Monday, October 21, 2013

Surprise! I ran a marathon this weekend

I see I've neglected to post in my blog since the end of what better way to come back than with a surprise marathon?

It all started early last week when I was trying to find a half marathon to run as part of my long run. Every race I came across was up in Syracuse, Albany, or somewhere that was at least a 5 hour drive. No thanks.

Then while searching on the Runners World website, I came across the Habmletonian Marathon and Relay in Goshen, NY, which is only about an hour of the city. Huh.

Do elevation charts mean anything to you? Because apparently they don't to me!

I emailed my friend Joe, thinking that running a warm up marathon before your goal marathon was something that would be right up his alley. (Have I mentioned we are both Marathon Maniacs and Half Fanatics?) There was a short email exchange between him and our friend/coach Josh, and by the end of the day we had both agreed to run a marathon in 4 days.

I must say, I was a little nervous before this run, mainly because my 17 miler last week started out so terrible. At the same time, I had no time goals, and I honestly wasn't even sure I would finish the race. My goals was to get 19-22 miles in that day, and whatever happened after that was a bonus. I did pay for that finishers medal though...

The Race

4:30am alarm. It must be Marathon Day! 

The drive up to Goshen was quiet lovely. I think I must have remarked at least three times how I'd like to live in that area, and then I realized, what do people do up there? And then I downgraded my thoughts to maybe just owning a "weekend" home.

We arrived to the race a bit later than we both had wanted. We basically had time to get our bibs, I dashed to the porta-potty line and hustled over to the start. Luckily all of these things were very close to each other. 

The first 6 miles were pretty lovely, and all in the low 10's/high 9's. ( If I would have kept up that pace I would have PR'd. I tried not to think about it, because I did remember a giant red bar on the elevation chart at mile 15) We saw a family of deer running through someone's front yard. Unfortunately, Joe was having some stomach issues around that time, and actually did a spectacular puke and rally and caught up with my by mile 7. The next few miles I started to slow down and settled into a mid 10 pace. I didn't know why my legs were starting to feel heavy, but they were. 

Starting to feel mile 10. Also, FREE RACE PHOTOS without watermarks.
My left hamstring/hip/glute was starting to get really sore and uncomfortable. Joe and I ran together till mile 11 or so, when I decided to take another gel, hoping that it would give me the energy to power on. Unfortunately, I kept feeling worse. Has anyone ever hit the wall at mile 13 of a marathon? I guess I sort of did. I felt awful. Everything between my lower back and left hamstring hurt. And I thought about all the upcoming miles (and hills) I didn't know how I'd even make it to mile 17. I walked so much. I tried to put on my favorite songs, but even Ke$ha couldn't get me going.

I texted my boyfriend at mile 15, basically saying I was so exhausted, I don't know how I'm going to do this. A few seconds later a got a little beep on my phone, with some encouraging words. I could feel a lump in my throat and cursed at myself. NO CRYING RIGHT NOW. Just move.

I hit that giant hill at mile 15 and just laughed. Think of that mile long hill in the Palisades, except shorter and steeper. I walked up the entire hill, and was still out of breath by the top. I told myself I had to run at least all the downhills, which felt a little better on my leg.

Mile 16. Mile 17. Started to feel a little better and forced myself to try and run more than I walked. Mile 18. Mile 19 we ran by a farm that smelled so badly of cow dung that I had to use my t-shirt to cover my face, because I feared I would puke. What can I say? I'm a city girl.

Mile 20 was pretty glorious, because by this point I realized I could shuffle my way to the finish, and that I would finish my 5th marathon that day. Mile 21. I celebrated. Mile 22 I texted my boyfriend to let him know where I was, and that I had kept going. The volunteers were amazing. I still walked a lot. Mile 23. Mile 24 I was starting to get bored on this little trail. I had miraculously passed a few people, and there was no one ahead of me. I saw what was either a beaver or a raccoon. Mile 25!! By this point my long sleeve shirt (that had my bib number on it) was off and tied around my waist, which meant when people saw me running they couldn't tell if I was part of the relay or running the full. (Relay had white bibs, the marathoners had yellow bibs) I hit the water station at mile 25, and as I passed them one of the guys said "She IS a marathoner!" and I did a lame attempt at a fist pump. I had long realized this race would be a PW but I didn't really care. Mentally I had felt really good, and I was so proud of myself. I realized it was a big deal to me that I finished another marathon, and honestly? Despite the fact the first half of my race kind of sucked, I had a lot of fun.

I chatted with runners as we ran/walked up hills. One woman had on a 100+ marathon singlet, one woman was running her first. I got people to yell "I love sweat too!" as I ran by. I had volunteers ask me if I was okay and if I needed anything. (I replied, yes, I need a nap, at mile 15.)

The last .2 of the race was on the Goshen Historic Track, which was really nice. It was softer footing, and I pretended like I was at a Tuesday night speed workout and I was busting out my last repeat. For what it's worth, I ran the last .4 of my race at a 9:13 pace.

Surprisingly, I don't feel too beat up today. However, I wish I could take a nap. With Philly in just under 4 weeks, I'm obviously feeling a lot more confident in the distance. I know I have a few weeks to try and strengthen up what's been bothering me, but with a flatter course, I'm hoping that maybe I can squeak out a PR after all.


  1. Holy moly! Way to go. I imagine your legs were feeling heavy because you are in a training cycle and haven't tapered. Just think how great you'll feel after taper!

    Also... post more. :)

    1. I'm going to reallllly try!!! Thank you--you're probably right about my legs feeling fatigued. I think I ran about 34 miles the previous week. (Though that's not my usual high mileage, that definitely is one of the highest of this current training cycle)