Archive of ‘marathon’ category

Indianapolis Monumental Marathon {recap}

This past weekend I ran my third marathon. Back in May, when the Pig didn’t go as planned, I had dreams of running a fall marathon. I wasn’t sure what it would be like to train right after completing a spring marathon. As I posted before it was hard, but so worth it! I wanted a flat course and from what I had heard the Indianapolis Monumental Marathon was just that.  Plus, fall weather is better than spring weather. It is much easier to go from hot to cold temps.  On to the recap! It’s a good one ;)

I worked a half day on Friday and it seemed to be the longest day. I was eager to head up to Indy! I was fortunate to have my “fan club” tag along-Andy, my mom, and my mother in law all made the trip up to support me. We got up to Indianapolis and went straight to the expo. I will say it was on the small side, but I think I am spoiled with the Flying Pig expo which is sponsored by P&G so it’s huge.  After picking up my bib, shirt, and an extra Gu we headed up to the hotel. I waited too long to book a room so everything downtown was sold out. We stayed at a Marriott that was about 7 miles away. After debating about what to eat for dinner we settled on Bob Evans, fancy right? I ordered blueberry pancakes with a side of bacon.  It’s a great pre-race dinner! We headed back to the hotel and by 9:30 I was passed out. I tossed and turned all night but probably got a good 6 hours of sleep.

At 7:15 Andy & I left to head to the starting line. He told me his goal was to hit up 3 spots on the course. After a quick goodbye I left him to go line up. I was playing it smart and decided to start this race slow. I found the 4:00 pace group and started the race with them. Being the talkative person I am I found someone to chat with for the first few miles. At 8 am the gun went off and the race started. I took the advice of a fellow runner, run the first 10 miles with my head, the next 10 with my legs, and the last 6 with my heart.

Mile 1-8:42. Whoops! I started off too fast. I blame the adrenaline rush that comes with starting any race!  The 4:00 group was ahead of me.

Mile 2- 9:10. I blame the water stops for this. One of the only negatives about this race was how poorly posted the water stops were. They just popped up and everyone rushed to the sides. Also, some of the streets were narrow so it got crammed. I’ve never seen so many people fall during a race. Thankfully that didn’t happen to me.

Mile 3-8:37. A little faster, course spread out a little bit. I was still chatting with other runners.

Mile 4- 8:50. Working into my groove.  Feeling good!

Mile 5-9:10. Grabbed a Gatorade, water stops were getting better.

Mile 6-8:57. Ate my first Gu. My plan was to take one every 45 minutes. I carried a water (Smartwater for the electrolytes) so I didn’t have to wait for water stops. One of the best decisions I made!

Mile 7-9:06. Lost my running partner during this mile. She stopped for water and never caught up. I was finally caught up with the pace group again.  Also, this was the half split. I love when runner cheer each other on!

Mile 8-8:58. Feeling strong! Saw a friend on the course who was there cheering people on!

Mile 9-9:04. Still cruising along and feeling good!

Mile 10-8:59. Time for another Gu. I took the rest of my water because I knew my fan club was up ahead so I could swap water bottles.

–I ran the first ten with my head. Now it was time to kick it up and start running with my legs. –

Mile 11-8:54. This was the mile I saw my family. Andy asked how I was doing and I replied great! This is when I started to pull ahead of the pace group.  And, leave it to my mom to tell strangers my name. I had a nice big crowd yelling my name. It was a nice boost!

mile 9

So many things to love about this photo.

Mile 12-8:48. I think I took another Gu here. I was really good with taking them every 45 minutes and I wasn’t paying attention to which mile.  We ran through some gorgeous neighborhoods. That photo above just shows a tiny snip-it of the beautiful course!

Mile 13-8:46. There was a blow up arch we ran under marking the halfway point. I also knew another text was getting sent out to everyone following me. I smiled knowing people would see how good I was doing!

Mile 14-8:54. Took another sip of Gatorade. I started grabbing one every other water stop.

Mile 15-8:51. Still happy & feeling good!

Mile 16-8:57. Had to smile, this was the mile that killed me in the last marathon. Not this time!

Mile 17-8:43. Ran by Butler. This is a beautiful college town! Great crowd support here too!

Mile 18-8:46. Ran over another timing mat and smiled again. I knew I was doing good!

Mile 19-8:44. I told myself I just had a 7 mile run left. That’s my normal weekday run! Ran by the art museum and saw the LOVE monument. Also ate some sports beans to give me a little boost.

Mile 20-8:47. Saw my family again! Another water bottle switch. Andy, again, asked how I was feeling and I told them still great! It was true. I was rocking it. Only thing to complain about was the rough road. My feet were already hurting and that didn’t help!

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Mile 20 and still smiling!

– Now it was time to run with my heart.–

Mile 21 8:49. I was running by people who had hit the dreaded wall. I motivated as many people as I could!

Mile 22-8:56. I couldn’t believe I was still running and feeling good! Took my last Gu to get me to the end.

Mile 23-8:49. This is when I realized I wasn’t going to hit the wall. I could make it just 3 more miles!

Mile 24-8:50. Really wishing I had sunglasses! The sun was in full force.

Mile 25-9:02 Hit some head wind once we turned into the city.  Saw my family at mile 25.5. Andy told me to pick it up and I said “I’m going to come in under 4″. The tears were forming already!

mile25

pure joy!

Mile 26- 8:33. My fastest mile. I felt awesome!

Last .2- I crossed that finish line with tears coming down my face. Most people probably thought I was hurting. I was THRILLED!

Finish- 3:54!

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I couldn’t have asked for a better day- I achieved all three goals,  didn’t cramp (huge for me!), never walked, and ran negative splits! I have been after that sub-4 for a while now and it feels so good! I now have a new PR, which crushed my old one by 24 minutes!

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I would run this race again. The crowd was supportive, the course was beautiful and the organizers really did an excellent job! If anyone wants a flat, fast course Indy is your place! Plus, the swag and medal were pretty cool!

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Thanks to everyone who cheered me on from afar! I took all that positive energy and brought it to the course with me.  I also have to thank my family for making the trip with me. Their support is what got me to the finish feeling strong!

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I am still on cloud nine! I did what I set out to do and it feels fantastic. I’m not sure when or where my next full marathon will be, but I know I’m not done yet!

Flying Pig Marathon {round 2}

Well, I did it.

It wasn’t pretty.

It wasn’t easy.

I talked myself out of quitting more than once.

Instead of giving up, I finished

I ran my second marathon

 

It was a beautiful morning in Cincinnati. I really couldn’t have asked for better weather. The sunrise at the starting line was breath taking.

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My friend David took this photo before the start

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The training group made us all great friends!

 

 After a tribute to Boston (that included a bagpipe- cue instant tears for me), the National Anthem, and the official countdown we were on our way!

{note: Last Sunday my peroneal tendon decided to hurt. I went to the doctor on Tuesday and had been going to physical therapy all week. I was unsure if I was going to be able to run or not. I had felt better by Friday so I made the decision to run. I didn’t give myself a goal time per say but I was after last years time of 4:18}

Miles 1-5: The gun went off and we waited a couple minutes to cross the start line. As soon as we crossed I saw the TV cameras and darted toward them to wave at them. My brother and his family couldn’t make it to the race so they watched the beginning from home and saw me on TV!  These miles included three bridges. We were pretty consistent with our 8:35 pace. My leg was feeling good and I was happy that I was staying on pace. I knew we had the dreaded hill climb up ahead, though!

Here I am on TV! I am in the grey shirt and orange skirt :)  

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FFNUg8ocExg

Miles 6-9: At the start of the hill climb my quads were burning. This was new to me. We had trained on many hills and I would do just fine.This is when I knew my 3:45 finish time wasn’t going to be that day. Mile 6 is when I lost my two running buddies because I had to slow my pace down. Once we got into Eden park I actually had to walk some parts of the hill. I tried not to bum myself out. I was focusing on small goals and making sure I was eating my sports beans and getting water. 

Miles 10-14: I was relieved to have made it through the hill climb. I wanted to pick up the pace but my legs were still feeling tired. Mile 10 is when the full and half splits and I really debated on making the turn with the half group. I talked myself out of it because I knew Andy, his mom, and my mom were at mile 11 waiting for me. I continued walking through the water stops to make sure I was getting enough water and Gatorade in my system. I was more than excited to see my crew at mile 11. I filled them in on my legs and told them I would see them at mile 20. A quick kiss from Andy and I was back on my way. There was a small hill up ahead that I walked up. It felt better on my quads to power walk. I made it through the half still ahead of the 4:00 pace group. I loved going through this area because I think it had the most orange slices handed out! At mile 14, I felt a calf cramp, aka my worst enemy, come on so I made my first stop to stretch.  After a quick stretch I thought I was feeling better. 

Miles 15-18: Yea, the calf cramps were constant. So constant that I had to walk more times than I could count. As soon as we got into Mariemont, I cramped up so bad that I let out a scream. I hobbled over to a pole to stretch them again. All I remember thinking at this point was why me and 11 more miles seemed like a million! A super nice lady and her son had Flavor Ice Popsicles that they were handing out. I grabbed an orange one and it made me feel a little better. My dad was at mile 16 and I told him to call Andy and have him bring my compression socks to mile 20. I couldn’t believe all the police I saw in SWAT gear. I felt safe and I was thankful they were out there, but it was very surreal.  Miles 17 & 18 were similar, run, cramp, walk, try to run, walk. It was awful. I thought about giving up at this point. I knew I could walk right to the medical tent and be done. I dug down deep and kept on going. I knew how much this race meant to me and I decided I’d be way more disappointed with a DNF {Did Not Finish} over a worse finish time than last year.  

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My dad took this photo of me. I think I was trying to run here. My legs look weird.

Miles 19-25: At mile 19 a coach from the training group saw me and ran on the course with me for a few. I told him about my cramps and he gave me salt tablets to take at the next water stop. After hearing some inspiring words I was back on my way. I think what made this so tough was I was alone. I normally run in a group and chat with everyone. I felt like this really challenged me. Finally I got to mile 20 and I saw my crew again. I pulled off the course to switch socks. As I was taking my shoes off I cramped so bad I practically fell into Andy. I sat on the step and finally was able to get my socks on. I told them I wasn’t upset about what my finish time was going to be, I just wanted to finish. After about a 10 minute break I was back out on the course. Mile 21-23 I set up a system of running and walking. I gave myself small goals of running to a cone and walking for a shorter time. I think the compression socks helped with the intensity of the cramps, but it didn’t make them disappear. I had been looking forward to the Hog Wash station at mile 24. Nothing feels better than an ice cold wet towel at this point in a marathon. My feet were killing me. Suddenly I remembered last year at this point. All those same pains and aches. I knew how much further I needed to go. I encouraged people as I ran or walked by them. One girl was hobbling and I told her just 1.5 miles to go and she looked at me and said tearfully that she couldn’t put weight on her heel. I tried my best to tell her to keep going, but I knew it wasn’t going to be easy for her. 

Mile 26: I really tired to run this entire mile. The sidewalks were covered with people. My cramps got super intense and I had to stop and stretch. I love having my name on my bib because a group of random strangers told me “Allie, keep going! The finish line is right  there!”. I sucked it up and ran and they cheered. I needed that! I was hurting really bad, but I wanted to finish running. My calf cramp was moving up my entire leg. I saw my family and I started crying while telling them how bad I hurt. I heard my mom say it will be alright and just finish. 

Mile 26.2: I painfully crossed the finish line at 4:35:05. I got my medal that I worked so freaking hard for.  I found my family and hugged them. I was so happy to be done.  The first thing Andy said to me was “I am so proud of you, you just finished your second marathon”. 

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This race taught me things about myself that I didn’t know. I am so much stronger than I think I am.  My mind was playing a cruel game with me by trying to talk me out of finishing. My legs were telling me something else. Maybe I am deficient in something {I never cramp on training runs}, or I didn’t train enough, or maybe I just work myself up the week before the race and stress out. Sunday I could have been a quitter*, it would have been the easy way out. Instead I decided to become a two time marathon runner. 

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A marathon tests ones true self. I remember last year being disappointed with my finish time.  After this race, I am not feeling that same feeling. Sure, I would have loved to finish with my friends David (3:47:20) and Vicki (3:50:10) but it was not my day, and I am okay with that. This was just one race and not every race has to be a PR.  I still have the rest of my life ahead of me to run a third marathon. I am not sure when that will be but I know it will be a flat course!  I will be a stronger runner because of this race. 

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Thanks to everyone who cheered for me on Sunday, either in person or online. Your support was much appreciated! 

*I am not knocking anyone who ends a race with a DNF. If I knew I would have been injured if I continued racing I would have pulled myself. I knew it was mental. I had to finish to prove I could to myself. 

 

26.2 on my 26th

My marathon/birthday weekend started on Friday when I took the day off work. It just so happened to be the same day that the new Lululemon store was opening less than a mile from my house. You best believe I was there. I had some coaching money I had been saving and I thought this was the perfect time to treat myself. I ended up getting a tank and short in the mint green color! LOVE!

On Saturday we headed down to the expo. This was only my second expo and I heard it was a good one. P&G had really great samples (full size shampoos?!) and I tried different kinds of running fuel. It was definitely a fun time!

After 18 weeks of training it was time to run my first marathon. My alarm went off at 4:50 and I was up by 5 to get ready. I have everything set out so I was dressed and ready to go within 5 minutes! I made my breakfast and we headed out the door to head downtown. But first we had to take my before the race photo:

You see that custom bib name??

Couldn’t think of a better way to spend my 26th birthday.

Once we got down to the start of the race I quickly found my running buddies. The butterflies had definitely kicked in at this point but I was so ready to run! The gun went off at 6:30 am and we were off. There is nothing more exciting that running with thousands of other runners. The adrenalin rush is awesome!

Miles 1-5 were easy. We trained with those bridges a million times. I loved crossing over the highway heading back into Cincy and seeing 7th street lined with people all the way down. It was so cool! I saw my friend at the end of 7th and that gave me the boost to head up the “dreaded” hill climb.

I felt awesome going through Eden park. We ran over the pads at mile 6.8 and I was at 1:01:46. I was doing well!

I saw some other familiar faces around mile 8 and my pace picked up. I knew my family was at mile 10ish so I was looking forward to seeing them. At mile 9 I took water and a salt tablet to protect myself from cramping (more on that later)

Mile 11 was fastest mile (8:22) and I think it was because of all the crowd support in Hyde Park. Everyone there was so energetic! It also helped when I saw my people!

Check out those calf muscles! 18 weeks of training really paid off ;)

Then it was time to turn up Paxton which felt like a huge mountain but we did it! I was still feeling good at this point. Looking back now I realized I should have started eating something at this point. I did grab and orange slice but couldn’t stomach it. We hit the half way mark at 1:56:03. Still on pace. The down hill never felt so good.

As we turned up Bramble (mile 14) I was hit with dizziness. I walked for less than 30 seconds to chew on some sports beans and felt better. I decided to walk through every water stop at this point. I could still make my goal of under 4. My pace was slowly slipping and the weather was getting warmer. I kept taking salt tabs every half hour and alternated between water and gatorade. I felt like I couldn’t get enough to drink but felt full. I once again took a small walk break to let everything settle.

Once we hit Eastern Ave. I could feel the cramps in my calf muscles coming on. I wanted to finish strong so I walked a little more. My pace slipped but I was still ahead of the 4:00 pace group. I hit mile 19.7 at 2:57:51

That when things went south.  I had to walk more often than the water stops. I had an amazing coach that stayed with me the whole time. I would look up and find something to walk to and then start running. Once we hit mile 22 I could no longer walk/run.

Both of my calf muscles cramped up so bad I felt like my legs turned to stone. I grabbed the hands of my coach to stop myself from face planting into the concrete. I screamed in pain. So many runners stopped to make sure I was okay and if I need anything. That is one reason I love this sport. That is when the medical truck came up and asked if I needed anything. I was frozen. I couldn’t move due to the pain. I had to wait it out. I stood there for almost 4 minutes.  They asked if I wanted to ride back in the truck. I told them no way. I came this far I was going to finish. I knew my sub-4 was out the window, but it was okay, I was still going to finish a marathon.

I walked mile 22.5 till about mile 25.5. I had to finish this thing running! I would walk backward and with long strides to get my muscles worked out. My coach, Megan, was telling everyone it was my birthday and I got so many cheers and high fives. People would pass me and tell me happy birthday. They were amazing.

Once we got to the top of Riverside I was ready to run. Megan pushed me along and kept telling me the fam was up ahead. I felt the cramps coming back on but I pushed through. I came up with a goal of getting a sub-4:20 marathon. I saw my bright orange sign and all the smiling, teary eyed, proud family of mine. I was ready to get some high fives from them.

Megan telling everyone “It’s her first marathon & her birthday!” I was never so happy to see my family!

Logan ran it in with me. Little does he know that was the highlight of my race. I think it was his 9 year old way of being proud :)

My official end time was 4:18:12.

I had 3 goals going into this whole experience. Make new friends, finish the marathon, and run under 4 hours. I completed the first two, and now have a new goal for my next marathon.  One thing {of many} I have learned from this whole experience is to set goals and reach them. If you don’t reach them the first time try harder the next time. My body was telling me I was not ready to run a sub 4 hour marathon and I am okay with that. I still had an amazing birthday and made my family proud. I couldn’t ask for anything else.