Sunday, May 6, 2012

Race Report: Wisconsin Marathon

On Friday, I finished up a mediation at 3:30 and drove up to Duluth to pick up my friend Tracy. We then drove through Wisconsin to Kenosha. What a LONG drive! We finally arrived at Tracy's mom's house in Kenosha a little around 12:30 a.m. Set the alarms for 6:00 and went right to bed, with race dreams in our head. When the alarm went off Saturday morning, I was tempted to just pull the covers over my head and go back to sleep. I could hear that it was pouring rain outside, and was just so tired. I forced myself out of bed, ate a bagel with peanut butter and banana, and got dressed. Tracy's mom lives about two blocks from the start line so we got to hang out inside (out of the rain). About twenty minutes before the start, we walked over to the race area.
We lined up between the 10:00 min./mile and 10:30 min./mile signs and before we knew it, we were off. The marathon and half marathon follow the same course for the first 12 miles, so Tracy and I ran together. After a few miles of running in downtown Kenosha, the race course went out along Lake Michigan. It was a really pretty course, and ended up being a perfect morning for running. The rain had stopped before we started, but it stayed cool and cloudy for the rest of the morning. The race course was set up as a little loop in downtown Kenosha, an out and back to the north, and then an out and back to the south (for the full marathon). I felt like the miles on the first out and back went by really quickly, especially miles 4-9. I felt like we were running really easily, chatting and enjoying the people watching and scenery. On the way back into town, Tracy started to tire. I started getting anxious about running after she turned off at the 12 mile mark. Running with her, I kept feeling like we were close to the finish, but for me, it was just close to half way. I told her that I was tempted to turn with her at the half. She basically told me to suck it up and keep going. After the turn off at mile 12, the crowds really cleared out. I think there were about 4,000 runners total, but maybe less than 1,000 in the full? It felt really quiet and it just hit me how far I still had to run. I also had that felling of "oh crap, I haven't run this far since October, what the hell was I thinking." At mile 14.5 there was a water stop and I stopped to use the porta potty, take some shot bloks, and put my music on. From there, I told myself to just run to the water stops - that I could walk and stretch at the water stops, which were about every two miles. The out and back to the south turned around at mile 19. I was so ready to hit that turn around. I just zoned out listening to my music, occasionally chatting with runners that I passed or who passed me. Before I knew it, I was at the turn around. I turned, and got blasted by a cold wind. I felt very cold from mile 19 until about mile 23 or so - the wind was blowing a mist across the road, which looked really cool but was quite chilly. I think that was the first time I was really cold during a marathon. At this point, with just over a 10K left, I looked at my watch and realized I was running much faster than I expected. With my lack of training, I really thought I would run a 5:00+ marathon. I would have been thrilled with sub-5:00. Imagine my surprise when some mile 20 math calculation led me to realize that I could run sometime in the 4:30's or 4:40's. That realization really motivated me to keep pushing. By this time, my legs were super sore and my back was cramping up. I just kept running, walking a bit and stretching out my back at the water stops. Finally, after a long stretch of what seemed to be a rather desolate road, we were back into the neighborhoods around downtown Kenosha. The last two miles were a struggle - my legs were ready to stop moving. When I saw the mile 26 sign, I started running as fast as I could (a sprint in my mind, but I'm sure it looked like a gimpy fast walk to anyone watching) and crossed the finish line in 4:43:43. Which is my second fastest marathon time ever.
I'm interested to see the official race pictures, because after I crossed the finish line, I bent over, put my hands on my knees and said, "Oh shit that was hard." And looked up to see a photographer snapping my picture. That should be a great shot. I walked through the finish area and got my medal and space blanket and plopped down in the closest chair I could find to wait for Tracy and her mom to come find me. We had a super relaxing day yesterday hanging out at Tracy's mom's watching movies and stuffing our faces with food. And then hit the road right away this morning for the LONG drive home. Which was way longer with the stiff, sore post-race legs. We looked like quite the pair traipsing around gas stations at our various stops on the way home. Now I'm off to engage in more post race recovery in the form of putting away the 800 loads of laundry my husband washed (and threw on our bed) while I was gone.


bobbi said...

That's one helluva training run! Congrats!!

Heading north along the lake was hard - that wind was no joke. I was SO glad I got to turn around at 12!

Teamarcia said...

Dammit! I would've loved to meet you! Great race girlfriend! Congrats!

Diana said...

Congratulations Heather! Great race and awesome time!
I wanted to do this 1/2, but opted for one in June a little closer to my house.
I can't even imagine the pain during that car ride home.....ouch!

Anonymous said...

Woooohooooooo!!! CONGRATS!!! The best races are the ones without pressure and just enjoying to run! You are rock star!!!

Jill said...

That is awesome, girl!!! Congratulations on a great race and your 2nd fastest ever. Hope you're still wearing a big race smile, you well-earned it!

Bethk said...

What a great job! Congratulations! Sounds like a fun race. You are off to a great start for the season with a marathon already in the bag. Yeah!