before a marathon. (I’m usually in bed awake worrying but I did much better this time.) We left for the race by 5:50 and were there by 6:30.
At the start it was about 35 degrees and windy but temps would mostly be in the 40’s-50’s for the race. The wind got up to about 13 mph but wasn’t as much of an issue as this race.
My magic pace number was 6:45. I wanted to hit that pace or close to so I could go sub 3. I could do this for 3 hours right? At least that’s what I was telling myself.
Miles 1-5: It took a few miles to find my pace. This was the only section I was really “with” other runners. The half and full marathoners split off right before the one mile marker so the race crowd got small in a hurry. A lot of turns and rolling hills in this section from the getgo. I knew there were a few women up ahead (although I couldn’t see them) but I didn’t know how many. The pack I was running with was all guys.
(6:45, 6:46, 6:39, 6:36, 6:55)
Miles 6-10: Around the 10K mark I settled into my own place and was really on my own the rest of the race. I could see the two guys in front of me go back and forth on placement but I was on my own. Every mile seemed to drag by so slowly. Somewhere around mile 10 someone shouted to me that I was the third female. I knew first and second had to be way up there because I never saw them.
(6:46, 6:44, 6:50, 6:49, 6:46)
Miles 11-13: I kept talking to myself and knew I just needed to make it to the half way point. That was my first goal. Get to the half marathon point and keep a 6:45 average.
(6:44, 6:43, 6:47)
Half Marathon Split: There was not an official checkpoint for this- I just looked at my watch and made note of the time. I knew I needed to be under 1:30. This is actually my first time ever to be under 1:30 at the halfway point of a full marathon. Last fall at this time my half marathon PR alone was a 1:28 so I reminded myself that this is progress no matter how the last half went. I had about a minute of pace wiggle room the second half which isn’t much but it was there when I needed it.
Miles 14-18: Towards the end of this stretch the guy that had been following me for about 10 miles (and breathing very loudly which was annoying) decided to finally pass me. It was exhausting trying to keep my pace and listen to this guy move up like he was going to pass and then fall back. Fine. Go for it. Then I won’t have to hear you breathing. I was getting tired but I did the mental math at 17 and knew if I just kept it at a 7 min pace I would still make my goal. Could I at least keep a 7?
(6:46, 6:46, 6:50, 6:49, 6:46)
Miles 19-26.33: And this is the section I wanted to quit all together. I hit the wall HARD and could not move my legs any faster. My pace fell apart and I wanted the race to be over so bad. Somehow I managed to pass back the loud breather after two miles of following him. And once I passed him I never heard him again. As much as my pace slowed no one passed me on this section which was surprising. From mile 19 on all I saw were 7’s. No more 6’s. And mile 23 was a 7:44?! A full minute off my pace…. My mind had checked out. And this was the most populated section of the course. These miles are the last section of the half marathon course as well so I started seeing a lot of walkers. They were very encouraging and would cheer for me when I passed them. I just wanted to say, “I’m not fast- can’t you see I’m dying over here?!” Or “I wanted to be so much stronger than this.” I didn’t feel like I deserved any of their sweet encouragement. I just wanted to stop running. The last 10K of Boston felt SO MUCH BETTER than this. Then a bike pacer guy came around mile 24 and led the way the last two miles. I guess he was doing this for the overall winners? I knew I was still in third but I didn’t know how much of a lead I had and I really didn’t want to get passed the last mile! Tish had run the half and was waiting for me right before mile 26. She ran with me a few feet to cheer me on.
Once I made the final turn I could see the big finish. I saw a 3:02 and at least wanted to make it in before it went to 3:03. I was tired, mad and frustrated at myself but I made myself smile when I crossed the line. It was still a PR and I needed to be happy about that. It did not go the way I wanted but I needed to be thankful and appreciate the fact that I finished and had still run my fastest marathon ever.
(7:02, 7:09, 7:05, 7:22, 7:44, 7:25, 7:26, 7:21, 2:09- 6:29 pace)
|Photo Courtesy of Jaime- thank you!
Official Time- 3:02:40 (6:58 avg.) 3rd Overall Female/ 13th Overall
Official Results can be found here.
After the race I was able to meet up with my friends and meet runner FB friend Jaime. It took a few minutes to regroup but they were all very encouraging. I decided not to focus on the failed sub 3 goal but to be happy with my PR no matter how big or small.
|Tish, Jaime & I|
I was also able to talk with the first and second place females at the awards. They have each run faster on other courses. This made me feel good about at least setting a PR here. The winner has run a 2:37 before and is a two time Olympic Trials qualifier. And that explains why I never saw her on the course…
|Top 3 women finishers|
|Tish set a HUGE half marathon PR (1:36:28) and won 2nd place in her AG. Way to go Tish!|
Best Race Shirts Ever:
This really deserves its own section. LOVE the race shirts they made this year. Front and back are so cute!
Post Race Thoughts:
I WILL get that sub 3. It will happen. I had to remind myself that exactly one year ago I ran a marathon this same weekend and my time was 3:11. Here we are 12 months later and I have cut 9 minutes off my time since that race. I know I just need to be patient and keep working at it. It’s so easy to find myself thinking about what I did wrong and not look at the positive. Those last miles of a marathon can be very mentally and physically draining- especially when things do not go as planned. I quickly remind myself that I’m healthy and get to do what I love but more importantly I am surrounded by people I love daily.
Although in this particular race I never felt a moment of pure running joy I know it will happen again. For some reason this race never felt “easy.” Even in the early miles. The pace was easy (the first 18 miles anyway) but mentally it was exhausting from the start. I might have stressed myself out too much? I’m not sure. Lots of lessons learned for for next time…
The St. Judes Memphis Marathon is coming up next month and it will be my next attempt at a sub 3. I will be writing more on “back to back” marathoning coming up but this will be my 4th time to do something like this. (Piggy back one marathon off the training of another.) For some reason I have always done better the second time around. I’m hoping this will be the case again.
I better wrap this up. I’m ready to move on and look ahead. Thanks for the encouraging Facebook, Daily Mile messages and texts. I appreciate it!
|Note from my Abi when I got home. This made me smile and laugh. So sweet!|