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Well, I am home and alive..with a finisher's medal! Trying to keep positive about my run, which was REALLY awesome - until about mile 18 or 19. I felt SO good, my splits were what I thought was a perfect conservative pace. I was pretty positive I was going to finish around 4:20 or 4;25, since I was somewhere in the middle of 4:15 and 4:30 pacers. I survived the hype of "assault on Battery" hill, but then SOMETHING happened. The sun was getting stronger (I believe it ended up in the mid 70s, but there was not one cloud in the sky) I know mid 70s doesnt sound THAT bad but I guess it didn't help that the warmest long training run I had done was in sunny 60 degree weather, and that was only once. My stomach was in knots, I felt delerious and the energy gel I was trying to get down wanted to come straight back up. The sound of ambulances which what seemed like was happenining every mile or so, and seeing fit looking people lying on the side of the ground with medics around them did NOT help my brain.
So anyways, that's when it happened...I stopped at a water station to get water to pour into my empty fuel belt. When I went to run again, my body was totally all set. This was also part of the lonliest part of the course. It was on a bike path, in the woods, with no spectators. It kills me to say it, but during those miles I let the pain and exhaustion take over my desire to keep my pace. Who knows, maybe I would have been one of the people who DNF in a medic tent if I did keep on pushing myself, but I will never know. I did a very painful walk/jog until mile 25. Mile 25 was great. You came out of the woods and there were tons of cheering spectators. ("Bright Side of the Road" by Van Morrison came on my iPod, which has special memories to me dancing in the kitchen with my 3 year old, and I felt like God was in charge of my playlist at that moment!) So I came in and finished with a big smile on my face, but the clock was much more than what I ever wanted to see... 4:55. At that very moment I didn't care, because I was just happy with all those miles that I basically walked I cept it under 5 hours...now it is HAUNTING me. My VERY supportive, but non running family was actually getting annoyed with me when I was talking about my disapointment. They couldn't see past the fact that I should just be thrilled with finishing a marathon. So this is something that I really can't talk about any more to them because all I get in reply is, "are you crazy?"
In those last few miles in the woods, I swore I would never put myself through this again. But by that night, I was already on marathonguide.com looking where I can get a rematch against this 26.2 beast.
Am I proud that I didn't just lay down in the woods (like I literally saw some people doing) and give up? Yes. But do I think I can do better than 4:55? I KNOW I can. Maybe Higdon's novice 2 plan just wasn't enough training miles. With my injury, I think I only peaked at 37 miles a week.
So, wise words of advice for what to do now is very much appreciated! Do I look for a flat, fall marathon to train for? I don't think I would ever want to chance doing a marathon that could have very warm weather again until I am a much more seasoned long distance runner.( Also, I did have a chat with a very inspiring runner who was on his 53rd marathon, and told me I should be proud of myself for picking such a challenging course as Vermont for my first..so maybe flatter would be better?)
Or do I build my mileage up over the next 12 months and gear up for a 2013 marathon? I really don't want to get to a start line until I am ready to kick it's butt.
Thanks all for listening!!
"If you don't run you rust" - Tom Petty
Great job and if you run marathons what happen to you at mile 18 is going to happen! One of my races all most at that same point it happen to me I stopped and all I could think of was what is my son/daughter going to think when I have all ways told them to never give up! It was tuff (I was not hurt but bonked) but I did the death march for the remainder of the race. My next marathon was a 25 min PR and BQ!. You did great, It's a great accomplishment and you should be very proud, if you remember back a few months you never thought you could! Great job, recover well! Thanks for posting!
Amazing how your mine works when you are negitive no music sounds good, but being postive it all sounds good! Staying postive is a must for a good race!
I wondered how you did. I knew someone else, a "veteran" of several marathons, running the race. She described almost the exact symptoms you had. Heat is something you can't control, you can only deal with it. And I would say you dealt very well. You weren't one of those people by the side of the road with medics around them. Instead you were one of those who controlled your race and pushed through to finish. Quite an accomplishment! (70+ degrees is hot. Consider the ideal for a marathon is considered to be around 50. And Jeff Galloway says to slow down 30 seconds per mile for every 5 degrees over 60.) And you have the same feelings I did after my first. I'm never doing this again!! (Anywhere between 20 and 24.) How can I improve for next time?? (Within an hour or two after finishing.) I would say give it a couple weeks before deciding how soon you want to try again. Give the whole thing time to settle in. Then you'll have a better idea.
Picking a marathon can be a crapshoot. Flat is good, though some courses described to me as flat weren't really. Look for cooler weather but it's never guaranteed. I've run Marine Corps when it was 30 degrees at the start, and when it was 55 heading for 75. When it rained throughout, and when it was cloudless with a steady 20 mph breeze. The comments in MarathonGuide are helpful, just discount those at the extremes.
Congratulations on your finish!
Thank you both so much for the encouragement.
It actually made me feel so much better to hear that an experienced marathoner agreed with how I felt. My husband also noted that the 4:15 & 4:30 pacers both came in 15 minutes behind schedule.
I just got a massage and I'm feeling pretty decent all things considered, so I'm hoping to get a recovery jog in on Thursday and get the body moving. The one thing I don't like about marathons is all the down time from exercise leading up to, and after the event.
I have my eye on Philadelphia...have you guys done this one? November 18th and pretty flat...five hour train ride. Only if it was a freak day would it be warm. Like you said, Len, I am going to give it a few weeks to see how I really feel, but I already miss the dangling carrot, and it's only 48 hours post race! ;)
"If you don't run you rust" - Tom Petty
Great job. This is a wonderful accomplishment. Now you can officially consider yourself a person others do not understand.
And you have learned the value of trusting in the training plan. If you are faithful to the plan it will get you to the end. Of course, there are other variables that can happen on race day. But while training your worry can evaporate because you know you are doing the work to get you to the end.
Good for you VC81! You have accomplished one of the big ones.
I was in a very similar position to you the weekend before, 5/20, at the Bob Potts Marathon in York, PA, and all my wheels fell off at about mile 22. Up through 17 were fine, but I wasn't able to get through it like you did. I am very glad for you, though.
I'm not to bummed for myself, as this was my second Marathon, and the first went to a more successful finish. It did take me 28+ years to get past the "never again!!! promise. Looking back at my recent race, I guess it was warmer than I'd been training in and I didn't allow for any adjustment in my pace. I had hoped for just ove 4 hours, made the half way point in under 2 hours and cruised through 17. Then ...I...just...slowed...down....with legs that said nothing but NO NO NO.
Again, GOOD FOR YOU! You ran smarter and tougher than I did, and I am happy for you.
Barefoot / Minimalist Runner
...not maintaining this these days..
07/29/2012 Marsh Creek Raptor Run 10 Mile Trail Race
07/15/2012 Quadzilla 15K Trail Run, Trexlertown, PA 1:37 (2011, 1:49)
04/29/2012 Lehigh Valley / St. Luke's HM, 1:43:15 (2011, 1:54:20 )
03/19/2012 Kutztown Fool's Run 10 Miler, 1:18:15 (2011, 1:30:20)
02/26/2012 Ugly Mudder 7.2 Mile Trail Run, Reading, PA 1:20
11/27/2011 Dirty Bird 15K Trail Run, Birdsboro, PA 1:40
10/08/2011 Lehigh Gap Nature Center 10K Trail Run (6.38 miles), 59:20 (10/07/2012)
Started running (again) May 5, 2010
I am not a marathon expert (have done just one so far) but your estimated vs. actual finish times aren't too different from mine. I also trained with Higdon's Novice II, starting from a 10K base. Based on the long training runs, I estimated a conservative finish of about 4:22 (10 min/mi). However, I actually finished in 4:43, about 20 min "late". As a shorter distance specialist, I am so accustomed to racing for time that it took 3 days - till the race photos were posted online - till I really appreciated the accomplishment. Finishing a marathon is a BIG DEAL. Be very proud of it!
You mention that you're considering a fall marathon on a flat course. I had that luxury - Long Beach, CA in early October, which is a relatively flat course with temperatures reliably in the 60's. Although that didn't get me the goal time I wanted, it definitely did help, physically and mentally. I didn't have to worry about hills or heat or their possible consequences. Staying hydrated and fed was no problem. I saw some people dropping out after about mile 20, but at least they weren't being carted off by the medics.
I concluded afterwards that Novice marathon training programs are not designed for specific finishing times. They are designed to get one to the start line and then to the finish line in one piece. For me at least, Novice II did exactly that. For improving one's time, an Intermediate program might be in order, if you're up to the increased mileage and speedwork at those distances.
Heart of the City Run, Los Angeles, CA, 24:13
Downtown Anaheim 5K, Anaheim, CA, 24:32
Claremont Turkey Trot, Claremont, CA, 24:20
The Great Race - Old Agoura 10K, Agoura Hills, CA, 51:12
Fiesta Days Run, La Canada, CA, 49:31
LA Cancer Challenge, West Los Angeles, CA, 51:21
Long Beach International City Bank Half Marathon, Long Beach, CA, 1:54:31
Thank you JT and CRL! You both just also have made me happier about my accomplishment!
I totally agree that Higdons novice 2 is just designed to get you to the finish line. My HM race during training was 1:55:15, giving me that same false comfort to expect a certain time range. But let's face it, 26.2 isn't just double 13.1..it's a total different animal altogether!!!
I also think I am just not designed to run in heat...it's kind of comical, I have noticed that in 50 degree weather, other runners in my area are still in long sleeve tech shirts, while I need a tank top and shorts for anything over 5 miles!
Maybe the Antartica Marathon is more up my ally ;)
"If you don't run you rust" - Tom Petty
I have run Philly twice, 1999 and 2010. (Almost 3. In 2008 I had an injury and dropped out at the half.) The course is fairly flat, with one hill of note about mile 9 (similar to the one around mile 8 of Vermont) and a small, short hill approaching the halfway point. There are also several areas of fairly long but very gentle upslopes. I hesitate to call them hills but they do trend upward. It's also a pretty nice tour of the city, hitting downtown ("Center City"), Independence Hall/Liberty Bell, University City, The Zoo, Memorial Hall (left from the 1876 Centennial Exposition), the Art Museum (starts and ends here and passes at 13), both river drives (Martin Luther King Drive on the west and Kelly Drive on the East) and Manayunk. Race conditions can vary a lot but are virtually guaranteed not to be warm. Typically it's around 35 to 40 at the start, maybe windy (or not), sometimes light rain (mostly not). 2010 was just about perfect, maybe upper 40s, no rain, not much wind. In 2008 it was in the 20s at the start, no wind or precipitation. But it's unusual for it to be that cold. The race does usually sell out, probably not until September though.
Congrats on the finish! YOU finished and that is what counts!
I run my first marathon on October and I hope to "finish happy" despite the time!
"I can't means I won't"
Thanks, mike! Good luck on your first in October!
I am seriously considering signing up for Philadelphia in Nov. There is price increase tomorrow, not that 15 bucks really matters, but I like to save where I can.
I may be a bit tapped in the head to want to put myself through it again, even though the battle memories are so fresh in my mind.
I did an easy recovery 3 miler today with one significant hill. My right knee wasnt feeling pretty, but I iced it when I got in the door and I'm ok now, I hope.
Reasons why I think Philly is a good idea: gives me a full month to follow Hal Higdons post marathon recovery plan. Then I can focus on his intermediate 1 or 2 starting in July. Crazy or good idea? Or both?! ;)
"If you don't run you rust" - Tom Petty
First off, congratulations for finishing! I really think whenever you're dealing with heat you just have to change the goal of the game and just make the best of the experience. I haven't run a marathon yet, but having been taken from a race in an ambulance from heat exhaustion I now have real respect for what hot days can do to our ability to run a strong race (especially those first few hot days of the season before we're acclamated). In terms of frustration, I had a similar experience to the one you described last weekend. It was my first 25K and I started strong and confident but not far in my IT band started to act up and by the end I was walking/limping more than running. It took forever for me to finish and in the end I really struggle to say I completed a 25K because while I did technically finish, my time made me feel like it doesn't really "count". It wasn't until I talked to other runners (including the guy who won the race outright) that I started to go a bit easier on myself. No matter what, you finished the marathon and that's an enormous accomplishment. It sounds like you have another out there in your future, but in the meantime you can take pride in the fact that you finished on a hot day and you listened to your body well enough to keep yourself out of real danger out there in the heat.
3/19/11 Holy Grail 5K 36:20 (First 5K)
4/10/11 Wellness 5K 30:48
4/23/11 Stonyfield 5K 30:28
5/7/11 Dover 5K: 29:39
5/23/11 Get Fit in May 5K 29:44
5/29/11 Redhook 5K 29:32 (PR)
6/11/11 Market Square 10K 1:08:40 (First 10K)
8/18/11 Saunders 10K 1:07:35.49
9/5/11 St. Charles Childrens' Run: 29:54
9/10 Fox Point 5 Mile: 49:03
9/25 Holy Grail 5K: 32:33 (with bronchitis)
10/9 Great Island 5K 32:54.23 (still with bronchitis)
11/13 Seacoast 1/2 Marathon: 2:31:39 (1st 1/2 Marathon)
1/1/12 First Run 10K 1:4:45 (PR)
2/19/12 Half at the Hamptons 2:28:18 PR
3/24/12 Holy Grail 5K 28:17 PR
4/21/12Whale of a 5K (first trail race) 30:24
3/30/12April Fools 4 Miler 36:39 (9:10mm)
6/12/12 Margaritas 5K 27:52 (9mm) PR
Congratulations and thank you. I just started training for my 1st full in September (Portland, ME) using SmartCoach from RW and despite the time it says to expect, I will be happy to finish. Your account gives real insight into what to expect and hopefully I can be a strong/positive as you were to break through and tame the beast. I also know what you mean about not meeting you goal. I remember a race where I wanted under 1 hour and ended up with 1:00:03 and no one could understand why I wasn't satisfied with that. The good thing is that you will accomplish the goal, a year later I did it in 56:58. I have a a sticker with a quote from John Bingham - The miracle isn't that I finished, it's that I had the courage to start. If you would like a good flat course look at the Hyannis Marathon that goes in February. I have only done the 1/2 but had my best 1/2 by three minutes and I think it is a two lap course for the full.
Best of luck with Portland, Bob!
I was thinking about Hyannis, but think I'm still at the point where I need a marathon with hype and spectatators. The half sounds good, though! Races on my calendar keep my spirits high for some reason!
"If you don't run you rust" - Tom Petty