Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Race Report - Twin Cities Marathon

Race weekend started on Saturday - Sophie, my running partner Jim, my Mom, and I headed to St. Paul for the kid's events and to pick up our race packets. Sophie ran the toddler trot, which was very fun. It was a beautiful, warm fall day.

After the kid's race, we headed to the River Center for the expo. It was pretty crowded, so we did a quick loop through and were out. I did manage to pick up a TCM hooded sweatshirt (the one I bought in 2006 was pretty worn out!).

Sunday morning, I was up bright and early and ready to run. My mom and Sophie dropped me off at the Metrodome right before the 10 mile race started.

I had plenty of time to use the restroom and then to sit around and wait. I felt good - relaxed, ready to run my third marathon of 2011. My expectations weren't very high for the race - I thought I could finish under 5 hours, and really just wanted to enjoy the day.

Finally it was time to head outside and line up. I must have picked the wrong door to leave the dome, because I got stuck in a weird space lining up for the start - WAY back. No biggie. I think I crossed the start line about 8 minutes after the start of the race.

The first 11 miles of the race felt good. I kept a nice steady pace, right around 10:30 miles, and felt good. At mile 11, my stomch started to bother me. I started to feel like I was going to lose my cookies. Anytime I pushed (up a hill, or picking up the pace), I could feel the urge to puke in the back of my throat. To deal with nauesea, I stopped taking gels/drinking at the water stops. Smart, right?

By mile 16, my stomach was feeling worse. And, because I was dehydrated, my legs started cramping up. The cramping gradually spread and soon my lower back was cramping pretty significantly. All I could think about was laying down. Somewhere around mile 19/20, I did lay down. Just in the grass on the side of the road, and just for a little bit. It didn't really help.

So I got up and kept going. I consider the last 6 mile stretch of Twin Cities down Summit Avenue my "home" stretch - I love running down Summit, past William Mitchell (my law school) and feeling so close to the finish. But this time? I was so miserable and dejected. I would try to run, and then be on the verge of puking, and stop to walk. Repeat.

Less than a mile from the finish, I was walking, barely aware of my surroundings, and all of a sudden I heard my mom and Sophie yelling for me. I looked over, and they were there. I was so relieved to see them, sad that they saw me walking, and ready to start crying just from seeing them. I told them I would be done soon and started to run/shuffle on.

FINALLY, I finished. 5:21 and change. Nowhere near the sub-5 I had planned on. And certainly not the fun day I wanted. I crossed the finish line and was completely out of it. I had planned on meeting my family by the "W" meeting area, but it seemed so far away. I just kept staring at the W - bypassing food, drink, everything - telling myself that I could lay down when I got there. I finally got close enough and fell down on the ground in the shade of a big tree. When my mom, Sophie and my sister finally found me, I struggled to keep from crying again. When I finally got myself together, I pulled my sorry butt off the ground and we walked to the car. My mom snapped this pic of me and Sophie on the way.

I had some lingering nausea for several days after the marathon - not sure if I had some sort of bug or what was going on.

Back in the "old" days, a race like this would have devastated me. I would have been embarassed by my finishing time, down on myself for not living up to my own expectations, and generally negative about the experience. I think I have changed as a runner. Although I am disappointed about having a rough day and not enjoying the race like I wanted to, I don't feel bad about it. I know the difference between training for a PR and training just finish - and for this race, I definitely trained just to finish. I feel blessed to have the health and the opportunity to run races when I want - I feel proud of running three marathons in 2011. And, after a year of running just to finish, I am ready to train hard and see how I can improve on my marathon PR. :)


Kristin said...

So sorry you had a rough day! Good to know you are moving forward. I am a little obsessed with the Twin Cities Marathon...I'd like to do it next year. (Easy enough to say when registration doesn't open until Febrary.) Congratulations on sticking with it and finishing despite your hardships!

Jamoosh said...

Tough day. That sucks. But good for you for understanding that sometimes the conditions (in this case your stomach) don't align for the race we expect. Your next race will be awesome because the Running Gods owe you one now.

Christine said...

Oh no, so sorry you had such a rough time. I believe having the determination to finish a tough marathon like yours is way more impressive than finishing a good one. Many people would have just quit, but you finished it! You should be proud of yourself!!

Diana said...

kudos for finishing while feeling so lousy. Congratulations on doing 3 marathons for 2011...that's awesome.
I just found out that 2012's GB marathon won't have the final lap running through Lambeau. They've got stadium construction going on adding extra seats...bummed big time over this announcement, even though it's only for this coming year's event.

Marlene said...

Congrats on your third marathon this year! No shame in finishing, that is for sure. Sorry that you had a tough day out there but way to pull through.

Woohoo for training to PR next year. :)

bobbi said...

Oh, Heather! I thought *I* had a crappy day (pun totally intended) but that sounds miserable. Nice job gutting it out and finishing. Here's to PRs in 2012!

Jeri said...

Holy cow, I cannot imagine running in those conditions. Stomach crap just plain sucks. :( Kudos to you for sticking it through and finishing!! :D

Richelle said...

Bummer that you had a tough race, especially because it was such a beautiful day! But you finished, and all of us are so proud of you. Here's to a 2012 full of PRs!

Beth said...

I'm so sorry that you had a tough day. Bummer! Feeling like puking does not sound like a fun way to run 26.2 miles, but good for you sticking it out and making it across the finish line. I decided a while ago that, if I'm going to run a lot of races, I can't expect for them all to be stellar. I just don't think the body works like that. Congrats on your three marathons and a lot of other races, too. Hope your next one is fantastic!

RunMommyRun said...

I'm bummed you didn't have the race day you had hoped, but wow - 3 marathons in one year. As a fellow working mom, I know just what an accomplishment that is! You really provide Sophie with one hell of a great mommy example. Cheers!