Wow. This is the last race report I’ll have all year for the year of 2009. I really wish I had a great report to end the year off right, but alas, it wasn’t in my cards, but it seems that people like to read about me exploding so that shall entertain you for sometime hopefully. The weekend was a complete blast though, so that is the upside of this cold race. Also, my running twin Aron, BQ’ed this weekend and I was so happy to be there for that, albeit a bit behind her in the race, but I did get to see her and I am so happy for her. You can check out her blog if you want a happy race report! :) There are many signs of fail during this post. Hang tight people, we all know I love to talk.
I flew up Friday night and was well rested and excited to run. I had many people telling me that the rest I’ve taken was sufficient and though my legs felt tired they would pull through. As I stated in my post CIM goals post, I was tired, and I was scared my legs weren’t going to corporate. Well, they got me to the finish, and pretty much that was all I could ask for.
We drove up to Sacramento on Saturday and I felt okay, but once we got there, I was freezing. I am NOT used to cold weather at all. Call me whatever you want, but it’s just not what I deal with down here in southern California, and I don’t have warm weather clothes. I was wearing a long sleeve and short sleeve over top and my peacoat, but I think I’ve come to realize that my peacoat is not for warmth but more for ‘I’m wearing a cute peacoat!’ Not bueno. Walking to the expo I realized I would for sure be sporting my capris come race day and also my long sleeve Zensah shirt. I knew that my little southern California body was going to die without warmth and the race would be miserable if I was completely frozen the entire time.
Saturday night was dinner at California Pizza Kitchen and I had the same thing I ate before Long Beach. We went to bed at a reasonable time after I got my heart broken by watching USC lose to ARIZONA. That was a sign of fail for sure.
I woke up Sunday morning and was ready to go. I felt great and besides being freezing, but I told myself to man up. I did my hair in monkey buns and they were pretty amazing, so that was a bonus. I put on my ear warmers, mittens, sweats, Uggs and got my gear check bag ready and put on my timing chip. I dressed up like a ninja and was still in good spirits.
We walked downstairs and waited for what seemed like forever. Finally, we boarded the bus after annoyingly having to walk to the convention center when there were buses all lined up on the street (sign two of fail) Then the longest bus ride of my life ensued and the whole way I was thinking, “This is a LONG WAY!” Ugh, I am realizing I hate point to point races. Of course we were on the bus where a mutiny almost broke out about the heater being on, and people were on the verge of yelling at each other. That was awkward and sign three of fail.
We get to the starting line, walk to the porta-potties, which little did I know would soon be my best friends, and we all go pee really quick. This point I was feeling really good. I had all my stuff together and though I was col, I was excited. The gear check was a MESS with people throwing bags into trucks and clothes flying everywhere. That was pretty disappointing and I’ve never seen anything as horrible as that gear check, they also, come to find out, post race lost my friend Nicole‘s bag and made her walk all over asking for it, and were not any help. Sign of fail numero four. My bag was tossed in over people’s heads and I crossed my fingers that I would be able to find it at the finish line. I got into the starting line pack with Maritza and started around the 4:15 pace group. I cannot tell you how many people told me they liked my hair at the starting line. If I hear I like your buns from a guy one more time I might have punched someone. I know I like to start farther back and find my pace and run my own race. It was chipped time anyways, so it didn’t matter where I started or who I started with. The beginning of the race I may have taken out a tad too fast, but I felt really good and I kept thinking I was going to warm up.
Mile one was good but crowded. I felt like I was weaving for a while and people were walking? That was kind of weird. I was still freezing. The beginning of the race went well, though I do remember going through the first water stop and almost slipping on some water that had frozen on the ground. I thought that might be a sign of bad things to come. I was pretty consistent though and felt good. My legs were keeping up and I wasn’t tired at all. I ditched my mittens at mile 6 because they were annoying me. Sign of fail number five. I should have NEVER ditched them. My hands became frozen and tweeting during the race was not going well! Every aid station I passed I took a drink.
I was running well, even though I was still very cold, and at mile 6 I took my first sandwich with the course drink, Ultimo, which I think lead to my problems in the upcoming miles. I was still feeling pretty good and then about mile 11 I realized that I was getting sick. I was to take my next sandwich at mile 12, but couldn’t find a station to drink anything, I know perhaps I should have brought my own drink, whatever. Mile 11 to mile 13.1, when you have to go to the bathroom is a long way to go. There were no bathrooms along this path and I felt like a lot of the race I was looking for a bathroom or an aid station and there were none. I finally found a bathroom at the half way point and had to wait in a line for it that was four people deep. Sign of fail number six. I had no other choice but to wait. Then after going to the bathroom and waiting who knows how long I started jogging again and felt okay, took my 2nd sandwich at the aid station this time with water, I just pulled to the side of the road and ate it because I knew I needed nutrients. I felt okay for about a mile and then threw up in the bushes. Classic. Sign of fail number seven. The bun comments continued throughout the race though, which was entertaining and annoying at the same time.
This was a new thing for me, I’ve never thrown up while running ever before, even in high school. I passed out once in my junior year in front of the football team after doing a tempo run, but never threw up. So let’s make that a PR for doing something new in a race.I took that picture right after. I realized when I got sick at the halfway point that I wouldn’t be able to hold onto the pace I was running, and I got upset at myself. I wanted to do well in this race and thought I had it in me. I cried a little bit and then just told myself that I was still going to be a maniac and that I just had to finish, that was all that mattered. I couldn’t quit no matter what.
So mile 14 I threw up, and my pace slowed down drastically. I was in front of the 4:00 pace group, almost up with the 3:50′s and then like a heard of elephants the 4:00′s were upon me and just engulfed me with basically no mercy. I also realized I don’t run well in a pacer type environment. Holy cow, those people have no remorse. I tried to move to the side, and stay out of the way but man, talk about being kicked while your down. I finally pulled off to the side and let them go instead of feeling like I was in the middle of a pack of cheetahs hunting their prey. Sign of fail number eight. It was then when the struggle really began. Since I had made one bathroom stop and already thrown up, I didn’t have much left in me, meaning I was worn out and still had a ways to go.
The pace group kept getting farther and father and my legs were so cold they felt like chicken drumsticks just taken out of the freezer. They felt like they were frozen and I was chipping away the ice each step I took. Not exactly what I thought would be happening this race that’s for sure. Finally I got to Mile 17.8, I had to go to the bathroom again. There were porta-potties so I just ran in there for a little bit. Took this gem of a pic.
There was a lot of blue scenery on this course for me. :( After I went to the bathroom I was feeling a little bit better so I continue the slogging journey to the finish. I walked for about two minutes and threw up again? Wonderful. Great. Though my stomach was feeling better, my legs were just dead. There were quite a few hills on the course, and around mile 10 my legs were shot, I could feel all the pain I felt from Malibu coming back into them so the last few miles were brutal. I kept jogging along, slow and steady and just tried to tell myself that the more I ran the faster I would be over and I could put on my Uggs and stop running and warm up. Then I saw a firetruck and got excited. This was at mile 19.5, I guess my stomach got too excited because as soon as I crested the small little hill to it, I found myself throwing up in the bushes yet again. Right in front of the fire truck. I could tell they felt really bad for me, because two of them came over to me and asked me if I was okay or if I needed help. I said, “No, I’m okay.” They asked me if I was going to keep going. “Yup, I guess so.” They were like, “Uh, okay. Well your hair looks really cute!” Thanks guys. Sign of WIN number 1!!! That made me laugh and almost cry a little bit more. So the journey continued. Right after I threw up I saw a yellow jersey in front of me. It was a maniac jersey and I started to cry. I was so close. All that for that stupid yellow jersey. It was happy tears and tears of this is completely the stupidest thing I’ve ever done.
Mile 20 came and I really wanted to find Tara. I was scared she had passed me while I was waiting for a porta potty but she had texted me at 19.5 right after I threw up that she was sick too! So that gave me hope that perhaps I could run with a friend to the finish, or I would have seriously walked the last 6.2 miles. I was waiting for Tara when I took this picture. I was so excited because she said she was right behind me and I was happy that I would get to run with her.
So, I found her after calling her and waving her down and we both pushed each other for the last 6.2. My legs were so shot, they were not functioning well and every step hurt in a new spot. I hadn’t been that sore running a marathon ever before in my life. We ran and I told her I was so hungry. She gave me some of her gummy bears and we walked the water stops, I tried to drink a lot of water, since I had lost a lot. My legs were aching with every step but I just kept listening to my music and trying to convince myself that each step was one step closer to the finish. My body wasn’t made to do this, that’s for sure. We saw my friend, and funniest blogger EVER, Ron pass us by and that gave us a boost of energy, we ran with him for a bit and leap frogged back and forth with him. My legs literally didn’t want to move. I was so cold and so sad and tired. I just wanted to stop. Then at mile 24, Tara and I saw a giant pickle and got SO excited. We love pickles and we started yelling, “Mr. Pickle! Mr. Pickle!” like complete freaks. Some then corrected us and told us his name was Mr. Dill. So then we started screaming that we loved him. Weird things happen to your mind at this distance.
Finally it was over, I remember starting to sprint at mile 25.5 and just thinking, I want this to be OVER WITH. I was so freaking cold. I was so tired. My legs were not moving well, but what’s done is done and I finished the race. I remember sprinting around the corner and then my calf cramped and I was like AHHHHHHHHHH! It was embarrassing but I kept going over the mat. Finally! I finished in 4:22:32 with the average pace of 10:02. Immediatly after the race we took some sweet pictures with Ron, Tara and I.
I text that picture to a friend and all he could say was, ‘your face looks SO cold.’ Which is completely true. I was freezing pretty much the second I crossed the finish line. My teeth were chattering within five minutes. It happened, and though it wasn’t the best time, it wasn’t the worst time. Part of me wonders what I would have done if I didn’t get sick. I can’t change that though and sadly, I will never be drinking another course drink unless it’s Cytomax or Nuun. Handheld water bottles here I come.
I did learn some stuff during this race though.
1. Fireman are very nice, and like my buns. :)
2. Net downhill does not mean a downhill course. It means you must run uphill to get more downhills.
3. A ‘fast course’ may not be a ‘fast course’ for you
4. I don’t fare well in the cold at all, I mean, AT ALL.
5. People running by with FROST on their hats scares me
6. I am very loved and lucky to have all the support and encouragement in my life from my friends. <3
I took Monday off work and basically napped and moaned around in pain. I was in more pain than I ever was from any marathon. My knee felt like Tonya Harding took a beating to it, like it was legitimately bruised, and my quads are just trashed. I’m going to really stretch and relax this week and however long I want to. I am going to work on a schedule for races next year and I’m excited to work on getting a little bit faster in shorter distances. I haven’t completely given up on the marathon though. There will be more, you evil, evil thing. I’ll come back, don’t you worry, but for now, I need a break. Three in three months is two too many. I finally flew home back to cold southern California Tuesday night and was greeted with tea and a new pink scarf. It was a good way to start forgetting about this race. I am excited to start strength training again a little bit more and I am even considering swimming! I need to get a pink swim cap first though.