Tuesday, October 23, 2012

2012 Empire State Marathon Race Report

Wow. My first marathon. As mentioned in my previous post, I went into this very undertrained. My max week of milage was about the milage of someone's long run alone. My sole goal was just to finish, although in my words to my coach when discussing the race plan, "I'll be annoyed if I don't break my IMLP time (5:25)." Really though, I didn't have high expectations going into this one - it was more of a "I'm not ready to have my season end in late August." (Just like the Vermont Half was a good part "I'm not ready to have my season end in late July."

Anyway, things did not get off to a good start. There was nowhere to eat the night before except Denny's or the hotel restaurant. I chose the hotel restaurant because it seemed to have more lighter fare to choose from. This ended up being a gross mistake. Not only was it horribly overpriced, I spent the entire night in the bathroom. Yes. All those carbs were going straight though. I was seriously worried that I would have to visit every portapotty on the course. This in addition to having a nasty upper respiratory cold.

So, we get up at 6, which is pushing it since the race starts at 7:30. WHY they felt the need to start a late-October marathon in upstate New York that early is beyond me. If anything, you want to wait for it to WARM UP that time of year.  Point being, all I have time to down is half a bagel. Fine for shorter races - didn't work here.  In the future, I will definitely be leaving more time so I can eat a heavier breakfast.

So we get to the race site, I pick up my packet, use the porta-potty, and basically try to keep from freezing my butt off.

Shivering in the cold.

Changed into my "disposable" hoodie.

Almost go time.
 They finally start rounding us up for the start. Who gives the opening speech but Katherine Switzer herself? Amazing! I was so disappointed that I couldn't see her from where I was standing. The downside of being 4'10". I meant to try to find her after the race, but as you'll find out, I got a wee bit distracted.

So they have someone sing the national anthem, and we're off.

The start. I'm really NOT at the very back, I swear.
Mile 1: Right away I realize two issues: 1.) I really really need to pee despite using the porta-potty right before the race and 2.) I'm hungry. Also, my quads don't feel super-fresh or ready to go.  On a positive note, I don't have my usual race-day tachycardia so am actually able to stick to my HR plan.

Mile 2:  I feel silly stopping so soon, but it's the first porta-potty and my teeth were floating. I try to get in and out of there as quickly as I can. (Yes, I know. I'm wearing tri shorts and should have just peed myself. I'm not THAT hardcore. Yet.)

Mile 3: Take my first 1/2 gel, still feeling really good although the hellacious headwind is not fun. I try to tuck in behind people the best I can.  At least this part of the course is pancake flat.

Mile 4:  I get passed by...a guy dribbling a basketball? Really? Still on flats with a howling headwind. Someone hands me a gel that dropped out of my race belt. Hmmm....that's never happened before. I just throw it in my top.

Mile 5: The first runner from the half-marathon (which started half an hour later) flies by. The guy next to me goes, "Holy SHIT!" I look over to him and say, "My thoughts EXACTLY." I'm really looking all over for Dr. Z at this point because I desperately want to dump the hoodie and am really hoping I don't have to throw it away.

Mile 6: Dr. Z finally catches up with me on his bike and I toss him my hoodie. I take the second half of my first gel right on schedule.

Miles 7-13:  The hills start. Holy crap. Luckily I'm still staying on plan, although I do let me heart rate climb a bit while jogging up the hills. Still taking gels on schedule. Very happy that my GI system is staying happy considering last night's poopfest. At one point I realize I've lost ANOTHER gel so I yank all the remaining ones out of my belt and throw them in my top.
Dr. Z couldn't resist a butt shot. You're welcome.

 I hit the halfway mat in 2:11.  These first 13 miles really did go by quickly and easily, even once the hilly section started. Every time I saw an aid station I was like, "I just ran another mile already?"

Halfway Mark
Miles 13-18: This is where is stops being easy and fun. I'm not about to blow up, but I'm really starting to work. The 13.1 mile mat is at the bottom of a hill so gnarly I have to sidestep vomit at the top of it, but I keep running - no walking here.


Full-on Hurt Face



At one point we have this stupid, really short out-and-back that's been added on. It's stupid because the course is already about a tenth of a mile long. Luckily the GI is STILL happy and I'm taking my gels on schedule. This is still all hills and my quads are really starting to hurt towards the last few miles.

After ten miles of hills - yeah, NO KIDDING. Dr. Z thought this was hysterical.

Miles 19-22:  We're finally back on the flat section, this time with a tailwind. Unfortunately at this point my quads are so fried it doesn't help much. I find people to run with to keep me going, but lose them and have to find new people after every aid station - the downside of having a plan to walk the aid stations. (I know, I could have started running through them at this point, but I really did like how the walk breaks broke up the miles.)  It is at this point I finally pass the Dribbler back.

How can he still be smiling at mile 20? Asshole.
Mile 23: This is where shit gets real. I'm not tired, my GI system feels just fine, but my legs HURT. On FIRE hurting. At mile 23.5 at 2:55 into race time, I walk for the first time (not including aid stations). I tell myself I can walk until I hit 3 hours, although I'm seriously not sure I can start running again. I almost start crying. Luckily someone else goes by me and I get moving again.

Miles 24-25: At this point, I tell myself that I can settle into my Ironman Shuffle and will still break 4:30, which keeps me going. I take my last gel, right on schedule. Just never had an upset tummy.

Mile 26: At this point I've turned into the parking lot of the stadium where the race started. My true 26.2 time is 4:25 and change - wish I had hit "Lap" on my Garmin to get the split. I'm completely tunnel-visioned at this point, but make it through at 4:27:30 GUN time, with a 26.38 mile course.
I'm in the background, coming down the finish line.

Finish: This is where it gets ugly. I cross the finish line and my legs just give out.

Legs give out.

Trying to get up.

I try to get back up, and the race announcer has me sit in his chair by the finish line. Unfortunately, at this point I start having an asthma attack, and brilliance her has forgotten her inhaler back in Lake Placid.


The EMTs come over and I spend the next half hour in medical on the nebulizer. I really did feel better after about ten minutes on it, but they always make you do a full treatment. I must have had my lungs listened to about ten times.

Once I finish up, they release me and I am one very sore but very happy girl. I thought Coach was nuts putting 4:30 as my time in TrainingPeaks, but I smashed that goal on a hilly course with a headwind so bad it pushed the truck around the entire way home. Oh yeah, and with almost NO training.

I have GOT to do another marathon with proper training someday. I really think I have a sub-4 in me. And now for nine weeks of well-earned rest. What a way to end the season!

Net Time: 4:27:01
Women's 35-29 AG: 23/41
Women: 106/228
Overall: 323/542

2 comments:

Mike said...

Congrats on an awesome race on little training and after having a " crappy" :-) night before the race!

You should come to St. Louis for a good PR course. One in April, one in October.

PipTook said...

Thanks Mike! I was very surprised with the results myself! Heh - don't tempt me - between the bike course of IMLP and this run course, I've about HAD it with hills. (Oh yeah, the Cowtown HM was all hills too. Jesus.)