2013 Salt Lake City Marathon
This is a long RR, so feel free to skip if you want too. =)
So where to begin…
Let’s start two nights before the race, Thursday.
Thursday, I get off work a little early and head on home to clean and pack. My g/f and I have some friends coming over so I wanted to clean and straighten things out for them. My g/f and her friend were both running the half. I really had a hard time sleeping when the time came around, so decided to take some cough medicine. It worked like a charm and I fell asleep around 11:30. Got up the next morning around 6:00, showered and did some last minute packing and we all packed the car and started the journey to Salt Lake City. Now SLC is about a 7 hour drive from Reno, so we took stops along the way as I was hydrating like crazy. =)
Finally, got into town around 5 or 6 and hit up the expo right away. The expo was located at the giant convention center in downtown SLC. And when I say giant I mean giant. We grabbed, what I thought to be a primo parking, but it turns out the expo was being held on the opposite side of the center, which happened to be about 1.5 miles away, no joke. This thing was massive. So here I am limping on my sore ankle, wondering where this expo is… lol. Anyways, we get to the expo and it was sort of a letdown. There were no cool tote bags for your race gear, just a cheap and small plastic yellow bag, smaller than the one grocery stores give you. The gear on sale was overpriced, and a lot of the samples were gone or not worth getting. They did have a banner to sign for Boston, which I thought was nice.
After dropping our friends off at their cousins we get into our hotel room and I unpack and lay out my clothes for the morning and attempt to sleep. Mind you I have been icing and spraying my ankle and knee every 2-3 hours. This seemed to help most of the time, but with all the extra walking done at the expo I was a little worried. I sprayed my ankle one last time with the freeze spray before hitting the sack around 10pm SLC time. Proceeded to toss and turn the entire night. I would get comfortable, and then get uncomfortable. Suffice to say I got ZERO sleep the entire night.
Marathon morning, I get up and use the facility and then hop in the shower to wake myself up. I find it helpful to take a shower before a marathon to make you feel “fresh” for the race. After gearing up, we head on outside to the Trax station and get on the bus/train and head to the start line. After reaching the 2nd to last stop they announce an officer and a bomb sniffing dog will board the train to check our bags. A nice security measure. When we get off the train, around 6:00 or so, we are greeted with a cold air and rain. I try to stay warm the best I can, but in the end I was chilled to the bone, in my white garbage bag, t-shirt and shorts. A helicopter was flying overhead with a search light on, police were EVERYWHERE at the start line.
I continued to shiver, but luckily my g/f was nice enough to lend me her jacket for a while, as she is tough and from “Minnesota”. I warmed up a bit in the pre-race tent they set up for the runners to shield themselves from the elements. Before the race started they had a moment of a silence for those in Boston and then they proceeded to play Sweet Caroline, with everyone singing as the countdown was underway. The gun went off and my journey began. Would my knee and ankle hold out long enough?
Mile 1: 9:04 pace
Starts off, nice and slow as I try and ease myself into running and also warming up! I was soooo cold at this point, but since my last marathon was the CIM monsoon, I kept reassuring myself, this was a cake walk.
Mile 2: 8:18 pace
I realize I forgot to pop my pre-race Aleve and reach into my running belt only to find I subbed out Aleve for Tylenol, crap! Hopefully, they will be enough. I see one of my friends speed by me in a garbage bag, catch up to say hello and tell her not to hold back on my account. She was running the half and ended up PRing.
Mile 3: 7:54 pace
Things are starting to settle in, the pack has thinned enough for me to actually run and not weave so much. I decide to lose the garbage bag since it stopped raining. I also pick my pace up this mile, but I was not monitoring it as my strategy was no music or pace for the first 6 miles, then I would plug in after 6.
Mile 4: 7:51 pace
I am just going with the crowd, some easy gradual down-hills this mile. My fastest mile. I also take my first Energy Blok.
Mile 5: 8:04 pace
Feeling good this mile, I finally see the 3:45 pace group and run with them a bit, they were actually running rather fast, averaging 8:15 pace or so. I decide I feel strong enough to go out and get some distance between them and me.
Mile 6: 8:33 pace
Ran up the first hill this mile, slowed the pace down pretty good as I wanted to keep my reserves. I also stopped for a good 10 seconds to tighten my knee brace as my knee started to hurt.
Mile 7: 8:20 pace
Decided to finally plug myself in this mile and turned on my Bluetooth headphones and synced to my watch. I was now listening to split times and my favorite music.
Mile 8: 8:21 pace
Keeping things nice and consistent. This mile was also when the half marathoners cut off from the full marathoners. The course went to semi crowded to EMPTY in quite a hurry. I guess only 900 marathoners compared to the 3600 halfs. Take my 2nd blok here.
Mile 9: 8:19 pace
This was a pretty awesome mile as American flags lined both sides of the road for about half a mile. Some good crowd support as well.
Mile 10: 8:14 pace
Nice and easy, starting to get cold, especially m hands.
Mile 11: 8:13 pace
Woo consistency! Lol
Mile 12: 8:31 pace
Starting to feel a little tired here, and I actually get passed by a few people. Not sure what was going on. Take my 3rd blok here.
Mile 13: 8:34 pace
I realize my pace is slowing here feeling more tired.
Mile 14: 8:22 pace
I latch on to a group of guys I feel are running a fairly even pace and run with them for the next 3-4 miles. It was a nice diversion and I was able to concentrate on form and not on how many miles we were at.
Mile 15: 8:28 pace
I decide this pace is just fine as long as I can maintain it. I should note the police presence was insanely good for this race. Every street that was closed had a police car blocking it, it seemed like every cop in SLC was helping guard the race. Not to mention the helicopter continuing to circle above throughout the race. So big props to SLC for this.
Mile 16: 8:34 pace
Slowing down a bit here, I think it might have been a small hill, combined with my hands being numb. I think I ditched my “gardening gloves” this mile as they were not keeping my hands warm at all. Take another blok, but have to use my teeth to get it out as my fingers are unable to move.
Mile 17: 8:31 pace
The guys I was running with stopped at a water station, since I had a belt I was good to go. Decided to keep going, but I did slow down to try and let them catch up. They never did.
Mile 18: 8:22 pace
I lost my “pacers” so I just did my own thing again
Mile 19: 8:28 pace
I usually start to feel burnt out this mile, so far so good. I take my blok early just in case.
Mile 20: 8:25 pace
Gone through and passed the wall, seem to be able to hold my pace. Just hold this and you have it!
Mile 21: 8:13 pace
I keep thinking to myself, only 6 more miles only a 10k left, let’s see what you are made of! As I round one of the corners and do an out and back I see the 3:45 pace group. HOW THE HELL!?! I was so ahead of them, but I guess they caught up. I screamed out loud… “oh no you don’t!”.
Mile 22: 8:07 pace
I latch on to a rabbit, some teenager going fairly fast and I stay with him for this gradual downhill. As soon as my split time is read I realize I made a mistake.
Mile 23: 8:47 pace
I hit my wall and I hit it hard. After I let the rabbit go I realized I needed to be very, very careful how hard I pushed myself as 3 miles was still 3 miles.
Mile 24: 8:52 pace
I felt terrible, I couldn’t open my other packet of bloks because my hands were numb and I kept having the urge to “just walk” for a bit. I kept telling myself, NO! And every time I started to slow down I would look at my bracelet that said “I run for Boston”.
Mile 25: 9:13 pace
By far my worse mile, I was closing my eyes and running at this point, I had nothing left in my tank and my legs felt like weighted bricks of cement. Every step hurt, and every step was a nightmare. I asked myself why I was there.
Mile 26: 8:46 pace
I told myself I had one thing left to do, get in before that timer said 3:45:00. As long as I could finish this mile under 9 or so minutes, I would have it. I really tried to push hard this mile.
Mile 26.2: 8:26 pace
I saw the park, I knew the finish was just around the corner, I gave it my all and tried to move my concrete legs. When I saw the timer it read 3:44:50. I know that my chip time was different but I was determined to get in before that clock said 3:45:00, so of course I SPRINTED like mad. The pictures of me at the end are priceless, because my veins in my neck and the look in my face.
When I crossed the finish line I put my hand over my heart for Boston and did a little “bro fist pump” and grabbed my medal. I did it! 3:43:07 was my chip time! Tears filled my eyes as I walked around aimlessly looking for something to eat and drink, while Sweet Caroline played in the background.
I started to freeze and shiver as I had nothing my soaking wet t-shirt and shorts on. They had no space blankets to give to the marathoners. When I asked someone, they said go to the med tent. So I proceeded to the med tent and was told I could use the blanket to warm up but I had to give it back when I was done…. I was beyond furious with that answer, but agreed and got a little warmer. I gave the blanket back and made the trip back to the hotel , luckily a family who had winter coats, hats and gloves so me shivering at the bus stop and offered their space blanket to me. I of course took it and said thank you. I guess the half marathoners took a lot of what the race had, including hot sandwiches, blankets and other freebies at the end of the race. By the time the marathoners got in, none of the “good stuff” was left.
Either way I had fun and I learned a lot from this race, about how to train properly and what I am capable of. It seems like each marathon I do “my wall” is extended and I feel stronger. I was actually able to walk the next day, and if 3 of my toenails were not “purple and black” I probably would run today, but I’m going to take a week off and focus on strength training, and speed work for my next marathon. Come October, I will be doing the Twin Cities Marathon in Minneapolis Minnesota. Cheers to Boston, cheers to everyone on the Runner’s World forum for all the support and encouragement. And thank you to my g/f, my family, and my friends for their support on this marathon.
TLDR: I PRed 3:43:07 in crappy weather.